Major Gifts Intern at ABT

15 Feb

Writing this, I have now been finished with my Major Gifts internship with American Ballet Theatre for 1 week. As I look back on my semester, I feel incredibly lucky for the immense amount of tutelage I received, the connections I was able to make, and the dream I was able to accomplish. For 15 years of my life, I was a serious ballet dancer, looking up to ABT and everything that the historic company has continued to stand for. Once I retired from the stage, I began studying Arts Administration at Butler University and after two other dance related internships, I applied and landed a spot in ABT’s internship program with Major Gifts. My internship experience was nothing short of worthwhile, allowing me to achieve a lifelong goal of working for a major ballet company.

Something unique about my experience is that I completed my internship fully virtual from my college campus in Indianapolis, Indiana. Nonetheless, my mentors and colleagues at ABT made my work environment so positive and I can’t imagine another opportunity where I learned as much as I did. I’ve learned that I feel fulfilled sharing my love of the arts with the community, making worthwhile connections with people who feel the same, and seeing the results of hard work firsthand. With this internship, specifically in Major Gifts, I have seen the hardworking nature of passionate staff and it inspired me for my future endeavors. My daily tasks included writing and drafting acknowledgement letters, conducting prospective donor research, organizing information on dancer sponsorships, among others. Also, attending weekly professional development meetings provided me with information on the other roles in the organization and their journeys to ABT.

One thing that I appreciated greatly was everyone’s eagerness to connect with the interns and aid them on their path to success. Each of the staff members that participated in the weekly professional development meetings made a point to share connection information and offered their assistance in any situation we might need. I also enjoyed attending weekly staff meetings and learning from likewise professionals in the industry. I was able to gain a plethora of valuable knowledge and see the functions of a growing dance non-profit organization.

Although my experience was different than most, I felt I still experienced the intended effect of working for such a historic organization. I loved working for an organization that I was passionate about and that I had a history of admiring. I feel very lucky to have made the connections that I did, to have learned from enthusiastic mentors like Josephine Smolsky and Anna Hessa, and to have worked at organization that where I feel proud to have been an intern.

Payton Field

Major Gifts Intern (Development)

Fall 2022


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