We are excited to introduce Yvette Hanzel — GWDT’s new Director of Development.

In this role, Hanzel will oversee the implementation of a strategic approach to fundraising – including grant solicitation, major gifts, annual campaign, fundraising events and in-kind resources.

“I’m truly honored, and feel a genuine rapport with both David Shimotakahara and General Manager Beth Rutkowski,” says Hanzel. “Their level of passion and enthusiasm is contagious and, like the boundaries pushed by GroundWorks in their performances, I’m looking forward to collaborating with David, Beth, the board of directors, and the funding community on unique and innovative ways to engage donors and build on GroundWorks’ development program.”

Hanzel started her non-profit career in 1993 at the Western Reserve Historical Society where she coordinated society-wide communication and project management across a 125-member staff, 65-member board, 12 committees and seven different historic sites across a 5-county area. She also served as Corporate Relations Director for the Society and became a key member of a capital campaign team to raise $32 million. At the Beck Center for the Arts, where she was Director of Marketing, Hanzel planned and implemented organization-wide marketing and public relations activities, as well as arts-education programming.

Wanting to pursue a life-long dream, Hanzel opened Bean Coffee Café in Avon Lake, OH in 2008.Though, after just 16 short months, she made the difficult decision to close along with thousands of other small business owners during the Great Recession. She returned to the non-profit world as development director at Family Promise of Greater Cleveland and most recently spent over four years handling office management, human resources, volunteer recruitment and grant management for the Ohio Buckeye Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

“My non-profit career has acquainted me with Cleveland’s rich history and the wonderful work that is being done in the arts and health and human services,” says Hanzel. “GroundWorks is an organization that is constantly evolving. With their tremendous ability to help their audiences, partners and the community experience something in a different way, I have a keen sense this new role will be extremely meaningful for me. I’m excited to get started!”

For GroundWorks to find the right person to help guide the company’s exciting development moving forward is so important, says Artistic Director David Shimotakahara.

“It’s why I am so delighted that Yvette will be joining the company’s staff as Director of Development,” he says. “Yvette’s professional background combines years of experience working with non-profit organizations throughout Cleveland with an entrepreneurial spirit as the owner of her own small business. Her scope and strength of character are immediately evident but I also responded to her generous nature and personal warmth. I am truly grateful to the Cleveland Foundation and the Gund Foundation for their assistance in making possible this critical investment in GroundWorks’ development and growth.”

Welcome, Yvette!