Our Mission

The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation recognizes the power of the arts to challenge and shift perceptions, spark creativity and connect people across cultures. We lend and exhibit artworks from our collection and support innovative individuals and pivotal initiatives in the arts.


Carl and Marilynn Thoma have been collecting art since 1975. They believe passionately in the power of art to enrich life and to deepen understanding of the cultures, places and times of which we are a part.

In 1986 the Thomas established a family foundation to fulfill their broad passion for philanthropy. Inspired to make contributions with wide-ranging yet personal impact, in 2014, the Thomas went on to found the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation to distinguish their initiatives in, and support of, visual art. As their collections have evolved, they have contributed increasingly with their personal involvement and financial support to the development of exhibitions, symposia and publications, the formation of fellowships and awards, and the endowment of professorial chairs and curatorial positions.


Carl Thoma is an art collector, philanthropist, and managing partner and founder of Thoma Bravo, LLC. An early player in the field of venture capital beginning with Golder, Thoma in 1980, Carl has applied his eye for entrepreneurial talent to collecting Modern and Contemporary paintings, and most recently in the fields of Digital Art and Light and Space. In his chosen profession, Carl has been acknowledged in The Wall Street JournalBusiness Week, and Fortune for his investment leadership. He has chaired the National Venture Capital Association and the Illinois Venture Capital Association, and served on the boards of Illinois Institute of Technology and Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council. He is currently on the Boards of the McKnight Center for the Performing Arts, the Terra Foundation for American Art, and SITE Santa Fe; is a member of the Blanton National Leadership Board; and is a commissioner for the National Portrait Gallery. Carl Thoma earned his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University and his MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.


Marilynn Thoma is an active art collector and has a strong interest in the governance of art museums and foundations. Her Spanish colonial collection has been exhibited internationally, and most recently in the Voyage to South America exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. In Chicago, Marilynn serves on the Boards of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago Humanities Festival, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Marilynn is a current member of the Blanton National Leadership Board. She was an active council or advisory member at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, Oklahoma State University Museum of Art, Museum of New Mexico Foundation, and the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Impaired. Professionally, Marilynn had overseen the marketing of Van Duzer Vineyards, an 80-acre estate Pinot Noir winery in Oregon that the Thomas founded in 1998. She began her career in brand management at Quaker Oats Company in Chicago following her MBA from Stanford.  Like her husband, Marilynn Thoma graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University.