Shari D. Behnke


In 2012, I founded The New Foundation Seattle. For decades, I had thought deeply about the kinds of capital investments that could support the contemporary practices of artists. Whether collecting artwork, establishing grants and awards, or in this case forming a foundation from the ground up, I have been unwavering in my commitment to the visual arts.



Board of Directors

The Foundation’s governing board is Shari D. Behnke, President; Tomoko Moriguchi-Matsuno, Secretary; Josef Vascovitz, Treasurer.


Shari D. Behnke, President

Shari has served as a board trustee for Seattle Children’s Theater, Artist Trust, and Tacoma Art Museum. She has created: The Neddy, an unrestricted cash prize for two artists from the greater Puget Sound area; The Brink, in conjunction with Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, a $12,500 unrestricted cash award for a visual artist from Washington, Oregon, or British Columbia, complemented by a solo exhibition, exhibition catalog, and artwork acquisition; and Two Cupcakes Productions, a small clothing business that supported the It’s a Wrap award and scholarship for apparel design students at Seattle Central Community College. 

In 2015, Shari was appointed to the board of trustees of the Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas.

Shari’s philanthropic work also extends to vital social causes. She established the Child Care Fund at Cascadia Revolving Fund, a micro-loan program for day care providers; was on the board of AIDS Housing of Washington; and co-chaired the Innovations Campaign for Building Changes, a nonprofit working to end homelessness in Washington State.

Tomoko Moriguchi-Matsuno, Secretary 

Tomo is the CEO and board chair of Uwajimaya. Her father started the business in 1928, selling fishcakes and other items from the back of a truck to Japanese loggers and fishermen in Tacoma. Today, Uwajimaya is one of the largest Asian grocery retailers in the Pacific Northwest. With more than 400 employees, it has evolved beyond providing basic grocery staples and become known as a tourist and destination store. Besides its original retail business, Uwajimaya, Inc. has grown to include food service and food processing divisions.

Tomo’s current board service includes: Friends of the Waterfront Foundation, Seattle Downtown Association, Peach Foundation, Learning Tree Montessori School, and Teatro Zinzanni. Past board service includes: Bullitt Foundation, One Reel Productions, Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDPDA), and Seattle Children’s Theater. Tomo has also served as a Commissioner at the Washington State Commission of Asian American Affairs. In 2007, Progressive Grocer recognized her as one of the nation’s ‘Top Women in Grocery’ and she received a ‘Women of Influence’ award from the Puget Sound Business Journal. She graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in Fine Art.  

Josef Vascovitz, Treasurer 

Josef is a recent graduate of Cornish College of the Arts, where he earned a degree in Studio Art. He started his career in the NYC publishing industry, where he worked on diverse projects featuring the Beat poets, photography from former astronauts, and tech pioneers Apple and Lotus. Later, he joined Microsoft Corp to localize and distribute products worldwide and finished his career there working in Community Affairs.

After high tech, he atoned by volunteering full time at United Way before turning permanently to the arts. Outside of his studio painting and found material sculpture practice, he serves on the Seattle Art Museum Committee on Collections, On The Board’s Board, and helps KEXP 90.3 with remote broadcasts. He is currently developing his crochet skills as part of his sculpture practice. He does not like cats, has sold his artwork in bars, and speaks several languages badly.