director of development

Reports to: Chief Advancement & Marketing Officer
Location: Sarasota, FL

Van Wezel Foundation Overview
Join our growing Foundation team of dynamic professionals to create a legacy project for Southwest Florida – a world class performing arts center that you will be a part of. Roll up your sleeves and step into our fast-paced entrepreneurial organization to help us achieve something truly iconic.

The mission of the Van Wezel Foundation is to create and sustain a vibrant performing arts center, advance education, and enrich communities by inspiring
minds through the power of the arts. Our values are Passion, Inclusivity, Collaboration and Stewardship.

The Van Wezel Foundation (aka, the Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation) is partnering with the city of Sarasota, other regional municipalities, private philanthropists and foundations to build and operate what will be the performing arts centerpiece of Sarasota and the entire gulf coast region. The new performing arts center will be a public-private partnership in which the City of Sarasota and the Foundation will be the principal participants. Completing the project – construction, operations and programming – will require funding of more than $350 million, of which 50% is anticipated to be raised from philanthropic sources.

This is an exciting opportunity to join a growing leadership team during the start-up phase of an enormous project that will become an important cultural resource and legacy for Southwest Florida.



The Director of Development is a critical fundraising position within the Van Wezel Foundation. This position works collaboratively with the Chief Advancement and Marketing Officer and other team members in creating, managing and implementing proven, successful annual giving programs, including the Foundation’s Friends Society, direct marketing, digital and web-based marketing and telemarketing, to raise funds in support of our mission. They will also be responsible for generating revenue through special events, including the Inspiration Gala.

The Director of Development will manage the Assistant Director of Development and the Development Operations Manager while successfully managing their own portfolio blend of individual donors and prospects.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:


  • Participate in setting organizational strategy, goals, and objectives as an active member of the development team.
  • Work with the Assistant Director of Development to grow the Foundation’s Friends Society.
  • Foster and support a culture of philanthropy across the organization.
  • Serve as an articulate, highly active and visible spokesperson to the donor community and a variety of key constituencies to enhance recognition and support for the Van Wezel Foundation.
  • Work directly with the Inspiration Gala chairs, committee and all vendors to increase brand visibility and revenue at the Inspiration Gala and other special events.
  • Be a positive, unifying and professionally mature member of the team, who is action and goal oriented with a strong understanding of how to lead in a complex organization.


  • Create, implement and evaluate year-round fundraising programs whose purpose is to build a long-term base of support for the Van Wezel Foundation and its mission. The fundraising plan will include goals, strategies, and programming that aim to build and engage our constituencies based upon industry best practices.
  • Define objectives, priorities and metrics to meet ambitious goals – using data to build new components to create a successful annual giving program.
  • Manage a calendar of annual solicitations that includes deployment of strategy across multi-channels.
  • Manage and work alongside the Director of Marketing and Community Engagement to execute on the annual fund plan: direct mail, telemarketing and digital solicitations.
  • Increase sustainability as it relates to annual giving while also building a robust pipeline for major gift and capital support.
  • Oversee all fundraising events, including the operations of the Inspiration Gala – raising $1 million each year.
  • Work with Assistant Director of Development and key Communication and Community Engagement staff on fundraising messages for each appeal.
  • Provide appropriate oversight of development systems and procedures; control expenses associated with fundraising and accurately report the results in compliance with standards set by the CEO and Chief Advancement and Marketing Officer; work with the CFO to properly coordinate and support development activities and data

Donor Relations & Stewardship

  • Work with Chief Advancement and Marketing Officer to provide leadership, direction and oversight of the stewardship process for the organization to ensure that donors/individuals, corporations, foundations and government agencies are acknowledged, managed and leveraged.
  • Initiate and strengthen relationships with all constituents through a systematic cultivation plan designed to build trust in, and long-term commitment to, the organization.
  • Track cultivation and stewardship activities for donor/prospect portfolio in the Raiser’s Edge database.
  • Acknowledge and recognize gifts in ways that are meaningful to donors and appropriate to the mission and values of the organization.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Excellent writing and strong communications skills.
  • Organizational and time management expertise on planning, implementation and collaboration.
  • Must be a self-starter and be able to take initiative.
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook).

Required Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in development, fundraising or leadership
  • 5+ years experience in development and fundraising
  • Proven track record of annual fund management
  • Experience with cause related marketing and corporate philanthropy

Preferred Education and Experience:

  • Raisers Edge software experience strongly preferred
  • CFRE certification a plus

Position Status:

This is an exempt full-time position. Generally, the hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, for a 40-hour work week. The hours may be adjusted as required to ensure that the job is accomplished. Some weekends/nights work is to be expected. This position generally has some local and regional travel.

Work Environment:

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.
While performing the duties of this job, the noise level in the work environment is usually quiet to moderate.


Physical Demands:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand and reach with hands and arms. The employee is regularly required to use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools, or controls; and talk or hear. The employee is occasionally required to walk and sit.

The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 10 pounds.

Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.



The Foundation has reviewed this job description to ensure that essential functions and basic duties have been included. The Foundation reserves the right to change it at its sole discretion at any time and without any advance notice. This job description and list of functions is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all functions, responsibilities, skills and abilities. Additional functions and requirements may be assigned by supervisors as deemed appropriate.

The Van Wezel Foundation is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.