Vancouver Art Gallery Chief Development Officer donor identification donor research donor cultivation campaign stratgey

Vancouver Art Gallery

Chief Development Officer


Founded in 1931, the Vancouver Art Gallery (Gallery) is the largest public art museum in Western Canada, recognized as one of North America’s most respected and innovative visual arts institutions. The Gallery is at a pivotal moment in its long and distinguished history and is undertaking a transformative campaign to raise $350 million—$200 million from public sources and $150 million from private sources—to build an inspiring 300,000-square-foot museum in the heart of the city.

The Gallery recently announced a lead gift of $40 million for the new building from the Chan Family—the largest single private donation to an arts and culture organization in British Columbia. With a generous designation of the land at Larwill Park from the City of Vancouver in place and $135 million in total private and public sector funding secured, including an initial investment of $50 million from the Province of British Columbia, the next step for the Gallery’s capital campaign will be to continue its work with senior levels of government and the private sector to secure the additional funding needed to begin construction.

“We truly believe in the power of art to bring people together and to bridge divides, cultural gaps, to promote social understanding, and to help people better understand themselves and others, and that is what the new Vancouver Art Gallery building will help accomplish.”

- Gallery Trustee Christian Chan, speaking on behalf of his family

The Gallery has also recently unveiled the final designs for the new 300,000-square-foot building by world-renowned, Swiss-based architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron. Designed to serve the Gallery’s expanding collection and to present outstanding art and educational programs for its growing audiences, the new Gallery will provide a global platform for the thriving arts scene in Vancouver and Canada. It will play a vital role in establishing Vancouver as one of the world’s foremost cities for arts and culture. Unifying the crossroads of Downtown, Yaletown, Gastown, East Vancouver, and Chinatown, the new Gallery will fuel a hub of creative and cultural activity for local members, the public, and international visitors of all ages.

The Gallery’s innovative exhibitions, extensive public programs, and emphasis on advancing scholarship focus on historical and contemporary art from British Columbia and around the world. Over the past decade, the Gallery has experienced unprecedented growth in both its artistic and educational programs as well as in its organizational capacity. Attendance has nearly tripled to more than 525,000 visitors per year and membership has increased six-fold to 36,000. The permanent collection, which represents the most comprehensive resource for visual culture in British Columbia, numbers nearly 12,000 objects.

Throughout much of its history, and with an ongoing commitment in the future, the Gallery has celebrated the achievements of indigenous artists. Its exhibitions have contributed significantly to the development of indigenous art history and discourse, extending the artists’ reach geographically and into the future. The Institute of Asian Art was inaugurated in 2014 to recognize the extraordinary artistic achievements of artists with links to Asian countries, especially China, Japan, Korea, and India. In addition, the Gallery’s acclaimed Canadian and international contemporary program showcases works of renowned artists such as Jeff Wall, Stan Douglas, Liz Magor, Andreas Gursky, Bharti Kher, Takashi Murakami, and Rodney Graham.

The Gallery collaborates with prestigious institutions across the globe, resulting in numerous highly acclaimed historical and contemporary exhibitions, including Raven Travelling: Two Centuries of Haida Art, The Colour of My Dreams: The Surrealist Revolution in Art, The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors, Picasso: The Artist and His Muses, and Claude Monet’s Secret Garden. The Gallery is also committed to presenting projects that explore the diversity of creative expression in design, architecture, fashion, film, and media arts. Exhibitions have included Massive Change: The Future of Global Design, Krazy! The Delirious World of Anime + Comics + Video Games + Art, Grand Hotel: Redesigning Modern Life, Shigeru Ban, and Cabin Fever.

For the past 18 years, Director Kathleen S. Bartels has led the Gallery through this period of unprecedented growth. Under her direction, programming melds a dynamic mix of contemporary and historical exhibitions that exemplify the Gallery's commitment to bring the best of the art world to Vancouver and the best of Vancouver to the world. Currently, the annual operating budget is $19 million—with 41 percent from earned revenue and 59 percent from private philanthropy, government grants, and endowment income. The endowment is more than $11 million and donations from the private sector have more than doubled over the past 15 years. The Development Division consists of a team of 15 full-time staff members, whose responsibilities include major gifts, annual fund, grants, corporate partnerships, special events, donor research, and database administration. David Calabrigo is Chair of the Gallery’s 23-member board of trustees. Bruce Munro Wright is Chair of the Vancouver Art Gallery Foundation, which manages $3.8 million in investments and is the recipient of endowment income from the Vancouver Foundation, with an investment of an additional $12 million.


As the host city of the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, Vancouver is consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the world, celebrated for its striking natural beauty, easy access to beaches, and great outdoors. The mild climate, ocean, and mountains combine to make Vancouver a year-round playground. Sailing, swimming, windsurfing, cycling, skiing, snowboarding, and hiking are all readily accessible, and the spectacular Stanley Park, located in the city’s centre, offers 22 kilometres of pathways for walking, cycling, running, and rollerblading.

The city has become one of North America’s most important gateways to Asia and is one of the most culturally diverse cities in North America. This diversity contributes to a thriving art, theatre, and music scene. Arts and culture aficionados can enjoy a multitude of events, including the Vancouver International Film Festival, Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Vancouver Folk Music Festival, and Festival d'été francophone de Vancouver. The city’s midwinter performing arts festival, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, presents theatre, dance, music, and multimedia performances by Canadian and international artists. The city is also home to more than 50 professional theatre companies that host acclaimed operas, musical performances, and Broadway shows.

Both Condé Nast Traveler and Food and Wine magazine recently named Vancouver as one of the world’s best food cities. Local and exotic fresh ingredients representing tastes that reflect the varied cultures of the area are readily found in many local farmers’ markets and at the Granville Island Public Market. Microbreweries and distilleries dot the city’s diverse neighbourhoods. Vancouver is also home to several professional sports teams, including the three-time Stanley Cup finalists Vancouver Canucks. The BC Lions have played in the Canadian Football League since 1954 and have won the Grey Cup six times.

The education system in British Columbia is ranked first in Canada and is only behind Finland and Japan among peer countries. The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching and is consistently ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world. For students seeking careers in film and television, the Vancouver Film School provides world-class training and hands-on production experience. The city is also a popular filming location.

Sources: Daily Hive;;;


Reporting to the Director of the Gallery, the Chief Development Officer (CDO) will have primary responsibility for all aspects of the Gallery’s fundraising and philanthropic programs and will serve as a key member of the leadership group. The CDO will play a key strategic and leadership role in the Gallery’s capital campaign and will also drive its overall endowment and annual fundraising activities, expand its network of potential donors stewarding those relationships, and increase support from individual and institutional contributors.

The CDO will work closely with the Director, board of trustees, Foundation trustees, senior staff, volunteers, and campaign leadership to engage in the identification, cultivation, and solicitation of major donors and to leverage significant government support that ensures the realization of the Gallery’s mission and strategic goals. The CDO will be responsible for leading the division team, developing strategies, and implementing flexible plans that deepen relationships in all segments of the philanthropic community.

Roles and Responsibilities

Campaign Strategy and Leadership

  • Develop and guide strategic campaign plans with outside counsel, ensuring that the Gallery adheres to long-term capitalization and short-term operational goals.
  • Advise the Director and board to increase their regional and national networking capabilities and to advance the Gallery’s campaign and community engagement goals.
  • Monitor and present regular campaign progress reports to the Director and board and mobilize resources to advance campaign activities.
  • Collaborate with the Director of Engagement and Strategic Initiatives in a variety of activities with the community and government partners.
  • Represent the Gallery at a variety of public and private community events, as appropriate.
  • Serve as a primary liaison to the campaign committee and foundation board.
  • Embrace other campaign strategy and leadership roles, as needed.

Donor Identification, Research, Cultivation, Solicitation, and Stewardship

  • Plan and orchestrate the implementation of all development activities to increase engagement and generate contributions in collaboration with the Director and the board.
  • Develop existing Gallery relationships and identify potential individual and institutional funders for further cultivation.
  • Spearhead a full spectrum of fundraising implementation tools (i.e. personal solicitation, direct mail, online, social media) focused on increasing all sources of program and campaign support.
  • Oversee a robust schedule of fundraising events and activities that grow opportunities for donor engagement.
  • Embrace other donor identification, research, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship roles, as needed.

Team Mentorship and Division Operations

  • Ensure that the Gallery's internal culture, technological systems, and procedures support the development division as the foundation of a vibrant organization.
  • Manage the day-to-day operations of the development function to ensure that all administrative and operational aspects of development are executed at a high level of quality and efficiency.
  • Direct the strategic use of the Raiser’s Edge database and other development communication tools to ensure that development staff utilizes them for communicating donor and prospect contacts, maximizing relationships, and creating timely and accurate reports.
  • Ensure that compliance with the Canada Revenue Agency receipting regulations and required documentation is maintained, and that records are reconciled with the Finance Division.
  • Recruit, supervise, and mentor all development staff of the Gallery and shape the staffing of the development function.
  • Set and meet fundraising goals and division budgets for each development program.
  • Embrace other team mentorship and division operations roles, as needed.

Traits and Characteristics

Energized by being part of a team that will leave a lasting legacy on a vibrant international community, the successful CDO will be a motivated, resourceful, collaborative, and proactive leader with the courage to think big while creatively and resiliently pursuing ambitious goals. Superlative interpersonal and communication skills will be combined with an instinctive nature to articulate compelling messages—verbally and in writing—for transformational support.

The CDO will be highly organized and effective in building consensus while having a sense of immediacy in achieving significant fundraising goals. Comfortable balancing both relationship-oriented and task-focused responsibilities, the CDO will bring an affinity for the Gallery’s mission and a passion to positively impact the organization’s long-term success.

Key competencies for the ideal CDO include:

  • Goal Orientation – The tenacity to achieve inspirational and attainable goals while building trust and demonstrating the ability to lead, motivate, and organize a diverse group of internal and external stakeholders.
  • Customer Focus and Diplomacy – The capacity to demonstrate deep appreciation for the diverse views and needs of a multitude of constituents and build rapport with community, political, business, and philanthropic leaders.
  • Planning, Organizing, and Prioritization – The dexterity to establish realistic timelines and ascertain top priorities for optimum productivity of development efforts.
  • Teamwork and Project Management – The ability to organize and motivate others to accomplish extraordinary goals while creating a sense of order, direction, and active participation among a variety of stakeholders.


A bachelor’s degree is required—Certified Fund Raising Executive and master’s degree preferred—and a minimum of seven years of senior non-profit fundraising experience in an integrated capital, endowment, and annual campaign environment. Significant knowledge of the visual arts, art galleries, museums, or related educational institutions is strongly preferred. Familiarity with provincial, national, and international philanthropists who support major strategic and facility initiatives that transform communities is appreciated. Experience working in a leadership role with boards of trustees, senior management, staff, patrons, and support organizations is needed, as are excellent written and verbal communication skills. Strong computer skills, including Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and advanced donor research and customer relationship management systems, are necessary.

Compensation and Benefits

Excellent compensation and benefits include not only basic health insurance provided by the Province of British Columbia but also extended health and dental insurance, life insurance, vacation time, and participation in a retirement matched contribution plan of 5 percent. In addition, Vancouver offers a high-quality work-life balance in a dynamic multicultural city surrounded by stunning natural beauty and recreational opportunities.

Applications and Inquiries

Please submit a letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable capital, endowment, and annual campaign accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred) to:

Bruce D. Thibodeau, DBA

ACG Contact Logo

2 Toronto Street, Suite 217
Toronto, Ontario M5C 2B5
Tel       (888) 234.4236 Ext. 201


Vancouver Art Gallery is situated on traditional, ancestral, and unceded Coast Salish territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh and is respectful of the indigenous stewards of the land it occupies, whose rich cultures are fundamental to artistic life in Vancouver and to the work of the Gallery. Vancouver Art Gallery is committed to inclusivity, diversity, equity, and accessibility in reflecting and respecting the local and international community it serves.



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