Downing named Tacoma Art Museum director of development

Tacoma Art Museum named Michael Downing Director of Development after a national talent search. Downing is a career fundraising and advocacy professional with more than 30 years of experience. His expertise has helped to propel educational and cultural institutions, allowing them to enhance their services, to grow, and to better serve their constituents in a variety of ways.

Michael Downing, Tacoma Art Museum Director of Development

Downing will begin at TAM on Sept. 7, after relocating to Tacoma with his family from Toledo, Ohio. Most recently, he has served as vice president of institutional advancement at St. John’s Jesuit High School and Academy in Toledo. He previously held a similar position at Notre Dame Academy in Toledo, was vice president for development, public programs, at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and development and marketing director at the Toledo Zoo, Ohio. Under his leadership at St. John’s, contributed income grew more than five-fold. During his tenure at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, membership nearly tripled in five years. He also developed a major gifts program that raised over $6.5 million in four years, and developed business support programs yielding up to $200 thousand annually. At the Toledo Zoo, membership more than doubled in a five year period, and Downing introduced a lively “Zoo-To-Do” fundraising event among other initiatives. Downing has also been successful at securing grants, including highly competitive Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grants.

Downing studied fundraising at one of the leading programs in the nation, the Indiana University School of Philanthropy, where he earned a certificate in nonprofit management. He also trained at the Center for Creative Leadership in Colorado. He holds a bachelor of arts in literature from the University of Toledo, graduating magna com laude in the honors program, and also holds a teacher certification from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

“Museums have the ability to reach all segments and build community across demographics. TAM is a significant community asset, and its vision as a resource and an educational institution for all – dedicated to excellence through a high quality collection – is distinctly appealing to me,” said Downing. “This role is a wonderful opportunity to combine my success in advancement leadership with a lifelong interest in the arts. My work will support our continued enhancement as a cultural resource and our welcoming role as the community’s living room.”

– Tacoma Art Museum