The Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach has named Donna Guzzo as its new director of development.
In her new role, Guzzo will oversee special fundraising events and serve as a liaison for the center’s affinity group, Friends for the Arts. She will begin her position April 19.
“I’m very excited to be part of such an elite group and be a part of the team to take it to the next level,” Guzzo said in an interview with The Recorder. “My first priority is going to be getting to know the donors and then taking it from there, determining what our needs are and securing additional funding through grants from corporations and foundations.”
Guzzo noted that in addition to possessing two decades of fundraising experience, she recently completed the training required to receive the Certified Nonprofit Executive, Certified Development Executive and Certified Nonprofit Consultant designations from the National Association of Nonprofits.
“For nonprofits nowadays, it’s all about the money,” Guzzo said. “Without money, you don’t have a cause and without a cause, you don’t have a mission.”
Guzzo joins the cultural center from the St. Johns County School District, where she served as the business coordinator for its Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). She also founded the school district’s Language Exploration Enrichment program, which introduces elementary school students to Spanish language and culture. In fact, it was the cultural center’s educational outreach programs – particularly its “Sound Connections” program that provides music therapy to children with special needs at four local elementary schools – that convinced Guzzo the cultural center position would be a good match for her skills and experience.
“When I saw that (program),” she said, “I thought, ‘Wow, I can still be involved and have my enthusiasm for the schools.”
Guzzo lives in Ponte Vedra Beach with her husband, Glenn, and daughter, Scheherezade, who recently graduated as valedictorian from Full Sail University.
Cultural Center Executive Director Judy Hixenbaugh praised Guzzo’s combination of fundraising and nonprofit experience.
“Her enthusiasm and experience are exactly what we were looking for to help take the center to the next level,” Hixenbaugh said. “We are over-the-moon excited to have her on our team.”