Director of Development

Gorton Center

Suburban arts & culture hub. Gorton's got it!

Lake Forest, IL

Work Location: In-office

Performing Arts Center

  • Full Time
  • Lake Forest, IL (Remote)
  • Fri, Feb 10, 2023
  • Work Location: In-office
  • Performing Arts Center

Website Gorton Center

Suburban arts & culture hub. Gorton's got it!

The gathering place in the heart of our community
where people connect, converse, learn, listen, play & perform.

Housed in a landmark building in the heart of the North Shore of Chicago,
Gorton Center, a 48-year-old multi-use cultural center at 400 E. Illinois Road,
Lake Forest , IL 60045, is a vibrant, viable and vital hub of activity, serving as “the community’s house” for residents of Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and the surrounding region.

Gorton provides valuable programs for creative-minded people at every stage of their lives. Gorton Center offers unique arts and educational programs for diverse ages and interests, including performing arts, educational and cultural classes and programs for adults and children, camps and workshops, and special events.
Gorton Center is seeking an energetic, experienced Director of Development who wants to be an essential part of the organization’s growth and evolution as a key cultural and educational asset to the region.

The new Director of Development will join an organization with a dynamic Executive Director, stable financial situation, longstanding community support, a supportive Board, and a strong staff with deep experience. Staff and Board share a strong sense of purpose and engagement in the future of Gorton and the possibilities ahead. This position is onsite at Gorton.

Director of Development
Job summary

The Director of Development, along with the Executive Director and Board sets the direction and provides overall management for the organization’s fundraising activities, focused on individual and family foundation giving. The Director of Development directs all fundraising functions for Gorton, including the Annual Fund, Major Gifts, Sponsorships, Planned Giving, Donor Stewardship, and designs and helps coordinate fundraising events and volunteers. Contributed income makes up 25% of the Gorton Center’s roughly $1.6M annual budget. Additionally, Gorton expects to embark upon a campaign for additional facility renovations, exact scope being researched now, and the desired candidate will thrive on growing annual fund and major gifts to new levels commensurate with Gorton’s growth and new and expanded programming goals.

The Director of Development will support the Executive Director and Board in readying the organization and the development office for capital and endowment fundraising initiatives and guide these campaigns. The Director of Development works with the Board of Directors and Development Committee on fundraising activity, and manages a personal portfolio of prospects. This position reports to the Executive Director and supervises a Development Associate.


The Director of Development will:

Lead, inspire, and coach staff and Board to foster a culture of philanthropy throughout the organization.
Work with the Executive Director, Board, and Development Committee to develop strategies for securing contributed income to meet Gorton Center’s annual budgetary needs and special campaign(s). Set annual team fundraising goals and department budgets.

Work with the Board, Development Committee and Executive Director to formulate, implement, and evaluate fiscal goals, key milestones and metrics, plans, objectives, and policies related to overall annual and long-range fundraising goals. Act as main liaison to Board for fundraising activities and manage the Development Committee.

Strategize, guide and support major fundraising campaigns, including the identification, research, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of prospects and donors. Develops budgets, contracts and oversees research and other support services. Directs the creation and generation of collateral materials, systems, policies and protocols for campaign.

Work collaboratively with Board, staff and volunteers to identify high-potential donors and prospects, make assignments, develop and implement customized strategies for the engagement of those individuals.
Engage prospective donors through personalized activities and events targeted to their interests and needs.

Help orient and train Board and fellow staff members in fundraising best practices.
Plan strategic fundraising events, in collaboration with the special events team.
Oversee a Development Associate focused on annual fund.

Work productively with vendors and consultants as needed (donor research, data management, communications, collateral materials, events).

Outstanding candidates will possess:
• Genuine enthusiasm for Gorton Center’s mission and belief in the role it can play in fostering community.
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills and presentation skills.
• Proven ability and experience working effectively on a team, with a Board, and with volunteers.
• Strong interpersonal, decision-making and leadership skills.
• Ability to manage projects effectively to meet internal and external deadlines and objectives.
• Knowledge of the regional philanthropic environment.
• Experience with annual giving programs.
• Experience with the development and implementation of a major gifts program.
• Knowledge of donor/patron database programs and proficiency with Microsoft Office products.
• Basic skills in digital communications programs such as Zoom, Mail Chimp, etc.
• Basic knowledge of social media communications.

Strategic thinking and creative problem solving skills, and a demonstrated ability to effectively influence internal and external stakeholders.

Track record of successfully building fundraising programs and managing high-level donor relationships.
Substantial fundraising experience, including experience managing leadership volunteers. Campaign experience highly desirable.

Ability to motivate and work effectively with colleagues, Board members, community leaders.

Strong organizational and communication skills.

Flexible, collegial attitude and ability to work well with others.

Some evening and weekend events will be required.

Gorton Center is an equal opportunity employer. The Center seeks talented people of all backgrounds—it values diversity of cultures, races and ethnicities, gender expressions, and abilities. Candidates who are BIPOC, LGBTQ+, bilingual or multilingual, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Compensation and Benefits:

Gorton offers a collegial work environment and the following benefits:
– Salary commensurate with experience
– Health insurance subsidized by Gorton
– 401k program
– Childcare at a greatly reduced rate
– Discounted fees for Gorton events and programs
– Free parking

Gorton Center currently houses:

The John & Nancy Hughes Theater, a 309-seat multipurpose proscenium theater, with a state-of-the-art cinema system that is home to a robust and growing film program featuring festivals, forums, live music, lectures, storytelling, performing arts and special presentations, as well as event rental space.

The Stuart Community Room, a 125-seat flexible space and other unique spaces for classes, camps, performance, presentation, meetings, events or community gatherings, also available for event rental.

A Children’s Learning Center providing the highest quality of care and early childhood education to children from 6 weeks to 5-years-old.

Gorton Center supports other nonprofit cultural and social service organizations serving over 100,000 of their own constituents by providing offices at below market rate and cost-effective meeting, event, rehearsal, and performance venues.

Gorton’s Vision: The center recently adopted a new three-year strategic plan that incorporates a new vision: The destination for arts, entertainment and learning that fosters connection across all ages.

The Opportunity

The Gorton Center’s activity did not halt during the past two years, even if in-person gathering did. Gorton presented programs virtually and began a summer outdoor series in 2020 that has continued each summer since, and brought patrons back indoors when it was safe to do so. This year, Gorton began a strategic planning process on the heels of a successful completion of the previous plan. As part of this process, Gorton conducted a community survey, spoke to key constituents, and involved the entire board and staff in visioning exercises to guide its ongoing evolution as a creative home that is inclusive and enticing to people in its communities and the region. Many conversations have shaped the outlines of the next phase of Gorton Center.

As part of the strategic plan, Gorton Center will embark on a campaign to the raise financial support needed to support the goals of the plan. It is an opportunity for the center to newly engage and renew our community’s involvement with Gorton and its rich resources. The new Director of Development will work with the Board, Executive Director and consultants to develop campaign goals and objectives and to direct the overall campaign.
Also important to the strategic plan is a goal to institutionalize donor cultivation and stewardship efforts. While happening now in ad hoc ways, this is a natural evolution of Gorton’s development processes, which were strengthened extensively in the last plan in the areas of annual fund and internal metrics.

Gorton Center seeks an energetic, experienced and smart Director of Development who wants to be an essential part of a beloved organization’s growth and evolution as a key cultural and educational asset to the region.

To apply for this job email your details to