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Job Details

Chief Development Officer The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation

Company name
The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation

Imlaystown, NJ

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Deadline Open until filled

Date Posted May 15, 2018

Type Executive

Salary Competitive

Employment Type Full-time

Mission: Identifying and developing the best minds for the nations most important challenges.


History of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation

The Foundation was created after World War II, when the United States faced a shortage of university professors to teach a tidal wave of GIs and others entering higher education. It offered the best and brightest students fellowships to attend doctoral programs, leading to professorial positions.

As educational needs evolved, the Foundation supported specific needs and populations underrepresented in the academy, including African Americans and women.

To date, Woodrow Wilson has supported 27,000 Fellows who have won an astounding number of awards and honors including 15 Nobel Prizes, 38 MacArthur Genius Awards, 19 Pulitzer Prizes, two appointments as Poets Laureate of the United States, and even one Academy Award.

The Foundation Today

The Foundations mission is to identify and develop the most talented minds for the nations greatest challenges. It does this by offering fellowships to recruit, support, and prepare the next generation of leaders for important fields.

This year, the Foundation will offer more than 200 fellowships through programs such as these:

- The state-based Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, designed both to recruit, prepare, and retain excellent science, technology, and mathematics (STEM) teachers for high-need schools and to transform the teacher education programs at which they prepare (further described below).

- The Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellowship in Education Leadership, operating in three states, which recruits and prepares excellent principals and changes the way universities educate school leaders (further described below).

- The HistoryQuest Fellowship, now in its third year, developed to provide middle and high school social studies teachers with a professional development program focused on game-based pedagogy.

- The Mellon Foundation Fellowships, including the Career Enhancement Fellowships and the Nancy W. Malkiel Scholars Award, all of which create opportunities for junior faculty members to strengthen their tenure dossiers and connect with faculty colleagues who can mentor them through the tenure process.

- The Course Hero - WW Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching, which aims to shape the next generation of college professors to be innovative, effective, and inspiring educators.

- Several programs for doctoral students - the Mellon Mays Dissertation and Travel/Research Awards, the Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships, and the Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in Womens Studies - that support emerging scholars in the arts and sciences and offer a network of peers.

Across this suite of programs, Woodrow Wilson also emphasizes initiatives that significantly expand diversity on the nations college and university campuses through both access and mentoring.

In addition to these fellowships, the Foundation is in the final phase of developing a model school of education called the Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning. The WW Academy will explore what works in the education of school teachers and principals. It will prepare a generation of teachers and principals who can move the nations schools into a future of outcomes-based, individualized education, and will also serve as a demonstration site for those practices.

Within its mission of cultivating leadership to address the nations greatest challenges - primarily in and through education - the Foundation also identifies new challenges and proposes new programs from time to time. In practical terms, such new and continuing programs also enable Woodrow Wilson, as an operating foundation, to broaden and diversify its revenue base.

Located in Princeton, New Jersey, the Foundation has a budget of approximately $26 million and a staff of 36.


The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation seeks a seasoned fundraising professional to lead and grow a development office that annually raises approximately $1.75 million in unrestricted gifts and $25 million in grants from private foundations and government funders. With a dual report to the President and to the Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, the Chief Development Officer (CDO) will oversee a team of three professionals (annual fund associate, grants associate, and part-time administrative assistant) and will serve as the lead executive responsible for maintaining and growing the Foundations deep base of institutional support, while, over time, building a sustainable major gift-focused fundraising culture that is seamlessly integrated with the organizations marketing initiatives in order to further Woodrow Wilsons mission.

Woodrow Wilson seeks a dynamic, highly organized, and strategic individual with outstanding presentation skills, strong writing skills, marketing savvy, and broad-based development expertise (depth in all relevant areas of the fundraising operation), with particular strength in corporate and foundation fundraising. Experience building and/or significantly growing a sophisticated, complex development function is desired. The organization requires an individual who is committed to building a high-profile program that does not fit within the usual category of nonprofit organizations. This seasoned development professional will embrace the Foundations mission and the sweep of its vision, and will fit well within a culture of impassioned, driven, and dedicated professionals. This is an exciting, high-access opportunity for an ambitious and highly skilled fundraising leader.

As a key member of the leadership team, the CDO will work closely with the President and the Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, senior staff leadership, and members of the Board to develop and implement key fundraising strategies for continued corporate and foundation fund development. The CDO role is currently one uniquely focused on maintaining the Foundations significant institutional relationships. This includes serving as a direct liaison to all funders. Over time, with the goal of increasing contributed revenue and in support of continuous growth, the CDO will strategically build a long-term fundraising plan for individual major gifts as well as foundation and corporate gifts, collaborating closely with leadership in identifying and responding to gift opportunities, and maintaining the flow of information about these priorities throughout the organization. The CDO will serve as the primary conduit to the executive office on major gift-related issues, both individual and institutional, deploying key organization leaders in strategic and well-thought-out ways in order to cultivate significant targeted prospects and to ultimately close leadership gift opportunities.

The successful candidate will be an accomplished senior development professional with gravitas, a proven track record in building sustainable high-performing development programs, and a demonstrated history of successful interactions with high-net-worth individuals and institutional leadership. S/he must demonstrate exceptional abilities in management, organization, communications (oral and written), volunteer leadership, and all areas related to major gift fundraising. In addition, the CDO must have exceptional interpersonal capabilities in order to partner seamlessly with Woodrow Wilson leadership, staff, and high-level volunteers in order to meet rapidly increasing fundraising goals. The ideal CDO is most comfortable working in an intellectually rigorous, fast-moving, highly strategic organization that is dedicated to innovation, proven results, long-term impact, and education as a key to social change. The CDO is someone who is a natural in collaborating at the highest levels with CEOs, philanthropists, thought leaders, elected officials, and other high-profile individuals. Finally, the CDO will be expected to work as a close and trusted partner of the President and Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer in all institutional and individual fundraising initiatives as well as in maximizing the contacts of the Board in order to leverage their relationships and uncover new donors capable of helping Woodrow Wilson in its mission to identify and develop leaders and institutions for the nations most critical education challenges.


- Provide the Foundation with strong, creative, energetic, and strategic leadership in all matters related to fundraising; set new, ambitious, but attainable goals in order to increase annual operating funds. Provide vision and direction in order to build and manage, over time, a full-scale development program including major gifts, planned giving, event sponsorship, institutional gifts (foundation and corporate), gift processing and acknowledgement, and other development support functions. Design and implement a long-term plan for philanthropic development.

- Identify new major gift sources and serve as the organizations primary knowledge source for funding opportunities and philanthropic outlets. Currently, foundation support is Woodrow Wilsons most significant revenue stream. The CDO will manage a development operation that proactively researches and identifies additional institutional funding sources, and oversee the preparation and submission of proposals for appropriate funds, grants, and gifts. With team support, draft and oversee all written communication related to these institutional fundraising efforts (i.e. RFP submissions, stewardship, reporting, etc.). Maintain reporting schedule and lead coordination to be in compliance with all requirements of grantors. With the Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, the Vice President, and budget and program staff, conceive of and write proposals and budgets for government funding agencies. Assist in the development of new programs and fellowships.

- Solicit, cultivate, steward and maintain a portfolio of major gift prospects - individual and institutional. Cultivate relationships with the Foundations 20,000 alumni Fellows, especially in regard to the annual fund and planned giving.

- In collaboration with the President, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, and Board leadership, create individualized cultivation and stewardship strategies, timelines, and desired outcomes related to the Foundations most loyal supporters and top prospects in order to maximize the closure of short- and long-term major gifts. Staff the Boards Development/External Affairs Committee and assist in staffing its Trusteeship Committee.

- Create and promote effective cultivation and solicitation opportunities for Woodrow Wilson leadership. Make the appropriate connections between prospective donors and Woodrow Wilson leadership and Board. Utilize sound judgment and employ well-thought-out and communicated prospect strategies when involving the President, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, and Board, whose time demands are significant.

- Advocate and fundraise for the Foundation in close coordination with marketing/ communications efforts and with in-depth knowledge of the priorities and mission of the organization. With support from the Vice President, direct all fundraising communications-related functions including proposal development, donor recognition and stewardship, campaign communications, prospect appeals, and gift reporting. Collaborate with the marketing and communications team to sharpen the themes and language by which Woodrow Wilson advocates and expresses the scope and success of their work.

- Inspire the respect and confidence of stakeholders, corporate executives, foundation executives, and the Board. Learn and communicate in compelling terms the vision for Woodrow Wilson.

- Report regularly to the Board of Trustees about the status and progress of all development activities and the plan for growth.

- Grow the Woodrow Wilson database; create management reports, call and funder reports, and meeting request memos as needed. Organize a prospect management structure that enables ready reporting, organized outreach, and tracking, and which facilitates the growth of development functions. Build an infrastructure that can support dramatic growth in contributed revenue and numbers of institutional and individual prospects.

- Develop, implement, and lead all future annual endowment and capital campaigns. Oversee major Foundation fundraising and friend-raising events.

- Develop, administer, and maintain the organizations master prospect list. Conduct appropriate follow-up and stewardship on all gifts and pledges.

- Over time and with proven results, grow, oversee, and assess the development team in order to achieve or exceed growing contributed revenue targets. Create and manage the department budget, establish margins, employ control costs, and capitalize on operational efficiencies. Develop innovative and impactful event programs and build online opportunities to garner support. Manage additional consultants, including a leading government relations firm, so they are operating at maximum productivity cost effectiveness.

- Analyze fundraising activities and benchmark with peer organizations in the philanthropy marketplace to ensure the organization is on track. Optimize innovation, maximize output, and communicate the value of the organizations mission at all times. Establish priorities that have the greatest impact on achieving fundraising goals. Understand and commit to key ratios in order to build a department that is fiscally responsible. Drive organizational success with strategic planning that leads to bottom-line growth. Establish and achieve goals for rapid growth and milestones for progress against the plan and execute in coordination with the team.

- Build and develop effective and transparent working relationships between the development department and other departments within the Woodrow Wilson organization. Serve as a valued and contributing member of the President and Executive Vice President/ Chief Operating Officers senior executive team.

- Serve as a respected, passionate, and compelling external advocate for the Foundation. Fully embrace the organizations mission in order to convey performance-related statistics and communicate data persuasively. Make the case for funding with authority, conviction, and urgency.


- Develop a strategy to increase restricted giving and expand corporate and foundation base.

- Assist Director of Fellowships Acquisition in executing strategy to grow foundation administration function.

- Support overall execution of strategic plan.


- Leadership experience within a sophisticated fundraising operation of similar complexity, preferably within an education-related enterprise, a foundation, an organization dedicated to education reform, an organization that offers fellowships or the equivalent, or an innovative mission-based environment. A broad background in development with at least five years in leadership posts, including work in all core functional areas of fundraising.

- Significant experience in institutional development encompassing work in all relevant areas such as grant writing, foundation relations, corporate programs and relations, stewardship, prospect research, and reporting is mandatory. Exceptional writing skills are required.

- Deep experience in personal fundraising solicitation with a proven record of accomplishment in corporate, foundation, and government fundraising, as well as a broad-based knowledge of strategic fundraising program building, national-caliber fundraising, donor acquisition, planned giving, research, cultivation, organization, stewardship, reporting, and overall management. Planning, implementation, management, and successful conclusion of a major campaign are desirable.

- Demonstrated experience with the full range of donor sources - private foundations, government agencies, corporations, board members, individual major donors, annual fund donors - and ability to think strategically of other potential funders and partnerships.

- Proven success with programmatic-driven major gifts fundraising. Experience with program creation is preferred.

- Demonstrated ability to roll up the sleeves and take on all responsibilities of a small development team, including a heavy emphasis on writing grants and proposals as well as executive leadership communication.

- Experienced with multifaceted, national-caliber development organizations and appreciation of the importance of communications and marketing in successful outreach and fundraising.

- Superb judgment and outstanding interpersonal and communication skills, with high integrity and a sense of humor.

- Articulate and genuine spokesperson on behalf of Woodrow Wilson.

- Sensitive to human relations and ability to work independently and as a team member in a dynamic, mission-driven environment.

- A bachelors degree is required. A masters degree, MBA, or other degree in a relevant discipline that will be credible to donors, with strong academic credentials, is preferred.


- A history of growing and further professionalizing a development function within an intellectually rigorous, quality, and mission-driven organization. Particular strength in the area of developing a strategic and comprehensive fundraising plan and executing against that plan. Additional knowledge/experience with working directly with organizational leaders and a high-profile Board of Trustees is essential.

- Capability, presence, and judgment to guide the development work of the President, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, senior management, and Board leadership in an appropriate and effective manner. Sensitivity to the demands upon executive and Board time, and good judgment in determining when it is appropriate to involve key leadership in fundraising processes. Patience and appropriate temperament to develop the trust and affection of the Board and donors.

- Strong competency in leading others to meet goals, establishing clear direction, setting objectives, and monitoring progress and results in a deadline-driven environment. Ability to develop trust and strong collaborative working relationships. Must be a team builder who is willing to empower individuals to get the job done through providing the tools that are needed. Must have a history of recruiting and developing exceptional people.

- Enthusiasm for and recognition of the importance of working collaboratively and congenially with all colleagues at the Foundation - from the President to the Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, to directors, associates, and assistant-level staff.

- Experience nurturing and motivating volunteers and alumni as well as appreciation for their roles in building an effective development network.

- Action-oriented, hard-working, with exceptional attention to detail and ability to make decisions in a changing and interactive environment with openness to and enthusiasm for new ideas. Self-starting and self-motivating with the ability to show results on time and in a highly ethical and professional manner. Customer-focused and dedicated to meeting and exceeding the expectations and requirements of internal and external constituents.

- Intellectually keen, with a strong drive to produce exemplary results while making strong business-based decisions.

For additional information, please visit ***************.

Please send applications or nominations to Susan Meade and Addie Jones at ***********************************.

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