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New England Aquarium

Vice President for Development

The New England Aquarium is a catalyst for global change through public engagement, commitment to marine animal conservation, leadership in education, innovative scientific research, and effective advocacy for vital and vibrant oceans.

The New England Aquarium (the “Aquarium”), opened its doors to the public in 1969 and is the only Boston-based cultural institution with a mission focused primarily on the environment, promoting the importance of protecting the blue planet through innovative exhibits and educational programs. These are some highlights of the Aquarium's mission in action, on exhibit, and through its education and marine conservation and research programs on Central Wharf and around the globe:

  • The Trust Family Foundation Shark and Ray Touch Tank and the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center showcase the diversity and importance of marine animals.
  • The Giant Ocean Tank inspires visitors with the beauty and complexity of marine habitat through replication of a Caribbean coral reef.
  • Aquarium educators lead a nationwide initiative on climate change and inspire future ocean protectors with hands-on programs such as Harbor Discoveries Camps and live blue™ Ambassadors. The Aquarium's Marine Animal Rescue Team leads regional efforts annually to rehabilitate and release hundreds of endangered species of sea turtles at our state-of-the-art Animal Care Center in Quincy, MA.
  • Aquarium scientists advise some of the nation's largest seafood companies on methods to enhance the sustainability of commercial fisheries worldwide.
  • The Aquarium is home to the world's longest-running right whale research program, coordinating efforts along the East Coast of the U.S. to restore the population of this endangered species.
  • The Aquarium collaborates with partners around the world to protect ocean ecosystems, such as coral reefs. In 2008, it partnered with the island nation of Kiribati and Conservation International to create the 158,000 square mile Phoenix Islands Protected Area.

Welcoming close to 1.3 million annual visitors, The Aquarium is a $45 million operating organization that combines education, engagement, and action to address the most challenging problems facing the oceans.

This is evidenced through the almost 50,000 participants in student and youth programs; more than 1,200 volunteers contributing 125,000 hours of service time; and the 680 educators who participate in teacher services, including workshops, professional development programs, one-on-one consultations, and so much more. The combination of The Aquarium's exhibits, public outreach and marine conservation and research initiatives are catalyzing large-scale change across the globe.

To build on this wealth of experience and knowledge, the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium (the “Anderson Cabot Center”) was launched this past summer. It is a groundbreaking initiative designed to better highlight and expand the Aquarium's cutting-edge applied marine research and data-driven conservation solutions. The Anderson Cabot Center will use innovative research and the Aquarium's convening power as a public institution to advance cross-sector solutions – helping to build collaborations among scientists, policymakers, engineers, fishermen, conservation advocates, and the seafood industry. The Anderson Cabot Center will advocate for these science-based solutions in New England waters and beyond, building on the Aquarium's nearly 50-year legacy of protecting this blue planet and ensuring vital and vibrant oceans.

About Philanthropy at The Aquarium

There is ever-increasing competition for philanthropic support, and over the last few years the Aquarium has realized significant growth in its fundraising revenue. Philanthropic support was just under $8 million in FY14, increased to $10 million in FY15 and escalated to just under $14 million in FY16. Private philanthropy supports the Aquarium's annual operating budget, specific mission programs, and capital projects primarily through foundation and corporate support, government grants, membership, and annual gifts via direct mail and online outreach. The “Mission Blue” Campaign, completed a few years ago, raised more than $40 million for capital needs at the Aquarium including the full renovation of the Giant Ocean Tank. Despite a strong foundation, The Aquarium needs to expand this base of support over the coming years to ensure the sustainability, growth and impact of its vital education and marine conservation and research programs.

About the Position

Reporting to the President & CEO, the Vice President for Development (“VPD”) will oversee and manage the Development functions of the organization, including: Major Gifts, Corporate and Foundation Giving, Membership, Annual Giving, Government Grants and Planned Giving. In addition, the VPD will be playing the lead role in preparing the organization for the next capital campaign. The VPD will be a primary contributor to setting the strategy of the organization through participation on the Executive Management Team.

Key Responsibilities


  • Partner with President & CEO and Board in taking the Aquarium's development program to the next level, particularly in the area of individual and foundation major gifts.
  • Review, enhance and implement comprehensive development plan that supports the goals of the Aquarium's strategic plan. Provide leadership to all facets of the development department including planning, analysis, implementation, major donor identification and cultivation, coordination of Board efforts, and related activities.
  • Serve as a key strategist and member of the Aquarium's senior leadership team.
  • Participate at meetings of the Board of Trustees and select Board committees to provide counsel, and report on development related issues and operations. Work closely with President & CEO and Board Members on development activities and Board recruitment and engagement.
  • Coach, mentor and motivate development team members, and draw upon their potential and talent, individually and collaboratively.


  • Manage top philanthropic relationships with a portfolio of leading individual, corporate and foundation supporters and prospects.
  • Oversee and manage all development functions, including major gifts, corporate and foundation gifts, annual giving and direct mail, membership, government grants, planned giving, and an upcoming capital campaign. Ensure effective cultivation and stewardship of donors.
  • Identify donor funding opportunities that match the Aquarium's institutional priorities and operational needs.
  • Develop and implement plan for a more targeted planned giving program.
  • Attend special events as a key representative of the Aquarium.


  • Assess current development program and evaluate department performance to ensure achievement of department revenue goals to support the Aquarium's mission and strategic direction.
  • Develop strong and collaborative working relationships with the Vice Presidents of other departments to best understand the Aquarium's mission and programs, and effectively articulate this information to donors and the public.
  • Oversee the development of a best practice development infrastructure, including systems, policies, and procedures to ensure effectiveness and accountability across the program.
  • Prepare and monitor the annual Development budget.
  • In addition to advancing the fundraising potential of the current staff, create strategies and opportunities to attract talented professionals to join growth oriented development team.

Key Qualifications

Basic Qualifications:

  • Strong passion and enthusiasm for the Aquarium's mission of protecting our blue planet and ensuring vital and vibrant oceans
  • 15+ years of development experience
  • Minimum of 8 years of management experience

Strategic Fundraising and Management:

  • Demonstrated success building philanthropic relationships and support through individual, corporate, and foundation donors at six and seven figure levels
  • Track record of strategically building programs, pipelines, and volunteer networks to serve organizational objectives and maximize revenue
  • Demonstrated experience leading a comprehensive development team that includes major gifts, corporate and foundation support, annual giving and planned giving
  • Strong management skills that include the ability to motivate, unify, influence, and hold staff accountable to high standards and achievement of goals
  • Demonstrated ability to establish solid working relationships with Board members, high level volunteers and senior staff
  • Knowledge and appreciation of the key roles of planned giving, membership, and stewardship
  • Leadership experience in a successful capital campaign
New England Aquarium is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer committed to diversity in the workplace. EOE/M/F/Vet/Disability

How to Apply

Please email your cover letter and resume in confidence to:

New England Aquarium
Boston, MA

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