Director of Development

The Chicago Academy for the Arts, Illinois’ premier visual and performing arts high school, seeks a Director of Development for immediate appointment.

The Academy’s educational model is co-curricular: students engage in rigorous academic classes for five hours each day before immersing themselves in 3-5 hours of professional-level training in dance, filmmaking, animation, writing, music, musical theatre, theatre, or visual arts. (Note: The Chicago Academy for the Arts is a different school than “ChiArts”, a CPS school.)

Students at The Academy are characterized by an extraordinary sense of purpose and community. Most continue with the arts after high school: alums include hit songwriters, Grammy Award nominees and winners, Broadway stars, internationally acclaimed dancers and visual artists, and award-winning filmmakers and writers. Students also pursue degrees and careers outside of the arts: many alums are successful professionals in the fields of science, mathematics, technology, business, law, healthcare, and many more.

The Director of Development sets the strategy and directs the implementation of the school’s fundraising efforts, including an annual campaign, major gifts efforts, and special project funding. Additionally, the Director of Development oversees alumni relations and the Parents Association, and works closely with the Head of School on board development and partnership matters.

This position is an extraordinary opportunity for an ambitious mid-career development professional to both promote — and play a major role in running — a school that routinely transforms the lives of its students. Simply put: this work matters.

There is significant untapped potential to grow both philanthropy and engagement at The Academy, and we are seeking the right teammate to lead these efforts.

Duties and responsibilities include:

  • Working closely with the Head of School to develop robust short- and long-term development strategies
  • Working closely with the rest of the Senior Leadership Team to collectively consider long-term strategy as well as address day-to-day matters
  • Leading the school’s development efforts, including the annual fund, a gala, foundational support, and major gifts
  • Developing and managing the school’s donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship efforts
  • Leading the development of a robust alumni program
  • Coordinating with appropriate staff to oversee special projects and partnerships
  • Supervising the work of a full-time development associate
  • Supervising the management of the development database to track donor relationships
  • Seeking out prominent and distinctive opportunities for The Academy to garner visibility in the Chicagoland community and beyond

Experience and Qualifications

  • Five years of experience in development
  • Track record of raising five-figure gifts from major donors
  • First-rate organizational, managerial, and administrative skills, including working knowledge of Salesforce
  • World-class communication skills and experience conceptualizing, writing, and coordinating solicitation materials
  • An engaging and energetic personality
  • Ability to work effectively both independently and within a team-oriented environment

The salary for this position is in the upper $70’s; the working environment is inspired and authentically mission driven.

Please submit a thoughtful cover letter and resume via email to Jason Patera, Head of School:

The Chicago Academy for the Arts is an equal opportunity employer committed to building a culturally diverse faculty and staff. All qualified applicants — regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law — are strongly encouraged to apply.