Howe-Lewis Tapped to Lead Two Chief Advancement Officer Searches

November 8, 2016 – Executive search firm Howe-Lewis International has been chosen by Friends of the High Line and the Sundance Institute to lead their searches for chief advancement officers (CAO).

Howe-Lewis, a boutique recruiting firm based in New York, serves the not-for-profit and healthcare sectors with clients ranging from education, cultural arts, healthcare, and human services organizations to membership and advocacy groups and institutions. The firm is led by co-managing directors Patricia Anne Greco and Esther Rosenberg.

Friends of the High Line

The CAO for Friends of the High Line will create and set into motion a strategic, integrated, and comprehensive fundraising, communications, and marketing plan that advances the High Line’s mission and helps drive the organization to new levels of success and impact. In this highly visible role, the CAO will explore critical issues, tap into new opportunities, and employ strategies that will shape the future of the High Line at a pivotal point in its history.

The ideal candidate will be an innovative advancement executive with a track record of success in propelling change, philanthropic revenue growth, and mission awareness. The CAO will serves as Friends of the High Line’s primary fundraiser and thought partner to the co-founder and executive director, leading an advancement team of 14 and a marketing, branding & communications team of seven.


The organization is seeking an executive with a significant track record of advancement leadership in a not-for-profit institution. The incoming leader will also need knowledge of and enthusiasm for the High Line and public spaces, as well as experience working with the NYC government. The incumbent must also be an accomplished frontline fundraiser able to solicit six- and seven-figure gifts. In addition, the executive needs to be able to integrate technology to plan, and implement and sustain comprehensive advancement campaigns.

The High Line is a unique New York City public park, built on a historic freight rail line elevated 30 feet above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. While it did not even exist a decade ago, the High Line is now among NYC’s top destinations, enjoyed by more than seven million visitors in 2015. With a current annual operating budget of $13 million, Friends of the High Line provides virtually all of the park’s operating budget.

Sundance Institute

This CAO will be a key player in moving the Sundance Institute forward at a pivotal moment of change and growth. The executive will work with talented, forward-thinking, and passionate colleagues and strategic partners to increase contributed revenue and awareness, and foster a sustainable culture of philanthropy. The CAO will report to the executive director and lead an advancement team of 27 in Los Angeles, Park City, and New York.


The selected candidate will a bring significant track record of building and leading advancement programs for not-for-profit arts, cultural, or educational organizations. The executive will need experience with the Los Angeles, New York, and national philanthropic communities. The incoming leader must be able to leverage digital and social media technology in the service of advancement. In addition, the incumbent should have a passion for and excitement about Sundance Institute’s mission.

Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, the Sundance Institute seeks to discover, support, and inspire independent film and theatre artists from the U.S. and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work. As the leading champion and curator of independent stories, Sundance provides and preserves a biosphere for artists to create and thrive. Many of today’s most creative and daring artists are counted among the 10,000-plus Institute alumni. Each January, the Sundance Film Festival introduces a global audience to groundbreaking work and emerging talent in independent film.

Chief Advancement Officers

“The field of advancement is an extension of development / fundraising,” said Gerard F. Cattie, managing director at Diversified Search. “Over the past two decades, educational institutions and non-profit organizations have shifted toward more integrated models of collaboration between communications, marketing, branding and development,” he said. Advancement, he added, represents the full integration of these functions under a singular leader: the chief advancement officer.

“Today, advancement talent is being groomed within all parts of the non-profit sector and within organizations that comprehend the direct connectivity between messaging and contributed revenue. The function is only relevant to organizations within the non-profit sector,” he added.

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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