Director of Development

Company Overview:

Ascend Performing Arts is a dynamic organization dedicated to elevating the lives of young people through high-level performance activities in the Denver Metro Area. We offer a range of performing arts programs that promote teamwork, discipline, leadership skills, and self-esteem. As we expand our presence and mission, we are seeking a passionate and experienced Director of Development to join our small but mighty corporate office and lead our fundraising efforts.

Job Summary:

The Director of Development will play a pivotal role in expanding Ascends donor base by cultivating relationships with alumni, local arts organizations, and businesses. This individual will work closely with the CEO, Board of Directors, and staff to fulfill the organizations fiscal needs and support our mission. Key responsibilities include strategic planning, fundraising, donor cultivation, stewardship, community building, and communications.


1. Fundraising and Strategic Planning

– Identify, cultivate, steward, and solicit major donors in consultation with the CEO and BOD.

– Plan and implement solicitations, including the annual fund, fundraising events, periodic capital campaigns, and online initiatives such as “Colorado Gives Day.”

– Plan the solicitation calendar, marketing collateral, and communication plans in collaboration with the Director of Communications, Director of Marketing, and Director of Digital Media.

– Write grant applications and manage the annual grant reporting process.

– Generate and fulfill gift acknowledgments, donor stewardship, and recognition strategies.

2. Cultivation, Stewardship, and Community Building

– Develop a robust plan to introduce community members and philanthropists to Ascend in efforts to steadily build the donor base and create a strong case for support.

– Collaborate with Communications and Marketing Directors to promote the organizations mission and increase awareness in the wider community.

– Create solid plan to engage with alumni and garner their support of Ascend Performing Arts

3. Communications

– Publish and promote Ascends annual report each fall.

– Develop strategies for promoting fundraising on Ascend’s social media platforms and manage content on those platforms alongside the Director of Communications, Director of Marketing, and Director of Digital Media.


– Minimum of 5 years of professional major-gift non-profit fundraising experience.

– Proven track record in securing 5- and 6-figure gifts.

– Excellent writing and communication skills.

– Highly organized with strict attention to detail.

– Experience working with or being a member of non-profit boards.

– Proficiency in Salesforce, email marketing software.

– Professional yet inviting presence making current and potential donors feel welcome and valued.

– Preferred background or experience in music and working with young adults.

– Comfortable working in a small office setting.

– Possesses a good sense of humor.

What We Offer:

– Competitive salary range: $60,000 – $80,000, depending on skillset.

– This is an exempt position

– Health, dental, and vision insurance.

– 401(k) retirement plan with a 4% match.

– Paid time off (PTO) accrual plan.

To Apply:

Please send cover letter and resume as one integrated PDF document to with “DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR” in the subject line of the email. References, work samples, and questions will be part of the selection process. The position will remain open until filled – No phone calls please.


As this is a new position for APA, expect role and responsibilities to evolve as needed for the organization.

Working Hours M-F with occasional weekend/evening events

APA employees are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

At Ascend Performing Arts, we value diversity and embrace its benefits. We are committed to providing equal employment opportunities regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, gender identity, or veteran status. If you require accommodations due to a disability or special need, please let us know.

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Ken Adams


Mark Arnold is one of the longest-serving Directors in Drum Corps International, serving as Executive Director of the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps since 1985 and as CEO of Ascend Performing Arts since 2010.

Under his leadership the Blue Knights organization has developed into one of the premier Drum and Bugle Corps in the history of the activity, recognized Internationally for excellence and innovation in the performing arts. Through the years the Blue Knights has expanded its programing and now serves thousands of young musicians and performers annually in multiple performing ensembles, events and educational programs under the umbrella of the Ascend Performing Arts.

In addition to shaping the course of Ascend Performing Arts, Mark also has played an integral role in the ongoing development and successes of Drum Corps International as a collective. He served as chairman of the DCI Board of Directors in 1994 and again from 2008 to 2013. Mark was honored as Corps Director of the Year in 2004, and was the inaugural recipient of the George Bonfiglio Chairman’s Award at the 2012 DCI World Championships, which is given to an individual each year who demonstrates extraordinary leadership and service on behalf of DCI and its performing drum corps.  Mark was inducted into the DCI Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Blue Knights Hall of Fame in 2019.

Prior to his position with the Blue Knights, Mark was the Assistant Director of the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps from 1978 through 1983, serving alongside Director Jim Jones, one of the founders of Drum Corps International and an inaugural member of the DCI Hall of Fame.  Mr. Arnold has a degree in Music Education from the University of Wyoming and taught High School Music in Wyoming and Nebraska from 1979 through 1985.
Mark Arnold


Scott Factor has served on the Ascend Performing Arts Board from 2012 to 2018 as a voting member in various positions including Vice-Chairman. Since 2019 my role has been in an Advisory position.

Outside of Ascend Performing Arts i am Senior Account Executive for Baxter HealthCare.
Scott Factor


I am currently an Ascend Board Member-at-Large.  I have been a volunteer with the Blue Knights since 2013.  I have been serving on the BoD since 2019.  I retired from the United States Postal Service in 2010.  Although I have never marched drum corps I am an avid fan of the activity and thoroughly support our members in any way that I can.  “We Go On”!!! 

Neil Corvino


Board member Kathy Black is an attorney in New Mexico practicing as a full-time litigator focused on employment and civil rights defense. She came to the law as a second career after twenty-five years in high tech with NCR Corporation, doing everything from operating systems programming to Vice President positions in engineering, customer services, and sales. She earned her JD from Lewis & Clark Law School and her BA from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Ms. Black is active as a percussionist in the Albuquerque area. Way back in 1978 she marched with the Guardsmen, including at DCI Finals in Denver.  After many years of being just a drum corps fan, she was elected to the Drum Corps International Board of Directors in January 2016 and served on that board until January 2022, including three years as chair. 

Kathy Black


Bryant’s path to the Ascend Board of Directors, which began in 2021 as a member-at-large, traces back to his childhood. Watching the Reading Buccaneers senior drum corps practice near his grandparents’ home ignited a lifelong passion, and a student of all thing’s percussion.

Years later a family move to Colorado provided Bryant with a platform to display his passion, both on the stage with the nationally acclaimed Green Earth Percussion Ensemble and on the field as a snare drummer with the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps until his age-out year in 1984.

In his professional career as the Senior Director of Strategic Accounts at Yokohama Tire Co., Bryant credits the principles instilled by the marching arts and years on tour for his success. On a personal level, the arts played an even larger role, where Bryant met his wife, Stephanie. The Rankin’s currently make their home in South Carolina, enjoying time with their grown children, two incredible grandchildren, and their beloved brown lab, Zoey.
Bryant Rankin


Retired, Director, Office of Research and Analysis, Colorado Department of Revenue Ms. Archibeque served 26 years in the area of statistical analysis for the Colorado Department of Revenue and Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. Her skills in this area assist the board in developing a strategy for statistical analysis in the area of program evaluation. She has also been a significant volunteer managing and working with volunteers for the organization and will assist the board in understanding the complex nature of the organization. Her personal experiences as a minority and female can inform and promote a more inclusive environment and agenda for the projects that the board supports.

Janet Archibeque


Rob Batchelder was appointed to the Ascend Performing Arts Board of Directors in May 2023, and currently serves as Vice Chair. As a member of the Senior Foreign Service, Rob has represented the United States overseas in India, Poland, Germany, Argentina, Nicaragua, Jamaica, and Namibia during a diplomatic career spanning nearly 30 years. He currently serves as Managing Director for Visa Services in the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington, DC. Rob marched in the Blue Knights hornline in 1987 and 1988, and he was Drum Major in 1989. He and his family live in Alexandria, Virginia, but his heart still yearns for Colorado.

Rob Batchelder