Organization: Great Lakes Center for the Arts

Location: Bay Harbor, MI

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About Great Lakes Center for the Arts: 

The Great Lakes Center for the Arts (the Center) will bring world-class performances and entertainment to the entire Northern Michigan region, offering the highest caliber programming across all genres of music, dance, theater, movies and film, as well as intellectual dialogue and impactful arts education programs.

The Center will operate year-round with a special emphasis in the summer on larger scale festivals and collaboration throughout the year with established arts organizations across the region.

Years in the making, the beautifully crafted, intimate 500-seat venue housing a large stage, multipurpose room, rooftop deck and donor lounge will break ground in July 2016 and the curtain will go up on its first performance in June 2018.

Capital Campaign commitments total over $19.8 million of the $25 million needed to move forward with groundbreaking in 2016. Over time the goal is to build a $25 million endowment for long-term support of programming and operations.

The Great Lakes Center for the Arts is situated to appeal to a large variety of individual and corporate supporters – those based in Michigan as well as those who value the high-end assets that the Northern Michigan community offers. And with the ability to serve thousands of school children who face ever-diminishing arts experiences in public schools, the Great Lakes Center for the Arts stands to garner eventual significant support from foundation and government funders who recognize the need for arts institutions to fill the role.

To provide experienced leadership for this endeavor through its opening season, the Center has contracted with the DeVos Institute of Arts Management led by its Chairman Michael Kaiser. Kaiser is an internationally known expert in arts management and is President Emeritus of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

By 2020, the Great Lakes Center for the Arts will be a national destination known for unique cultural performances and events, a leading regional arts and arts education provider and an internationally recognized center for important intellectual dialogue. Designed by renowned theater designers Fisher Dachs Associates and architects TowerPinkster, the Center will also be an architectural landmark in greater Northern Michigan.

For more information on Great Lakes Center for the Arts, please visit

The Opportunity:

The Director of Development is the leader for all fundraising strategies and initiatives for the Center. The Director will be the first permanent hire for this newly formed 501(c)(3) partnering closely with the Center’s Leadership Team. S/he will be responsible for planning and implementation of a comprehensive and strategic fundraising program, which will meet and exceed the institution’s goals for contributed income. Initially, fundraising efforts will be devoted to a capital campaign followed by an endowment campaign; an annual fundraising effort must be created as well leading up to the Center’s 2018 grand opening.

This is an exciting opportunity to build a major arts nonprofit from the ground-up. Reporting to the Leadership Team, the Director of Development will be a business-minded, entrepreneurial and creative fundraising professional leading the Center’s resource mobilization effort. The Director of Development will identify, solicit and cultivate high net worth donors and corporate/foundation prospects to build a strong donor pipeline and achieve the organization’s strategic objective of raising the remainder of the campaign to build the Center as well as the $25 million dollar endowment. Long-term initiatives for sustainability include building a diverse development program including annual and planned giving and multi-year sponsorships.

The Director will enhance the Center’s overall approach to advancement – one that creates a true culture of philanthropy throughout the community, improves and develops sustained success in contributed revenue and ultimately fulfills the Center’s mission and achieves it vision. The Director will be responsible for raising funds from a range of sources, including institutional and private donors.

Key metrics for success include:

  • Developing a comprehensive development plan positioning the Center for long term sustainable success through strong and growing philanthropic success;
  • Cultivating long-term relationships with new major donors who connect with the mission of the Center;
  • Identifying and securing additional Board Members with significant giving capacity;
  • Ensuring that the bricks and mortar campaign fundraising meets and exceeds its goal; and
  • Implementing policies, procedures and metrics to ensure transparency and build confidence with leadership.

Candidate Profile:

The Director of Development will be a bold thinker as well as a strategic, yet ‘hands-on’ executor, who will help Great Lakes Center for the Arts establish its development efforts. S/he will bring a genuine passion for the organization’s mission coupled with deep experience driving fundraising success.

The ideal candidate will have the following personal competencies and characteristics:

An Expert in Development

The Director of Development will be an experienced leader in the field of development with a measurable track record of success and will have demonstrated expertise with a wide range of fundraising channels with particular focus on major donors. With a creative and entrepreneurial mindset, the Director of Development will take leadership in identifying a fundraising pyramid, developing a process to achieve success and strategically executing on the plan. S/he will flourish in a mission driven yet business environment and be energized by the prospect of building a development department from the ground up and implementing processes and best practices. S/he will have a strong data and analysis orientation and a proven ability to use metrics to drive development decisions and achieve strategic objectives. Hand-in-hand with a process orientation, the Director of Development will also adopt an entrepreneurial approach to expanding and deepening new and existing donor support.

A Relationship Builder and Communicator

The Director of Development will develop and maintain a thorough understanding of Great Lakes Center for the Arts’ business strategy, footprint, and unique selling points. S/he will be a confident and articulate communicator with the ability to work fluidly across all levels. The Director of Development will have a business-driven approach to building collaboration and buy-in and generating support from stakeholders. S/he will be a charismatic, high-energy leader who can talk with anyone and successfully convey Great Lakes Center for the Arts’ objectives.

An Ambassador for Great Lakes Center for the Arts

The Director of Development will work tirelessly as an ambassador for Great Lakes Center for the Arts’ mission and vision. S/he will publicly represent the organization’s mission and values. S/he will have highly developed interpersonal skills and possess the ability to quickly establish genuine and productive relationships with a wide range of stakeholders. As an external voice of the organization, s/he will articulate and broaden the vision of Great Lakes Center for the Arts to its current supporting community and future stakeholders. The Director of Development must be a confident public speaker representing Great Lakes Center for the Arts in civic and philanthropic endeavors.

A Passion for the Mission

The Director of Development will have a passion for the arts. S/he will work to continually innovate, helping the Great Lakes Center for the Arts to extend its brand and reach. A desire to be part of the continued articulation and growth of Great Lakes Center for the Arts’ mission and goals is imperative. S/he will embrace Great Lakes Center for the Arts’ entrepreneurial culture, and will have the character and dexterity to build this development program. A charismatic and motivational individual, the Director of Development will thrive in a business-minded and growing environment. The Director of Development will be an empathic leader, treating others with respect. S/he will be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.

A Bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree in a related field is preferred.


Marissa Martin and Liz Lombard of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here or email Marissa and Liz directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Great Lakes Center for the Arts is an equal opportunity employer.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit