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Director of Philanthropy, Palm Beach Opera

Palm Beach Opera invites applications and nominations for the position of Director of Philanthropy, available immediately.


The Organization



Founded in 1961, Palm Beach Opera (PBO) is dedicated to producing opera at an international standard of excellence; to enriching the life of the communities it serves with a diverse offering of programs; and to training the next generation of opera stars.  PBO seasons are comprised of both well-known audience favorites and lesser-known works designed to satisfy both the opera aficionado and new audiences. During an intensive opera season from November to April with year-round community engagement and education programs throughout Palm Beach and surrounding counties, Palm Beach Opera now produces over 250 programs and events per year, reaching over 19,000 individuals per season.


Mainstage performances take place at the 2,200-seat Alexander W. Dreyfoos Hall, part of the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, and feature internationally acclaimed singers, conductors, directors, and designers. The Palm Beach Opera Chorus is comprised of up to 50 local singers who are committed to the highest musical values. The Palm Beach Opera Orchestra is made up of approximately 75 professional musicians who are members of major orchestras both nationally and internationally and travel to Palm Beach specifically for PBO productions.  PBO’s 2019/2020 Season featured Puccini’s Turandot, Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.  PBO’s production of  Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin was unfortunately canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   


Additional annual programs included a Children’s Performance Matinée adapting one of the mainstage operas (The Barber of Seville in February 2019), and a Gala Recital and Dinner (Christian van Horn in February 2020), featuring opera stars such as Renée Fleming, Joyce DiDonato, Michael Fabiano, Matthew Polenzani, and Sondra Radvanovsky.  Past programs have included outdoor opera concerts, symphonic-choral concerts, and the PBO Vocal Competition.


PBO maintains a strong focus on training the next generation of singers, and has been widely recognized for the success of its rigorous three-tiered artist training model. Eighteen participants in the Benenson Young Artist Program and the Bailey Apprentice Artist Program, selected from national auditions, receive extensive training and performance opportunities. Alumni have gone on to sing at major international companies including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, Berlin State Opera, Vienna Opera, etc.  Up to 12 local high school students participate without charge in the PBO Studio, which prepares them to pursue their music education successfully at the college and conservatory level.


PBO has an annual operating budget that is now approaching $6.5M. The Company maintains an endowment of $1.2M, and a Board-restricted reserve fund of $835K.  PBO has posted surpluses over the past few seasons, and has significant future funding secured. The Company is governed by a 26-member Board of Directors.  David Walker is General Director and leads a staff of 16, which expands to a larger team during the season when each production employs up to 300 people. The PBO receives additional support from the Palm Beach Opera Guild.


The Opportunity


The Director of Philanthropy will join Palm Beach Opera at a critical time in the Company’s history as senior leadership seek unique and creative solutions to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is also an exciting time of transition.  After serving as PBO’s Managing Director since 2016, David Walker assumed the role of General Director in the Fall of 2019.  The Director of Philanthropy will be part of a dynamic, fiscally healthy, and well-respected Company with significant opportunities for growth in contributed income and all aspects of patron and revenue development.  The Director will play a major part in planning the PBO’s 60th Anniversary celebration, taking place in the 2021/2022 Season, and will join with the General Director and Board as they assess overall Company future space and facilities needs. 


Palm Beach is a welcoming and vibrant community that values music, art, dance, and other cultural offerings.  The Director of Philanthropy will join an experienced staff and will partner closely with the General Director and a dedicated, supportive, and generous Board of Directors whose reach extends nationally.


The Position


Working closely with the General Director, the Director of Philanthropy is responsible and accountable for the planning and execution of a comprehensive fundraising program to achieve and exceed the Company’s goals for contributed income from all sources, currently $4.5 million.  The Director of Philanthropy executes and builds on existing proven fundraising programs for individual donors; revises, designs, and implements effective fundraising programs for institutional donors; designs and implements an effective planned giving program; and develops strategic initiatives to broaden the Company’s fundraising capacity and donor base.  The Director builds strong relationships with Opera patrons within Palm Beach County, throughout the state of Florida, and beyond.


The Director of Philanthropy leads and oversees all aspects of the Annual Fund Campaign, including major gifts, planned giving, and all individual and institutional giving.  The Director provides leadership and support to fundraising and donor cultivation events, the annual gala, and various program-related activities during the season and throughout the year.  The Director provides guidance and support to the Board’s development efforts.  With the General Director and the Board Governance committee, the Director assists in identifying, recruiting, and cultivating potential Board members.


The Director of Philanthropy reports to the General Director and leads a development team that includes two individual giving managers, a corporate giving and events manager, and a data base coordinator. The Director collaborates with the marketing team to generate solicitation materials and information for donor recognition in publications, newsletters, playbills, annual reports, digital media, and the organization’s website.  The Director regularly attends performances, rehearsals, and events and is an active participant in the greater Palm Beach community.


Candidate Profile


The ideal candidate will be a seasoned executive with a passion for opera and a track record of success generating at least $2 million in annual contributed income. S/he will be able to engage the experienced opera aficionado as well as the first-time opera attendee.  The successful candidate will have significant experience in the design, implementation, and evaluation of a comprehensive program to achieve and exceed fundraising goals for annual fund and major gift campaigns, corporate giving, sponsorships, grants, and special events.  S/he will have the demonstrated ability to lead endowment campaigns and manage planned giving programs.  Experience working with a performing arts organization, though not required, is strongly preferred.


The successful candidate will have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and will be able to work effectively with Board members, staff, community leaders, and volunteers.  S/he will be able to speak and write persuasively about the mission, programs, and financial priorities of Palm Beach Opera.  S/he will have superb planning and organizational skills, and the ability to inspire and motivate a high caliber staff.


The successful candidate will have high ethical standards, personal integrity, and a healthy sense of humor.  S/he will be flexible, adaptable, and energetic.  S/he will be able to accept a work schedule that incudes evening and weekend commitments and occasional travel.




Compensation, including benefits, is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.




Palm Beach Opera is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all facets of the organization.  Palm Beach Opera seeks to develop a diverse candidate pool and welcomes nominations and applications from all qualified candidates.


Please send a cover letter outlining interest and qualifications with resume, salary history or requirements, and contact information for at least three references.  Electronic submissions are preferred.  All applications will be treated as confidential and references will not be called without the candidate’s knowledge and agreement. 


Please send materials to:


Palm Beach Opera – Director of Philanthropy

c/o Catherine French Group

2500 Q Street NW, Suite 623

Washington, DC  20007



MS Word or Adobe Acrobat attachments only

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