Director of Development
ABOUT THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART: The mission of the National Gallery of Art is to serve the nation by welcoming all people to explore and experience art, creativity, and our shared humanity. Conceived and given to the people of the United States by Andrew W. Mellon, the National Gallery serves as a center of visual art, education, and culture. Mellon was a financier and art collector from Pittsburgh who came to Washington in 1921 to serve as Secretary of the Treasury. During his years of public service, he came to believe that the United States should have a national art museum equal to those of other great nations. He appealed to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, offering to donate his superb collection for a new museum and to use his own funds to construct a building and endowment for its use. To encourage others to give, Mellon insisted that the museum should be called the National Gallery of Art. Mellon’s spirit of generosity continues to guide the National Gallery today.
The collection of more than 150,000 paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, photographs, prints, and drawings spans the history of Western art and showcases some of the triumphs of human creativity. Each object accessioned into the collection is privately donated or purchased with privately donated funds. Loan exhibitions further enable the museum to display art from a wider range of cultures and periods. The Gallery welcomes more than five million visitors each year – 60 percent from outside the District’s metropolitan area. Admission to the National Gallery is free at all times.
Located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets along Constitution Avenue, NW in Washington, DC, the National Gallery of Art’s campus includes the West Building, inaugurated in 1941; the East Building, which opened in 1978; and Sculpture Garden, which opened in 1999. For more information on the National Gallery’s virtual programs, collection, exhibitions, and more, please visit nga.gov.
VISION, VALUES, AND STRATEGIC PRIORITIES: The National Gallery is currently completing a new strategic plan. In both its internal culture and public facing work, the museum reaffirms its vision and core values:
- Of the nation and for all the people.
- Deepen public understanding and appreciation of art and culture
- Curiosity and continuous learning
- Diversity, equity, access, and inclusion
- Empathy and generosity of spirit
- Agility and responsiveness
The National Gallery’s strategic priorities are the foundation for its forthcoming strategic plan and new brand:
- Reflect and attract the nation
- Build deeper connections through content
- Provide a visitor-focused experience
- Operate a sustainable and equitable museum
LEADERSHIP: The National Gallery of Art’s Board is comprised of five private citizens called General Trustees, and four ex-officio senior federal officials. The Gallery is managed by a team of eight executive officers appointed by the Board of Trustees: the Director; Chief Curator; Administrator; Treasurer; Secretary and General Counsel; Collections, Exhibitions and Programs Officer; External Affairs and Audience Engagement Officer; and the Dean of The Center for the Advanced Study of the Visual Arts.
In 2019, Kaywin Feldman became the fifth director and the first female director in the Gallery’s history. Her leadership and management expertise in museums create a new chapter for the National Gallery especially as it relates to broadening audiences and deepening their experience. Feldman has been recognized for her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and for her interest in the use of digital technologies to build audiences and foster greater understanding.
THE OPPORTUNITY: The Director of Development joins the institution at a time of great opportunity and change. The Director of Development will work with leadership and staff at all levels to secure private funds that fulfill the Gallery’s expanded vision for serving the nation. A rebranding process is underway which will include compelling messaging about the strategic direction of the Gallery going forward. The Director of Development will foster a strong culture of philanthropy to ensure that the Gallery builds upon its ability to achieve its mission, goals, and objectives for years to come.
PANDEMIC RESPONSE: The National Gallery is typically open 363 days a year and offers a full spectrum of special exhibitions and public programs free of charge. During the pandemic, the Gallery has been able to open specific galleries and provide access to its Sculpture Garden. It has pivoted to digital media and continues to engage its many audiences by providing content and programs, that include webinars for donors, online teacher and student learning resources, virtual exhibition tours, a blog, art making activities, and streaming films and musical performances.
BASIC FUNCTION: The Director of Development is expected to lead, motivate, and inspire a team to increase private restricted and unrestricted support from individual, foundation, and corporate donors for major initiatives related to the National Gallery’s strategic plan, as well as exhibitions, acquisitions, planned gifts, national membership, and other Gallery programs and activities.
The Director of Development reports to and works closely with the External Affairs and Audience Engagement Officer, and also collaborates with the offices for special events, communications, visitor experience, and content strategy and branding to develop and implement strategies that attract, welcome, and engage diverse donors from across the nation. The Director oversees solicitation and stewardship of the National Gallery’s Trustees’ Council and donor circles that offer opportunities for volunteer engagement and support. Reporting to the Director is a full-time team of 22.
BUDGET: In fiscal year 2020, the National Gallery had an annual operating budget of approximately $170M, 80% of which is received from federal funding sources. Annual contributed support is approximately $30M.
- Genuine interest in and appreciation for the National Gallery and its mission.
- Outstanding development professional in the arts, culture, education, or other related fields with a successful track record of leadership in a competitive philanthropic landscape.
- Demonstrated ability to create and implement successful strategies to expand a national and international donor base.
- Able to evaluate, assess, and as appropriate, reimagine current donor affinity group structure.
- Successful experience building a pipeline of prospects and managing a portfolio of major gift donors and prospects.
- Front-line major gift solicitation experience, having secured 6 to 7-figure gifts.
- Capital campaign experience.
- Strategic and creative thinker. Flexible; able to pivot to respond to unanticipated external challenges.
- Proven ability to foster, enhance, and expand relationships with existing donors and to influence and tap new, diverse supporters.
- Highly developed administrative, interpersonal, and social skills.
- A collaborative working style.
- An exceptional communicator who can craft and articulate compelling, persuasive cases for support.
- Knowledge of research methods and information resources.
- Working knowledge of commonly used fundraising software applications.
- Commitment to embracing current and emerging best practice tactics in philanthropy, including but not limited to e-philanthropy, and digital/social media platforms.
- A warm, engaging, charismatic presence.
- Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and to managing, supporting, and advancing a diverse team.
- Ability and willingness to attend evening and weekend National Gallery events on a regular basis and to travel, as needed.
To apply, click here or visit howe-lewis.com and click on the “Assignments” tab on the top menu. You may also email your resume and letter of interest to NGA@howe-lewis.com
The National Gallery of Art fosters a diverse and inclusive workplace and is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The Gallery’s commitment to inclusivity encompasses but is not limited to, diversity in nationality, ethnicity, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, and disability.