Detroit Opera Names Andrew Berg as New Chief Development Officer

Detroit Opera has appointed Andrew Berg as Chief Development Officer following a nationwide search, and the new appointment will be effective March 11, 2024. Berg brings nearly 20 years of experience in development and nonprofit management, deep Detroit ties, and a belief in the power of performance.


Currently, Berg leads the principal gifts program at Cranbrook Educational Community in Bloomfield Hills, where he has partnered with the President and Program Directors to develop institution-wide donor strategies, define giving opportunities, and solicit significant gifts. He grew up attending Michigan Opera Theatre (now Detroit Opera) productions and presentations, acted in high school and college, was a member of the Detroit 300 Tricentennial Gospel Choir, and studied improvisation at The Second City.


In addition to Berg’s appointment, Detroit Opera has also announced two promotions: Director of Marketing and Communications Samantha Teter has been named Detroit Opera’s Chief Marketing Officer, and Juliano Bitonti Stewart, who has been serving as Interim Director of Development, is now Director of Development.


In his current position at Cranbrook Educational Community, Berg recently closed a $1 million gift for student financial aid and climate change exhibition and education, and he is the project lead for the renovation of the Performing Arts Center.


Previously, he spent 13 years in fundraising at the University of Chicago, most recently as Director of Development at Court Theatre, winner of the 2022 Tony Award for Regional Theatre. There, he helped recruit the largest and most diverse class of Trustees in Court Theatre history, secured key support to fund the Court’s biggest-ever production, and exceeded goals for contributed revenue through COVID disruptions. In prior positions at the University of Chicago, he worked with patrons, alumni, parents, and students and helped transform the parent and family philanthropy program, securing six- and seven-figure gifts for the Media Arts, Data, and Design Center, the Green Line Performing Arts Center, financial aid, career programs, and graduate education.


Berg is the founder and host of Inside the Fundraisers Studio, a popular long-form interview show. He majored in history and Spanish at the University of Michigan and spent summers during college volunteering in Guatemala, studied food systems in Cuba, and later managed a social service agency on the Mexican border. He was a long-time volunteer Spanish-language interpreter for artists at the Chicago Latino Film Festival and won best interpreter there in 2010. He got his start in nonprofit management as a supervisor at a Red Cross shelter in Houma, Louisiana, following Hurricane Katrina.


In his personal life, Berg is an avid cyclist, paddleboarder, and gardener. He created a family bike-camping program and won the 2021 Winter Bike Challenge in Chicago, enjoys exploring the waterways of Michigan and beyond, and has planted hundreds of native flowers, grasses, shrubs, and fruit trees. His favorite role is that of Papi to his two children.


“I am thrilled that we have hired Andrew Berg as our Chief Development Officer,” Detroit Opera President and CEO Patty Isacson Sabee says. “Andrew is a Detroit resident who grew up attending Michigan Opera Theatre productions and joins us with nearly two decades of fundraising experience, most recently leading the principal gifts program at Cranbrook Educational Community. He has proven himself a skilled and adept partner to visionary artists and a people-first leader who thrives on mutual success.”


“I am honored and delighted to join Detroit Opera and serve as Chief Development Officer at such an exciting time of transformation,” Berg said. “I look forward to collaborating with artists, staff, the Board of Directors, patrons, donors, and community members to realize the ambitious vision for opera and dance in Detroit and beyond.”


Chief Marketing Officer Samantha Teter is an experienced nonprofit marketing leader with more than 20 years of success in arts and culture organizations. Prior to joining Detroit Opera in July 2023, she most recently served as Vice President of Advancement with the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee.


Previously, she served the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera for more than nine years, first as Director of Marketing and Corporate Sponsorships, then as Executive Director. Other major roles include Director of Marketing and Sales for the Colorado Symphony and Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Teter has performed as an actor, singer, and dancer in theater and other stage productions for the past 35 years.


Director of Development Juliano Bitonti Stewart joined Detroit Opera as Associate Major Gifts Officer in June 2023 and was named Interim Director of Development in January. Stewart, a cellist and graduate of the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University, has dedicated his career as a fundraiser to strengthening the future of the arts, bringing his passion for the arts into every aspect of his life and career. As a fundraiser, he has held positions at the Nashville and Detroit symphonies and worked as a consultant for many other arts organizations around the country. Stewart has created string arrangements for pop artists around the world, plays bass in several Detroit-area bands, and builds custom mechanical keyboards.

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