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Fund for the Arts Louisville President & CEO

Fund for the Arts

President & CEO


Fund for the Arts (The Fund) is a regional nonprofit organization committed to building a vibrant community through the power of the arts. The Fund is a convener, promoter, and leader galvanizing the Greater Louisville community’s support across neighborhoods, schools, community centers, and public spaces. Established in 1949 by Louisville Mayor Charles Farnsley, The Fund has raised more than $245 million since its inception. The annual campaign draws support from more than 20,000 donors each year and raises $8 million to $8.5 million dollars for community investment. This coordinated effort is chaired by civic and corporate leaders in recognition of the arts’ impact on the quality of place and economic outlook of the region. The theme of the 2021 campaign is “Healing and Rebuilding” and an Arts and Race Equity Task Force has been established as part of The Fund’s ongoing commitment to cultural equity.

The Fund plays a crucial role in the development and sustainability of the arts and cultural sector in the region, investing in grants, arts-in-education, capacity building, and strategic initiatives that bolster the vitality of the sector. As the convener of Imagine Greater Louisville, The Fund led the development of the region’s arts and cultural plan, which was adopted in 2017. The plan’s vision, which includes economic development, is to ensure arts access, education, and diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as to cultivate and promote Greater Louisville as a nationally recognized city of the arts.

One of the oldest and strongest united arts campaigns, The Fund facilitates the largest arts grant program in Kentucky, providing operating and project support to 88 arts and cultural organizations. It also supports arts-in-education programs at more than 250 schools and expands access to the arts through partnerships with nearly 30 neighborhood and youth-serving nonprofit partners. The Fund enhances the creative sector by investing in artists and arts leaders to hone their craft through grants, fellowships, and special projects. Other key initiatives of The Fund are NeXt!, a nationally recognized program dedicated to empowering the next generation of emerging professionals to serve in volunteer leadership roles within the arts community; the Culinary & Cultural Arts Initiative, a partnership with the James Beard Foundation that seeks to educate and elevate Kentucky’s diverse food and beverage communities; and the annual Awards in the Arts, which celebrate the extraordinary arts community of the Greater Louisville region.

The Fund is governed by a 46-member board of directors, led by Chairman James “Ja” Hillebrand. The 13-person staff is led by President & CEO Christen Boone, who will be stepping down in June 2021. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, The Fund had total revenue of $5.8 million, with $5.7 million from contributions and grants and $83,419 from program service revenue. Total reported expenses were approximately $7.6 million.


A cosmopolitan city with southern town charm, Louisville is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Home to the Kentucky Derby at the legendary Churchill Downs, Louisville provides plentiful recreational opportunities. The once-industrial riverfront has now been reclaimed and turned into Waterfront Park, an 85-acre urban park visited by 2.2 million people annually. The lively restaurant scene regularly attracts national accolades, including Bon Appetit magazine’s designation of Louisville as one of the best foodie small towns in America. The Urban Bourbon Trail maps 46 bars and restaurants in the city where aficionados can partake in bourbon flights and specialty cocktails, bourbon-infused food, and learn about the distilling of this original American spirit.

The region’s cultural scene is lively and growing. Louisville is one of a select group of cities across the United States to boast a resident orchestra, ballet, opera, regional theater, children’s theater, and fine arts museum. Museum Row on Main is a five-block downtown district that features the Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, Frazier History Museum, KMAC Museum, Kentucky Science Center, Kentucky Performing Arts, and other attractions. The Speed Art Museum, Kentucky Derby Museum, and Actors Theatre of Louisville and its celebrated Humana Festival of New American Plays are also among the city’s renowned cultural institutions.

Located along the banks of the Ohio River, which serves as the border between Indiana and Kentucky, Louisville is the center of a 12-county bi-state metropolitan area with a population of 1.2 million people. Cost of living is well-below the national average, with Forbes ranking Louisville as the fourth most affordable city to raise a child. A strong business sector is anchored by large corporations such as Humana, Yum! Brands, Brown-Forman, and the UPS Worldport at the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport.


Position Summary

The President & CEO will serve as a dynamic and entrepreneurial leader for The Fund and for the region’s arts and cultural sector. This individual will provide the strategic and inspirational vision to strengthen the resiliency and sustainability of arts and cultural organizations and expand their capacity to serve diverse communities, embracing the principles of equity, inclusion, and access. The President & CEO will collaborate with the board of directors and corporate and civic partners in the active pursuit of financial resources to support the strategic plan. They will facilitate relationships with cultural partners, institutional funders, and individual donors, keenly aware of their motivations and interests for funding the arts. The President & CEO will be responsible for overseeing the organization’s financial, operations, fundraising, marketing, human resources, technology, and programmatic strategies. A visible leader, this individual will leverage organizational resources to expand partnerships and grow the vitality of Louisville’s creative sector.

Roles and Responsibilities

Strategic Vision and Leadership

  • Foster a culture of collaboration centered on the healing and transformative power of the arts.
  • Partner with the board of directors to refine and implement the strategic plan, aligning goals with the organization’s core mission and allocating financial and human resources to achieve the goals.
  • Cultivate and nurture transparent and positive relationships with the board, staff, grant recipients, and other key stakeholders, ensuring open communication and honest assessment of programmatic and performance milestones.
  • Guide and direct the staff in the implementation of organizational priorities, instilling a commitment to efficiency, professionalism, and customer-focused service.
  • Establish equitable and effective decision-making processes that enable the organization to successfully achieve its strategic goals and objectives.
  • Build and sustain relationships with arts and cultural leaders in the community, regardless of their financial relationship with The Fund.
  • Embrace and conceptualize innovative strategies that have a positive and uplifting impact on The Fund and its properties and cultural partners.

Resource Development and Allocation

  • Serve as the primary fundraiser for the organization, setting strategy, identifying and stewarding philanthropic relationships, and working with donors across all divisions of the organization.
  • Oversee the Campaign and Development Teams, actively participate in the annual fund drive, and provide guidance for the successful completion of major gifts, planned giving, and other contributed revenue efforts.
  • Partner with the Board Chair to engage board members and leverage their networks to secure resources that will advance the organization’s mission.
  • Identify, cultivate, and solicit prospective donors in partnership with the Campaign and Development Teams.
  • Direct the development and implementation of comprehensive marketing, branding, and development strategies that maximize revenue opportunities from major donors, foundations, public agencies, corporations, and individuals.
  • Collaborate with the Impact Team in the design and implementation of effective grants and investment programs that further the capacity of the arts and cultural sector to deliver arts, arts education, and other cultural services to the community.

Community Engagement

  • Serve as the principal spokesperson and chief storyteller, seeking opportunities to communicate with donors, the media, and the community to share insights on The Fund’s impact on the vitality of the arts in the region.
  • Actively engage with key community stakeholders, including the Louisville Chamber of Commerce, Louisville Tourism, and Louisville Downtown Partnership, serving as the voice of the arts community.
  • Strengthen The Fund’s image through effective community relations activities, making presentations in public forums and convenings in the business, philanthropic, and civic sectors to promote the organization’s work and enhance the entire cultural sector.
  • Develop compelling tactics that promote The Fund’s activities to its member base and increase its appeal to and engagement with potential supporters from Louisville’s diverse communities.
  • Maintain and strengthen positive relationships with the Mayor’s Office and stakeholders within the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government.

Governance and Operations

  • Establish strong communication channels with the board, present timely and accurate briefs and reports to support their policy and decision-making role, and attend meetings and sub-committee meetings as necessary.
  • Partner with the Board Nominating Committee to identify, cultivate, recruit, and engage diverse board members whose skills, interests, and commitment will further The Fund’s mission.
  • Recruit, hire, mentor, and retain a diverse and qualified staff.
  • Facilitate cross-departmental collaborations, promote innovation, and foster a culture of learning and discovery that supports professional growth.
  • Optimize and implement operational policies, processes, and procedures that increase efficiency, establish high standards of customer service, promote open and transparent communication, strengthen internal controls, and ensure a safe and healthy workplace for the staff.
  • Collaborate with the Chief Financial Officer & Chief Operations Officer in the oversight of the organization’s financial health, establish short- and long-range financial goals, develop and monitor the annual budget, and ensure adherence to strong financial controls.

Traits and Characteristics

A strategic and versatile advocate for the arts, the President & CEO will be a thoughtful diplomat with excellent communication skills and the ability to interact and guide a diverse group of stakeholders towards the common goal of creating a vibrant and healthy cultural sector. This individual will be resourceful and driven by practical results, valuing efficiency and weighing the return on investment of time, energy, and resources. They will adapt to changing circumstances with ease, using their collaborative style to reach difficult decisions for the benefit of the organization’s mission. Receptive to new methods and ideas, the President & CEO will be willing to undertake non-traditional opportunities that expand the reach and impact of the arts. People-oriented, they will use their passion for the arts to inspire and build relationships that strengthen the support systems for the cultural sector.

Other key competencies include:

  • Diplomacy and Interpersonal Skills – The capacity to recognize multiple perspectives, demonstrate sincere interest in divergent voices and opinions, and tactfully address complex or challenging issues with respect and sensitivity.
  • Personal Accountability and Resiliency – The willingness to evaluate personal actions, accept responsibility for mistakes, and overcome setbacks to reach a positive outcome.
  • Teamwork – The ability to lead a team towards consensus, recognizing and appreciating member contributions and providing constructive feedback to enhance the cohesiveness and effectiveness of the team.
  • Donor and Constituent Focus – The perceptiveness to anticipate and understand the needs, interests, and expectations of donors and constituents, building trust and striving to deepen their relationship and engagement with the organization.


Ten years of progressively responsible experience in an arts, cultural, or nonprofit organization (or a related field) and a minimum of five years in an executive management level position are required. Previous CEO experience is a plus but not a requirement. A bachelor’s degree in the arts, business, or other related field is preferred. Experience leading, recruiting, and retaining a highly effective team is needed. Demonstrated board development, fundraising, marketing/branding, human resources, and fiscal management experience is essential. The ability to develop and manage an annual operating budget and implement strong financial controls, metrics, and evaluation are required. The successful candidate will be a dynamic leader who is passionate about the arts and committed to embracing and advancing the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access.

Compensation and Benefits

The Fund offers competitive compensation (commensurate with experience) and a benefits package that includes health, life, vision, and dental insurance; short- and long-term disability; vacation, holiday, and sick pay; and an employee retirement plan.

Applications and Inquiries

To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments, please click here or visit For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, including the anticipated compensation parameters, please contact:

Ms. Wyona Lynch-McWhite, Senior Vice President

Arts Consulting Group

292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel       (888) 234.4236 Ext. 225

To support a full creative life for all, Fund for the Arts commits to championing policies and practices of
cultural equity that empower a just, inclusive, equitable community.

Fund for the Arts is an equal opportunity employer. Employment decisions are based on merit and business needs and not on race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, creed, physical or mental disability, marital status, veteran status, political affiliation, or any other factor protected by law. Fund for the Arts complies with the law regarding reasonable accommodation for handicapped and disabled employees.


Click here for the downloadable PDF.

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