Chief Advancement Officer

The Whitney Museum of American Art
March 21, 2024
99 Gansevoort Street, New York City, NY
Job Type
Annual Base Salary
$300,000 - $350,000
Location Type


The Whitney Museum of American Art (the Whitney, the Museum) seeks a strategic, innovative, entrepreneurial, and results-oriented Chief Advancement Officer (CAO). The CAO will join the Whitney at a time of unique opportunity and impact following the Museum’s successful and transformative expansion in 2015, and the recent appointment, in 2023, of Scott Rothkopf as the Alice Pratt Brown Director - a dynamic new leader with a focus on aligning the Whitney’s founding mission with ambitious programmatic, audience, and community goals. With values-led initiatives defining the trajectory of the Whitney and its engagement with its various audiences and stakeholders, the CAO will lead all aspects of institutional advancement, translating this vision into new modes of donor engagement and compelling fundraising opportunities, while building a culture of philanthropy that is inclusive of the Whitney’s diverse audiences and constituencies.


Reporting to the director, the CAO will lead the Museum’s comprehensive institutional advancement initiatives and fundraising strategy. This will include stewarding and growing the Whitney’s significant individual giving programs, expanding corporate partnerships and sponsorships via strategic relationships, developing support from foundations, and managing a related program of special events to support brand building, benefit fulfillment, and donor cultivation. With the Whitney’s commitment to expanding audience access, increasing impact, and prioritizing inclusion, the next CAO will bring creativity and innovation to these advancement functions by establishing a structured, proactive, best-practice organization to support the Museum’s ambitious and progressive goals. The CAO role is suited to candidates from a variety of professional backgrounds and experiences including outside of the museum and not-for-profit sectors. Most importantly, the successful candidate will have a proven track record of strategic thinking, data-driven decision making, responsibility for revenue growth, and the ability to lead teams to successful return-driven outcomes.


As a member of the Museum’s senior leadership team, the Management Council, the CAO will be a key partner contributing to the strategies and direction of museum decisions and priorities. The CAO will work closely with, and help shape the development of, the Museum’s Board of Trustees and other key patrons and constituents to advance strategic, long-term relationships for the financial health and sustainability of the institution in the context of a recently revised vision statement and upcoming strategic plan. The CAO will serve as a change agent and holistic architect, leading and setting the policy, strategy, and execution of the work in the advancement department, including individual and institutional philanthropy, special events, and stewardship programs. The CAO will inspire and lead by example, demonstrating the highest standards of cultivation, stewardship, and staff management. In addition to collaboration with the Management Council, the CAO will be a close, collaborative partner with colleagues in the curatorial, education, conservation, publications, and exhibitions management departments, as well as with the finance, legal, human resources, trustee affairs, and other administrative offices. Additionally, the CAO will work closely with the membership, annual fund, business systems, communications, and marketing teams to ensure a seamless and strategic focus on the Museum’s most critical constituencies.


The Whitney seeks a CAO who can capably build on the strengths of the Museum and who is excited and inspired by the singular opportunities in front of the Whitney today. The CAO must have an appreciation for the key opportunities and challenges relevant to cultural art institutions, from changing demographics to matters of audience access, technology, sustainability, and allocation of resources. This individual will possess a minimum of 10 years of experience in positions of increasing responsibility within advancement and demonstrated experience leading complex fundraising programs and campaigns. The CAO should possess strong strategic planning, managerial, and motivational skills; a keen understanding of fundraising best practices; business and marketing savvy; and a track record of personal success in donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship at major and principal gift levels.


This role is an exceptional opportunity for a high-performing individual to partner with a visionary director early in his tenure to further develop an advancement program in support of the Whitney through the implementation of proven methodologies as well as the application of innovative and enterprising strategies.


The Whitney collects, preserves, interprets, and exhibits American art in the broadest context. It values diversity in every aspect of its mission: starting with the art collection it builds and preserves, and extending to the histories it writes through exhibitions and programs, the audiences who engage with the Museum and provide context and meaning for everything it does, and the staff whose voices and experiences shape its work.


The Whitney is committed to creating a work environment where staff, interns, and volunteers of different races, ethnicities, ages, gender identities, sexual orientation, socioeconomic backgrounds, immigration status, and abilities feel not just welcome, but fully included and able to bring their own experiences and aspirations to their work.

Application Instructions

The Whitney Museum of American Art has retained Jack Gorman of the national executive search firm, Isaacson, Miller, to assist in this important recruitment. Confidential inquiries, nominations, and applications should be directed to the search firm at https://www.imsearch.com/open-searches/whitney-museum-american-art/chief-advancement-officer

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