Washington, DC

Director, Major & Leadership Gifts, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

The Organization

About The Kennedy Center

“I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.” – President John F. Kennedy

The Kennedy Center is the nation’s cultural center and living memorial to President John F. Kennedy. Located on the banks of the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., the Center presents performances across all genres, and is also home to artistic affiliates Washington National Opera and National Symphony Orchestra.

Mission Statement: As the nation’s performing arts center, and a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy, we are a leader for the arts across America and around the world, reaching and connecting with artists, inspiring and educating communities. We welcome all to create, experience, learn about, and engage with the arts.

Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

The Kennedy Center is a welcoming and inclusive culture where everyone benefits – we do it in a way that honors everyone’s humanity. We are able to advance our mission because of committed and passionate employees. We are fortunate to be able to leverage their diverse perspectives, life experiences and skills to inform how our workplace can be a safe, transparent, and replenishing community. Through honest discussion, our focus on DEI, and the creation of a D&I council, we are committed to always being the best versions of ourselves.

Position Overview

Job Description

Salary: $120-135,000

The Director, Major and Leadership Gifts reports to the Vice President of Individual Giving, and must also work collaboratively with other Development senior staff, members of the Board of Trustees, the Office of the President, Government Affairs, and other departments.

The Director is responsible for a significant portion of the Kennedy Center’s individual contributed income targets through the Major Gifts and Leadership Gifts (Trustees and Committee fundraising programs) as well as other institution-wide and endowment giving efforts. This position requires a dedicated focus on building new and innovative fundraising strategies and relationships, as well as effectively maintaining and advancing existing programs.

The incumbent manages their time, resources, and work load to maximize productivity and financial results; exercises discretion; evaluates complex internal and external relationships; and regularly takes initiative to advance the objectives and goals of multiple campaigns. This position oversees a staff of five including two Managers, who in turn oversee an Assistant Manager and two Assistants.

Duties & Responsibilities

50%   Management: effectively manage a dynamic team to identify, secure, and steward multiple fundraising programs in Major Gifts, Trustees, and Committees, as well as other special and institution-wide campaigns.

  • Provide team leadership and coaching through regular feedback and performance management, align priorities to meet revenue and goals, and appropriately delegate tasks to ensure a high-performing team that regularly meets or exceeds goals
  • Manage and develop team’s best practices in all areas of fundraising, including written and verbal communications, prospect research, proposals, meetings, events, and donor engagement
  • Oversee the accurate record-keeping of commitments, forecasting and pipeline development, implementation of marketing efforts or analytics, and budgets by working with the team and collaborating with other development departments (e.g., strategy and special events, communications and stewardship, systems, etc.)

25%   Relationship building: initiate and build relationships with prospects and donors; as well as creating portfolios and pipelines for growth for members of the team to manage.

  • Create opportunities with the team to secure undesignated funds as well as designated opportunities when they have the potential for attracting major gifts
  • Collaborate with other fundraising teams (e.g., membership, corporate, Circles, etc.) to deepen relationships and identify opportunities for cross-selling
  • The Director may also serve in an advisory role on special Board Committees

25%   Strategy and Growth: working across the development department and across the Kennedy Center as appropriate, to develop, implement, and evaluate short and long-term goals and strategies for meeting the goals in development’s strategic plan

  • Maximize the efforts of senior leaders, including the Office of the President, the Senior Vice President of Development, and the Vice President of Individual Giving, in the most effective and efficient way to move major and leadership gift opportunities through clear communication and partnership
  • Collaborate with other directors and team members to identify new revenue opportunities and offerings as appropriate to grow the major and leadership gift portfolios
  • Identify operational/process innovations as appropriate that would optimize the team’s work efforts

N/A   Responds to the needs and requests of Kennedy Center management and staff in a professional and expedient manner; Adheres to all employer policies and procedures.

N/A   Other duties as assigned.

Key Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Minimum of 7 years in development, with a minimum of 3 of those years in a supervisory capacity managing development team members that are responsible for identifying, securing, and stewarding a portfolio of donors.
  • Experience managing a high-performing team that met or exceeded goals, through effective goal-setting, prioritization, delegation, and team-building.
  • Ability to collaborate across a matrixed organization to leverage the expertise of other departments, work together to effect change and achieve shared goals
  • Knowledge and training in fundraising principles, development trends, and non-profit management or Board engagement. Understanding of large cultural institutions is beneficial.
  • Experience developing and implementing specific fundraising strategies with timeliness and success while maintaining flexibility as the needs of donors and the priorities of the Kennedy Center changes.
  • Experience with Tessitura or nonprofit experience with a CRM database is preferred.
  • Careful attention to detail and knowledge of standard accounting procedures.

Skills & Knowledge Qualifications

  • Possession of these competencies would indicate strong potential for success in this role: growth mindset, self-aware, disciplined, results-driven and accountable.
  • Sensitive, inclusive of others.
  • Ability to foresee development needs, anticipate the needs of superiors, and multitask efficiently.
  • A clear understanding of the Kennedy Center mission, and a nuanced understanding of the ways in which a fundraising operation works within a large and complex institution.
  • Ability to deftly manage many relationships and personality types, both internal among staff members, and external among constituents.
  • Ability and confidence to work without close supervision.

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 regularly required to communicate in person and on the telephone.  The employee is frequently required to use hands to finger, handle, or feel in order to operate computer keyboard, office equipment, and other essential tasks.  The employee is frequently required to sit, stand, walk, bend, stoop, crouch, and reach with hands and arms.  This position infrequently lifts, carries, or otherwise moves and positions objects weighing up to 25 pounds.

Work Environment

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The noise level in the work environment is minimal.

Flexible work arrangements may be considered for this position after 6 months of employment, with a set amount of days per week in-office.

Travel up to 15% may be required.


We offer a comprehensive range of benefits to all full-time employees including: Medical, Dental, Vision, Paid Time Off, Paid Sick Leave, and a matching 403(b) Retirement Plan (employees are eligible for organization match after 1 year of employment).

How To Apply


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