The Kennedy Center

Marie Mattson


In 1997, Ms. Mattson joined the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where she serves as Vice President for Development for the Center, the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO), and the Washington National Opera (WNO). Her responsibilities include the management of all fundraising, special events and volunteer activities. In addition to managing an increase in annual contributions from $22 million to $80 million, Ms. Mattson launched the Kennedy Center’s first nationwide endowment campaign in the late 90s, securing commitments of more than $80 million and is currently overseeing an ongoing $125 million capital campaign.

Her additional responsibilities include the oversight of the hundreds of events each year, including the Spring Gala, the WNO opening nights, the NSO Ball, the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the WNO Ball, Fourth of July on the Roof and the Kennedy Center Honors. These events alone bring in more than $14 million each year for the Center’s arts and arts education programs.

Ms. Mattson teaches and conducts seminars for the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, including work with the year-round Kennedy Center Fellows Program and the Summer International Fellows. She also conducts sessions for many boards and other arts administrators. With Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser, DeVos Institute Director Brett Egan, and the Center’s VP of Marketing and Sales David Kitto, she has taught or lectured in many other parts of the United States and in other countries around the world.

Ms. Mattson has been working in development for more than twenty-seven years. She was selected in 1985 to serve as Project Manager for the Smithsonian Institution’s “Information Age” exhibition at the National Museum of American History. After a two-year term as Special Assistant to the Smithsonian’s Secretary, Ms. Mattson then went on to become Director of Membership and Development for the entire Institution from 1991 to 1997. During her tenure, annual contributions rose from $25 million to $50 million. She and her office also secured an additional $55 million in sponsorships for the Smithsonian’s 150th Anniversary Celebration in 1996.

From 1972-1985, Ms. Mattson worked as a programmer, operations manager, systems manager and director of computing services for the U.S. Navy, as well as the Center for Naval Analyses and the Institute for Defense Analysis.

Ms. Mattson was raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She attended Drexel and Wayne State Universities and is married, with two adult children.
Marie Mattson