About Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation
Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation (“Ailey”) was founded and built on a key premise: no limitations.
For more than 60 years, the Ailey organization has furthered the pioneering vision of the choreographer, dancer, and cultural leader Alvin Ailey by building an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training and education, and community programs for all. Since its founding, the Ailey organization has been widely recognized for its unparalleled artistry and commitment to social change.
More than a dance company, this performing arts community plays a crucial social role, using the beauty and humanity of the African American heritage and other cultures to unite people of all races, ages, and backgrounds. Housed within the Joan Weill Center for Dance, the largest building dedicated to dance in New York City, the Ailey organization includes:
- Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater grew from a now-fabled performance in March 1958 at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. Led by Alvin Ailey and a group of young African American modern dancers, that performance changed forever the perception of American dance. The Ailey company has gone on to perform for an estimated 25 million people at theaters in 48 states and 71 countries on six continents – as well as millions more through television broadcasts, film screenings, and online platforms.
- Ailey II: Ailey II is universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country’s best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today’s most outstanding emerging choreographers. Founded in 1974 as the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, the company embodies Mr. Ailey’s pioneering mission to establish an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training, and community programs for all people. Ailey II has flourished into one of the most popular modern dance companies, combining a rigorous touring schedule with extensive community outreach programs.
- The Ailey School: The Ailey School has been training world-class dancers since Alvin Ailey first opened his school in Brooklyn, NY in 1969. Guided by Mr. Ailey’s mission that dance is for everybody, its prestigious faculty trains 3,500 students annually in its Professional Division and Junior Division programs for aspiring dancers, as well as open classes for professionals.
- The Ailey Extension: Offers “Real Dance for Real People” by making dance accessible to everyone with recreational classes open to dance enthusiasts of all levels. The Ailey Extension embodies Mr. Ailey's legacy that dance comes from the people and should be given back to the people.
- Arts In Education & Community Programs: The mission of Ailey Arts In Education & Community Programs (AIE) is to cultivate and energize youth and adults to take, make, and see dance. Through its school and community outreach programs, the Ailey organization inspires audiences to explore their own creativity and experience the joy of dance.
Moreover, the Ailey organization has developed civic partnerships and hubs in Atlanta and Kansas City.
Mr. Ailey said, “I am trying to show the world we are all human beings, that color is not important, that what is important is the quality of our work, of a culture in which the young are not afraid to take chances and can hold onto their values and self-esteem, especially in the arts and in dance. That’s what it’s all about to me.”
Before his untimely death in 1989, Alvin Ailey named Judith Jamison as his successor, and over the next 21 years, she brought the company to unprecedented success. Ms. Jamison, in turn, personally selected Robert Battle to succeed her in 2011, and The New York Times declared he “has injected the company with new life.”
Today, the company continues Mr. Ailey's mission by presenting important works of the past and commissioning new ones. In all, more than 235 works by over 90 choreographers have been part of the Ailey company’s repertory.
In keeping with its values, the Ailey organization will continue to honor the legacy and achievements of Mr. Ailey by achieving ever-greater heights of excellence, pursued with integrity, commitment, and creativity – now and into the future.
About Alvin Ailey
Alvin Ailey was born on January 5, 1931, in Rogers, Texas. His experiences of life in the rural South would later inspire some of his most memorable works. He was introduced to dance in Los Angeles, and his formal dance training began with an introduction to Lester Horton’s classes. Horton, the founder of one of the first racially integrated dance companies in the United States, became a mentor for Mr. Ailey as he embarked on his professional career. After Horton’s death in 1953, Mr. Ailey became director of the Lester Horton Dance Theater and began to choreograph his own works.
In 1958, he founded Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater to carry out his vision of a company dedicated to enriching the American modern dance heritage and preserving the uniqueness of the African American cultural experience. Mr. Ailey pioneered programs promoting arts in education, particularly those benefiting underserved communities. Throughout his lifetime, he was awarded numerous distinctions, including the Kennedy Center Honor in 1988 in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to American culture. In 2014, he posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, in recognition of his contributions and commitment to civil rights and dance in America.
When Mr. Ailey passed away on December 1, 1989, The New York Times said of him, “you didn’t need to have known [him] personally to have been touched by his humanity, enthusiasm, and exuberance and his courageous stand for multi-racial brotherhood.”
Mr. Ailey is globally recognized as one of the most important figures in American dance, and a key leader in the Civil Rights movement. At a time when tensions are high and the principles of racial and social justice are again at the forefront, his legacy stands tall.
For more information on the Ailey organization, please visit its website.
Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, one of the pre-eminent and most beloved dance institutions in the world, seeks a dynamic leader to oversee all fundraising for its unique and diverse range of artistic and educational programs. Reporting to the Chief External Affairs Officer, the Managing Director of Development will manage a staff of 12 and work closely with the Board of Trustees. This position will oversee a diversified fundraising portfolio comprised of leading foundations, major corporate sponsors (both domestic and international), individual philanthropists, and high-profile fundraising Galas. The successful candidate will have at least 10 years of senior-level management experience, a proven track record in top-tier fundraising, an understanding and appreciation of dance, and the ability to work creatively and collaboratively with other members of the senior management team.
The Managing Director of Development plays a key role in developing the funding strategies and campaigns to support Ailey’s initiatives while also managing and participating in the organization’s complex day-to-day fundraising operations.
The Managing Director of Development leads the strategy, development, and implementation of a broad-based funding program to support the Ailey organization’s ongoing programs as well as new projects and initiatives.
Specific responsibilities include:
- Developing and managing plans for achieving the annual fundraising goal for the organization’s operating budget through contributions from individuals, corporate sponsors, foundations, government agencies, and fundraising Galas.
- Assuming a hands-on, creative, leadership role with the Major Gifts program, focusing on the identification, cultivation, and solicitation of individual donors.
- Working together with the Board Chairman and other Board leadership to manage and maximize fundraising efforts, particularly with regard to Gala fundraising events which currently comprise 1/4 of the organization’s annual contributed income.
- Working closely with the Chairman of the Nominating & Governance Committee to identify and recruit new Board members.
- Working closely with the Co-Chairs of the Development Committee to create and implement a strategy for donor and prospect engagement and cultivation.
- Launching special campaigns to support new initiatives, including potential capital projects.
- Taking an active leadership role in targeted fundraising efforts, including the Parents Annual Fund for The Ailey School, the Young Patrons Circle, the Ailey Worldwide Virtual Membership program, and the Ailey & Atlanta program.
- Developing and expanding fundraising through digital and social media.
- Overseeing numerous events and ensuring that they are creative, well-planned, efficiently executed, and cost-effective, with strategies for follow-through and solicitation.
- Recruiting, training, and motivating a high-performing team of fundraising professionals.
- Managing outside consultants on an as needed basis.
- Working collaboratively, especially with colleagues in marketing and public relations, to find synergies whenever possible and ensuring the continuation of the organization’s holistic approach to engaging and communicating with its patrons.
While no one candidate will possess every quality outlined for this position, strong candidates will bring many of the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:
An Expert in Development
The Managing Director will set and meet ambitious goals to continue supporting the company’s artistic output at the highest level, continually elevating the patron experience by growing resources for Ailey’s future innovations. The Managing Director will be a results-driven and experienced leader in the field of development with a measurable record of success within a complex environment. The Managing Director will have a proven understanding of a wide range of fundraising channels, including soliciting individuals, foundations, and corporations. As a senior member of the External Affairs team, this leader will be a confident partner to the Chief External Affairs Officer, Executive Director, and others, providing strategic guidance in the cultivation of prospective funders. A tactical leader, the Managing Director will also bring a strong data and analysis orientation and a proven ability to use metrics to drive development decisions and achieve strategic objectives.
Strategic Thinking and Planning
The Managing Director will have a proven record of converting strategy into effective execution. This leader will exhibit intellectual curiosity, including the ability to listen to and learn from multiple voices in a complex environment. The Managing Director will be a results-oriented leader who, along with the Executive Director and Chief External Affairs Officer, sets and articulates a vision for the Ailey organization’s next fundraising chapter, builds and executes the strategy, and evaluates outcomes with a metrics-based approach. This leader will have the ability to think creatively and collaboratively about Ailey’s development goals while remaining focused on details and follow-through. The Managing Director will have experience affecting change in a large organization, strong process management skills, and a strong ability to coordinate across departments and with Board Members. This leader will be a builder with the ability to set priorities decisively, delegate responsibilities, assure accountability, and allocate resources to ensure results.
Change Agent and Team Builder
As a partner in the strategic reinvention of the Ailey organization’s development efforts, the Managing Director will be an invaluable asset. This leader will partner with other senior staff and the Board of Trustees to explore and capitalize on opportunities to increase the Ailey organization’s present reach, transcending barriers and ensuring the organization achieves new heights. Leading the development team, the Managing Director will have a strong reputation as an indefatigable coach and mentor. This leader will lead the organizational transformation of the development team to achieve ambitious fundraising goals in a changing philanthropic environment, with added focus on major gifts and patron engagement, which are key opportunities for the Ailey organization. This leader will make it their mission to strengthen the capacity and success of the development team through a continued focus on shared responsibility and effective delegation. The Managing Director will be skilled in guiding the team to leverage their strengths while continuing to grow through professional development and thoughtful collaboration with colleagues. Moreover, this leader will support the continued evolution of the broader External Affairs team with a keen eye towards organizational effectiveness and development.
A Relationship Builder and Communicator
An engaging leader, the Managing Director will bring an ability to build rapport with a wide range of supporters to successfully convey Ailey’s mission and objectives. Collaborating closely with the Chief External Affairs Officer and Executive Director, the Managing Director will design and implement a comprehensive, multi-faceted communication and stewardship strategy which continues to ensure patron and donor satisfaction. Skilled in leading through influence and persuasion, the Managing Director will have a motivating approach to building collaboration and buy-in and generating support from stakeholders. Internally, the Managing Director will be able to develop strong working relationship and will be a proactive communicator at all times.
Passion for the Legacy and Mission of the Ailey Organization
If not already a dance lover, this leader will have an openness to embracing the art. This leader will also bring an appreciation for the Ailey organization’s legacy while continually innovating alongside the leadership team and Board to help expand its brand and reach. The Managing Director will have an eye consistently focused on the future and how to best adapt the organization in a rapidly changing environment. Moreover, this leader will be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics, and values, paired with an excellent sense of humor — someone who can be trusted without reservation. Most importantly, the ideal candidate will believe in the power of dance to transform individuals and their communities and to create social change.
In addition, strong candidates will bring:
- A minimum of 10 to 15 years of significant leadership experience in fundraising with a track record of working with a diverse range of major funders, preferably with a cultural organization.
- In-depth experience working in close partnership with senior management and trustees on major philanthropic initiatives, including capital campaigns.
- A strong track record in Major Gifts with emphasis on identifying, cultivating, and soliciting high-level individual donors.
- Experience in managing a team of highly skilled fundraising professionals.
- Established networks in New York philanthropic circles, preferred.
- Understanding of need to work evenings and weekends, and travel when necessary.
Compensation & Benefits
The salary range for this role is $220,000 - $245,000. The Ailey organization’s benefits include an employer-provided health/dental insurance, Flexible Spending Account (FSA), retirement plan, and savings on transit/parking.
Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Chartise Clark and Tracy Michelle León of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search.
To express interest in this role please submit your resume and cover letter here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email NonprofitSearchOps@divsearch.com. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.
Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Employment is based upon personal capabilities and qualifications without discrimination based on race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, marital status, veteran status, citizenship status, or any other protected characteristic as established by law.
About Koya Partners
Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.