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Development Associate

Annual Salary: $40,000 – $50,000 depending on experience

Position Summary:

WaterFire Providence is seeking a full-time Development Associate who will join the Development team with a focus on individual giving. Responsibilities include planning, organizing, and directing WaterFire’s individual fundraising activities including annual funds, major gifts, planned giving, special events, and capital campaigns as well as working with the WaterFire Providence Board of Directors in advancing the organization’s philanthropic goals and objectives. The Development Associate reports directly to the Managing Director and will work closely with the Executive Artistic Director, Managing Director, Director of Sponsorships and Corporate Relations, Community Relations Manager, and Director of Events and Operations. This new position will present a career pathway to the position of Philanthropy Manager. 

Organizational Overview:

WaterFire®, the award-winning sculpture/event created by Barnaby Evans and installed on the three rivers of downtown Providence, has been praised by Rhode Island residents and international visitors alike as a powerful work of art and a moving symbol of Providence’s renaissance. WaterFire has captured the imagination of over ten million visitors, bringing to live downtown, and revitalizing Rhode Island’s capital city.

WaterFire first premiered 29 years ago, created as the private project of Evans, an independent artist. The community loved the work. After several years of successful stagings and in response to community demand, Evans partnered with an existing arts non-profit to continue to develop WaterFire and its role in the social and cultural landscape of Rhode Island.  In June of 1999, WaterFire Providence was established as an independent 501(c)3 arts organization, with Evans as its founding Executive Director.

The WaterFire Arts Center, which opened its doors to the public in 2017, is a multi-use exhibition and event space located on Valley Street that includes the WaterFire staff offices, Wilbury Theatre, and classroom space for the Wheeler School CitySide program. Over 50,000 visitors have attended events in the space which have included galas, conferences, lectures, theater productions, exhibitions, expos, and private events. 

The mission of WaterFire Providence is “to inspire Providence and its visitors by revitalizing the urban experience, fostering community engagement and creatively transforming the city by presenting WaterFire for all to enjoy.”  WaterFire Providence, with its spectacular growth under the leadership of Evans, ably assisted by a small and talented staff along with hundreds of dedicated volunteers has established itself as an internationally acclaimed work of art that has become the most popular arts event in the state. 

WaterFire is presented from 12 to 25 times a year (ranging from small versions to complex productions) and has grown to include a wide array of arts and community partnerships. Attendance varies by season and the scale of the event, ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 participants a night.


  • Support annual fund programs, including mailings and annual fundraising drives
  • Oversee data entry and gift processing (Raiser’s Edge NXT)
  • Assist in the organization’s special events including the annual FireBall Gala
  • Collaborate with the Development Team to manage the Brazier Society program with prime responsibility for individual membership
  • Maintain gift recognition programs
  • Participate in Development Team weekly meetings
  • Collaborate with the marketing team in the creation of materials/publications to support fundraising activities
  • Attend WaterFire lightings and cultivate/steward prospects and donors
  • Perform other related duties as requested.
  • Work weekend WaterFire events (approximately 12 Saturday nights a year) and other fundraising events as required. 


  • 3 years minimum experience in professional fundraising or similar experience preferred
  • Strong interpersonal and writing skills.
  • Proven track record of a strong interest in raising funds from multiple sources
  • Knowledge and experience in fundraising techniques, particularly annual giving campaigns
  • Donor data management and fund development analytics experience preferred
  • Possess the skills and personality to work with and motivate staff, board members, and other volunteers
  • Have the desire to get out of the office and build external relationships with donors and potential donors
  • Be a “self-starter” and goal driven to initiate donor visits and fundraising calls
  • Be organized and exhibit “follow through” on tasks and goals; ability to multi-task and work independently
  • Demonstrate professional conduct at all times
  • Display a positive attitude, show concern for people and community, demonstrate presence, self-confidence, common sense, and good listening ability
  • Must embrace the mission of WaterFire
  • Demonstrated passion for the ability of the arts to transform a community
  • A bachelor’s degree is required


Please apply with No telephone calls or emails, please.

  • All applying candidates must submit a cover letter, and a current updated resume with the application to be considered.
  • Interested candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. The position is open until filled.
  • WaterFire Providence is an equal opportunity employer.