Ryan Johnston

Ryan Johnston

Ryan Johnston grew up in and around Omaha, Nebraska, in an immediate and extended family of educators, nonprofit managers, and social justice thought leaders.

He has a BA from the University of Nebraska, where he developed his love of music, the arts, and creative writing, which led to his training as a grant writer in programs at UCLA and the Foundation Center.

After years establishing an East Coast practice as a freelance grant writer, Ryan helped to found Firefly Fundraising, a leading west coast fundraising consultancy focused on institutional grants.

As a development consultant and grant writer, Ryan has planned, managed, and written successful proposals from hundreds of private foundations and agencies at every level of government. Ryan has developed expertise in service areas spanning education, affordable housing, healthcare, aging, the arts, social justice, social services, youth services, and local and international community development.

In 2019, Ryan produced the film Out of Omaha, which generated national scrutiny of local inequality, earned rave reviews, and was widely celebrated by people in North Omaha. During the summer of George Floyd, Johnston penned this op-ed calling out the city’s media and prosecutors for their careless treatment of Black citizens.

Ryan now lives in Nyack, NY, with his wife and Bureau for Good CEO Maria De La Guardia, and their two children.

When he’s not working or spending time with family, he enjoys training and racing on his bicycle, songwriting, and gardening.

Let's build the future— together.