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Associate Vice President of Advancement

Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County
California, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Feb 23, 2022

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Position Type
Fundraising, Annual Fund, Major Gifts, Membership, Special Events
Employment Type
Full Time


The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) — comprising the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, and the William S. Hart Museum — occupies an unrivaled position in the natural and cultural landscape of Los Angeles. As home to over 35 million specimens and artifacts, some as old as 4.5 billion years, the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County has one of the largest natural and cultural history collections in the world. NHMLAC provides a range of indoor and outdoor immersive experiences across three sites, which served over 1.3 million visitors annually prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Natural History Museums’ diverse audiences include people of all ages and ethnicities, as well as families with children, schoolchildren with teachers, young adults, seniors, and visitors from all over the world. Located in Exposition Park in central Los Angeles, the Natural History Museum is currently joined by other major cultural and athletic facilities.

NHMLAC is governed through a partnership of public and private leaders, composed of dedicated individuals serving on the Board of Trustees and the County-appointed Commission of the Board of Governors. The Board of Trustees currently consists of 40 members: 15 Governors, elected by the County Board of Supervisors, and 25 museum-elected Trustees. Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga, NHMLAC’s President and Director and the Board of Trustees are nearing the completion of the “Opening New Doors: The Campaign for the NHM Commons,” a $100 million comprehensive campaign to raise money for capital support, annual funding, and endowment. To date $61 million has been raised for the NHM Commons, beyond their original goal of $60 million with the overall campaign projected to reach $110 million in total support at the end of 2021. With expected additional cash and pledges, the historic campaign is on track to close around $110 million by June 2022.

NHMLAC is unique in its ambition to become a true hub for discovery and dialogue around the natural and cultural worlds. Slated to open in summer 2023, NHM Commons will be a 75,000 square foot three-story facility with striking design of transparent glass creating vibrant indoor-outdoor gathering spaces and showcasing natural as well as cultural spaces and exhibitions. While NHMLAC completes this transformative campaign, planning is already underway to reimagine the experience at La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, which will magnify it further as a truly unique global destination for exploring natural history and culture.


The Associate Vice President of Advancement role represents an exciting and distinctive opportunity to experience deep purpose and joy in leading the growth of advancement programs and operations that will positively impact the lives of thousands of kids, families, and patrons of the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County, one of our nation’s best museums in natural history and culture. The Associate Vice President of Advancement, a creative strategic thinker, skilled manager, and exceptional relationship builder, will join a dynamic, committed, and talented team and will serve as a strategic partner to the Chief Advancement Officer and other executive and programmatic leadership involved in the NHMLAC’s fundraising. The Associate Vice President provides oversight and direction for NHMLAC’s Individual Giving, Advancement Services, and Special Events programs. This position reports directly to NHMLAC’s Chief Advancement Officer Paul Bessire and will work closely with the Director of Major and Planned Gifts to support the fundraising activities of the Chief Advancement Officer, Board of Trustees, and NHMLAC’s President and Director. A goal-driven, empathetic manager of people, the Associate Vice President leads a talented team of 19 advancement professionals and provides support and counsel to the full team. The Associate Vice President serves as a high-functioning member of the advancement team and collaborates closely with the Executive Leadership Team and the Board of Trustees.

As the Opening New Doors campaign reaches a successful close in 2022, NHMLAC will start planning its next dynamic phase of future growth, requiring the new Associate Vice President to be a strong strategic thinker, detail-oriented planner, and a gifted systems builder who can assist the Chief Advancement Officer in building robust advancement programs and operations. This dynamic, goal-driven leader will be expected to continue innovating and refining the Museums’ advancement structure, systems, and programs cross-organizationally to support the needs for funding a range of scientific research, collections, exhibitions, and programs. This leader, an active listener with high emotional intelligence and a passion for organizational transformation, will focus on supporting the Chief Advancement Officer to build a best-in-class, achievement-oriented environment built on aspirational goals, accountability, and fundraising excellence.


Alongside a passionate, enthusiastic commitment to the vision and values of NHMLAC, the ideal candidate will bring a minimum of five to seven years of professional experience in managing high-performing advancement teams. Experience with a museum, cultural institution, or higher education institution would be an advantage. They will bring a proven ability to hire, manage, motivate, and retain a diverse advancement team and successful solicitation of five-figure and greater gifts. Proactive, goal-oriented, independent team builder with strong emotional intelligence and demonstrated abilities in strategic planning, creative design, and systems change will be critical. This leader should also bring a capacity to acquire an understanding of NHMLAC’s work in natural science and cultural research with ability to translate this work into compelling reasons to give funding support.


The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County has retained Campbell & Company to conduct this search. To be considered for this opportunity, please send a letter of interest and resume to:

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