Board of Directors
Job Title: Director
Department: Board of Directors
Start Date: Rolling
Posting Date: June 16, 2021
About Victory Gardens
Founded in 1974, Victory Gardens Theater nurtures and produces relevant, new theater work that reflects the diverse stories of our world and contributes to the vitality of the American Theater. Our work inspires dialogue towards meaningful civic change and creates an inclusive theater experience that belongs to everyone. Our vision is to be the leader in bringing stories to the stage that help ignite social change for a better world, through new work commissioning and development, education initiatives, community engagement, and our Access Project (serving patrons and artists with disabilities).
The Board of Directors is currently working to expand its membership. After part of the Theater’s leadership departed in June 2020, the Board of Directors embarked on an internal review process and leadership search, to address inequitable practices prevalent within the performing arts sector. This has led to a year of transformation and planning for the future, including the appointment of Ken-Matt Martin as Victory Gardens’ new Artistic Director. In a New York Times profile of Martin, Victory Gardens Resident Director Lili-Anne Brown shared, “Victory Gardens’ Board has done more work at transformation than anyone else I’ve seen.”
Victory Gardens now seeks volunteers to join its Board of Directors. The Board is the main governance body of the Theater, overseeing the fiduciary and administrative functions of the organization, including hiring and evaluating senior leadership. Directors meet as a whole at least five times per year, participate in board committees, and attend Victory Gardens opening nights, galas, and other artistic and fundraising events. Directors are expected to support the Theater either financially and/or through donation of services, expertise, or other means as requested. Victory Gardens seeks individuals who can bring a lens of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility to all responsibilities.
Primary Responsibilities and Duties
Victory Gardens’ Directors lead and contribute to the well-being of the organization by:
- Enthusiastically endorsing the mission, and serving as ambassadors to Chicago’s civic and corporate communities.
- Serving as a resource and consultant to the organization, senior staff and fellow Directors by offering professional guidance and leadership, as appropriate.
- Maintaining the financial health of Victory Gardens by ensuring that the organization is fiscally responsible, and that expenditures support its mission and strategic objectives.
- Supporting fellow Directors by accepting responsibility for a proportionate share of the work and following through on all commitments.
- Reviewing and approving the annual budget in a timely manner.
- Evaluating the performance of the Artistic Director and Managing Director.
- Accepting responsibility for – and overseeing – the organization’s policies and enforcement.
- Being intentional in the recruitment and engagement of diverse Directors and fostering a culture of inclusivity and anti-racism.
- Creating a climate of open communication, feedback and continuous improvement both as an overall Board and also as individual Directors.
- Directors regularly attend and support productions, including the Chicago Stories Gala and other significant events.
- Directors serve as Victory Gardens’ ambassadors in Chicago and beyond, consistently promoting its mission and values to new and existing donors and audiences.
- Directors are knowledgeable about Victory Gardens’ art, programs, staff, teaching artists, productions and Playwrights.
- All Directors are expected to attend each production in order to be a stronger ambassador for the work that we produce.
- All Directors are encouraged to be discerning when requesting complimentary tickets and utilize those tickets for cultivation of significant prospects.
GOVERNANCE AND LEADERSHIP FOCUS
One of the primary roles of the Board of Directors is to effectively govern the organization and help it to achieve its mission. By setting the organization’s strategic course, establishing related policy and sustaining and safeguarding the organization’s financial health, Directors provide essential leadership and vision for the organization. Through their timely review of meeting materials and active participation in meetings, Directors help the organization’s staff to maintain the highest standards of performance and accountability.
- Directors are asked to make their best efforts to attend a minimum of 75% of Board meetings along with any special meetings and EDI trainings.
- Each Director is expected to be an active member of one to two Board committees, including the Development; Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Access (DEIA); Marketing; Finance; or Governance and Board Recruitment committees. Board officers and chairs of Standing Committees also are expected to serve on the Executive committee. Ideally, each Director will serve on the Gala committee occasionally.
- Directors are also encouraged to participate in the work of ad hoc committees that are formed for a specific purpose and for a limited time period.
- Directors should carefully review and be familiar with materials sent in advance of Board and Committee meetings.
- All Directors participate in an annual Director conversation with Board and executive leadership, and are expected to participate in the annual Board Retreat and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION STATEMENT
Victory Gardens appreciates the critical role that DEI serves in theater and the community and is committed to fostering, cultivating and preserving a culture of DEI in all of its activities. We are dedicated to maintaining a diverse, inclusive, and equitable space where everyone who walks through our iconic theater doors—audience, artists, staff, Board Members, or others—feels valued and respected regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, education, or ability. By reflecting the diversity of our community, we try to model what DEI should look like for the entire arts industry, and better serve our audience’s needs for art and culture.
Directors are expected to make Victory Gardens one of their top philanthropic priorities and to make an annual contribution that is significant to them. The Directors strive to meet a minimum annual ‘ give or get’ of at least $10,000 each fiscal year (July to June). We encourage all Directors to make an annual contribution that is significant to them. Directors typically reach their give/get through a combination of:
- Personal or corporate contributions to the annual fund, Playwright’s Society, Director’s Council, Production Sponsorships, education programs and new work.
- Personal and/or corporate contributions for tables or tickets for the Chicago Stories Gala and spring benefit.
- Fundraising efforts for the annual fund, Playwrights Society, Director’s Council, Production Sponsorships, education programs, new work, the Chicago Stories Gala and spring benefit, or in special circumstances, with in-kind contributions as requested by Victory Gardens management.
Victory Gardens recognizes that diversity (including economic diversity) is a vital component of Board composition. Individuals who demonstrate their personal commitment to Victory Gardens’ mission in other ways will not be precluded from Directorship if they are financially unable to meet the minimum annual “give or get.”
Participation in fundraising initiatives is integral to keeping Victory Gardens strong. Directors’ expertise and guidance helps to ensure Victory Gardens meets its development goals. Directors are expected to contribute to fundraising by:
- Cultivating potential Directors and donors through Victory Gardens activities, and hosting and attending donor cultivation events.
- Supporting Victory Gardens’ efforts to secure new donors and sponsors.
- Securing table and ticket sales and night-of fundraising participation for the Chicago Stories Gala.
- Working with the Development Team to build a personal cultivation plan annually and a portfolio of contacts for Playwrights Society ($1,000+) and annual fund (up to $999) contributions.
- Identifying potential individual, corporate, government and foundation donors.
The continual evolution of the Board is critical to the future success of Victory Gardens. Directors are asked to assist the Governance and Board Recruitment Committee in ensuring the Board is equipped to meet the organization’s growing needs by representing the city’s diversity and including resources from across fields relevant to Victory Gardens’ mission. Board Members are expected to:
- Serve as mentors to new Directors by inviting them to relevant events, providing information and insight about the organization and assisting with overall acclimation.
- Submit suggestions for candidates who meet Director expectations, and participate in recruitment, as appropriate.
- Actively cultivate Board candidates by hosting them at Victory Gardens events.
QUALIFICATIONS AND SKILLS
While Victory Gardens draws its Directors from a variety of industries and professional backgrounds, they are united in their drive to support performing arts and the creation of new theatrical work. Victory Gardens is particularly seeking Directors with expertise or experience in the following areas, but professionals of all backgrounds are welcome to apply:
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access (DEIA)
- Event Planning
- Finance/Accounting (experience with non-profits preferred, not required)
- Human Resources
- Legal (HR & Labor)
- Nonprofit governance
- Theatre practitioners
- Media and PR
- Education (Middle/High School)
Candidates should send a brief statement of interest that outlines what the candidates can bring to the Board (specifically the candidate’s skills, connections, and general experience) as well as a resume, to VGboardapplications@victorygardens.org with the subject line “Board Member.” Applications are rolling and will be reviewed as received. Candidates of interest will be contacted for an initial interview.
Victory Gardens Theater provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, pregnancy, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, Victory Gardens Theater complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, leaves of absence, compensation and training.
Currently, there are no open positions.
Currently, there are no open positions.
Currently, there are no open positions.
Victory Gardens Theater accepts full-length scripts year-round from literary agents and theater professionals with whom we have an existing professional relationship. Mailed copies of scripts are accepted, though we encourage electronic PDF or Word document submissions if at all possible. We do not accept unsolicited scripts.