Sheffield named chief development officer at Art Museums

Melanie Sheffield will take on the role of chief development officer for the Harvard Art Museums on March 4. Photo courtesy of Harvard Art Museums

3 min read

The Harvard Art Museums are pleased to announce the appointment of Melanie Sheffield as chief development officer, a new leadership position in the museums’ Office of Institutional Advancement; she will assume the role on March 4, 2019. The chief development officer will provide strategic direction for the planning and execution of all functions related to development, in alignment with the museums’ mission, vision, and goals. Sheffield comes to the museums from Boston Ballet, where she has served since 2013, first as director of individual giving and then as director of development, a promotion she received during her first year with the organization. She is returning to the museums for this new role, having previously served as assistant director of membership and special programs in 2005–06.

With over 17 years of fundraising and development experience in cultural and higher education institutions, Sheffield brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to her new role at the museums. She has a deep understanding of the philanthropic landscape in Boston and beyond, and has worked with some of the region’s foremost donors. She established Boston Ballet’s first planned giving program and is personally responsible for a portfolio of 50 of the ballet’s top prospects and donors.

“We are extraordinarily fortunate to welcome someone of Melanie’s caliber to our team at the Harvard Art Museums,” said Martha Tedeschi, the Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director. “She is perfectly positioned to build on the success we have had in generating enthusiasm and support for our unique teaching and research mission. Her passion for the arts is palpable and inspiring; I look forward to her energy and ideas as we forge new paths in stewarding our fundraising efforts, strengthening relationships with current friends, and reaching out to bring others into our network of supporters.”

Prior to her work at Boston Ballet, Sheffield served in development leadership roles at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (2010–13: director of advancement; director of the president’s council) and Wentworth Institute of Technology (2006–10: interim vice president of institutional advancement; major gifts officer; director of the annual fund and donor relations). Sheffield earned a B.A. in communications from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1999, with a minor in history of art and architecture.

“I am thrilled to be returning to the Harvard Art Museums as the new chief development officer and to partner with Director Martha Tedeschi in advancing the museums’ exceptional mission,” said Sheffield. “As an ardent supporter of the arts, it is an honor to join this community and to have the opportunity to engage current friends and create new connections with those interested in investing in the museums’ vibrant future.”