Chief Development Officer

American Ballet Theatre

New York City, NY 10003




Dec 16, 2021

American Ballet Theatre

Chief Development Officer

New York, New York

American Ballet Theatre (ABT) is one of the greatest dance companies in the world. Revered as a national treasure since its founding season in 1940, its mission is to create, present, and extend the great repertoire of classical dancing to the widest possible audience.

The Company is headquartered in New York City, with studios and offices at 890 Broadway and regular performance seasons at Lincoln Center. ABT is the only cultural institution of its size and stature to extensively tour, engaging and inspiring audiences for eight decades in 50 U.S. states, 45 countries, and over 480 cities worldwide. The Company just completed an eight-city “ABT Across America” tour from Lincoln, Nebraska to New York, New York, offering world-class ballet performances for free for thousands of fans outdoors, in parks, and public plazas. ABT’s 84 extraordinary dancers hail from 14 countries and 24 U.S. states. ABT’s repertoire includes full-length classics from the nineteenth century, the finest works from the early twentieth century, and diverse and dynamic contemporary work by the leading choreographers of today. In 2006, by an act of Congress, ABT became America’s National Ballet Company®.

Pre-pandemic, ABT reached approximately 300,000 audience members per year in traditional performance venues. In the past year, ABT’s digital content has surpassed 9.9 million views, and ABT has an engaged fan base of 1.7 million across its social media platforms.

Education figures prominently in ABT’s mission and currently 90 percent of ABT’s main company dancers are alumni of ABT Education programs, with nearly 80 percent of the current main company dancers having begun their careers in the ABT Studio Company. The ABT National Training Curriculum has certified more than 1,700 teachers globally.

The Company has an engaged and energetic Board of Governing Trustees, as well as active national and international advisory groups of donors and ambassadors.

American Ballet Theatre seeks candidates for the role of Chief Development Officer (CDO) as it stands at the threshold of a new chapter in its storied history. The Company is preparing for transitions in the roles of CEO and Executive Director and Artistic Director (new CEO and Executive Director Janet Rollé’s appointment is effective January 3, 2022; current Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie will retire following the 2022 season) and reimagining how America’s National Ballet Company® can fulfill its role as national and international standard-bearer of excellence in classical ballet. This infusion of new leadership and visionary energy, including that of the incoming CDO, coincides with a momentous capital/endowment campaign that is underway and will provide ABT with a new, state-of-the-art home and headquarters.

The Chief Development Officer is responsible for conceptualizing, organizing, and implementing a comprehensive fundraising program in support of ABT’s mission and strategic priorities. Reporting to the Executive Director, the CDO will work in close partnership with the Executive Director, Board of Governing Trustees, colleagues in the Development department, and across the organization to build a sustainable culture of philanthropy, cultivate transformative gifts, and ultimately expand ABT’s base of support to enable the Company to achieve its financial, cultural, and educational objectives, with the expectation of securing approximately $22 million or more annually via fundraising. The CDO will be a thought partner to the Executive Director in addressing institutional opportunities, challenges, and priorities, and will also work closely with the Artistic Director, Chair, President, and committee leadership of the Board of Governing Trustees. The CDO serves as a member of ABT’s senior leadership team.

The CDO leads and mentors a Development team comprising approximately 15 individuals, including the newly created position of Campaign Director, working across the following areas: Major Gifts, Leadership Gifts, Campaign, Membership, Institutional Support, and Special Events.

The CDO will be primarily responsible for ongoing strategy and oversight of the ABTomorrow Campaign, ABT’s first major capital/endowment campaign that will ensure ABT’s dancers, students, faculty, and staff have the state-of-the-art facilities and artistic innovation funds they need to advance ABT’s mission. This transformational campaign is linked to an anticipated relocation of facilities and much-needed endowment growth.

While ABT will consider a broad range of backgrounds, the ideal candidate will have the following qualifications/experience:

  • Commitment to the American Ballet Theatre’s mission and an appreciation of the performing arts. Ability to authentically engage and inspire others as a senior representative of the organization.
  • Ten or more years of demonstrated success in development/philanthropy leadership, preferably in a complex cultural, academic, or nonprofit organization, and including experience in the following: individual giving, institutional giving, major gifts, annual fund/membership, planned giving, stewardship, development operations, and leadership in a major fundraising campaign.
  • Knowledge of and fundamental adherence to the principles, ethics, and best practices of modern fundraising.
  • Demonstrated commitment to and understanding of how to build diversity, equity, and inclusion in the development function.
  • Ability to provide inspirational leadership, recruit, evaluate, and mentor/develop a diverse, multi-disciplinary team of development professionals and contribute to the ongoing fostering of a high-functioning, results-oriented workforce. Track record of setting strategic direction, establishing goals, benchmarking, shared accountability, conceptualizing and executing development department growth, as well as working cross-departmentally when necessary to achieve results. Experience managing budgets.
  • Demonstrated success in developing a strong and winning case for support, as well as a successful communications plan, and in making strategic, innovative fundraising plans, and executing those plans to grow fundraising and exceed goals.
  • Successful track record of personally identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding major gifts from individual and institutional donors at the level of six to seven-figures and greater.
  • Track record of cultivating a fundraising network that transcends New York City, preferably having raised funds both nationally and internationally.
  • A forward thinker with a track record of utilizing varied methods of constituent engagement and connectivity, including digital and social media, who will be driven by innovation in developing advancement best practices in the current and post-COVID-19 world.
  • The ability to extract and analyze data to make effective, efficient decisions about donor strategy and process. Working knowledge of modern data management practices and technological innovations that can streamline advancement processes and contribute to the integration of related functions.
  • Flexibility to travel is required, consistent with public health guidelines.
  • Bachelor’s degree required; Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE) certification would be considered highly desirable.

The successful candidate must provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination status, including booster shot, with a vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or by the World Health Organization.

American Ballet Theatre is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to providing a workplace free from harassment and discrimination. We are committed to recruiting, hiring, training and promoting qualified people of all backgrounds, and make all employment decisions without regard to any protected status. Salary will be commensurate with experience.




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