(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – MASS MoCA’s inaugural director of development Jennifer Trainer Thompson is passing the baton to Berkshire native William Belcher, as she goes on to head up a new department devoted to special event-related fundraising.
As MASS MoCA contemplates a new capital campaign to support growth of programs and educational initiatives, the museum has appointed Belcher as its next development director. Belcher is a 1996 graduate of Wahconah Regional High School in Dalton and a 2000 graduate of Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y.
With continued growth in special events and events-related fund-raising initiatives, MASS MoCA has named Jennifer Trainer Thompson its director of special events and membership. The new department will be responsible for the museum’s galas and benefit, special events, and memberships, which now contribute significantly to the museum’s annual budget and which the museum intends to grow significantly. Trainer Thompson was MASS MoCA’s first director of development, responsible since 1988 for initiating, overseeing, and growing MASS MoCA’s fund-raising programs since then.
“Our development operation has doubled its annual contribution to MASS MoCA’s programs over the past decade,” said MASS MoCA director Joseph Thompson. “Bill’s experience with institutional strategic planning, education, and arts programming, coupled with his longstanding connection to the Berkshires, will help guide the museum’s next phase of growth.” Under Belcher’s leadership, the development department will focus its efforts on annual giving, sponsorships, and major grants, and will begin preliminary planning for a new capital campaign.
Belcher received his MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College in 2007. Belcher recently worked for The Sage Colleges in Albany and Troy, N.Y, where he was senior director of corporate, government, and foundation relations since 2009. He has worked in development and served as a board member of several cultural institutions, including The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, N.Y., and the community cultural center, Caffe Lena, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Area residents may also recognize him from his work with the North Adams-based Inkberry, where he led writing workshops and was a regular contributor to the former nonprofit that was a beloved haven for local writers.
“MASS MoCA has been lucky to have Jennifer on board since its very first days,” says MASS MoCA Foundation chairman Hans Morris. “She oversaw five successful multi-million dollar capital campaigns for the museum, including our transformative $36 million Permanence Fund Campaign which established a starter endowment for the museum and which built the Sol LeWitt galleries. She has also proven to be indispensable to our expanding roster of special events and event-related services, which we’re pleased she will continue to shepherd and grow.”
The author of sixteen books, Trainer Thompson is editor of two MASS MoCA publications (Porches and MASS MoCA: From Mill to Museum), and has written numerous articles on culture, design, and current events that have appeared in The New York Tim es, Travel & Leisure, and other publications. A graduate of Tufts University, Trainer Thompson is a former trustee of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, the Berkshire Visitors Bureau, Northern Berkshire United Way, Williamstown Elementary School Endowment Fund, and A Better Chance. She has served on the Williamstown school board and currently serves as a trustee of Sand Springs Pool and is vice chairman of the Mount Greylock Regional High School PTO.
MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) is one of the most active centers for contemporary visual and performing arts in the country and is located in North Adams, Massachusetts, on a restored 19th-century factory campus. MASS MoCA’s galleries are open 11am-5pm every day except Tuesdays, with extended summer hours in July and August from 10am-6pm every day, including Tuesdays. Gallery admission is $15 for adults, $10 for students, $5 for children 6-16, and free for children 5 and under. Members admitted free year-round. For additional information, call 413-662-2111 or visit MASS MoCA.
MASS MoCA is an independent 501(c)(3) whose operations and programming are funded through admissions and commercial lease revenue, corporate and foundation grants, and individual philanthropy. Except for an initial construction grant from the Commonwealth, and competitive program and operations grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, MASS MoCA is privately funded: 90% of annual operating revenues are from earned revenues, membership support, and private gifts and grants.