Toni S. Turner

Toni Photo 2012


Toni S. Turner is a writer and an independent consultant with more than 30 years of experience in fundraising, grant administration, communications, and nonprofit management. Toni was the Development Officer of the Texas Historical Commission from 2005 until 2010. Her primary responsibilities were to lead funding efforts for the agency and to manage its affiliated 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission. Prior to joining the THC staff, she served as the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory’s Sponsored Research Officer. Before joining SEDL, she worked with the Texas Governor’s Mentoring Initiative from the project’s inception in 1998, serving as a Task Force member for four years and on the staff as Program Officer for two years.

Toni served as Director of Education Partnerships for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce for four years, winning local, regional and national awards for the Austin Partners in Education program. Prior to joining the Chamber, she served as Director of Development for the Texas Society of Professional Engineers/Texas Engineering Foundation, Assistant Vice President for Development at the University of Texas at Austin, Executive Director of the UT Law School Foundation, and Director of Development Administration for Southern Methodist University.


Toni was the State Representative to the National Mentoring Partnership in Washington, DC while directing the Texas Governor’s Mentoring Initiative for the Texas Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, which later became the OneStar Foundation. She served on the Texas Business and Education Coalition’s Statewide Coordinating Committee and on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s “College for Texans” Campaign Advisory Committee. Toni served as Chairman of the Board for the Dallas Arts District Friends and was a Board member of Dancers Unlimited and the Dallas Arts District Foundation. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the Texas Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Austin Partners in Education, Westcave Preserve, Useful Wild Plants of Texas, and Friends of the O. Henry and Dickinson Museums, assisting the latter with the campaign to restore the historic Austin home of Susanna Dickinson, “The Survivor of the Alamo.”


Toni holds degrees in English and French (cum laude). She has produced numerous publications and has received regional and national awards in communications, including a Matrix Award from Women in Communications International, a Silver Quill from the Public Relations Society of America, multiple Star Awards from the Texas School Public Relations Association, and two Awards of Excellence from the National School Public Relations Association. She wrote screenplays for Space for Human Industry, which won an Award of Merit in the National Industrial Film Festival, and for Quest for Knowledge, a documentary on Texas archaeology.

Toni has published articles in Texas Gardener, Texas Highways, Heritage Magazine, SMU Magazine,, The Medallion, Austin American-Statesman, MARINE Magazine, and Cooking with Texas Highways. She is the co-author of From a Watery Grave: The Discovery and Excavation of La Salle’s Shipwreck, La Belle, which she wrote with her husband, Dr. James E. Bruseth, former Director of the Archaeology Division at the Texas Historical Commission. Watery Grave has received four prestigious awards: the 2005 Presidio La Bahia Award for the best book on Texas history; the Texas Historical Foundation’s 2006 Deolece Parmelee Award for outstanding achievement in historic preservation through research; the Society for American Archaeology’s 2006 award for the best book on archaeology written for the general public; and the 2009 James Deetz Book Award from the Society for Historical Archaeology for the best book about archaeology written for both professionals and the general public. Toni is currently working on her late father’s Cold War memoir, Weaponeer: The Untold Story of America’s Nuclear Airmen.