The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra (FWSO) is an innovative leader located in one of Texas’ most vibrant and fastest growing cities. Founded in 1912, the FWSO is one of city’s largest and most important cultural institutions, performing more than 200 concerts to more than 200,000 people each year. The FWSO is the largest resident company of the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall, which is renowned for its superb acoustics, exceptional sightlines, and brilliant ambience. Each season, the FWSO’s concerts feature a variety of symphonic and pops programs and concludes with the popular summer outdoor series, Concerts in the Garden. The FWSO has featured some of the most renowned artists of the music world, including Luciano Pavarotti, Midori, Vadym Kholodenko, and Joshua Bell. Itzhak Perlman will perform at the FWSO’s annual concert and gala in February 2018.
Since its earliest years, the FWSO has been a proponent of music education, presenting regular concerts for thousands of school children. Its education and outreach programming serves more than 65,000 students annually from schools across North Texas. In addition to performing more educational concerts with the full orchestra than any other similar-sized symphony in the United States, the FWSO also makes its performances affordable and widely available by offering free tickets to underserved adults and children.
Music Director Miguel Harth-Bedoya is now in his 17th season at the artistic helm of the FWSO. Under his leadership, the orchestra continues to reach new levels of excellence, recognition, and global acclaim. The FWSO was recently selected as one of only four orchestras to perform at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the 2018 SHIFT Festival, a week-long spotlight of American orchestras. Successfully attracting new audiences, the FWSO’s 2015-16 season saw a 12 percent increase in attendance and ticket sales with nearly 27,000 first-time ticket buyers. In 2016, Concerts in the Garden also set new attendance and revenue records, attracting more than 44,000 individuals and achieving $1 million in ticket sales. Recently, the FWSO signed a new four-year agreement with the musicians and announced a challenge grant of $1.5 million by The Amon G. Carter Foundation, which, upon completion, will result in $3 million in new funding for the organization.
The FWSO is governed by an 80-member board of directors with Mercedes T. Bass serving as Chairman. President and CEO Amy Adkins has led the staff of 26 full-time employees since 2011. For nine years, she served as the FWSO’s Vice President of Development, achieving record-breaking fundraising results, including an unprecedented 42 percent increase in both corporate sponsorships and foundation giving. In fiscal year 2015-16, the FWSO had total revenues of $11.9 million and total expenses of $12.4 million. For the fiscal year ending July 31, 2016, ticket sales comprised 39 percent of total revenue and contributed revenue, including annual gifts and special events, totaled $5.1 million.
Often referred to as the Cultural Gateway to the American West, Fort Worth offers an irresistible mixture of culture and commerce, all with true Texas charm. In the past two decades, Fort Worth has grown into a strong economic center, boasting a thriving, innovative arts scene and a revitalized downtown. With a population of just more than 800,000 residents, Fort Worth has been named the number one place for entrepreneurs by Entrepreneur magazine and one of the great art destinations in the world by Vanity Fair.
Downtown Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Cultural District, and the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District are the city’s three unique arts and entertainment districts, drawing nearly seven million visitors each year. The downtown area is a multicultural, urban center that capitalizes on its cultural resources. In 1995 Downtown Fort Worth was awarded the prestigious James C. Howland Award for Urban Enrichment by the National League of Cities. Sundance Square, a 16-block collection of graciously restored and replicated turn of the century storefronts, has preserved the architecture and rich heritage of its colorful past. The Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall serves as an important symbol of one of the most successful downtown revitalization efforts in the country. Built entirely with private funds, it is the permanent home of the FWSO, Texas Ballet Theater, Fort Worth Opera, and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and is considered one of the top opera halls in the world.
The Fort Worth Cultural District, the nation’s third largest, is home to several world-class art museums, including the Kimbell Art Museum, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Home of the world’s oldest indoor rodeo and the annual Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, the Will Rogers Memorial Center is a multi-purpose entertainment complex built in 1936. The Stock Show has been a Fort Worth tradition for more than a century. Other Cultural District attractions include the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, Fort Worth Botanic Garden, and Fort Worth Zoo.
The Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District tells the true history of Texas’ famous livestock industry. Each year thousands of visitors come to Fort Worth to visit the Stockyards Museum, witness the twice daily cattle-drive, and enjoy unique dining and shopping.
Fort Worth has become a major center for industry, technology, and transportation and is consistently ranked among the top places in the nation to work, live, and do business by Money, Fortune, Site Selection, and Newsweek magazines. Multinational corporations, including Bell Helicopter, Lockheed Martin, American Airlines, BNSF Railway, and Pier 1 Imports, are headquartered in the city. Healthcare is a growing industry with numerous facility expansions on healthcare campuses in process.
With a cost of living below the nation’s average, Fort Worth offers highly desirable amenities while remaining affordable. The median home value is estimated at $220,000 and the median annual household income is approximately $59,000. The Fort Worth Transportation Authority, known as The T, serves Fort Worth with dozens of different bus routes throughout the city, including Molly the Trolley, a downtown bus circulator. The Trinity Railway Express is a commuter rail line that connects downtown Fort Worth with downtown Dallas and several suburban stations between the two major cities. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the nation’s fourth busiest airport, is 32 miles from downtown Fort Worth. Opportunities for outstanding education abound in Fort Worth. The public school system offers a diverse student population and strong community partnerships. The region also offers 63 highly rated private schools. Fort Worth is also home to several top universities, including Texas Christian University, Texas Wesleyan University, University of North Texas Health Science Center, and Texas A&M University School of Law.
Sources: fortworthchamber.com; fortworthtexas.gov; zillow.com; usnews.com; artsfortworth.org, bizjournals.com
An accomplished professional fundraiser and exemplary leader, the Vice President of Development (VPD) will direct all philanthropic giving for the FWSO. The VPD will be a strategic thinker with the skills to move a growing fundraising program forward and to achieve the goals set forth by the President and board. Reporting to the President, the VPD will create and execute plans for maximizing contributed revenues. Growing annual giving, major gifts, institutional giving, and endowment are central to the position. This individual will also lead a campaign to raise new endowment funds over the next three years and will bring highly innovative tactics to all aspects of fundraising efforts. The VPD will be results-driven, self-motivated, and relentlessly focused on fundraising goals. This individual will partner with and mobilize the President and board members to maximize development opportunities and will lead and mentor a four-member development team, including an Annual Fund Manager, Development Coordinator, Special Events Coordinator; and Institutional Giving Manager.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Collaborate with the President and board to develop and implement long- and short-term fundraising strategies.
- Direct all aspects of donor programs, including stewardship, special events, cultivation, benefits fulfillment, daily donor interaction, and volunteer management.
- Create, implement, and manage an endowment campaign designed to significantly increase contributed revenue and to meet the endowment goal.
- Mobilize the President and board to get in front of top prospects and proactively engage in fundraising activity to reach endowment goal.
- Cultivate existing donors for ongoing support while seeking new prospects to ensure a robust and diversified funding base.
- Engage and involve individual donors, recognizing the uniqueness of the Fort Worth philanthropic community.
- Establish solicitation priorities, manage prospect lists and research, and develop and execute targeted cultivation plans and solicitation strategies for a range of prospects.
- Maintain and expand a portfolio of donors, cultivating and soliciting major gifts for the annual fund, planned giving, special events, capital campaign, and endowment programs.
- Develop, cultivate, and enhance the FWSO’s relationships in the community with warmth and charisma.
- Oversee the planning and execution of two major annual fundraiser galas.
Departmental Management and Operational Effectiveness
- Manage and mentor the department staff by setting clear expectations, motivating the team, assisting with their professional development, and maintaining the highest level of professionalism.
- Provide leadership to a changing and growing department.
- Ensure that the development department adheres to long-term strategic and operational plan goals, coordinating and presenting regular progress reports.
Administration and Oversight
- Prepare and monitor revenue and expense budgets, provide accurate reporting, analysis, and integration of data, and oversee the maintenance and integrity of patron, donor, and prospect records.
- Develop promotional partnerships with the marketing department for supporting annual giving programs, sponsorships, campaigns, special projects, and events, and create customized donor stewardship and recognition opportunities to support expanded fundraising activities.
- Assess current technology and refine development practices to ensure maximum efficiency and results, utilizing data to analyze and document fundraising needs and opportunities.
Traits and Characteristics
This leader will be customer-focused within a demanding and changing environment. The successful candidate will possess persuasive interpersonal and communication skills as well as the ability to articulate impactful messages with enthusiasm and charisma. The VPD will effectively build consensus with a sense of immediacy in achieving fundraising goals. This individual must exhibit diplomacy, discretion, and a deep respect and understanding of donor and board relations.
Other key competencies include the following:
- Goal Achievement – Establishes goals that are relevant and attainable and initiates activity without delay.
- Customer Focus – Commits to customer satisfaction with a high value on multiple stakeholder needs, anticipates challenges, and develops appropriate solution.
- Leadership – Achieves extraordinary results by being decisive, flexible, and inclusive.
- Personal Accountability – Accepts responsibility for the consequences of actions and maintains personal commitment to objectives regardless of the success or failure of those personal decisions.
Qualified applicants will have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, five to seven years of experience with increasing responsibility, and proven success in a nonprofit fundraising leadership role. The successful candidate will have a strong track record in raising funds from a variety of sources, including the cultivation of gifts from individuals, government/public entities, foundations, and corporations. Experience in raising six and seven-figure gifts in a campaign environment is highly desirable. Superior written and verbal communication skills that can reach a broad range of individuals and organizations are required. Applicants must have experience working with boards and high-level volunteers as well as a flexible style to positively impact both strategic and tactical fundraising initiatives. This individual should possess a positive attitude and the ability to lead and mentor staff. A passion for classical music and an understanding of the region’s fundraising landscape are essential. This role requires a communicative and confident professional who brings creativity and energy to the position.
Compensation and Benefits
The FWSO provides a competitive salary and benefits package including a comprehensive health plan and generous paid time off.
Applications and Inquiries
Please submit a letter and resume (electronic submissions preferred) with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments to:
Ms. Jenna Deja
Vice President, Arts Consulting Group
201 West Lake Street, Suite 133
Chicago, IL 60606-1803
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 227
Fax (888) 284.6651
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra is an equal opportunity employer that welcomes any qualified applicant and values diversity of all kinds.