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 Leadership Gifts

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• Title: Director of Leadership Gifts

• Department: Development

• Reports To: Director of Development

• Status: Exempt

Organization Overview:

Washington Performing Arts is one of the largest and most dynamic arts presenters in the United States. Our 2014/15 Season includes nearly 60 performance at venues throughout Greater Washington, featuring accomplished artists from the worlds of classical music, jazz, dance, world music, and the spoken word. Our renowned and varied education programs annually impact the lives of thousands of students and adults in all corners of the community. Washington Performing Arts was the recipient of the 2012 National Medal of Arts and the 2012 Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence in Service to the Arts.

Under the leadership of Jenny Bilfield (President & CEO), Reginald Van Lee (Chairman), and an outstanding board of directors, Washington Performing Arts is headed toward its 50th Anniversary Season with tremendous momentum and opportunities for organizational growth and impact. Our recent celebration of Marian Anderson served as the basis of a documentary which aired nationally and was viewed by close to 100,000 households. Our new Mars Urban Arts Initiative will introduce an even wider swath of the community to lesser-known artists and art forms, and promises to serve as a model for arts presenters throughout the country.

Position Summary:

The Director of Leadership Gifts is a senior member of the Development Department and works in close collaboration with the Director of Development, President & CEO, and Development Committee Chairman to set strategies and priorities for achieving the organization's contributed revenue goals. The ideal candidate will have broad-based experience in all aspects of a comprehensive development department, with a particular emphasis on corporate sponsorships and partnerships (from local, regional, and national, and international businesses) and major individual gifts. The Director of Leadership Gifts will be primarily responsible for establishing and growing a vibrant corporate partnership program, and will also manage a portfolio of major individual donor prospects.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Meet or exceed annual goals for general and project leadership support, performance underwriting, and special events from corporations and individuals.

  • Maintain excellent working relationships with current corporate supporter contacts and provide impeccable stewardship, up to and including the solicitation of renewed support.

  • Alongside senior staff, Board, and Development Committee members, create and implement major programmatic sponsorship initiatives, including the identification, cultivation, and solicitation of prospective corporate and individual funders.

  • When appropriate, bridge connections between the President& CEO, Chairman, Board members and senior staff to key corporate supporters and prospects.

  • Coordinate the participation of corporate supporters and prospects in the Annual Gala and other special events and artistic initiatives.

Essential Capabilities:

  • Impeccable written, verbal and presentation skills, with the ability to articulate the value of the organization’s programming and impact and the corresponding impact of major philanthropic support.

  • Professional demeanor and appearance appropriate for representing Washington Performing Arts at performances, events, and in meetings with corporate supporters and prospects.

  • Excellent discretion and diplomacy skills.

  • A collaborative spirit and a desire to mentor junior staff toward achieving common departmental goals.

  • An insatiable curiosity to explore all avenues for strong prospects.

  • Ability to organize work and manage multiple project and task deadlines.

  • Ability and willingness to work evening and weekend performances and events throughout the year.

Education and Experience Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 7-10 years of wide-ranging experience in fundraising, preferably for a mid-size or large cultural or educational institution.

  • Accomplished relationship builder with extensive knowledge and contacts in the Greater Washington business and philanthropic communities.

  • Demonstrable record of closing five- and six-figure gifts from corporations and/or individuals.

  • A proven track record of success in designing and marketing values-based sponsorship proposals to institutional funders.

  • A strategic and creative thinker with strong interpersonal, writing, and public presentation skills, the ability to manage multiple deadlines, and experience working with high-powered volunteers.

To Apply:

Please email a cover letter and resume to Mitch Bassion, Director of Development, at mbassion@washingtonperformingarts.org. No phone calls please.

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