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Songbook Foundation appoints development officer

Marissa Nielsen brings decade of philanthropic experience to growing organization.

The Great American Songbook Foundation has hired an experienced development professional to build local and national philanthropic support for its music preservation and arts education initiatives.

Filling the new position of Individual Giving Officer for the Songbook Foundation is Marissa Nielsen, who served most recently as a philanthropic advisor for the Central Indiana Community Foundation, managing a portfolio of over 100 donor-advised funds representing approximately $32 million. She previously worked as a graduate intern for the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation and in staff positions for other community, family and private foundations.

Nielsen holds a master’s degree in philanthropy from Indiana University’s Lilly School of Philanthropy and a bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations from Spring Arbor University in Michigan. She has been active in Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy and has participated in many workshops and training opportunities through American Fundraising Professionals.

“We heard from many qualified candidates, but Marissa’s experience made her the right choice for this new and vital role,” said Christopher Lewis, Executive Director of the Great American Songbook Foundation. “Financial support will be crucial as the Foundation continues to build its national reputation and realize its ambitious plans for the future.”

Nielsen’s priorities include securing individual, planned, capital campaign and major gifts for the Foundation by building relationships with philanthropists, volunteers, advocates and supporters. She reports to Kendra Latta, Director of Individual Development for the Foundation and the affiliated Center for the Performing Arts.

The Songbook Foundation is headquartered at the Center’s Palladium concert hall in Carmel but is laying the groundwork to establish a freestanding Songbook Hall of Fame & Museum to house its Songbook Archives & Library, which has grown to more than 750,000 items representing the creators and performers of America’s timeless popular music. The vast collection includes recordings, sheet music, images, memorabilia and other items linked to such figures as songwriters Meredith Willson (The Music Man), Gus Kahn (“It Had to Be You”) and Hy Zaret (“Unchained Melody”).

About the Great American Songbook Foundation

The mission of the Great American Songbook Foundation, founded in 2007 by five-time Grammy® Award nominee Michael Feinstein, is to inspire and educate by celebrating the timeless musical standards of pop, jazz, Broadway and Hollywood. Headquartered at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana, the Foundation advances this rich musical legacy by curating a vast archive of items representing its creators, performers and publishers; operating a multimedia exhibit gallery; overseeing the Songbook Hall of Fame; offering programs for the public and research opportunities for scholars and artists; and providing educational opportunities for student musicians, including the annual Songbook Academy® summer intensive. The Foundation is a Cultural Affiliate of the Los Angeles-based Grammy Museum®. More information is available at

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