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Director of Development, Mason Gross School of the Arts

Rutgers University Foundation
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Posted Date
Jul 12, 2022

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Position Type
Administrative, Business & Administrative Affairs, Development & Advancement
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time
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The Rutgers University Foundation (RUF) seeks a creative, entrepreneurial, and experienced fundraising professional to serve as the next Director of Development (DOD) for the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. The DOD will create a comprehensive development program that includes providing leadership, strategic direction, management, and coordination for individual major gift fundraising as well as contributing to a strategy that further engages diverse audiences from alumni, parents, friends and the wider public.  

This is an exceptional opportunity for a development leader to join an institution at the vanguard of generating new ideas that empower the arts to create societal impact and that is poised to reach higher levels of philanthropic success.

Mason Gross School of the Arts is the flagship public arts conservatory of New Jersey. It is a community of performing and visual artists who study, teach, create, perform, and exhibit. The mission of the school is to nurture creative talent and instill the insights and skills that future generations of arts professionals need to contribute to the creative and scholarly world.

From art galleries to multiple performing arts centers and rehearsal spaces, Mason Gross has a myriad of assets and engagement vehicles to be leveraged. The school is currently engaged in strategic planning and future road mapping as it defines and activates its core values of Collaboration, Community, and Inclusive Excellence, which the DOD will leverage to stimulate meaningful conversations with prospects and donors. Since the arts sit at the intersection of a wide range of topics, there is significant potential to center the arts in conversations of social justice, social mobility, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

As the chief development officer for Mason Gross School of the Arts, the DOD will make the case for support by translating the work of the school in a way that personally compels alumni and nonaffiliated audiences. The DOD will partner with Alumni Relations colleagues to develop engagement strategies that strengthens existing ties to donors and supporters and attracts interest from new audiences. They will bring the creativity needed to identify and engage both traditional and non-traditional donors, a collaborative approach, charisma, and a sense of curiosity when partnering with faculty and colleagues.

The DOD will report to the Dean of the Mason Gross School of Arts, Dr. Jason Geary, and to the Associate Vice President for Development for Rutgers-New Brunswick, Tee Williams. They will play a critically important role in enhancing MGSA’s existing development efforts, focusing on relationship-driven donor cultivation while uncovering innovative opportunities and partnerships. The position will primarily focus on the identification, cultivation and stewardship of individual donors and will partner with central foundation colleagues across Corporate and Foundation Relations, Gift Planning, and Annual Fund to maximize fundraising for the school.

A proactive and empathetic leader, the DOD will direct a two-person staff comprised of a development specialist and development assistant. In addition to leading the development office, they will partner with the Dean to develop cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship strategies for the school’s top prospects, and work with the dean and key faculty as needed to move those relationships/gift conversations forward.

The successful candidate is expected to have at least five to seven years of experience with a proven track record in fundraising and engagement. They must demonstrate the ability to identify and cultivate donors, and steward long-standing partnerships, particularly with high-profile individuals, community leaders and celebrities. Experience raising funds from New York City and Philadelphia arts philanthropy circles is a plus, but not necessary. The candidate will offer excellent organizational and interpersonal skills including impeccable verbal and written communication. An accessible and collegial leadership style is a prerequisite, as is the creativity and energy to convince and persuade varying constituencies of new ideas and directions. A willingness to become an engaged member in the artistic life of the school is a must.



• In collaboration with the Dean, development colleagues, and faculty, design and execute a strategic development plan that results in increased philanthropic support for the school, both in the near term and for future support.  

• Personally maintain a major gifts portfolio with a focus on top prospects rated at $100,000+ through face-to-face meetings, alumni events and other activities with an average of 15 qualified contacts per month with donors or prospects. Meet fundraising metrics for proposals, closed gifts and dollars raised in accordance with established annual goals.

• Increase engagement and identify additional capacity from existing donors while simultaneously discovering, identifying, and soliciting new donors.  

• Compose effective proposals and ensure donors are appropriately stewarded. Maintain proper communication with internal and external constituencies.  

• Clearly articulate, in written and verbal form, the needs and priorities of the school in a way that establishes a compelling case for support and leverages collaborative opportunities.

• Build successful relationships with alumni, patrons, donors, prospects, volunteers, faculty, campus partners, staff and students; identify and leverage connections to alumni and friends to facilitate prospect engagement, solicitation, and stewardship.  

• Recognize and celebrate the complexity and innovation work at the school and correspondingly seek to support it. 


• Strategically organize the Dean’s time and resources in matters of development. Staff the Dean in school/university leadership meetings and conversations, at donor solicitations, and special events.

• Model “best practices” for relationship-driven fundraising for campus partners and guide their participation in the donor cycle including solicitations. Provide coaching to faculty and staff in pursuing philanthropic support.  

• Support the Dean and campus partners in organizing and facilitating donor/prospect meetings, managing logistics for these meetings, and drafting briefing materials, follow-up reports, documents, and other external correspondence.  

• Maintain information about donors/prospects in the development database; prepare meeting briefing memos for the dean and other campus partners; draft meeting call reports for the University’s files; ensure the maintenance of records in the Development database; and use technology effectively to research, organize and present information about assigned donors/prospects.


• Partner with and provide guidance to volunteer groups (alumni association and faculty committees) in support of the unit’s fundraising goals.

• Attend school, alumni, and campus functions to develop a strong understanding of the culture of the university, school, and alumni base.  

• Maintain knowledge of best practice trends in higher education philanthropy and an awareness and understanding of trends in art schools.


The DOD will have the following personal characteristics and professional qualifications:  

• Five to seven years of experience in fundraising including management experience.

• Demonstrated success in cultivation, solicitation, gift closure, and stewardship of six-figure philanthropic gifts from a variety of sources and donors.

• Track record of fundraising from a variety of audiences, including experience in nonconstituent outreach.

• Skilled as an outstanding coach, mentor, and motivator of professionals with a dedication to hiring, retaining, and developing diverse teams and volunteer groups consistent with the ideals of a beloved community.

• Personal interest in and affinity for MGSA’s specialties. The ability to quickly gain substantive knowledge and comprehension of programs, projects, and activities to effectively present potential giving opportunities to prospective donors.

• Creativity and insight in identifying effective collaborations between institutional goals and needs and prospective donors. The ability to learn new concepts quickly and adeptly, and to then communicate them effectively to donors.

• Integrity, creativity, energy, and independence; a collegial, understanding leadership style that will value team members and institutional partners and delegates appropriately.  

• Acts in a selfless manner and models the ethical values of the university. Exhibits sound decision-making in response to rapidly changing and often complicated situations. Brings a sense of humor and perspective.

• Interprets, adapts, and further develops the "language" of Rutgers in describing the institution's collective work, aspirations, and impact.

• When it is safe to do so, is able and willing to travel to develop and maintain relationships with prospects and donors.

• A Bachelor's degree in a relevant field or equivalent work experience.


Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, comprises a vibrant community of nearly 1,200 makers—dancers, filmmakers, musicians, theater artists, visual artists, and designers unafraid to get their hands dirty as they collaborate with our renowned faculty of professional working artists. Graduates emerge not merely with a degree but, ideally, with a commitment to making innovative and purposeful contributions to the wider community— onstage, backstage, in a gallery, a classroom, a studio, and beyond. The goal: to cultivate thinking, thoughtful makers embracing art as an ever-changing field of possibility. The school, just 45 minutes from the crackling energy of New York City’s arts scene, serves as the flagship public arts conservatory at Rutgers, a Big Ten research university serving more than 66,000 students. Rutgers is the nation’s eighth-oldest institution of higher learning and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. More information for the school can be found at: 


Jason Geary is Distinguished Professor of Music and Dean of Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.  He has also served as Director of the University of Maryland School of Music and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance.  Dean Geary has successfully led initiatives fostering community engagement, student entrepreneurship, interdisciplinary collaboration, and greater inclusivity in the arts.  He is in demand as a speaker and arts consultant and currently sits on the board of the Alliance for the Arts at Research Universities and the American Musicological Society.  He has also lectured and published widely on German music and culture and has received several prestigious fellowships in support of his work, including a Fulbright Grant and membership at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.  Dean Geary holds a degree in piano performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a Ph.D. in musicology from Yale University.    


Since its founding in 1973, Rutgers University Foundation has advanced Rutgers’ pursuit of excellence in education, research, and public service. The foundation inspires philanthropic support and enduring connections with alumni, parents, friends, corporations, foundations, and other supporters, raising money for university priorities and empowering Rutgers to better the world. The foundation is a tax-exempt 501 (c)(3) organization and also encompasses the Rutgers University Alumni Association, which builds community and fosters scarlet pride through the meaningful engagement of current and future alumni. For more information about Rutgers University Foundation, visit 


Please submit your resume and cover letter to All applicant materials will be held in confidence. Pearl Street Collective, a national women-owned executive search firm, has been retained to conduct this search. Adele Mezher and Maeve Clifford, CoFounders and Managing Partners, are leading the engagement.

It is Foundation policy to provide equal employment opportunity to all its employees and applicants for employment regardless of their race, creed, color, national origin, age, ancestry, nationality, marital or domestic partnership or civil union status, sex, pregnancy, gender identity or expression, disability status, liability for military service, protected veteran status, affectional or sexual orientation, atypical cellular or blood trait, genetic information (including the refusal to submit to genetic testing), or any other category protected by law. As an institution, we value diversity of background and opinion, and prohibit discrimination or harassment on the basis of any legally protected class in the areas of hiring, recruitment, promotion, transfer, demotion, training, compensation, pay, fringe benefits, layoff, termination or any other terms and conditions of employment.

Rutgers University Foundation requires that all visitors be vaccinated against COVID-19 and submit proof of vaccination prior to their arrival on campus. Visitors who cannot receive the vaccine because of a medical contraindication or a religious belief may request an accommodation to this requirement. 


New Brunswick offers everything from a pulsing, bustling environment to a tree-lined, classically collegiate campus feel. It is perfectly situated in central New Jersey along the southern banks of the Raritan River in the Raritan Valley region. The city holds proximity to the major urban centers of New York City and Philadelphia and the iconic Jersey Shore and is home to 55,000 residents.  New Brunswick is both a regional commercial hub for the Central New Jersey region and a prominent and growing commuter town for residents commuting to New York City within the New York metropolitan area.

The City Center boasts over 50 restaurants and eateries, live music, dance clubs, comedy clubs, and gastropubs. New Brunswick's museums and galleries ranging from one-of-a-kind collections, to works from up-and-coming artists. There are endless options for enjoying the performing arts including the State Theatre New Jersey, Crossroads Theatre Company, and the George Street Playhouse. Residents have the opportunity to attend nationally recognized theatre troops, performing Broadway-caliber shows. Rutgers University's renowned Mason Gross School of the Arts and the American Repertory Ballet, also contributes to the vibrant arts scene. 

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