Paul Ferrone, Principal

As executive director, general manager, or director of development for arts organizations, Paul Ferrone has built relationships that resulted in motivated staff, artists, and volunteers and stronger, more fiscally sound organizations that contribute significantly to the arts in their communities.
In all of his work, Paul has evaluated the organization’s finances, management structure, and fundraising processes to facilitate strategic planning in the context of the organization’s goals, vision, and mission.

After his bachelor of music in piano performance at the Boston Conservatory of Music and having earned a master of fine arts from Penn State, Paul began his career in arts administration as the general manager of the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra supervising four people and managing a $150,000 operating budget.  He subsequently managed organizations with increasing responsibilities and challenges, eventually serving as the executive director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra where he supervised a staff of seventeen and administered a $5 million operating budget.

For more than 25 years, Paul honed the management skills he employs in his own firm, Ferrone & Associates, LLC, which specializes in nonprofit management consulting. In this work, Paul combines his passions for the arts and for guiding organizations toward realizing their visions and fulfilling their missions.

Paul goes beyond recommendations and works side by side with staff and volunteers to get the work done. Recent Ferrone & Associates, LLC, consulting clients have included these projects.


Consulting Projects

Simon Estes Foundation

Paul managed the Roots & Wings Tour which has brought Simon Estes to over 54 Iowa counties and awarded 206 college scholarships to graduating Iowa high school seniors totaling over $225,000.

StageWest Theater Company

Working with the board of directors and staff of the StageWest Theater Company, Paul has increased contributed revenues 70% over a two year period, developed detailed budgeting procedures and guided the strategic planning process

Warren Cultural Center

Working with the Programming Committee of the Warren Cultural Center, Paul guided a planning process that created a framework for programming decisions unique to the organization. He also researched artists and attractions and created performing arts series of the inaugural season. In addition, he provided budgeting and fundraising counsel.

Des Moines Symphony – Interim Assignment

During the time Paul served as interim executive director of the symphony, he worked with the board of directors, the nominating and governance committees, and staff to bring their finances into order (e.g., revamped the budget and proposed a more effective series of financial reports). He planned and implemented an efficient project development process and researched and prepared a rationale for increasing endowments while at the same time leveling distributions from the endowments to minimize volatility.


Strategic Planning

At several organizations, Paul has led strategic planning efforts that clarified the organization’s mission and vision, established consensus on organization’s priorities and motivated and inspired individuals to action.  These include the Des Moines Symphony, the Alabama Symphony, StageWest Theatre Company and the Warren Cultural Center.

At the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Paul led development efforts that resulted in three consecutive, record-setting years of annual fund raising, including surpassing $2 million for the first time in the organization’s history.

Also in Hartford, Paul secured multi-year commitments from area corporations ranging from $112,000 to $210,000 for concerts and community engagement programs that developed new audiences in the Latino and African-American communities. These efforts resulted in the Hartford Symphony’s Latino Music festival. In helping create this festival, Paul collaborated with Latino-based organizations, established a community advisory board, and helped craft new, innovative programs to reach this previously underserved audience.

Paul directed the Des Moines Symphony Association board of directors and volunteers in annual fund raising efforts that increased individual and business support, corporate sponsorships, and local, state and federal grants, and that doubled the number of contributors (from 400 to 800) and increased annual contributions from $300,000 to $500,000.

Paul worked closely with the Des Moines Symphony Association board of directors, staff, and volunteers to increase endowment funds from $35,000 to $600,000. Under his guidance, the association secured $90,000 in financing for a debut recording project and raised $30,000 to commission four works that were premiered by the symphony.

As a major gifts officer with the Iowa State University Foundation, Paul coordinated the solicitation of a $500,000 planned gift that established an internship program for second-year architecture students in the College of Design.


Paul has worked with a variety of arts organizations on developing programming that fulfills the organization’s mission and vision, engages and serves the organization’s constituents and is financially sustainable. These include developing the Roots & Wings Tour and Young Artist Performance Program for the Simon Estes Foundation, establish the New Year’s Eve Concert, Chamber Music Series and Family Concerts for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, creating the Latino Music Festival for the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and programming the Season at Stephens Performing Arts Series at the Iowa State Center on the campus of Iowa State University.

Board Development

Paul worked with the board of directors to successfully restructure and rehabilitate the Ames International Orchestra Festival.

In all of his work, Paul successfully identifies key areas of essential board expertise, develops strategies to recruit new and engage current board members, establishes leadership development and succession plans, and implements governance practices that provide stability for the future of each organization.

Financial Reporting

While at the Des Moines Symphony Association, Paul’s financial development and management resulted in an 83% revenue increase while holding the expense increase to only 73% over an eight year period.

As director of performing arts programming for the Iowa State Center, Paul managed the $1 million operating budget from a $50,000 deficit to a $50,000 surplus in five years.

As executive director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Paul balanced the operating budget for three years in a row.

In all of his work, Paul evaluates the organizations’ financial instruments (e.g., budgets, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and other reports) and recommends changes that result in board members and staff basing decisions on sound financial processes.