Assistant Director of Development , Wharton Center for Performing Arts

Posted on 02/11/2019

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI

Wharton Center for Performing Arts is founded with a purpose to make life more meaningful through experiencing the performing arts.  We engage our diverse community through dynamic programming including national touring Broadway productions, music, dance and theatre.  Furthermore, Wharton Center presents a comprehensive series of arts education programs and community engagement activities through our Education Institute.  Reaching approximately 30,000 learners each season, the Institute connects learners of all ages to the performing arts by offering a wide range of interactive educational opportunities.

Reporting to the Director of Development for Wharton Center for Performing Arts, the Assistant Director of Development will work collaboratively to plan and implement a comprehensive fundraising program to sustain and build on the goals of Wharton Center.  This highly motivated individual works closely with key staff at Wharton Center including communications and marketing, ticketing, operations and the education institute, to ensure a holistic approach to building a robust culture of philanthropy.  The selected candidate should have an understanding of and appreciation for the arts and humanities in order to build upon the foundation of the existing advancement program.

The Assistant Director manages the annual fund campaign including individual and corporate solicitation; oversees grant management including research, proposal writing and administration of grants; serves as staff liaison for several of Wharton’s volunteer boards and committees; engages and solicits a portfolio of 120 discovery and donor prospects.

The development team focuses heavily on cultivating single ticket buyers and season subscribers into donors.  This annual fund donor base serves as our core prospects for major/planned gifts.  Wharton Center has collaborative partnerships with Broadway Grand Rapids and the City Opera House in Traverse City which also provides opportunities to cultivate donors from outside the mid-Michigan region.


Knowledge equivalent to that which normally would be acquired by completing a four-year college degree program in Arts Management, Communications, Public Relations, Marketing and/or Business; one to three years of related and progressively more responsible or expansive work experience in professional fund raising, public relations, marketing, higher education fund raising or a related field; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.  Valid driver’s license as travel is required.


Bachelor’s Degree preferred; three years of progressively responsible professional experience in higher education development, fundraising, or within arts management; meaningful experience in or knowledge of all key development areas (major giving, grant writing, annual fund, planned giving, and corporate and foundation relations); superior communication skills and the ability to connect with a variety of audiences; desire to learn more about different performing arts genres; motivated by and comfortable working to meet metrics including donor visits, dollars raised, and proposals submitted; clear and effective written and oral presentations; working knowledge of tax laws affecting charitable giving; ability to travel at least regionally and occasionally nationally.

If you have any questions regarding this position, please contact Suzette Hittner, Executive Director of Constituency Programs at [email protected].

All candidates must submit an application and resume through the Michigan State University Human Resources web-based system.  The URL for this website is Please indicate the position number 558316 when submitting your application.

Screening of applicants will continue until the position is filled.

MSU is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. MSU is committed to achieving excellence through cultural diversity.  The university actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, veterans and persons with disabilities.

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