OSF Hires Amanda Brandes as New Director of Development

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With a broad funding and strategic planning background, Brandes joins Executive Director David Schmitz and Artistic Director Nataki Garrett in developing vision for a post-Covid OSF, built to thrive for the long term.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced January 12th that Amanda Brandes will become its new Director of Development in late January 2021. Brandes has worked at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts over the past seven years, serving in the roles of Acting Director of Corporate Relations, Director of Institutional Relations, and most recently, Senior Director, Foundation and Corporate Partnerships. Brandes has filled a variety of arts and nonprofit leadership roles, initially as a producer/general manager and then as a fundraiser. Over the past two decades she has dedicated her career to helping artists and nonprofit arts and education organizations realize their visions by clearing business and logistical roadblocks.

“I am so pleased that Amanda Brandes will join OSF in January 2021 as our new director of development,” said David Schmitz, OSF executive director. “Amanda is an exceptional fundraising professional with proven experience in elevated positions at both national and regional levels who can also implement complicated and successful development strategies.” As OSF Director of Development, Brandes will join the executive team in support of a multi-year strategic plan to revitalize and redefine the organization’s infrastructure, including the flagship repertory theatre’s reduced operations following a year without programming. This includes evolving the OSF business model in response to climate change, which has caused the region to be increasingly prone to wildfires and associated air quality that endanger the health of artists, staff, volunteers, patrons, and supporters, while disrupting the operations of its three theatres. The Director of Development is also a key position in coordinating with the local business community to ensure a world-class destination experience for the Festival’s attendees.

“I have been inspired by Nataki Garrett’s emerging vision for OSF and her dedication to positioning OSF and theatre more generally as a driver of community building, social justice, and activism over the past year, making the case, unapologetically, for why the arts matter in this moment,” said Amanda Brandes. “I am tremendously excited to lead OSF’s development team and join its community at this pivotal moment for performing arts around the world.”

Brandes was part of the Lincoln Center’s team responsible for tripling the organization’s budget for education and community engagement programming. Brandes worked closely with staff colleagues, board members, and major individual and institutional donors to secure funding for core operations and a range of special projects, including the Lincoln Center’s Big Umbrella Festival, the world’s first month-long festival dedicated to arts programs for children on the autism spectrum and their families, and the Lincoln Center Scholars program, which trained and certified 60 new arts teachers who have gone on to make culturally responsive arts education available to tens of thousands of New York City public school children.

“Amanda’s breadth of experience managing large teams and as an innovator in institutional and individual giving makes her an exceptional ally for any nonprofit organization,” said Nataki Garrett, OSF artistic director. “I am thrilled that Amanda is bringing her immense talents to OSF and all of our important development work.”

Prior to her work at the Lincoln Center, Brandes filled multiple roles in the development office at the Educational Alliance, where she worked on an array of projects including a grassroots campaign to support Manhattan’s Lower East Side residents in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the capital campaign to renovate the agency’s flagship building (the Manny Cantor Center), including funding for a key addition: a flexible community gathering space that added a floor to the facility and has hosted a wide array of multi-generational arts and civic programs since its opening. Before transitioning to fundraising, Amanda held consulting and producing roles with Red Bull Theater, Keen Company, the Dorset Theatre Festival, and Studio 42. She began her career as Associate Executive Director and General Manager for The New Group. Amanda earned her BA from Princeton University and an MA from the University of Chicago’s Master of Arts Program in the Humanities.

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