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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.”

Job Summary
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.

AMBASSADORSHIP FOCUS

  • 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.

FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION
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.”

FUNDRAISING FOCUS
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.

BOARD RECRUITMENT
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)
    • Fundraising/Development
    • Human Resources
    • Legal (HR & Labor)
    • Nonprofit governance
    • Theatre practitioners
    • Media and PR
    • Education (Middle/High School)

APPLICATION PROCESS
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.

Administration


Job Title: Development Assistant
Department: Development
Reports to: Interim Director of Development
Supervises: None
Start Date: ASAP
Anticipated End Date: November 5, 2021 with possible extension through February 18, 2021
Posting Date: July 28, 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).

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.

Job Summary
Victory Gardens Theater is seeking to expand their Development team with a part-time Development Assistant. The Development Assistant reports to the Interim Director of Development but also works closely with the Development Events and Data Associate on all events and data entry projects. This position will offer administrative support to the entire Development department, and assist with tracking department progress and giving efforts. This position will help the candidate gain a holistic understanding of all aspects of the work of a non-profit Development department and skills in database management, relationship management and data sharing. The candidate will strengthen their organizational and logistical skills, and understand which aspects of development they are interested in pursuing in the future. Victory Gardens seeks individuals who can bring a lens of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility to all responsibilities.

Work Hours, Compensation and Benefits

  • This is a part-time contract role with 20 hours per week of work.
  • Weekly schedule is flexible, but must fall during the usual VG work hours: Monday-Friday, 9 am – 6 pm.
  • Occasional nights and weekends may be required to assist on Development events.
  • Rate of pay is $15/hour (non-negotiable).
  • This position will start remote as all VG staff members are currently working from home. Beginning in September 2021, the position will require more work to be done in-person (i.e. running errands, assembling materials, etc). COVID-19 protocols as advised by the CDC will be followed for all in-person work.

Primary Responsibilities and Duties

  • Data entry of activity between the Development department and donors/prospects.
  • Provide support for acknowledging gifts from individual, corporate, foundation and government supporters.
  • Complete research projects for the department including, but not limited to prospective donors and attendees for development events.
  • Assist with event planning, logistics, research and outreach.
  • Assist with drafting and proofreading emails and other written materials.
  • Assist with tracking donor information and department records.
  • Provide general administrative support to the department this could include filing, errands, preparing mailings, and data entry.

Qualifications and Skills

  • You are detail oriented and love keeping information clear and understandable through organization.
  • You are interested in exploring the world of non-profit fundraising and want to gain skills and experience in database management, the donor cycle, and tracking various ways to get donations, both monetary and physical items.
  • You thrive working collaboratively in team environments and are motivated to achieve goals.
  • Candidates who have received the COVID-19 vaccination are preferred, as this role will have regular contact with VG artists, donors, and the general public.
  • Valid driver’s license preferred.

Application Process

Candidates should send a cover letter and resume to Erin Strick, Interim Director of Development, at estrick@victorygardens.org with the subject line “Development Assistant Application.”

The application deadline is August 13, 2021 at 5pm.

  • We’ll confirm receipt of application, which will be reviewed by a VG staff member.
  • Candidates of interest will be contacted for an initial interview.

Production

Currently, there are no open positions.

Auditions

Victory Gardens holds general auditions for both Equity and non-equity members each year.

Equity Actors (Members Of Actors’ Equity Association)

Equity auditions are held each Spring. Once Equity auditions are announced, appointments can be made appointments directly through the Chicago Equity office. Victory Gardens does not schedule appointments. For more information contact the Chicago AEA office.

Non-Equity Actors

Non-AEA Generals are held each Spring and are by invitation only. Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis.


Headshots and resumes are only accepted electronically. For consideration, please email your headshot and resume (as two separate attachments) AND a short cover letter (no more than 100 words – see specific points below) to casting@victorygardens.org

Please adhere to the following guidelines for submission:

  • Headshot

    • Must be emailed as a picture file (ex. .jpeg, .png, etc) – please no pdfs.

    • Please label as First Name Last Name Headshot

  • Resume

    • Must be an Adobe .pdf file (please no Word docs, pages, Google Docs, etc)

    • Please label as First Name Last Name Resume

  • Cover Letter

    • No more than 100 words

    • Please indicate if you are interested in any particular shows or projects for the upcoming season

    • Please indicate your union status

    • Also feel free to indicate (but only if you are truly interested) if you’d like to be considered for understudy roles, short projects, or serving as a reader for auditions.

Out-of-Town Actors
Our mission is to provide jobs for Chicago artists. Yet, we welcome artists who are planning on relocating and desire to begin connections with the Chicago theater community. If you are an Equity actor visiting from out of town and are planning on relocating, please email casting and adhere to the submission guidelines above. You are also welcome to include a reel or other video demonstrations of your work. 

Play Submissions

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.

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