Van Wezel Foundation - Chief Advancement and Marketing Officer

FL, Sarasota

Sarasota, Florida is one of the nation’s fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the country and celebrated for its robust arts and culture offerings. The city is investing hundreds of millions of dollars upgrading its vibrant bayfront to accommodate this growth and provide a truly superior urban experience for a rich array of permanent and seasonal residents and visitors from all over the world. Central to this enormous project is the development of a world class major performing arts center.

The Van Wezel Foundation (aka, the Sarasota Performing Arts Foundation) is partnering with the city, other regional municipalities, private philanthropists and foundations to build and operate what will be the performing arts centerpiece of the bayfront master plan development project and the entire gulf coast region. To accomplish this ambitious goal, the Foundation seeks a chief advancement and marketing officer (CMAO) to drive this transformative legacy project and fundraising campaign.

The Foundation’s aspirations are inspiring. The new performing arts center will be a public-private partnership in which the City of Sarasota and the Foundation will be the principal participants. Completing the project – construction, operations and programming – will require funding of more than $275 million, of which 50% is anticipated to be raised from philanthropic sources. The quiet phase of this campaign is underway, and the effort is anticipated to require at least five years to complete. The result will be a resource for multiple and diverse communities at the heart of a rejuvenated urban landscape in one of the nation’s most beautiful settings. 

Success in this role requires an experienced and seasoned fundraiser with significant leadership experience in a major comprehensive or capital campaign. A personal track record of success as a major and principal gift fundraiser is required, and a record of success working with major foundations is preferred. The successful candidate will demonstrate experience leading strategic marketing and communications in pursuit of philanthropic investment. 

As a member of the Foundation’s executive leadership team and reporting to Chief Executive Officer, Cheryl Mendelson, the CMAO will work directly with high-profile board members and other volunteers; thus, experience working at this level of a complex and aspiring institution is required. Candidates who resonate personally with the arts will be at a decided advantage.

Seldom in one’s career is there an opportunity to play a leadership role in such an expansive, impactful organization and project from the ground up. The chief advancement and marketing officer will make a seminal contribution to a cultural resource of greatest importance to a region of growing size and prominence.

Inquiries, nominations and applications are invited. For formal consideration, applicants should submit a resume and cover letter in response to the opportunities and expectations described within the leadership profile to For fullest consideration, application materials should be received by July 9, 2021.

Confidential inquiries and questions may be directed to the WittKieffer consultants supporting this search – Dennis M. Barden, Melissa Fincher and Lauren Bruce-Stets – at 630-575-6930 or

The Van Wezel Foundation is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.