Employment Opportunities

Washington Performing Arts employment decisions are made based on the business needs of the organization and qualification of the applicants and employees. It is the policy of Washington Performing Arts to comply with all laws regarding equal employment opportunity for all employees and job applicants. Federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, or disability. We do not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission, access or employment. In addition, the District of Columbia adds protection for marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, matriculation, or political affiliation.

• Director of Philanthropy

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Title: Director of Philanthropy

Level: Senior Management

Department: Development Department No: 50

Title of Immediate Supervisor: President & CEO

FSLA: Exempt


A dynamic, growth-minded Director of Philanthropy is being sought for Washington Performing Arts (WPA), one of D.C.’s premier performing arts presenters (budget $8M). Candidates will bring a combined energy and experience that will deepen our relationships with existing supporters; their imaginative and responsive approach to cultivation will help us attract new culturally-engaged prospects who believe passionately in innovative live performances, arts education, and community impact programs. Annual and special project funding are essential to Washington Performing Arts’ operations. With our 50th anniversary year coming up (2016-17), the Director of Philanthropy will create opportunities to celebrate and sustain our work, building abundant platforms for exponential growth – both during the anniversary year and well beyond.

Our Director of Philanthropy will be a passionate advocate for the arts, a strategic thinker and dynamic collaborator with prior experience on a leadership team that has successfully guided an organization through a pivotal anniversary and/or fundraising initiative. S/he will work closely with the President/CEO and COO, and will guide the fundraising strategy and operations for a team of talented, experienced colleagues (6 full-time and 1 part-time contractor). A “Future @ 50” program/development plan has been drafted with embedded goals to grow the endowment and multi-year giving, and to broaden the base of existing support in both qualitative and quantitative ways. Delivering on the opportunities articulated in this plan, working with initiative task forces and board and staff, and looking simultaneously at ways to generate net new funding alongside traditional areas of support will be the Director of Philanthropy’s principal focal areas. Candidates should have a proven record of identifying and securing new sources of funding/investment, especially with individual and corporate supporters, and a proven record of creative and innovative fundraising that reflects a strong working relationship with programming, education and marketing teams to create funding opportunities that wouldn’t normally exist.

This position has been developed with the mindset of venture philanthropy – the alignment of values and goals between our organization and our prospective supporters/investors. The Director of Philanthropy will design and implement comprehensive institutional programs that significantly increase involvement of audience and patrons – and attract new supporters while fulfilling the organization’s vision, mission, and service to the community. The Director will work closely with the President/CEO, President Emeritus, Board of Directors, Senior Leadership Team, Development team, and to formulate and direct a comprehensive fundraising plan to meet annual contributed income goals (currently $4.7M in FY16). Initiative and project-based campaigns (as part of the “Future @ 50” Anniversary initiative) are part of this role. Collaboration with staff in Programming, External Relations, Finance, and Education will be critical to assuring that development efforts reflect a comprehensive understanding of organizational values, mission, and brand.

Expectations and Responsibilities:

We look forward to working alongside an inspiring colleague and respected leader, a good listener who leads by example. S/he will have 10+ years in senior leadership roles (including fundraising, philanthropy, and management), a college degree, experience with the performing arts, and a proven record of managing budgets and meeting financial goals. A reputation for integrity, coupled with excellent communication skills, interpersonal skills and good judgment are essential, as the candidate should expect to spend a great deal of time with a wide variety of people, and a significant amount of time each day in conversation inside/outside the office. S/he must be able to manage multiple deadlines and projects. And the candidate should understand and be experienced in building support for a dynamic and varied season of individual events (performances, programs) alongside yearlong or multi-year projects. Finally, the candidate will be a strategic thinker with proven successes in developing and implementing membership, major donor, institutional giving, endowment, and planned giving programs. Experience in securing private, corporate, government, and foundation support and in managing events is essential. And experience in Washington, D.C. or within another fast-paced urban setting is desirable.


  • Engage the entire organization – staff, board, long-term donors -- in fundraising and inspire others to participate in the formation and implementation of philanthropic strategy
  • Lead in the creation of mission-aligned, innovative, strategic partnerships in collaboration with staff members as a team and individually
  • Participate in institutional planning as part of the 8-member Senior Management Team
  • With senior management team, build and mobilize detailed, long-term strategic development plans that support WPA’s “Future @ 50” goals, mission, values, and aspirations
  • Manage development of projects that promote WPA’s strategic goals and incorporate funders’ special interests as appropriate
  • Create departmental budget; set contributed income and expense budgets in consultation with President/CEO and COO. Monitor budget status throughout fiscal year; adjust forecasts as needed
  • Represent WPA with corporate executives, donors, and funders at all levels throughout the community
  • Bring good judgment, mature perspective, reliability, and proven problem-solving and management skills to management team
  • Provide overall leadership, direction, and goals for the Development team; supervise staff (currently six full-time employees and one contractor), and lead hiring of new team members
  • Set timelines and benchmarks for Development; assume responsibility for and supervise all Development-related special events, including the Annual Gala
  • Plan to spend 65% of time working with prospects inside/out of the office, and 35% on internal management and strategy
  • Work productively with Board, staff, and volunteers on building prospect list and deepening philanthropic relationship with existing supporters and Friends of Washington Performing Arts.
  • With President/CEO, develop her portfolio and accompany her to meetings with prospects
  • Optimize department’s relationships and work with other departments to ensure that engagement of patrons remains visible in all institutional efforts and communications.
  • Ensure that information and materials required of other departments for proposals, reports, and cultivation are pipelined (prepared, reviewed) with other senior staff in order to meet institutional and proposal deadlines
  • With External Relations Department, maximize technology to grow online giving and mobile strategies and patron services. With Development colleagues, amplify research efforts through the use of fundraising systems and database management (Tessitura)
  • Actively manage fundraising overhead expenses to no greater than 25% of contributed revenue
  • Oversee development of strategy for Legacy Society, Lawyer’s Committee, and Women’s Committee, to identify, cultivate, and solicit new donors. Work closely with WPA staff and the leadership of Music in the Country in planning upcoming house concerts/suppers/DC events for the Virginia-based patrons.
  • Supervise team in events and benefits outlined in the Friends program.
  • With staff and board, support strategies to grow funding from local and national foundations, and corporate and government entities
  • Oversee planning and the implementation of strategies to acquire, renew, upgrade, and engage corporate donors. With President/CEO or other staff, meet with corporate representatives to solicit support
  • Coordinate and support the Development Committee (of the Board), working closely with its Chair to establish its priorities, agendas, and action points.
  • Attend Board, Development, Finance, Governance, and Executive Committee meetings. Prepare updates (budget, narrative) for briefings in tandem with Finance staff
  • Attend performances, as needed, on evenings and weekends
About Washington Performing Arts

For nearly 50 years, Washington Performing Arts has had a foundational role in our nation’s capital, creating profound opportunities for connecting the community to artists, in both education and performance. Through live events in venues throughout the D.C. metropolitan area, the careers of emerging artists are guided, and established artists who have a close relationship with local audiences are invited to return. In this way, the space between artists and audiences is eliminated, so that all may share life-long opportunities to deepen their cultural knowledge, enrich their lives, and expand their understanding and compassion for the world through the universal language of the arts. Washington Performing Arts is one of the leading presenters in the nation, and many of its programs are achieving national impact. The organization’s inherent belief in the complete spectrum of the arts is made tangible in performances of the highest quality, including classical music, jazz, gospel, contemporary dance, international music and art forms, and programs that fuse genres in imaginative ways. The commissioning of world premieres for local stages to support artists’ creativity is vital to the mission of Washington Performing Arts. The organization’s signature education and community programs include the Capital Arts Initiative, Embassy Adoption Program, Mars Urban Arts Initiative, Enriching Experiences for Seniors, and Feder String Competition. Partnerships with the DC Public Schools, Embassies, and many other peer institutions, support a growing role of Washington Performing Arts as a collaborator and convener. In addition, the organization is unique in having two resident Gospel choirs (The Men and Women of the Gospel, and Children of the Gospel). Washington Performing Arts has been honored for its work at the intersection of arts presenting and education with the Mayor's Arts Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education (2015) and Excellence in Service to the Arts (2012), and was honored by President Barack Obama with a 2012 National Medal of Arts (becoming only the fourth D.C.-based arts group and the first arts presenter of its kind to be so honored).

Applicants should send a resume and cover letter to:

Director of Philanthropy - Washington Performing Arts
c/o Catherine French Group
2500 Q Street NW, Ste. 623
Washington, D.C. 20007
Electronic application in MS Word or Adobe PDF format is preferred.

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