Vice President, Development

May 2024 | West Palm Beach, FL
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Cox Science Center and Aquarium seeks a Vice President, Development to grow and manage a comprehensive development program, successfully complete its $115m capital campaign and deliver on its mission to “Open Every Mind to Science.”

The Cox Science Center and Aquarium

rendered exterior of cox science center and aquariumServing Palm Beach County since 1961, the mission of the Cox Science Center and Aquarium (CSCA) is to “Open Every Mind to Science.” The Cox Science Center and Aquarium delivers on this promise every day by providing schools, visitors, and campers an entirely new set of science programming and tech ventures based on computer coding, robotics, and other leading-edge educational programs. These programs have allowed the Cox Science Center and Aquarium to educate more young minds than ever before, now serving over 500,000 students, teachers, and visitors annually.

Elevating Science for the Next Generation Capital Campaign

In November 2021, the Cox Science Center and Aquarium announced exciting expansion plans along with a name change, thanks to a record donation from philanthropists Howard and Wendy Cox. Their $20 million lead gift served as the keystone for the $115m (increased from an original goal of $85m) capital expansion campaign to take the Cox Science Center and Aquarium into the future with expanded exhibit and  programming spaces, including one of Florida’s largest aquariums. Major gifts from Citadel founder and CEO Ken Griffin, Leonard Lauder, Charles and Helen Schwab, and the David H. Koch Foundation were announced in early 2023. To date, the campaign funds raised have exceeded $80 million and Construction is set to begin in 2024.

Upon completion, the Cox Science Center and Aquarium will triple in size and more than double its attendance to over one million visitors per year. The ground level will house the new grand lobby, the 130,000-gallon Kenneth C. Griffin Aquarium, and STEAM Studio Exhibition. The second level will feature an expanded Traveling Exhibit Gallery, Digital Exhibit Gallery, and Technology & Me exhibits.

Renovations to the original building will create a hub of education spaces – The Schwab Family Next Generation STEM Learning Center which will feature:

  • Seven STEM classrooms including biology wet labs and immersive tech spaces
  • The Planetarium and Observatory
  • Theater
  • Digital Arts Studio

School programs will grow from 150,000 students to 350,000, with 50% of those being Title 1 students. The educational partnership with Palm Beach County School District (the 10th largest district in the nation) will double the schools served to over 200.

Kate Arrizza, President and CEO

rendered aerial exterior of cox science center and aquariumBorn and raised in Jupiter, FL, Kate volunteered at the Cox Science Center and Aquarium in the late ‘90’s and is a proud product of the Palm Beach County public school system. After receiving her Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy, she served as an Officer in the U.S. Navy for seven years.

Kate’s tenure at Cox Science Center and Aquarium during the past 13 years has been transformational and earned her such recognition and awards as South Florida Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” award, Sun Sentinel’s Top Workplace Professional Award, Women of Worth Award winner, ESPN’s veteran of the month, and PBC Distinguished Alumni Award.  Kate also received West Palm Beach’s Hometown Hero Award, recognizing the selfless efforts of community leaders and organizations for their boundless energy and devotion to the residents of West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, and the nation.

Kate, along with a committed and engaged board, have been instrumental in securing the necessary philanthropic funds to lead the Cox Science Center and Aquarium into this next chapter of its history.

About the Position

rendered interior of cox science center and aquariumReporting to the President and CEO, Kate Arrizza, the Vice President, Development (VPD) will be responsible for planning, managing, and implementing activities that increase, diversify and sustain philanthropic support for the Cox Science Center and Aquarium from individual, corporate, foundation and government funding sources.

The VPD will lead the development program through an exciting historic next chapter of growth and momentum, play a critical role in helping the Cox Science Center and Aquarium successfully close out its historic $115m capital campaign while also elevating fundraising for the institution. 

The VPD will manage, mentor and coach a motivated and high performing Development team as well as hire future development team members. Additionally, this person will work closely with a talented senior team in enhancing current programming and in developing new program initiatives.

The Cox Science Center and Aquarium has an operating budget of $8m of which $4m comes from philanthropic dollars.  As the museum expands and the operating budget grows exponentially, this person will elevate and significantly enhance philanthropic support.

Key Responsibilities

Leadership

  • As a member of the senior leadership team, partner with the President & CEO and the Board in taking the Cox Science Center and Aquarium’s development program to the next level
  • Partner with leadership and the board to successfully complete the capital campaign
  • Create and execute a strategy for a large, sustained base of annual individual donors and corporate, foundation, and government funders.
  • In collaboration with COO and CFO, develop and implement a financial strategy to ensure funds, donations and grants meet the budgetary requirements of all programs.
  • Participate at meetings of the Board of Trustees and select Board committees including the Development Committee to provide counsel, and report on development related issues and operations.

Fundraising

  • Secure financial support from individuals, foundations, corporations and government (local, state and federal).
  • Personally manage and solicit from a portfolio of high net worth prospects and donors
  • Develop, establish, and implement the infrastructure needed to grow through the solicitation of major gifts, federal and state grants, special events, and corporate and foundation support.
  • Expand and diversify donor base/pipeline
  • In tandem with the development team, research and write grant/application proposals, and report to multiple donor sources.
  • Oversee all data entry and management of donor database, and gift processing.
  • Manage capital campaigns with the Director of Philanthropy, engaging and overseeing capital campaign firms as necessary.
  • Manage fundraising events including its annual gala
  • Support board members as they take on a more active fundraising role.

Management

  • Partner closely with the President and CEO and Board on donor engagement and solicitation strategies
  • Manage mentor and coach a high performing team of development professionals
  • As the team expands, hire and mentor additional development staff
  • Oversee the development of a best practice development infrastructure, including systems, policies, and procedures to ensure effectiveness and accountability across the program.
  • Regularly communicate fundraising goals and progress to the President and CEO and the Board

Key Qualifications

  • rendered interior of cox science center and aquariumEight or more years of demonstrated success in securing philanthropic funds for an institution of similar size.
  • Three or more years managing development professionals.
  • Proven success growing fundraising for an institution.
  • Experience closing gifts at the 6-figure level required; experience closing 7-figure gifts preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience with strategic engagement of volunteer leadership including committees and/or boards
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills.
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks accurately and within deadlines.
  • Ability to work autonomously and in a team setting.
  • Experience with program evaluation, data collection and analysis a plus.
  • Good moral character, mature judgment and a strong sense of responsibility and dedication.
  • Highly positive and enthusiastic style; capable of motivating others.
  • Outstanding project management skills with the ability to drive complex, multi-faceted projects forward to deliver results on time.
  • Experience working in an urban community with diverse population.
  • Interest in the work and mission of the Cox Science Center and Aquarium a must; previous experience with a science or STEM related organization a plus.

The salary range for this position begins at $125k and includes a generous and comprehensive benefits package

Cox Science Center and Aquarium is an equal opportunity employer and educational facility providing equal experiences without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, age or disability. Cox Science Center and Aquarium believes that curiosity and critical thinking are essential to equity and justice for all and diversity is a key component to the success of STEM fields.

If you are interested in being considered for this search, please use the form below to submit your cover letter and resume in confidence.

Jesse Bryan

Vice President, Executive Search

Development Guild DDI

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