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Houston Ballet Appoints Jean Ellis First Chief Development Officer

Related: Houston Ballet, Jean Joransen Ellis, Chief Development Officer

Houston Ballet has announced that Jean Joransen Ellis has been appointed as its first Chief Development Officer. Ms. Ellis will be responsible for developing comprehensive strategic fundraising plans and overseeing the development department at the company.

"I am extremely pleased that Jean has joined the Houston Ballet team," said Executive Director James Nelson. "Her knowledge and depth of experience will be a tremendous asset for the organization as we continue to grow."

Ms. Ellis has twenty years of professional experience in leadership and development roles in the non-profit sector. She earned her Masters in Business Administration and her undergraduate Bachelor of Arts from University of Denver.

Ms. Ellis commented on her return to Houston by saying, "I consider Houston Ballet, with its new building and presence downtown, as one of the premier cultural organizations in the country. It's a pleasure to return to a performing arts position in a city I love and have considered home for a large part of my adult life."

In 1992, Ms. Ellis began professionally fundraising with the Shreveport Symphony as Director of Development. During her time there she was responsible for all fundraising activities and exceeded their annual giving campaign goal by 6% the first year. In 1995 Ms. Ellis began working for the Houston Symphony as Director of Corporate and Foundation Giving. She was then promoted to Director of Development in 1996. After a brief gap, she returned to the symphony, ending her tenure with them in 2003 as Senior Director, Capital Campaign.

In 2005, Ms. Ellis was the Executive Director of the Bagaduce Music Lending Library, a non-profit in Blue Hill, Maine. During her time there Ms. Ellis oversaw the volunteer workforce, overhauled the accounting system and developed new financial policies to increase giving.

Most recently, Ms. Ellis worked at the Denver Zoological Foundation as Vice President for Development and Membership where she helped to reenergize their capital campaign and worked on growing the organization's endowment. Ms. Ellis now brings her leadership and fundraising experience to Houston Ballet as its new Chief Development Officer.

On February 17, 1969 a troupe of 15 young dancers made its stage debut at Sam Houston State Teacher's College in Huntsville, Texas. Since that time, Houston Ballet has evolved into a company of 55 dancers with a budget of $20.5 million (making it the United States' fourth largest ballet company by number of dancers), a state-of-the-art performance space built especially for the company, Wortham Theater Center; the largest professional dance facility in America, Houston Ballet's $46.6 million Center for Dance which opened in April 2011, and an endowment of just over $57.6 million (as of May 2011).

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