Abby Del Rio’s feelings about arts and culture don’t fit the narrowly stereotypic outlook of a numbers-driven bean counter. “Life without the arts would be pretty boring,” she says, pointing out that there’s more to life than just one’s daily, prosaic routine. “I definitely appreciate [live theater],” she adds, and her amateur interest in drawing is serious enough that she’s taken classes to acquire some technique training. Working with Arts Cleveland hasn’t changed her perspective on arts and culture, but her innate appreciation for the arts has helped make her a part of the team.
She’s the second-most-recent staffer to join the arts service organization, having come on board in September 2017, but she wasn’t new to nonprofits. Her background is in Not-for-Profit Accounting, and she has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Accounting from Cleveland State University. While at CSU, she participated in a co-op program through which she was a financial assistant for a nonprofit. “Nonprofit work kind of fell into my lap,” she explains, and she discovered an affinity for it.
After earning her degree, Abby spent 12 years as the Financial Officer at Cleveland’s Hispanic Urban Minority Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Outreach Program, Inc. (HUMADAOP). During her tenure there, she managed a multimillion-dollar budget built on funding from the Ohio Department of Alcohol; Drug Addiction Services, the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, The Cleveland Foundation and various other governmental and foundation grants. She also fulfilled HR functions.
“Being a part of HUMADAOP was very satisfying,” she says. The responsibilities undertaken by the agency, she points out, can be a matter of life and death, and playing a critical supportive role there was quite fulfilling.
She left HUMADAOP, however, in 2006, when her fourth child was born, and she devoted the next several years to raising her children and being a band/soccer/volleyball mom. During that period, she kept her accounting skills sharp by volunteering to help her church with its finances.
In 2010, her family moved to the Chicago area, but returned to Northeast Ohio in 2016, and Abby eventually again sought work outside the home. A temp agency placed her with Arts Cleveland, the fit was a good one and she’s now an integral part of the institution.
She’s found that her occupation with Arts Cleveland also is rewarding — and in some surprisingly similar ways to her job with HUMADAOP. The arts service organization, like the health services agency, seeks to help people “gain a better quality of life,” she says, albeit through different means. “Arts Cleveland is helping the community,” she adds, and she’s gratified to play a role in that effort.
Contact: (216) 575-0331, x126 or Abby@artscleveland.org