Senior Director, Grants and Foundations

Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University
June 18, 2024
1871 North High Street, Columbus, OH
Job Type
Middle Management
Annual Base Salary
Location Type
Work at location


The Senior Director of Grants and Foundations understands the mission, needs and value proposition of the university and the Wexner Center for the Arts to build relationships with prospective donors to increase philanthropic support and engage governmental, corporate foundation, and non-profit stakeholders, and develops and implements short- and long-term plans to secure governmental and foundation grants support to advance the research, educational, programmatic, and land-grant mission of the institution. The successful candidate will actively manage a portfolio of prospective grant and foundation opportunities with a focus on identifying institutional funding opportunities, particularly from foundations and public sources targeting proposals at the $100,000 level and above. Position will focus on special projects that contribute to institutional reputation and advancement (e.g., presentations, case statements, university campaign collateral, drafting speeches/remarks, etc.). They will lead the Wex’s government relations efforts in collaboration with OSU’s Office of Government Affairs.


Preparation for the “ask” will include creative and strategic utilization of resources to determine the prospective funder’s capacity for giving, build their interest, raise their sights, sustain their engagement and obtain a gift. Success in the position will be guided by annual metrics such as number of monthly meetings, number of gift commitments, and dollars raised. Central resources such as a robust donor database and reporting and analytics tools exist to help the role achieve goals and manage an allocated budget.


The position will assist with raising the Wexner Center’s profile campus-wide, community-wide, and within university advancement. Responsibilities will also include developing fundraising projections and managing personal plans to achieve identified annual goals. This position requires exceptional interpersonal skills, and strong writing, editing and project management abilities. A highly self-motivated individual who enjoys working in a team environment will thrive in this role.


The Senior Director reports to the Head of Advancement and operates with a high degree of independence to make decisions, solve problems, negotiate and adapt to shifting priorities. Expectations include stellar communications and interactions with constituents, collaboration with colleagues across Advancement, the Office of Sponsored Programs, Wexner Center Foundation and unit-based grants teams throughout the university as applicable. Authenticity, accountability, diplomacy and discretion are required. This role requires flexibility to travel when needed to accompany faculty and leadership as opportunities arise; travel is typically outside Ohio. Occasional evening and weekend work is required.


All members of Advancement are part of creating an inclusive culture that inspires an exceptionally diverse and talented team and are measured on their adherence to the following core competencies:  leadership, continuous improvement, teamwork and collaboration, and communication/interpersonal effectiveness.


Position will be a super user of various university systems, including but not limited to, Tessitura, The Advancement System (TAS), Workday, Docusign, and any other applicable systems.


Position manages full-time staff members in grant and foundation relations, and a cohort of interns which cycle annually. Position may be required to fill in for intra-team absences on front-line fundraising, advancement events, or other special projects as assigned.


Metrics and Collaboration:

The annual performance of all fundraisers at Ohio State is measured by the number of qualifications, cultivations, solicitations and commitments/dollars raised the individual accrues over each fiscal year.  Each fundraiser may have different expectations regarding these figures based upon, but not limited to, their experience level, unit size, prospect portfolio, past performance, etc.  Goal setting is done with the individual’s manager prior to each fiscal year to assure transparency, consistency and alignment.


All fundraisers at Ohio State are encouraged and expected to collaborate with their colleagues across the institution and can be counted as ‘Secondary’ on a gift in the solicitation, commitment and dollars raised phases of the development cycle.  A secondary fundraiser can be considered when a team is working on a multi-unit gift, the fundraiser is a subject matter expert in an area critical to the solicitation or a fundraiser has a pre-existing, meaningful relationship with the donor and their participation helps move the gift forward.


Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Six years of relevant experience with at least four years of professional fundraising experience (building relationships towards philanthropic end through making calls, conducting face-to-face appointments, creating and presenting proposals, closing gifts) and two years of related experience in marketing, sales, public relations, financial advisement, account management or related field with emphasis on donor cultivation, solicitation and relationship cultivation of individuals/businesses.
  • At least three years of experience leading the proposal development process and securing grants/gifts from private and/or public funders.
  • Ability to travel and work a flexible schedule, including evenings and weekends.


Desired Qualifications (We are dedicated to building a diverse and inclusive workplace and encourage you to apply even if your experience does not align perfectly)

  • Six years of previous fundraising experience soliciting and closing major foundation gifts/grants.
  • Professionally versed in grantsmanship
  • Experience working with high level executives, as well as deans, physicians, and faculty.
  • Experience working in complex research university
  • Experience working with private foundation and/or public sector funders to secure and manage six and seven figure grants.



Additional Information:

Mission Statement

The Wexner Center for the Arts is The Ohio State University’s multidisciplinary laboratory for contemporary art and culture. Through exhibitions, performances, screenings, educational programs, artist residencies, and publications the Wex serves as a vital forum where artists test ideas and where diverse audiences engage the art and issues of our time. In its programs, the Wex balances a commitment to experimentation with a critical appreciation of the past. Our work affirms the university’s pursuit of civic participation, freedom of expression, and robust dialogue.


DEI Statement

The Wexner Center values diversity and offers a supportive, open, and inclusive community. We encourage candidates to apply, regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.


Duties and Responsibilities:

95% - Fundraising Management

  • Contributes to the development and implementation of WCA’s long-range strategy to grow governmental and foundation giving. Engages university and community leadership leadership in idea generation, opportunity matching, proposal development, and donor visits. Identifies, cultivates, solicits and stewards portfolio of foundations in order to secure grants in advancement of WCA programmatic and budgetary goals. Completes work with minimal supervision.
  • Prospect qualification: Builds and manages a portfolio of prospective governmental and foundation donors. Through targeted research, identifies foundations whose priorities align to the mission of the WCA and Ohio State. Determines a funder's values, capacity, interests, key triggers and giving history to gauge capacity, inclination, and potential giving levels.
  • Prospect cultivation: Works with internal partners (i.e., academic leadership, faculty, office of research, office of sponsored programs, development colleagues, governmental relations, and others) to identify programs, and initiatives that align to the priorities of viable foundation prospects. Sets strategy for initial approach based on each funder's process/opportunity. Works to cultivate early fundraising interactions. Develops useful, early state collateral and assists in shaping letters of intent and preliminary contract proposals. Builds meaningful engagement with the institution, leveraging university resources to build and deepen effective partnerships defined by mutual trust and shared priorities/interests.
  • Prospect solicitation: Cultivates a portfolio of top institutional donors and prospects to directly solicit major gifts guided by annual metrics. Raises foundations' sights and builds context for asks via personal visits to foundation offices and on-campus engagement. Works in concert with WCA leadership, financial leadership, programmatic heads and subject matter experts on development of competitive letters of intent and full proposals, providing critical feedback and edits and advising on funder priorities, tone, requirements, formatting, etc. As necessary, coordinates with Wexner Center Foundation, Office of Sponsored Programs, central Advancement, and unit-based grant and execution teams. May serve as lead writer of case statements, letters of intent and proposals for select programs/initiatives. Sets ask levels and key project targets.
  • Stewardship: Manages a pool of stewardship prospects based on giving record and long-term potential. Develops comprehensive stewardship plans and periodic stewardship reports for each foundation, for the purpose of recognition and continuous engagement. Facilitates public and private celebrations. Collaborates with WCA Communications and Marketing  on publishing press releases, where appropriate. Responds to leadership requests related to stewardship.
  • Prospect management: Builds, maintains and serves as primary prospect manager for an assigned and growing portfolio, including those that have not yet established strong giving histories at Ohio State and/or the Wexner Center for the Arts Maintains key prospect and benefactor records for relationship building and gift activities through University Development systems and departmental files including Prospect Tracking and Contact Reports in TAS (and Tessitura as appropriate)

5% - Miscellaneous

  • Participates in ongoing training in basic fundraising activities and strategy. Travels to engage priority donors and prospects. Works with departmental advisory boards; assists in planning and executing comprehensive campaigns for the college; assists in hiring and training new WCA staff; coaches writing and research staff in proposal development;. Performs other fundraising duties as assigned as part of a strong WCA Advancement team.


In accordance with the Disaster Preparedness and University State of Emergency Policy 6/17, this position has been designated as a standby position.


The Wexner Center for the Arts and Office of Advancement is committed to providing tools and resources for you to learn our business, proprietary databases, university-specific processes, and advancement practices.


Use of personal vehicle may be required (mileage reimbursed); work hours vary and include evenings, weekends, and possible holidays.


Full-time schedule is 40 hours per week. Must be flexible to work evenings, weekends, and possible holidays as needed; use of personal vehicle may be required (mileage reimbursed).

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