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Native Arts and Cultures Foundation NACF Vice President of Development

Native Arts and Cultures Foundation

Director of Development


The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) is dedicated to transforming communities through Native arts and cultures. The organization’s mission is to advance equity and cultural knowledge, focusing on the power of arts and collaboration to strengthen Native communities and promote positive social change with American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native peoples in the United States.

NACF was founded in 2007 following a comprehensive feasibility and planning process, initially led by the Ford Foundation, to study the creation of a philanthropic resource to support the diverse arts and cultures of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities. This study supported the development of a Native-led, Native-partnering organization that would center its efforts on building partnerships with and providing direct support to Native American artists and communities. NACF was officially incorporated in 2009 and began its public programming in 2010.

NACF’s programming is focused on amplifying the voices of Native artists and culture bearers and investing in the creative efforts of Native communities. Through its core program areas, NACF encourages artistic heritage and experimental and contemporary voices. Launched in 2020, SHIFT – Transformative Change and Indigenous Arts provides funding to artist and community-driven projects that respond to social, environmental, or economic justice issues through a Native lens. LIFT – Early Career Support for Native Artistsprovides a comprehensive suite of resources for early career artists, including financial underwriting and professional development, in support of emerging voices and their vision for the future of their respective Native practices.

In February 2021 NACF took ownership of a historic building in Portland, Oregon, which will be transformed into the Center for Native Arts and Cultures (CNAC). The building, formerly used for artists’ studios and exhibitions, will continue to be a site for contemporary artistic and cultural production. Moreover, this historic building will be the physical and symbolic gathering place for important and challenging discussions. Not only will this raise the visibility and consciousness of Native arts and cultures and of economic and social justice issues, it will also foster greater awareness and understanding through a Native lens and assert the importance of understanding history and truth through an arts lens. An innovative model of restorative social change, this building transfer exemplifies the value of Native ownership of property in urban areas across the nation. NACF has completed a capital campaign feasibility study and embarked on a comprehensive capital campaign in 2021.

NACF is governed by a 12-member board of directors, led by Chair Joy Harjo, United States Poet Laureate (Mvskoke). Since the organization’s inception, T. Lulani Arquette (Native Hawaiian) has served as President/CEO. The organization continues to grow and in 2021 NACF achieved an organizational record of almost $10 million in fundraising, including a $5 million gift from a major donor.


Located at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers in Northwestern Oregon, Portland is the most populous city in the state. As the seat of Multnomah County, Portland is the center of a multi-county metropolitan region of more than 2.4 million people. The Portland metropolitan area rests on traditional land of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin, Kalapuya, Molalla, and other tribes. Today, Portland is home to the ninth largest urban Native American population in the continental United States, with an estimated 58,135 people representing more than 380 tribal affiliations.

Nicknamed the City of Roses or Rose City, Portland was ranked in the top 10 best places to live in 2021 by U.S. News & World Report, recognizing the city and the region’s high quality of life, strong economic outlook, recreational amenities, and thriving arts and culture. Its educated and talented workforce has attracted many national corporations and spawned emerging businesses. The region is home to major athletic and outdoor apparel brands, including Nike, Columbia Sportswear, Adidas, and Under Armour, and the technology sector is strong, anchored by the research and development arm of Intel in Hillsboro. The Port of Portland is the third busiest on the West Coast.

Cultural life in metropolitan Portland is vibrant and multi-faceted. The Portland Art Museum has an encyclopedic collection with notable holdings of Asian and Northwest art and houses the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Center for Native American Art. History and material culture museums include the Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Rail Heritage Center, Japanese American Museum of Oregon (formerly Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center), and Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, among others. Portland’5 Center for the Performing Arts is the fifth largest performing arts center in the United States and is home to Broadway in Portland. Summer and fall are popular for festivals, including the Chamber Music Northwest, Jim Pepper Native Arts Festival, and Portland Jazz Festival. Powell’s City of Books is the world’s largest independent bookstore with more than one million new and used volumes.


Position Summary

The Director of Development will report to the President/CEO and be a member of the senior management team responsible for driving contributed revenue efforts to support NACF. This individual is responsible for expanding the fundraising capacity of NACF, including implementing a major gifts program and strategies to increase annual giving from individuals, foundations, and corporations. The Director of Development will manage a portfolio of major gift prospects, supervise and mentor the development team, and serve as an active collaborator with the program and finance staff. Working closely with the President/CEO and collaborating with the board of directors in fundraising and relationship management, the Director of Development will help position the organization for growth and sustainability through an active program of prospect identification, and donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship. They will assist in capital campaigns, including the current effort to support the renovation of NACF’s new Center for Native Arts & Culture, located in Portland.

Roles and Responsibilities

Major Gifts and Fundraising Strategy

  • Manage all aspects of NACF’s development program, implementing a major gifts program through the identification and cultivation of local, regional, and national prospects, including tribes; managing a portfolio of donors; and cultivating their interest in the organization.
  • Learn and understand NACF’s values and Native approaches to arts and cultures, including strategies on social, environmental, and cultural liberation and philosophies around giving and receiving that intersect with fundraising.
  • Refine and implement development goals, strategies, and associated operating budget for identifying, cultivating, and soliciting leadership, major, annual, and planned gifts.
  • Oversee grant writing, reporting activities, and other requests from institutional funders.
  • Guide the President/CEO, board of directors, and senior staff in the identification of donor prospects and the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of donors.
  • Design strategies to increase donor engagement and annual giving at all levels, including legacy giving, to ensure the long-term sustainability of the organization.

Development Operations

  • Provide day-to-day mentorship and supervision of the development team, creating a positive workplace environment that promotes employee engagement and satisfaction.
  • Manage the execution of donor recognition and stewardship programs, including maintenance of contribution records and preparation of gift acknowledgment letters.
  • Guide the systems and tools necessary to maintain a best-practice development department.
  • Oversee annual fund activities and the preparation of grants and other requests to institutional funders, guiding staff in the timely development of proposals and reports.
  • Collaborate closely with the finance team in the forecasting and tracking of contributed revenue.
  • Partner with the program and marketing teams in the planning and delivery of donor events, donor acknowledgment, and fulfillment of sponsorship agreements.
  • Coordinate with the program and communications team in the planning and delivery of donor presentations and events, donor acknowledgment, and fulfillment of sponsorship agreements.
  • At the request of the President/CEO, present reports and provide information to the board of directors.

External Relations and Communications

  • Serve as a visible advocate for the mission and vision of the organization.
  • Participate in local, national, and tribal meetings and convenings to share the organization’s story and to engage new advocates and supporters.

Traits and Characteristics

The Director of Development will be an experienced development professional with demonstrated capacity to achieve contributed revenue goals. A confident fundraiser and self-starter with sound judgment and strong organizational skills, they will be knowledgeable of strategies and best practices and willing to work as part of a team to achieve organizational goals. The Director of Development will be a people-oriented leader who enjoys engaging and communicating with multiple constituencies. This individual will have the ability and cultural competence to build authentic relationships with people from diverse backgrounds. Goal-driven with a great attitude under deadlines, they will be an innate multi-tasker, highly organized with their time and priorities, and have the ability to adapt to changing situations with ease and enthusiasm.

Other key competencies include:

  • Leadership and Teamwork – The ability to build trust, create a sense of purpose and direction, and influence the team to take action towards a common vision and goal.
  • Diplomacy and Interpersonal Skills – The capacity to leverage relationships with people to influence decisions that advance a common goal, handle sensitive issues with tact, and communicate with people of different backgrounds.
  • Goal Oriented – The determination to pursue and attain ambitious goals, take calculated risks, and instinctively act on opportunities that advance progress toward the goals.
  • Flexibility and Resiliency – The agility to accept new ideas and approaches, adapt to situational demands by stepping outside of comfort zones, evaluate how certain obstacles impact results, and focus on positive results.
  • Personal Accountability – The willingness to evaluate personal action, learn from mistakes, and accept personal responsibility for outcomes.


Qualified applicants must have a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent experience) and five to seven years of high-level development experience with a nonprofit, social justice, arts, or culture-related environment. Leading candidates will have demonstrable experience with individual donor strategies and direct experience in soliciting gifts through various channels. Supervisory experience is required and advanced fundraising training or CRFE certification are preferred. The ideal candidate will also have, or be willing to acquire, knowledge of the issues facing Native communities and tribes. Exceptional written and spoken communication skills are necessary and the ability to represent NACF in public speaking engagements, media events, and public presentations is essential. Discipline and organizational ability to work in a hybrid environment both from a home-based office and on site at NACF offices are necessary.

Compensation and Benefits

The NACF offers a competitive salary expected to be in the range of $105,000 to $115,000 and a generous benefits package that includes health and dental insurance, a 403(b) retirement plan (employee contribution only), 12 paid holidays and volunteer hours, and paid time off. Virtual work and flextime are also available to employees. Relocation assistance may be available.

This position will be based at the NACF national office in the metropolitan Portland area. For candidates from outside of this region, remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic will be considered but it is expected that the candidate will relocate to the metropolitan Portland area.

Applications and Inquiries

To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:

Wyona Lynch-McWhite, Senior Vice President

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

NACF believes Native arts and cultures bring a valuable perspective to contemporary life and inspires healing within indigenous communities and among Native peoples and the general populations. NACF provokes thought, sparks discussion, explores solutions, and adds a vital contribution to its communities and world.

 NACF is a Native-led, 501(c)3 philanthropic organization dedicated exclusively to the perpetuation of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian arts and cultures nationwide. NACF is an equal opportunity employer.

Statement on Cultural Equity and Racial Justice

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