Cookie G. Ruiz, C.F.R.E.

Executive Director

Cookie Gregory Ruiz has more than 30 years of experience in the areas of strategic planning, organizational development and non-profit fund-raising/management. Since 2002 she has held the professional designation of Certified Fund Raising Executive (C.F.R.E.) by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Her community honors include Austin Business Journal’s “Profiles in Power” Award, Austin Community Foundation’s Beverly S. Sheffield Award for Excellence as a Nonprofit Executive, The American Red Cross “Clara Barton Medal of Honor,” Volunteer of the Year for the Austin Independent School District, the Lone Star Girl Scout Council “Women of Distinction” Award, the Junior League of Austin’s Volunteer Extraordinaire Award and is a 2016 Austin Arts Hall of Fame inductee. Ruiz served as the citywide chair of CreateAustin, a City Council appointee to ImagineAustin’s Citizen’s Advisory Task Force, and is a graduate of the Austin’s City Works Academy. As a graduate of Leadership Austin she served four years on its board of directors.

Ruiz is a currently a member of the board of trustees and former national Chair of Dance/USA, the board of directors of the Performing Arts Alliance, president of the board of directors of Texans for the Arts, the board of directors of the Mayor’s Better Austin Foundation, the board of directors of Housing Works Austin and is a member of the Austin Area Research Organization (AARO). She is also a fellow of the National Arts Strategies International Chief Executive Program.

Ruiz serves as a speaker, facilitator and presenter for a variety of leadership conferences, including the National Conference on Community Leadership, the National Performing Arts Conference, Americans for the Arts Annual Convention, National Conference of Dance/USA, the Governor’s Women’s Business Leadership Forum and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

In 1996, Ruiz joined the staff of Ballet Austin as development director, became general manager in 1997 and executive director in 1999.