Grounds For Sculpture
Chief Development Officer
Grounds For Sculpture (GFS) is a 42-acre sculpture park, contemporary art museum, and arboretum, uniquely situated on restored landscape that was once home to the New Jersey State Fairgrounds. Opened to the public in 1992, it has become one of the premier cultural destinations in New Jersey, welcoming and enchanting three million visitors since then. GFS was founded by artist and philanthropist Seward Johnson, who saw the potential of the neighboring bygone fairgrounds as a place where artwork could be sited within the landscape, and visitors could delight in discovering contemporary sculpture. Grounds For Sculpture was designed to provide a space for visitors to engage with contemporary sculpture in an intuitive and self-directed way. The nonprofit organization presents and conserves an exceptional collection of nearly 300 contemporary sculptures, provides rotating exhibitions from established and emerging artists in six indoor galleries, and offers engaging and educational programs for all ages year-round, which include lectures from top minds, hands-on workshops, tours, concerts, and performances.
Grounds For Sculpture seeks candidates for the newly enhanced role of Chief Development Officer (CDO). Reporting to the Executive Director, and working closely with the Development Sub-Committee of the Board, the CDO is a member of the leadership team and oversees all functions of fundraising, including individual major and principal gifts, corporate and foundation giving, planned gifts, annual fund and membership programs, special fundraising events, and prospect research. The CDO will also work closely with a highly respected, engaged, and talented volunteer leadership group and serve as a key strategic partner to the Executive Director, working collaboratively across the organization to carry out Grounds For Sculpture’s mission. Key priorities for the CDO include the following: building out the infrastructure and processes for a sustainable, comprehensive, major-gifts-focused development program; establishing a culture of philanthropy across the organization; leading donor discovery, and enhancing the levels of engagement with current and prospective donors; creating greater awareness of Grounds For Sculpture’s mission to combine art and beckoning spaces to welcome, surprise and engage visitors in the artist’s act of invention; and, ultimately, aligning external funding with the financial needs of GFS. The CDO will supervise a current staff of four (down from a staff of seven prior to the COVID-19 staff reductions), and it is expected that the CDO will lead team expansion over time commensurate with the growth of the development program and GFS overall. Last year, the department secured a total of approximately $2.4 million in contributed revenue. (An additional $4.5 million of earned income came through admission, membership, and other sources.)
As Grounds for Sculpture is steadfastly committed to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), an ethos which permeates all areas and levels of the organization, the CDO must possess the cultural capacity, lived experience, and shared commitment to DEI in the hiring of a diverse staff, and in all external affairs as it relates to supporting GFS’ values and goals of inclusivity. The Chief Development Officer must possess the skills and sensitivity to navigate and successfully cultivate a donor base reflective of the region’s diverse constituency.
Grounds For Sculpture, Inc. adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.
Required qualifications and experience:
A bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree and strong academic credentials that will be credible to donors and other stakeholders are preferred.
A minimum of seven to 10 years of experience in progressively responsible development leadership positions, which includes work in all functional areas (individual giving, institutional giving, annual giving, planned giving, stewardship, board relations) and participation in a major capital campaign (planning, implementation, management, and successful conclusion), preferably within a major cultural institution, nonprofit organization, educational institution, or other environment of similar complexity.
Demonstrated ability to provide management oversight, leadership, and direction with at least five years of significant supervisory experience, including experience creating and managing a budget. A strong record of recruiting and developing exceptional people and fostering a transparent work environment where collegiality is a key to success.
Hands-on experience with six and seven-figure gifts and greater, including cultivation through solicitation and stewardship, as well as experience working with annual giving strategies for grooming the next generation of annual leadership and major gift donors. Success in securing gifts from both defined and undefined constituencies.
Demonstrated ability in planning and executing strategic communications to complement philanthropic initiatives and achieve goals. A working understanding of how to effectively leverage various communication mediums and distribution channels to support philanthropic initiatives.
Knowledge of the players, strategies, and trends in the region’s philanthropy is preferred, particularly as it relates to the diverse constituency therein. Must have the ability to navigate the region’s philanthropic elite with aplomb.
An understanding of and commitment to diversity with the ability to work effectively with stakeholders from disparate backgrounds; cultural competency with respect to issues such as racial, cultural, religious, sexual, and gender identity.
A passion for and dedication to Grounds for Sculpture’s vision to be a leader, creative magnet, and vibrant space that invites a diverse public to create, learn, and discover personal meaning in their interactions with art, artists, nature, and one another. Ability to inspire and engage others as a senior representative of this important cultural entity.
Grounds For Sculpture has retained Diversified Search to assist in this confidential search process. Inquiries, nominations, and applications (current resumes and cover letters) should be directed electronically to:
Gerard F. Cattie, Jr.
Practice Leader – Development & Philanthropy
The Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Avenue, 49th Floor, New York, NY 10174
firstname.lastname@example.org | 212.542.2587