DVI Executive Director Terry Lorince has said the $85,000-a-year position would be funded through income generated by the person selected.
The job description mandates responsibility for creating and implementing an annual development plan and strategy; cultivating and nurturing relationships with sponsors, partners and donors; and writing at least five federal, state, county, corporate or foundation grant applications per year.
Originally from New Jersey, Feinberg has lived in Jacksonville for 18 years.
She said her initial objectives are to expand the model of what a Downtown development district is and find new ways to fund DVI's initiatives.
"That can be a double-edged sword, because when forming strategic partnerships, you're developing new initiatives," Feinberg said.
Enhancing existing programs is one area of focus for Feinberg.
The Oct. 2 First Wednesday Art Walk is being planned with an "Oktoberfest" theme, complete with a German band that usually performs at Epcot Center in Orlando and a biergarten. Also planned is a "community mural" project in partnership with the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council, Feinberg said.
The Nov. 6 edition, "Cheers to 10 Years," is planned as a celebration of the monthly event's first decade with a champagne toast and live jazz along Laura Street near the Museum of Contemporary Art.
"Downtown for the Holidays" is planned for Dec. 4 to encourage Art Walk participants to purchase gifts from artists and businesses.
"We have worked on revamping Art Walk coming into the next 10 years. We're looking at elevating some programs and increasing partnerships to celebrate the valuable resources we have Downtown," said Feinberg.
As the economy improves, sponsorship funds are returning to corporate budgets. Feinberg said there is opportunity, but there's also more competition for those funds.
"We need to look strategically, forge partnerships and leverage opportunities," she said.
The concept of corporate sponsorship when it comes to supporting Downtown goes beyond buying a table or hanging a banner at an event.
"A corporate sponsor is not just about supporting Art Walk once a month. It's about what that does for the city in the long term. It's about economic development and bringing people Downtown. People want to be in a community where there is activity," Feinberg said.
Feinberg left the Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida Inc., where she was director of urban planning, for her new job with DVI.
Last September, the council relocated from Arlington to a suite in The Jacksonville Bank Building Downtown. That allowed Feinberg to experience the neighborhood on a daily basis.
Health Planning Council Executive Director Dawn Emerick said Feinberg grew to love Downtown.
"Valerie believes in quality of life and the way places are activated. She is very passionate and committed to improving Downtown and not a lot of people can say 'no' to Valerie. I think DVI is a great fit for her," said
Lorince said she reviewed more than 30 applications and resumes before hiring Feinberg. She said Feinberg's diverse background is what won her the job.
"Valerie brought a good mix of skills. Her planning background gives her an understanding of how Downtown works. She brought many contacts and relationships with her and she has good grant-writing skills," said Lorince.
Feinberg's 18-year background in planning is as important to the job as raising funds. The 90-square-block Business Improvement District managed by DVI was a factor in Feinberg's decision to join the organization.
"As a planner, I like working on a micro-scale environment. I like to see things implemented and work in a specific community with defined boundaries. My planning background helps me understand the environment. It will help me influence change and help DVI achieve its mission," she said.
Feinberg has developed a menu of sponsorship opportunities for Art Walk from a $2,400 package that includes a booth at the event and inclusion on the iloveartwalk.com website and the monthly flier up to the $70,000 exclusive presenting sponsorship.
"I've only been here two months. I've got a lot of things cooking. Hopefully, in the next couple of months, things will start to close," said Feinberg.
A new and improved theme format for First Wednesday Art Walk and a menu of sponsorships opportunities are two changes in place at Downtown Vision Inc. since Valerie Feinberg was hired as director of strategic partnerships.