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Naples museum rehires CEO in new role

  • By Jim Stinson
  • | 5:00 p.m. October 17, 2023
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
Dena Rae Hancock, the new senior philanthropy officer of the Children's Museum of Naples.
Dena Rae Hancock, the new senior philanthropy officer of the Children's Museum of Naples.
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The Golisano Children's Museum of Naples appointed Dena Rae Hancock as senior philanthropy officer. 

Museum officials say Hancock will focus on elevating the museum's annual and capital fundraising to better serve the organization’s long-term goals.

Hancock served as museum CEO from 2020 to 2022. She worked after that as senior vice president of Naples Trust Co. Museum officials say they are happy to have her back.

"She has a deep passion for the museum and our work, plus an intimate knowledge of our operations and our donor constituencies," says CEO Jonathan Foerster. "When we first sat down to talk about this possibility, I could hardly believe the stars aligned in a way that this could happen."

"At the end of the day, my heart kept pulling me back to the children and mission of (the museum)," says Hancock in a statement. 

Hancock started at the museum in 2018 as a volunteer, after attending a "Night at the Museum" gala event. She later joined as director of philanthropy before serving as interim CEO and later CEO, museum officials say.

Hancock has decades of nonprofit fundraising experience, the museum says. Among other roles, she serves on the board of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, where she first began her career.

Hancock began her new role on Oct. 2.

The Golisano Children's Museum of Naples is Southwest Florida’s first museum devoted for children and families to learn through play. With hands-on exhibit galleries, the accessible museum invites visitors of all ages to journey through the swamps of the Everglades or weave through a maze, among other activities.



Jim Stinson

Jim Stinson is the Business Observer's Tampa Bay business reporter and editor, having previously written about business and policy in Washington, D.C.; Rochester, New York; Gary, Indiana; and Daytona Beach. He attended Boston University for business and Indiana University for journalism.

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