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Director of Development

Ox-Bow School of Art
Saugatuck & Douglas, Michigan; travel required
Closing date
Feb 4, 2022

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Focus Areas
Arts / Culture / Humanities
Job Function
Development / Fundraising
Position Type
Full Time
Degree Level
Willingness to Travel
Experience Level
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Position Summary: 

Ox-Bow School of Art is currently seeking a Development Director to lead fundraising initiatives under the direction of the Executive Director. Working closely with the Executive Director, Director of Finance and Administration, events project team and members of the Board of Directors, the Director of Development will develop and implement a strategic fundraising plan to raise vital funds in support of Ox-Bow’s programs, operations, scholarships, capital and endowment funds.

The successful candidate will have strong interpersonal skills; demonstrated experience managing patron, sponsor and foundation relationships; have a track-record of leading successful fundraising initiatives and events; have a history of leading effective campaigns in a cost and time efficient manner and have the capacity to innovate development approaches that reflect Ox-Bow’s mission, history, stakeholders and artistic vision. The right candidate has excellent communication skills and is capable of playing a key role in public relations for the organization, speaking fluently, authentically and passionately about Ox-Bow’s history, mission, impact and potential. The right candidate will be exceptional at motivating staff, board and donors in support of the organization and its fundraising efforts.

The Director of Development will be responsible for developing fundraising campaigns and events;  fostering and managing relationships with patrons, corporate and in-kind sponsors; communicating with current and prospective donors; building and leading a strong new development team including contractors associated with fundraising initiatives/events; working with the development and fundraising board committee; and compiling and furnishing quarterly development reports for the Board of Directors. This position involves managing individual and corporate gifts as well as planned and annual giving campaigns.

The Director of Development is focused on the growth of Ox-Bow and its capacity to execute its program, sustain its operations and deliver on its mission.

This is a full-time exempt position reporting to Ox-Bow’s Executive Director. The position requires a presence on campus and in the main office in Saugatuck/Douglas, MI.  It is ideal for a candidate living within a 40-mile commuting radius. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Develop long term funding strategy to support organizational growth working under the direction of the Executive Director and in collaboration with the Director of Finance and Administration, events project team and the Board of Directors
  • Work to ensure that a development mindset is woven throughout the organization (Board committees, marketing and communications, program collaborations, events)
  • Align development strategy and associated financial goals for the following:
  • Special Events
  • Annual Fund
  • Corporate and Foundation Relations
  • Grants
  • Individual Patrons

Special Initiatives

  • Facilitate capital and special campaigns as needed
  • Continue to identify and implement opportunities to build Ox-Bow’s endowment fund
  • Manage two fundraising events per year; one on campus and one in Chicago
  • Work with events team to support other earned income programs, including tickets sales, and securing sponsorships or other in-kind gifts

Relationship Building/Communication

  • Build relationships with the Board and other ad-hoc committees
  • Develop an active volunteer base in support of fund development efforts
  • Identify prospective individual and corporate donors and develop strategies to cultivate those relationships with the Executive Director
  • Maintain ongoing communications with individual, foundation and corporate donors


  • Research appropriate funding opportunities in alignment with program strategies
  • Identify and co-create the necessary support materials to communicate Ox-Bow’s relevance to funders and the broader community


  • Work to align and manage priorities and objectives for, and assess the success of:
  • Annual fundraising campaign
  • Donor recognition
  • Events
  • Engagement of Board, staff and volunteers
  • Ensure timely and accurate report deliveries to funders, including named endowed funds and granting agencies
  • Collaborate with board, staff and volunteers in management and planning of fundraising events and donor receptions
  • Work with communications team to develop print marketing materials related to fundraising
  • Continue to build and oversee Ox-Bow’s development database so that it becomes an effective development tool.
  • Oversee PT staff and contractors as determined with Executive Director with delegation of administration tasks (including grant writing and database management) and events coordination
  • Attend professional meetings and conferences as Ox-Bow’s representative, determined by agreement with the Executive Director

Education / Job Experience / Certification

  • Bachelor degree (master preferred) in business administration, communications, public administration, philanthropy, nonprofit management, arts administration or related field
  • 3+ years experience in arts non-profit fundraising
  • Track record of foundation and major donor relationships
  • Demonstrated success in grant writing
  • Demonstrated success in securing sponsorships
  • 4-6 years experience managing staff
  • 3+ experience working directly with non-profit boards


  • Proficient with Excel, Microsoft Office Suite, and Google suite of products
  • Knowledge of fundraising database platforms, preferably Salsa

Environmental / Physical:

  • Work shifts may include nights and weekends
  • Travel required for the job

Special Qualifications:

  • Ability to work independently and across project teams with a strong attention to detail
  • Excellent interpersonal, written and verbal communication skills, ability to translate contemporary art and education to donors
  • Highly organized and motivated
  • Proven leadership
  • Positive & optimistic outlook
  • Expert problem solver who thrives under pressure
  • Proven skills and attention to detail in hospitality
  • Creative, out-of-the-box thinker
  • Finds inspiration in the distinctive or idiosyncratic
  • Comfortable taking creative risks

Working At Ox-Bow

Ox-Bow School of Art, founded in 1910, offers a wide range of opportunities for artists at all stages of their careers. Our campus is nestled on a peninsular interdunal wetland in Saugatuck, MI. With programs that target degree-seeking students, professional artists and those new to the field, Ox-Bow builds a supportive frame in which artists can push their practices in new directions. Ox-Bow’s community is expansive and ever-evolving. Working at Ox-Bow is a unique experience. Our staff consists of both year-round and seasonal positions. Some staff live on campus during their working months, while others commute or work remotely both within the state of Michigan and beyond. 

Working at Ox-Bow is working at the intersection of education, hospitality and culture. Together we seek to create a welcoming environment that nurtures the creative process while building community across generations, career stages, disciplines and identities. With over 100 years of arts education behind us, we have a vast community of alumni, including staff, students, resident artists, faculty, and community supporters, who love and care for Ox-Bow. Working at Ox-Bow is to become part of that community, and help sustain a historic non-profit arts organization for current and future generations of artists and art lovers. 

At Ox-Bow we have a vision to be a place where a diverse mix of talented people want to come, lend their creativity, and work in support of an evolving, yet historic, art school. We pride ourselves on thinking and acting creatively, and recognize that part of what makes us a unique place for both our staff and students, is the talent and dedication of our employees. 

Ox-Bow is committed to diversity and inclusion, we believe deeply in diversity of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity and national origin and work to reflect that in our classrooms, programming, faculty, staff and board.

Equal Opportunity Employment

Ox-Bow is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for its students, visitors, faculty, and staff, and to ensuring that educational and employment decisions are based on an individual’s abilities and qualifications. Ox-Bow does not tolerate unlawful discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, military or former military status, or any other status protected by federal, state or local law, in its programs and activities, public accommodations or employment practices.

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