Job Details

Vice President of Community Investments

Location:   Cincinnati, OH

Salary:   based on experience



  • Do you have a passion for the arts and experience with impact-based grantmaking?
  • Do you excel managing a small team and bringing out the best of a committed group of volunteers?
  • Would you enjoy representing ArtsWave at arts, civic and community events?
  • Do you want to be part of the leadership team to drive the value of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Access (DEIA) learning across the entire arts sector?



In typical years, the arts in Ohio are a $41 billion industry. In Cincinnati, arts organizations generate an economic impact of $300 million annually, support thousands of jobs and supplement school curricula by providing nearly 300,000 experiences for youth each year. Our neighborhoods are more distinct and livelier with the arts bringing customers to the neighborhoods in which they are located.

2020 is not a typical year. ArtsWave has been convening the sector more than ever to navigate the global health and national racial injustice crises while operating at an elevated pace. There has never been a more critical time for ArtsWave to double down on its role as a convenor and service provider to lead the arts not only through the pandemic and economic crises, but as a leader in DEIA. The VP Community Investments will help lead the DEIA commitment, executing on the DEIA Plan; will provide leadership and support the strategy for ArtsWave’s grantmaking function that awards $10 million to over 100 organizations and projects each year; and execute the Blueprint for Collective Action, at the midpoint of its 10-year trajectory.

With the help of tens of thousands of donors, ArtsWave supports more than 100 arts and community organizations that make our region an amazing place to live. The arts— music, dance, theatre, museums, festivals, and more —create a vibrant regional economy and a more connected community. ArtsWave is an equal opportunity employer and is strongly committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment where a variety of backgrounds, cultures, orientations, ideas, and talents can flourish



The VP Community Investments provides leadership and supports the strategy for ArtsWave’s grantmaking programs.They will inspire and assess nonprofit organizations in the OH-KY-IN MSA that are building a more vibrant economy and connected community through arts programming.

The VP Community Investments will execute on a 10-year vision, the Blueprint for Collective Action, through $10MM+ in annual grantmaking and cultural services/planning. Reporting to the President & CEO and serving as a member of the management team, the position amplifies ArtsWave’s visible leadership around the positive benefits of the arts on the community in key areas including workforce/population development; cultural tourism; diversity, equity, inclusion and access; arts education; and neighborhood vibrancy.



 Grantmaking Management and Direction

  • Ensure successful, on-time and on-budget execution of all aspects of ArtsWave’s $10MM+ investments in 100+ organizations and projects annually.
  • Supervise Manager, Grant Programs, providing oversight of grantmaking processes, including proposal and report mechanisms and requirements, staff and panel review, tracking, and data compilation and analysis.
  • Work with CEO to design and refine grantmaking programs in order to meet the needs of the community and maximize opportunities.
  • Make principled funding recommendations according to established or new investment frameworks and within resources available.
  • Coach, engage and leverage the perspectives of volunteers in the grantmaking process; serve as liaison to board committees as assigned.
  • Provide technical assistance and inspiration to arts organizations to help them collect and use data to inform/assess programming and drive community impact.
  • Guide and mentor arts organizations in defining outputs and outcomes, identifying success measures, using data to inform programming, and storytelling.
  • Oversee online grantmaking system, making sure business rules are in place and implemented to ensure data integrity.
  • Regularly report to the Board and other stakeholders on the impact of grantmaking programs.
  • Maintain and improve ArtsWave’s digital dashboards for aggregated arts impact measures and analysis of the field and ArtsWave’s investments

Arts Sector and Community Services

  • Identify opportunities for collaboration, strategic investment, and impact expansion; design or contribute to solutions that leverage ArtsWave’s scale and reach.
  • Develop high-quality relationships and partnerships with the region’s largest arts and culture organizations through regular attendance at performances, events and exhibitions, site visits, and one-on-one and group sessions.
  • Develop processes to help ArtsWave stay current with the inventory and activities of smaller or emerging organizations/arts practitioners.
  • Create a regular cadence of learning opportunities tied to the Blueprint for Collective Action with subject-matter experts for arts sector personnel.
  • Identify needs for resources in the arts sector; design and facilitate technical assistance programs for single organizations or groups of organizations including organizations of color that ArtsWave is intentionally working with on growth plans.
  • Help advance city and regional creative placemaking and creative economy vision and plans.
  • Regularly convene and facilitate discussions for arts leaders representing community engagement professionals and community arts centers.
  • Provide opportunities for continuous Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Access learning across the arts sector, working closely with the Impact Executive in Residence.
  • Regularly assess the arts landscape for gaps in arts opportunities that keep all members of our community from participating; develop plans to fill those gaps.
  • Represent ArtsWave on relevant external committees, at public events, arts events, and speaking engagements as requested and to share expertise and augment our visibility in the community.

Impact Analysis/Communications/Fundraising

  • Work directly with CEO/senior management to determine how best to effectively communicate the collective impact the arts to target audiences and the broader community; help execute communications strategies and tactics as a key thought-leader for the organization and in alignment with the CEO to ensure consistent messaging.
  • Work directly with CEO/senior management to craft funding proposals for collective impact work; help cultivate relationships with key funders.
  • Ensure internal flow of communication to explain and share information gathered
  • Conduct regular and frequent scans of information provided by grant recipients in order to analyze and quantify impact, identify trends, and make connections to broader community outcomes.
  • Share results and provide feedback to constituencies through reports, presentations, and other communications.
  • Develop data queries, summaries, and reports that support ArtsWave’s fundraising and marketing.
  • Other duties as assigned, including occasional help on weekends or evenings at ArtsWave-sponsored events.



  • Commitment to the mission, vision, and values of ArtsWave
  • Master’s degree in arts administration, cultural policy, social research, civic/cultural planning, psychology, business, or another related field
  • Minimum of 5-7 years of experience in grantmaking and process management
  • Successful track record of managing and developing direct reports
  • Experience managing budgets, assigning, and monitoring work, and developing departmental plans in alignment with organizational strategy
  • Experience in program assessment, impact measurement and evaluation in the arts or other sector(s)
  • Some knowledge of the arts and ideally, Cincinnati arts organizations
  • Must be willing and able to attend evening and weekend arts or community events

Desired Skills and Qualities

  • Outstanding verbal and written presentation and communication skills, including an ability to explain data and technical issues to people with varying levels of expertise
  • Proficiency with MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; proficiency with digital grantmaking databases, research tools and information management systems
  • Ability to prioritize, multi-task and problem-solve in a fast pace, high expectations environment
  • Ability to interact confidently and persuasively with senior leaders in business, nonprofit and government sectors and to represent ArtsWave with authority
  • Flexible and cooperative team player
  • Sophisticated user and interpreter of data; ability to synthesize and analyze data to tell an impact story
  • Curious about facts and trends; a continuous learner; ability to connect dots so that arts, artists, and artmaking are increasingly prioritized by regional leaders



  • Join the leadership team that is promoting DEIA and a vibrant regional economy through the arts
  • Support a diverse group of arts organizations with essential funding and other forms of assistance
  • Be an active participant in the regional arts scene
  • Enjoy personal and professional growth 


Michele Plessinger, Partner