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Director of Development
Category: Manager

The Holden Arboretum
Kirtland, Ohio

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Director of Development

The Holden Arboretum

Nestled in the rolling hills of Northeast Ohio’s Lake and Geauga Counties, The Holden Arboretum ( is one of the largest arboretums in the United States, encompassing over 3,600 acres of cultivated gardens, woody plant collections, and natural forested areas.  The Arboretum was established in 1931 with a bequest from Albert Fairchild Holden.  Albert had set the funds aside to create a memorial to honor his daughter, Elizabeth Davis Holden, who had died in 1908.  Upon Albert’s death, his sister Roberta Holden Bole led the arboretum’s establishment and, with her husband, donated its first 100 acres.   Today, Holden’s mission is to operate as “… an outdoor living museum that promotes the beauty and importance of trees and other woody plants to create sustainable and healthy communities in the Great Lakes region and beyond.”  
The institution focuses on three primary strategic areas: 1) growing trees and communities, 2) conserving native forests, and 3) engaging children with plants.  In addition to acres of breathtaking gardens and natural places, the Holden Arboretum offers extensive educational programming for all ages including schoolchildren; conducts cutting-edge research on ecology and horticulture of woody plants and their environments; collaborates with dozens of local and statewide institutions on numerous initiatives; and hosts community and private events year ‘round. Holden is a beautiful - and very busy - place.
The Holden Arboretum is within $300 thousand of realizing its $8.5 million goal for Phase One of its innovative New Leaf Campaign, which is enabling new and improved gardens, special attractions, and infrastructure improvements.  Phase One highlights include the new Eliot & Linda Paine Rhododendron Discovery Garden and R. Henry Norweb Jr Tree Allée, both opened in May 2013; and a 500-foot-long, 65-foot-high Canopy Walk, anticipated in 2014.  Holden is preparing to segue into subsequent phases to implement the total $60 million New Leaf master plan, which also includes a new Visitor Center and many more new and improved gardens and tree displays. The institution is on strong financial ground with a substantial endowment and a stable, supportive membership along with generous funding from individuals, corporations, and foundations.  Holden’s annual operating budget is around $7 million.  Clement Hamilton, Ph.D., has been The Holden Arboretum’s President and CEO since 2008, and has led public gardens since 1992.   
The Holden Arboretum is seeking an accomplished and sophisticated but down-to-earth fundraising leader to join this organization of exceptionally dedicated professionals and to grow and lead the Arboretum’s diverse fund development initiatives, including its uniquely structured New Leaf Campaign. 
The Director of Development is a member of a talented, engaged, and enthusiastic senior cabinet that reports directly to the President and CEO.  He or she leads a team currently comprised of an Associate Development Officer, Development Database Coordinator, Membership Coordinator, and an Administrative Assistant, in addition to another senior position soon to be recruited.  They have an annual goal of raising approximately $2.5 million from individuals, foundations, corporations, and events, in addition to campaign fundraising.  The Director is the strategic leader of all board- and staff-driven development initiatives and participates in overall institutional planning and management. 
He or she will bring expert perspective to Holden’s fundraising practices, evaluate activities past and present, and help the institution’s fundraising move toward industry benchmarks.  The Director of Development joins a willing team of hardworking colleagues and articulate subject-matter experts who can help tell the Holden story to potential funders.   The ability to work closely and seamlessly with the CEO and Board leadership is essential.  The selected candidate should understand and be able to capably and passionately promote Holden’s vision of Northeast Ohio as a place in which trees, forests, and gardens provide maximum ecological and social benefits to the region’s people and communities.
  • Work with President/CEO, Board members, and Development staff to plan, prioritize, and lead all fundraising activities in support of The Holden Arboretum’s mission and strategic initiatives.  Set and manage toward specific goals for fundraising in major, annual, and planned giving, corporate support, membership, comprehensive/capital campaign giving, program sponsorship, special events, grants, and contracts.  
  • Directly supervise staff:  develop and manage departmental budgets including analysis and forecasting for purposes of institutional planning; implement performance and professional development plans for staff; and encourage open, clear communication among all staff.
  • Report to President/CEO and communicate with Board of Directors on fundraising and related activities, serving as primary liaison with the Development Committee and other fundraising-relevant board committees and task forces; attend all Board meetings. 
  • Work with President/CEO, Board members, and other Holden staff and volunteers in identifying, prioritizing, cultivating, and soliciting prospects for major, planned, and capital gifts. Perform cultivation, stewardship, and record-keeping of donors and members at all levels, and develop effective, creative, and appropriate ways to recognize and engage donors and prospects.
  • Assess the existing membership program and its role in development, working toward ways to increase member engagement and revenue as well as the number of members who also become donors, including planned givers.
  • Serve a primary role in submitting and reporting on grants and contracts, including identifying prospective funding sources, assisting preparation of proposals, and ensuring timely and accurate performance reporting.
  • Collaborate with staff and consultants to ensure that publications and website include fundraising-focused content; develop and write material as needed to support fundraising initiatives; work with Development team and other staff to prepare and produce Annual Report.


  • Bachelor’s degree in any field, with a passion for promoting the understanding and importance of trees, natural environments, and gardens as key elements of healthy and sustainable communities.
  • Ten-plus years of progressively responsible development experience, including three in a management role.  Experience in cultural or educational settings along with deep appreciation for the work of arboretums, public gardens, and museums preferred.
  • Understanding of and experience in all aspects of fundraising, from donor and prospect data management to major gift cultivation, sponsorship, and institutional giving as components of a successful comprehensive fund development strategy.
  • Truly collaborative nature with genuine temperament for negotiation and facilitative decision-making; can model and promote teamwork as leader of the Development team as well as throughout the organization; enjoys reveling in the accomplishments of the whole team.
  • Intelligent, creative thinker who enjoys being part of a smart team and can capably represent an intellectually strong institution.
  • Highly organized with the ability to spot and set priorities for the team while remaining flexible to organizational needs.
  • Assured but diplomatic; able to influence the Board and other constituents on the importance of fundraising and engage them more fully as partners in achieving organizational goals.    
  • Strong professional integrity and grounding in philanthropy with an understanding of legal and ethical implications of fundraising.
  • Solid financial management and analytical skills, including basic accounting knowledge, budget preparation, and forecasting.
  • Proficiency with essential office software; familiarity with Raiser’s Edge, Wealth Engine, and other fundraising-specific tools preferred. 
  • Energetic, hardworking self-starter with an engaging and good-humored personality; brings optimism and flexibility to the task; self-disciplined; dedicated to excellence while keeping things fun.
  • Ability to communicate clearly and concisely, verbally and in writing, to both general public and specialized professional audiences; great listening skills and ability to synthesize information from a variety of sources.
  • Able to represent Holden to its supporters and constituents credibly, enthusiastically, and professionally.
Compensation:  Competitive with excellent benefits.
For Consideration:  Applicants and sources may call or send credentials immediately to:
Herbert Smith, Ph.D., Rebecca Ruben Smith, or Jennie Dawes – Subject Line, “HOLDEN”
H C Smith Ltd.
24000 Mercantile Road, Beachwood, OH 44122 
OFFICE:  (216) 752-9966 or (800) 442-7583
Our client is an equal opportunity employer.

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