The Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra is a dynamic, nationally recognized, musician-led organization whose mission is to excite, engage, and transform diverse audiences with the beauty and power of great music through its inclusive community of musicians and community members. Founded in 1989 by members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra, the Chicago Philharmonic serves a unique and important role in Chicago’s music ecosystem, providing self-presented concerts in Chicago and the North Shore, community engagement services to people of all ages and backgrounds, and contractual collaborations with local and international organizations. Governed under a groundbreaking structure of musician leadership and influenced in part by the Berlin Philharmonic and London Symphony orchestras, the Chicago Philharmonic is the only orchestra in the United States of its kind, imparting an extraordinary level of ownership to its 200-plus musician members. The Philharmonic’s “community of musicians” are among the Chicago area’s top classical performers. Known nationally for its innovative programming and artistic achievements in performance, the Chicago Tribune has called the Chicago Philharmonic “one of the country’s finest symphonic orchestras.”
The basis for the Chicago Philharmonic’s success is its egalitarian organizational structure and commitment to its responsibility to push toward equity and inclusion in Chicago’s ever-evolving arts community. The Chicago Philharmonic reaches more than 150,000 audience members annually through self-produced concerts, contractual performances, chamber events, and community engagement programs. The Chicago Philharmonic has performed more than 600 concert events in the last 25 years in venues such as the Harris Theater for Music and Dance and Millennium Park in Chicago, Pick-Staiger Hall in Evanston, and the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie. The Chicago Philharmonic has performed on tour in New York at Lincoln Center and at the Penderecki European Centre of Music in Poland.
Scott Speck has served as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor since 2013. The Philharmonic’s repertoire has expanded through the years to become more vibrant and diverse. This provides audiences with a more inclusive concert experience that covers the full spectrum of classical music from Baroque to contemporary. The Chicago Philharmonic has performed under the baton of celebrated conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Jesús López-Cobos, and Sir Andrew Davis and with artists as diverse as Joshua Bell, Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
Since its inception, the Chicago Philharmonic has engaged in a range of community engagement initiatives that connect Chicago-area youth to classical music with programs such as Chi Phil AMP (Academy of Music Performance), Side by Side with the Chicago Philharmonic, Families to the Phil, NEXT!, and Spotlight.
The Chicago Philharmonic has served as the official orchestra of The Joffrey Ballet since 2012. The Philharmonic has long-standing artistic relationships with the Ravinia Festival, the Harris Theatre, the Auditorium Theatre, the Pitchfork Music Festival, the Chicago Theatre, City Winery of Chicago, and other outstanding organizations. The Chicago Philharmonic was named the Professional Orchestra of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras in 2018.
Terell Johnson was appointed Executive Director in 2021 following the retirement of long-time Executive Director, Board member, and flutist Donna Milanovich. He leads a professional staff of seven; the organization’s annual operating budget is $2.5M. The Chicago Philharmonic is supported by a 25-member musician-majority Board of Directors. Thomas Manning is Board Chair; Paul R. Judy is Chairman Emeritus.
The Chief Development Officer will identify, engage, cultivate, solicit, and steward current and prospective individual donors in making financial investments in the Chicago Philharmonic. This includes providing overall direction for Chicago Philharmonic’s individual giving program by building authentic relationships with individual donors and matching appropriate programs and campaigns to donors’ philanthropic priorities. A motivating leader and creative fundraiser, the Chief Development Officer will be responsible for growing overall gifts from individuals with a focus on mid- and major-level giving, setting and meeting annual revenue goals and contributing to capital campaign revenue goals, and working with an assigned portfolio of donors and prospects to advance the mission of the organization with a data-driven approach. Outreach will predominantly occur in the Greater Chicagoland area with strategic focus on Chicago and surrounding suburbs.
The Chief Development Officer plans and executes a comprehensive development program to ensure that the Chicago Philharmonic achieves its annual and long-term goals for contributed income from all sources. The Chief Development Officer ensures that the highest standards of professionalism and excellence are maintained in the execution of all Chicago Philharmonic development activities.
The Chief Development Officer (CDO) reports to the Executive Director and oversees a team of two. The CDO works closely with the Executive Director and Board leadership in identifying, cultivating, and soliciting donors and providing excellent stewardship for gifts. The CDO builds relationships with donors to secure and sustain their gifts and creates opportunities to match subscribers’ and other stakeholders’ interests with organizational needs and programs. The Chief Development Officer provides guidance and support to the fundraising efforts of the Board and provides staff support to the Board’s Nominating and Governance Committee. The Chief Development Officer also works closely with the Marketing Manager to ensure a graduated patron/donor continuum of experience for patrons/donors.
The Chief Development Officer is responsible and accountable to reach or exceed annual development goals of $750,000 in FY23 and $1M in FY24. The CDO gives significant time and attention to major gift development from individuals as well as grants and contributions from corporations, foundations, and government. The CDO oversees special project fundraising and special events and manages a planned giving program. The CDO ensures that the necessary systems and processes are in place for recording, acknowledging, and reporting gifts and complying with grant requirements, donor expectations, audit requirements, and government regulations. The Chief Development Officer also collaborates closely with the Director of Personnel and Operations to achieve budget goals and cash flow projections.
The Chief Development Officer is an integral part of the leadership team that works with the Executive Director to ensure that the Board, musicians, and staff of the Chicago Philharmonic are fully aligned around vision, mission, and values in serving their art and their community. The Chief Development Officer is an active participant in the arts, culture, and community of greater Chicago.
The ideal candidate will be a leader who combines a track record of success in achieving annual fundraising goals in excess of $600,000 with a deep personal interest in and enthusiasm for symphony orchestras and the music they play. Experience working as a development officer or senior executive with a professional orchestra, although not required, will be considered an asset. Experience working within the Chicago not-for-profit philanthropic community is preferred.
The successful candidate will be a strategic thinker with excellent planning, management, and organizational skills. The candidate will be able to speak and write persuasively about the importance of symphony orchestras in general and the Chicago Philharmonic in particular. The candidate will be a good listener with a genuine interest in the passions, ideas, and accomplishments of the Philharmonic’s current and potential stakeholders.
The ideal candidate will be a collaborator and a team player who appreciates the unique organizational structure of the Chicago Philharmonic. The candidate will have excellent management, organizational, mentoring, and supervisory skills. The candidate will have the demonstrated ability to work effectively with a volunteer Board and Board committees. The candidate will be skilled and experienced in working with diverse community populations and organizations and have a strong commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion as core values of the Chicago Philharmonic.
The successful candidate will be an experienced major gifts officer with the demonstrated ability to build, nurture, and sustain relationships that match funding opportunities with the interests of individual donors. The candidate will have a deep respect for philanthropy and the leadership skills to foster and maintain an environment that reflects that respect throughout the organization.
The successful candidate will have hands-on experience managing a fundraising office, systems, and technology, including budgeting, recordkeeping, donor research, reporting, gift acknowledgement, donor benefits, and compliance with the terms and conditions of restricted gifts. Familiarity with Salesforce will be an asset.
The successful candidate will be creative, curious, flexible, and persistent. The candidate will be a person of the highest integrity and ethical standards. The candidate will be able to accept a work schedule that includes concerts and events on evenings and weekends. The successful candidate will welcome the opportunity to become an active member of the Chicago community.
The compensation range for this position is $85,000 to $95,000 depending on qualifications and experience.
The Chicago Philharmonic is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion in all facets of the organization and welcomes recommendations, nominations, and applications from all qualified candidates regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or national origin.
Please prepare a cover letter that describes your specific interest in the Chicago Philharmonic and outlines your qualifications for the position. Please submit with a resume, salary requirements, and contact information for at least three professional references. Electronic submissions are requested. All applications will be treated as confidential and references will not be contacted without the candidate’s knowledge and agreement.
Please submit material in Adobe PDF or Microsoft Word format
Additional Salary Information: The compensation range for this position is $85,000 to $95,000 depending on qualifications and experience.
About Chicago Philharmonic
Formed in 1998, the Catherine French Group works with symphony orchestras, opera companies, performing arts presenters, music festivals, schools of music, and other music and arts organizations as they recruit chief executives, senior management, and artistic personnel. The Catherine French Group is based in Washington, DC. Catherine French is founder and principal. Musician, administrator, and educator Christopher Wingert joined CFG in 2005 and is Managing Director. Henry Fogel, former CEO of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and former Dean of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, collaborates on projects that have a special focus on music directors and artistic directors.
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