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Yandell joins of N.C. Museum of Art

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By Danielle Jackson

RALEIGH, N.C. — After 14 years in fundraising, primarily developing campaigns for colleges and universities, Kathryn Yandell now heads up major gifts for the for the North Carolina Museum of Art.

In her new role, Yandell will work to develop a major-gift program for the museum and eventually aims   to create a formal planned-giving program.

Named senior director of major gifts in May, Yandell brings to the position her years of development experience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Saint Mary’s School in Raleigh and East Carolina University in Greenville.

Her new role will be a challenge, she says, but there are some commonalities that will help ease the transition.

“They’re two entirely different organizations,” she says of higher education and the museum, which is a division of the state Department of Cultural Resources.

The museum is part of the public and the state, similar to the universities she worked for, she says, and  all have affiliated foundations, so there are some budgeting similarities.

Development is something “you learn as you go,” says Yandell.  “Although there are formal programs to teach it, it’s still more of an apprentice-type thing. I’ve been fortunate to work with great institutions and great people.”

A Raleigh native, Yandell remembers when the museum was on Morgan Street downtown, before it relocated to a larger facility on Blue Ridge Road in 1983.

She left Raleigh to earn a master’s degree in business administration from Queens College in Charlotte, but returned to Raleigh in 1990 to be closer to her family following a separation from her first husband.

Her divorce attorney, whose father then worked at Capital Consortium, a fundraising consulting firm   now known as Capital Development Services, suggested she try development.

“I had an interview Friday and was hired Saturday morning,” she says.

Yandell’s approach to development can be summed up in two words: “cultivating relationships.”

“I try to think of myself as a philanthropic adviser of sorts,” she says. “When meeting with people, I try to understand their whole interests and where the organization I represent fits in with that.”

“When you think about it like that, it’s really all about the donor and their relationship with the organization, and you represent part of that,” she says. “It’s a lot about understanding your place in that relationship.”

Kathryn Yandell

Job: Senior director of major gifts, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh

Born: 1956, Danville, Va.

Education: B.S., biology, North Carolina State University; MBA, Queens College (now Queens University), Charlotte

Family: Husband, Lyne S. Gamble Jr.; daughter, Kate, 21; and stepchildren Sarah, 23, Innes, 22, and Starling, 12

Career path: Assistant campaign director, Capital Consortium Inc., 1991-92; capital campaign director, Triangle Hospice Capital Campaign, 1992-93; director of development, UNC-Chapel Hill, 1993-96; director of development, St. Mary’s School, 1996-2001; associate vice chancellor for university development, East Carolina University, 2001-05

Hobbies: Walking, reading and cooking

Favorite art or artist: Vermeer’s works; all the impressionists; Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun.

 In developing a major-gift program, she lists integrity, listening and follow-through as critical qualities.“It’s not a sales job,” she says. “You have to understand what people are trying to achieve with philanthropy.”Yandell is positive about the museum’s future, which includes a $75 million expansion project slated for completion in 2008.The museum also recently received 23 works of art by Auguste Rodin as a gift from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, and is preparing for a Claude Monet exhibition beginning Oct. 15.“It’s been an amazing evolution and is an appealing institution,” Yandell says. “It’s well-respected, and I’m proud to say it’s something I represent.”

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