Program Director, Dance (NEFA)

Position Type:           Exempt, Full-time (based in Boston, MA)


About the New England Foundation for the Arts:

The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) is a 501(c)3 organization with an annual budget of $7.5 million. NEFA invests in artists and communities and fosters equitable access to the arts, enriching the cultural landscape in New England and the nation.

As an organization, NEFA values an equitable, diverse, and inclusive world, which we interpret as all people having fair access to the tools and resources they need to realize creative and community endeavors. We acknowledge structural inequities that have excluded individuals and communities from opportunities based on race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, class, age, and geography and strive to counter those inequities in our work.

NEFA is proud to be an equal opportunity employer, and is invested in creating an equitable and inclusive working environment and organizational culture. We are committed to hiring individuals who share, value, and support these goals, and who reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. NEFA does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.


About the Position:

The Program Director, Dance reports to the Deputy Director, works in direct partnership with the Executive Director, supervises and works in close collaboration with two program staff, and partners with other NEFA staff to advance cross-program and organization-wide planning and initiatives.

 NEFA’s Program Director, Dance is a strategic, knowledgeable, inclusive, and highly collaborative leader who partners with NEFA staff and board to direct, deliver, and guide NEFA’s dance programs, including the National Dance Project (NDP), one of the nation’s major grantmaking programs for dance, which annually awards over $2 million to more than 50 artists and 100+ cultural organizations around the country. The Program Director, Dance joins a dynamic, skilled team and is responsible for spearheading program development, execution, and assessment to support the creation and touring of dance in the United States.  NEFA’s strategic plan for 2018 – 2021 states organizational values: artists and the creative process; equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility; knowledge building and sharing; leadership; partnership; and public funding for the arts.  Entering its third decade, NEFA’s dance programs and the National Dance Project, specifically, are evolving with these values firmly at their core. The National Dance Project is actively investing in expanding its reach and impact in support of artists from all communities, geographies, and dance forms. The Program Director will play a significant role in creating a more expansive view of dance in the United States.  As a key leader in the organization and field, the Program Director, Dance represents NEFA at conferences, festivals, and meetings; oversees all aspects of grantmaking and program services; and works in close partnership with NEFA staff and a wide range of stakeholders, including artists, presenters, curators, residency directors, agents, managers, funders, and more.   


Essential Functions

% of time

Program Management & Planning

·        Oversee multiple dance grant making processes, including revisions to program design, funding criteria, applications, voting procedures, program policies, and approval of grantee reports; approximately 200 grants made annually;

·        Facilitate two in-person grant review meetings to award what is currently $1.1 million in production and touring grants to 20 projects annually;

·        Develop strategies to maximize long-term program success and create synergy between programs;

·        Partner with program staff to expand and diversify the pool of applicants to all dance related programs and services;

·        Identify, recruit, and provide orientation to program advisors from a broad national network and diverse backgrounds;

·        Continually assess external feedback to identify trends and new opportunities for NEFA to serve the dance field and to enhance communication strategies to promote NEFA to external audiences;

·        Develop strategic partnerships with funders, organizations, and individuals to execute new and existing program initiatives, including NEFA’s Regional Dance Development Initiative;

·        Supervise day-to-day operations and planning; Develop and manage program budget with finance staff



Communications & External Relations

·        Partner with program and communications staff to create and manage program materials including relevant sections of NEFA’s website and publications;

·        Identify and engage a diverse network of advisors, conduct panel sessions, grant workshops, and other events to increase awareness and access to programs;

·        Coordinate with communications, documentation, evaluation and research staff and contractors to heighten program visibility, facilitate broader program learning, assess program effectiveness and recommend program refinements;

·        Prepare and deliver presentations to board of directors, funders, and other NEFA stakeholders;

·        Convene and serve on committees, panels, and task forces to represent NEFA’s work to multiple audiences



Constituent Support

·        Provide proactive and effective recommendations to resolve process or constituent issues;

·        Identify and implement operational improvements and develop best practices with program staff;

·        Support grantees through orientations, facilitating partnerships, building touring opportunities, and responding to applicant and grantee feedback;

·        Engage with applicants to deliver panel feedback, offer suggestions for future grant submissions, and suggest alternate resources based upon knowledge of field opportunities where appropriate



Development & Reporting

·        Identify strategic organizational opportunities through contact with potential funding partners, inform and support cultivation for future funding in collaboration with Executive Director, development and senior leadership staff;

·        Track and evaluate program impact for funder reports and program-based research

·        Participate in development and writing of grant proposals to secure multi-year program funding, maintain strong relationships with funders, and prepare funder reports with development and finance staff



·        Supervise and mentor two staff; establish and engage staff in regular (weekly) individual and team supervision;

·        Work with supervisees to develop short and long-term goals and conduct annual performance evaluation around those goals with consideration to professional development



Connecting & Learning

·        Represent NEFA and its dance programs at conferences, meetings, performances, and other events; report on learning and outcomes;

·        Work in close consultation with Executive Director to share and evaluate learning and outcomes to advance programs and the organization;

·        Participate in organization-wide convenings and events, planning sessions, and working groups







Does this position supervise others?   Yes; 2 full-time staff

Internal/External Contacts:  Indicate internal staff and external contacts with whom this position regularly interacts to successfully perform the essential functions (e.g. donors, government agencies, artists, vendors, etc.):

Cultivate and maintain strong relationships with a variety of external constituents such as prospective and current grantees, governmental agencies, funders, sponsors, program participants, advisors, artists, presenters, and state, regional and national contacts at arts organizations as well as with internal communications, development, executive, operations and program staff.

Financial/Operational Resources Impacted:  Note the annual amounts of any budget or grant dollars or resources controlled by this position: $3.2 million


Decision Making/Problem Solving:

Describe the types of independent decisions routinely made by this position and the types of problems routinely solved by this position to ensure the achievement of the essential functions:

Resolve complex constituent requests and investigate and resolve concerns related to program area in collaboration with appropriate staff. Provide comprehensive recommendations on program operations and/or improvements with recognition of the organizational impact. Develop a strategic approach to program development and monitor progress to ensure compliance with established NEFA standards and budget protocols.



Required Experience/Skills: 

  • 10+ years of professional experience with a history of growth and increasing responsibility and authority;
  • Previous experience in management or leadership positions overseeing complex arts programs or organizations;
  • Experience with supervision and management of both staff and complex budgets; Experience in managing and reporting on project budgets and working with funders;
  • Extensive knowledge of and experience in the dance and presenting fields with the ability to identify and respond to gaps and challenges in the dance field;
  • Experience in planning, managing, and facilitating events and meetings for a variety of audiences; Skilled facilitator and negotiator, able to build consensus amongst varying perspectives and experiences;
  • Excellent organizational, written and oral communications skills, including public speaking. Must be able to effectively represent NEFA to all levels of external constituencies in the field;
  • Strong interest in and ability to communicate and network with a broad, diverse constituent base (including the use of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter);
  • Values collaboration and relationship-building, and able to thrive in a nimble and changing environment;
  • Enthusiastic about travel and ability to attend local, regional, and national meetings, conferences and events including over some weekends and evenings.


  • Familiarity and comfort with philanthropy practices; including past work as both a funder and grant seeker; experience with grant-writing, case-making, and storytelling a significant plus;
  • Understanding of the dynamics and procedures of grants panels and in interest in exploring new and best practices;
  • Understanding of developing content for brand communications using social media or other web-based platforms;
  • Familiarity with Salesforce or other CRM platform.

Physical/Mental Demands:

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for a person with a disability to perform the essential functions.  Please note if the following are necessary for this specific position:


Application Instructions: 

All applicants must submit a resume and cover letter using the online application form at: The deadline to apply for this position is Monday, August 13. A review of applications will begin immediately.

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  • Biz Ghormley
    published this page in Job Board 2018-08-04 16:20:22 -0400