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Job Opportunity - International Festival of Arts & Ideas - Director of Development


The International Festival of Arts & Ideas (Festival) celebrates and builds community, engages with vital issues, and promotes the arts. Each year, the Festival highlights the City of New Haven’s diverse and culturally rich community with events featuring world-class artists, thinkers, and leaders. Its additional programs include the annual Visionary Leadership Award and educational opportunities like the High School Fellows Program. The Festival was established in 1996 by Anne Calabresi, Jean M. Handley, and Roslyn Meyer, who envisioned an annual celebration in New Haven—a city steeped in a rich array of cultural and educational traditions—distinguished from other arts festivals by its fusion of the arts with events centered on sharing ideas.

In the Festival's first 24 years, it activated indoor and outdoor spaces throughout New Haven with live performances and lively conversations for hundreds of thousands of people. The digital screen became the stage in 2020, with the Festival successfully shifting its programming to an online format. The Festival officially concluded its 25th anniversary season on June 27, 2020, welcoming more than 120,000 virtual audience members from around the world over a three-month period. It hosted international visitors from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Ecuador, Estonia, France, Germany, Guyana, Hungary, India, Iraq, Ireland, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. All programming was presented free of charge with the exception of the KeyBank Food Series and Arts on Call, raising more than $35,000 and $10,000 respectively, all of which went directly to the participating local businesses and artists. The Festival's future will build on the best of both of these formats, centering access, community investment, and artistic excellence in both live and digital forms.

The Ideas programming was presented in partnership with Connecticut Humanities, a nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, with additional leadership support of Whitney Center and media sponsor CT Public. Executive Director of Connecticut Humanities Jason Mancini said, "In the midst of a global pandemic, Festival organizers thoughtfully and effectively shifted all programming to online portals and expanded access to new audiences. ‘Democracy: We the People’ brought together ideas and experiences from diverse voices and was responsive to long-term trends as much as real-time events that affect all of our citizens and communities." Virtual artistic offerings included the episodic video series More or Less I Am, inspired by Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of Myself” and created by Compagnia de’ Colombari (which was also streamed for inmates on Rikers Island); the Activist Songbook project, created by Aaron Jafferis and Byron Au Yong; Keigwin + Company’s Let’s Make a Dance workshop; and presentations by the Yale-China Fellowship program.

Rounding out the Festival’s nearly 200 events and 265 performances were the KeyBank Food Series, which brought New Haven chefs and mixologists into participants’ homes via Zoom; virtual Box City, in which children of all ages helped create a visionary recyclable model city of the future; a new Dinner Stories series; NEA Big Read and Juneteenth programs; and self-guided and virtual bike and walking tours. The majority of the 2020 virtual programming, including all Ideas events and content from previous years, is archived on the Festival’s website.

Nearly 1,500 New Haven residents enjoyed live, socially distant outdoor performances by local performing artists through the Arts on Call program, presented with support from the Elizabethan Club of Yale University and modeled after Sidewalk Serenades, a program created in March 2020 by Creative Alliance in Baltimore. In partnership with Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center and with funding from the State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Office of the Arts, the Festival also sponsored a series of Arts on Call performances for health care, emergency services, and other frontline workers in appreciation of their efforts in supporting and protecting the New Haven community.

The Festival is governed by a 32-member board of directors, led by Chair Gordon Geballe. Shelley Quiala became Executive Director in August 2020 and Co-Directors Liz Fisher and Tom Griggs will each retire later this year. The Festival has a year-round staff of 12 full-time employees, 70 seasonal employees, 120 volunteers, and up to 160 seasonal contractors. Current contributed revenue activities range from $2.5 million to $3 million annually, including approximately $500,000 from government sources, with increasing expectations focused on future philanthropic growth as the Festival continues to advance its mission and community service goals.


The Quinnipiac are the Indigenous inhabitants along the Atlantic shoreline of what is now New Haven, Connecticut. Incorporated in 1638 as one of the first planned cities in America, New Haven today offers access to renowned art museums, music, theater, and lectures featuring internationally known speakers. The Greater New Haven area hosts a rich diversity of higher education institutions, including Yale University, Quinnipiac University, University of New Haven, Southern Connecticut State University, Albertus Magnus College, and Gateway Community College.

New Haven is recognized as a city of innovation and prosperity with a small town feel and diverse neighborhoods. The New Haven Green is a privately-owned park and recreation area that was established in 1810 to preserve its history, prevent its commercialization, and ensure that it remains an open and beautiful green space for enjoyment by the community. As the birthplace of wide variety of inventions—from the Frisbee to the hamburger—it is no surprise that New Haven’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, whether in the start-ups at Science Park or the craft breweries and artisanal bakeries appearing in converted warehouses. The local economy is defined by health care and social services. New Haven also has a strong tech community and a world-renowned architecture and design sector. Yale University and Yale New Haven Hospital provide many of the area's job opportunities, attracting highly specialized physicians, researchers, and academics.

Set amongst beautiful hills and estuaries, New Haven is the cultural capital of Connecticut. The region has an array of recreational activities and accessible transportation locally and throughout the Northeast corridor. This richly diverse city has a long tradition of welcoming immigrants from all over the world. In fact, one out of every eight residents is foreign-born and local students speak more than 100 languages at home. Another distinguishing characteristic is the city’s vibrant LGBTQ community and support systems. New Haven’s inclusivity has spurred a growing population in contrast to other places in Connecticut and the Northeast.

A recent study by FiveThirtyEight that reviewed the education level, age, and ethnic diversity of every metropolitan area in the United States concluded that, of any place in America, New Haven most accurately reflects the demographics of the country as a whole in those areas. Demographically, the city is approximately 35 percent black or African-American, 32 percent white, 27 percent Hispanic or Latino, 5 percent Asian or Pacific Islander, 0.5 percent Native American or Alaska Native, and 4 percent of people who identify as two or more ethnic backgrounds. Its surrounding region of 860,000 residents is 65 percent white, 14 percent black or African American, 17 percent Hispanic or Latino, 4 percent Asian or Pacific Islander, 0.5 percent Native American or Alaska Native, and 2 percent claiming two or more racial identities. The changing face of America as part of a global community is personified in New Haven and the arts and ideas in New Haven reflect the world.


Position Summary

The Director of Development will lead the Festival’s contributed revenue strategies and implementation, collaborating with the board and staff to increase annual philanthropic support from individuals, sponsors, foundations, and government agencies while also focusing on future endowment and planned giving initiatives. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director of Development will be an active member of the Festival’s leadership team and will work closely with the board of directors and the Development Committee in the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of donors. The Director of Development will be charged with the creation and implementation of a strategic development plan that leverages the Festival’s success and role in the community to increase contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations. The Director of Development will provide guidance to the development team, including the Major Gifts & Individual Giving Manager, Institutional Giving Manager, and Patron Services and Accessibility Coordinator, to ensure a seamless and high-performing advancement operation for the Festival.

Roles and Responsibilities

Donor Identification, Cultivation, and Stewardship

  • Guide the creation and implementation of a strategic advancement plan that addresses the Festival’s short- and long-term fundraising goals in the context of its overall equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives.
  • Lead the Festival in the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of donors and prospects, designing and implementing strategies to increase levels of annual giving and legacy gifts, including those from diverse communities throughout the region.


  • Focus on the growth and revitalization of the planned giving program to effectively secure deferred gifts and celebrate the legacy of those who are committed to the Festival and vitality of New Haven.


  • Implement a plan to increase individual contributions and major gifts and explore innovative strategies to increase corporate, foundation, and government support for the Festival.


  • Provide guidance and support to the Development Committee and Nominating & Governance Committee in overall fundraising advancement activities, leveraging their networks to identify new donor and board prospects and stewarding existing donors towards a higher level of involvement.


  • Manage a portfolio of donors that includes current and lapsed donors and new prospects, cultivating and stewarding their interest and involvement in the Festival and resulting in increased levels of giving.


  • Embrace other donor identification, cultivation, and stewardship responsibilities, as appropriate.

Civic and Public Engagement

  • Develop a strong business case for the value of sponsorships and other financial or in-kind investments in the Festival, securing marquee sponsorships and building and expanding partnerships that align the Festival with the civic and business priorities of corporate partners.


  • Design sponsorship opportunities with clearly articulated benefits and effectively market to new and potential business investors who deeply understand the value and investment in public programs and vast diversity of the Festival’s audiences.


  • Evaluate a broad-based member program (Festival Insiders) and identify opportunities to strengthen the intrinsic and extrinsic benefits that deepen commitment to the Festival’s inclusive, accessible, year-round, and community-wide activities.


  • Partner with the Executive Director to communicate the Festival’s civic investment strategy role to government agencies with a lens focused on equity, public engagement, diversity, and accountability.


  • Embrace other civic and public engagement responsibilities, as appropriate.

Management and Administration

  • Oversee the Development Department, leveraging the institutional knowledge and skills of the team, mentoring staff to further develop their professional acumen, and encouraging an open and transparent work culture that supports the Festival’s goals and objectives.


  • Share information about development strategies, foundation and government grant funding, and sponsorship opportunities with Festival board and staff on a regular basis throughout the year.


  • Provide financial oversight to the Development Department and collaborate with the Finance team in the forecasting and tracking of contributed revenue and expenses.


  • Ensure a healthy workplace and organizational policies that value experience and new ideas.


  • Delegate appropriate responsibilities and perform succession planning in keeping with a well-managed operation and infrastructure that supports the organization and the communities it serves.


  • Embrace other management and administration responsibilities, as appropriate.

Traits and Characteristics

The Director of Development will be highly organized and focused on achieving individual giving and institutional advancement, fundraising, and community engagement goals. This individual will inspire and motivate the community and team members around a shared vision for the Festival’s long-term success. A visible and people-oriented development professional, the Director of Development will easily adapt to varying situations and be comfortable engaging with a wide range of individuals and institutions.

Other key competencies include:


  • Donor and Customer Focus – The aptitude to listen and learn about the priorities and interests of others, building on that knowledge to develop positive relationships with key community, civic, corporate, and philanthropic leaders.


  • Interpersonal Skills and Diplomacy – The ability to leverage networks of influence and build strong connections to enable progress towards institutional goals and the sensitivity to craft mutually beneficial agreements that deepen the engagement of donors and partners.


  • Teamwork – The dexterity to build trust and credibility with team members, recognizing and appreciating individual perspectives and contributions and leading the team towards consensus.


  • Self-Starting – The agility to take initiative, be persistent and achievement-oriented, possess a strong and deep-seated work ethic, and display self-confidence to overcome setbacks while maximizing organizational strengths and opportunities.


  • Personal Accountability – The capacity to evaluate professional actions and decisions, accepting responsibility and accountability and seeing new possibilities based on the examination and analysis of personal performance.


Qualified candidates will have at least five years of senior development and fundraising experience with demonstrated success securing six-figure major individual and legacy gifts, as well as corporate, foundation, and government support. An experienced and successful fundraiser, this individual will have a proven ability to achieve contributed revenue goals while being cognizant of best practices, trends, and innovations in the development arena. Candidates will also have depth and breadth of knowledge in strategic advancement, membership programs, annual fund giving, and prospect research. Leading candidates will be technologically savvy and possess knowledge of and interest in emerging trends in securing philanthropic support. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience plus evidence of significant, substantial, and increasing responsibility in a senior development role within an entrepreneurial, cultural, higher education, and/or social action organization are required. Candidates must also demonstrate strong written, verbal, and presentation skills with proven effectiveness in building partnerships and community relationships with racially, culturally, and socioeconomically diverse groups and individuals, as well as with corporations, foundations, and government agencies. Multilingual candidates are appreciated.

Compensation and Benefits

The Festival offers competitive compensation with employee benefits that include an excellent individual health insurance plan, dental benefits, paid parental and bereavement leave, vacation, paid time off, tax deferred annuity, and flexible spending account plan, among others. The starting salary is expected to be in the range of $100,000 to $125,000 with other compensation package items to be negotiated as appropriate.

Applications and Inquiries

To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit For questions or general inquiries about this opportunity, please contact:


Dr. Bruce D. Thibodeau


Arts Consulting Group

292 Newbury Street, Suite 315

Boston, MA 02115-2801

Tel        (888) 234.4236 Ext. 201



International Festival of Arts & Ideas is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate or

permit discrimination against any person or group of persons on the basis of race, color, religious creed, age, sex, transgender status, gender identity or expression, marital or pregnancy status, national origin, ancestry, present or past history of mental disability, intellectual disability, learning disability, military status, lawful source of income, sexual orientation or physical disability, or any other class of persons or categories protected by law.

 The Festival believes in centering Black and Brown communities that are targeted and abused by unjust systems of oppression. The Festival stands in solidarity with the communities, artists, and speakers with whom it collaborates and pledges that its support extends beyond the Festival’s performance dates. The Festival will do everything it can to help dismantle systematic racism and raises its voice with those in the community who are already engaged in this vital work. The Festival commits to working alongside the community to create transformative change in New Haven.

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