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Chief Development and External Affairs Officer

Ackerman Institute For The Family
New York, United States
Competitive Salary
Closing date
Jul 15, 2021

View more

Position Type
Executive, Fundraising, Major Gifts
Health, Social Services
Employment Type
Full Time
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The Ackerman Institute’s mission is to provide:

  • Innovative couple and family therapy services through its on-site Clinic (licensed by the State of New York Office of Mental Health);
  • State-of-the-art training programs for mental health and other professionals on-site, in community settings, and internationally;
  • Cutting-edge research initiatives that focus on the development of new treatment models and training techniques.

Through this dynamic interaction of treatment, training, and research, Ackerman helps families, serves mental health care professionals, and brings innovative perspectives to a broad array of community service agencies and other health care facilities.



Are you driven to support family health and wellbeing?

Are you inspired to play a vital role accelerating a dynamic worldwide movement for therapy, training, and research for families from all walks of life at all stages of family life?

Are you energized to build a development team, nuts to bolts? And prepared to lead an entrepreneurial effort to bring the greatest financial resources to one of the premier and best-known institutions for family therapy?

Are you a growth-oriented builder? A builder of relationships? A builder of teams? A builder of the brand? A builder for greater family health?

Are you resourceful and ready to work effectively in a lean organization while possessing the gravitas and finesse to command respect and attract support from donors and influencers?

If so, then we invite you to keep reading and think about the untapped opportunities for you to make a lasting difference in helping to strengthen families.



Founded in 1960, the Ackerman Institute for the Family is one of the premier institutions for family therapy and one of the best-known and most highly regarded training facilities for family therapists in the United States. Ackerman employs family therapy as a way of understanding and treating emotional problems and personal crises by working with the entire family rather than the individual with the goal of harnessing and strengthening family resources, and helping family members work collaboratively towards solutions to their problems.

With a deep commitment to equity, Ackerman-trained therapists are of diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, and gender identities and sexual orientations. The therapists serve all kinds of families from all ethnic, economic, and religious backgrounds as well as heterosexual- and same sex-headed families and couples. No family is turned away, as fees are based on a sliding scale based on one’s income.

Ackerman offers a comprehensive curriculum advancing family therapy with training in family therapy theory and the requisite techniques and skillset. Education through workshops, webinars, graduate school internships and a diversity training program are offered. There is a focus on community training designed to empower communities with the tools to ensure healthy family living situations.

Ackerman’s clinical research projects respond to the changing needs of families. The knowledge and insights gained from the research undertaken in its projects are incorporated into the training programs and disseminated to mental health care professionals locally, nationally, and internationally.

Ackerman is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with an annual budget of over $4.5 million. With 35 administrative staff members, 20 faculty members, and 79 clinicians, Ackerman provides more than 6,500 family therapy sessions and trains over 1,000 clinicians each year. Ackerman is governed by a 23-member Board of Directors. The offices are located in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Currently, all staff are working remotely. A person located in or willing to relocate to the New York City metropolitan region is preferred, although individuals with stellar qualifications who are based outside of the region post pandemic will be considered.




The Chief Development and External Affairs Officer will be a champion of equity inspired with a sense of innovation, creativity, and urgency to maximize financial resources to enhance Ackerman’s mission of assisting vulnerable families. They will build a development operation to advance the organization’s fundraising program to the next level. The successful candidate will report to and partner with the President and the Board of Directors to ensure that all outreach, marketing, communications, and development strategies support growth and long-term financial stability. They will build sustainable donor relationships and achieve organizational goals by designing and implementing a comprehensive plan to cultivate and secure financial resources including appeals, events, and, most importantly, major gifts from individuals, foundations, corporations, and high-net-worth individuals. Directing a comprehensive fundraising strategy that supports the development and programmatic goals, they will build brand awareness and further strengthen the Institute’s local, national, and global reputation.

The successful candidate will:

  • Possess a strong commitment to promoting social justice and racial equity;
  • Be a true supporter, partner, and collaborator with the President in building the financial health and culture of philanthropy throughout the organization by developing the strategy and goals and then executing according to plan;
  • Be an exceptional entrepreneur on all levels from setting up a development operation and system to attract sustained giving;
  • Provide energy, leadership, and inspiration with a positive can-do attitude in supporting the generosity and good will of the Board of Directors;
  • Listen effectively to the Board as a whole and to each Director individually; understand their interests and maximize their individual investments and engagement, ensuring a rewarding experience for them and continuing to build their commitment to and pride in Ackerman;
  • Launch an aggressive and innovative campaign and secure major gifts;
  • Oversee annual giving campaigns with the existing donor base, and launch an innovative major gifts campaign;
  • Renew and increase revenue from major donors, individual contributors, family foundations, and corporations;
  • Develop, cultivate, and secure new donors and new funding streams, including corporate;
  • Plan and develop all special events, including the major annual gala;
  • Strengthen efforts to increase the endowment;
  • Have strong donor software knowledge, including Raiser's Edge and other platforms;
  • Tap faculty talents and resources to enhance visibility and encourage giving;
  • Help promote strategic alliances to strengthen the impact and visibility of the organization;
  • Build a creative and active media relations effort in direct support of fundraising and the Institute in general;
  • Be results-focused, with the persistence and determination to reach and exceed goals;
  • Utilize outcome evaluation strategies – effectively demonstrating, assessing, and documenting results;
  • Stay current with trends in the mental health and family therapy fields.



The successful candidate will bring or be:

  • An unwavering commitment to equity in all forms, internally and externally, as a personal and professional value;
  • An enthusiastic team player with the gift to reach, inspire, and engage productively with the President, staff, faculty, Board of Directors, and other constituencies;
  • Ability to set a strategy, build the development infrastructure, inspire, and manage a team to ensure loyalty, hard work, unity, stability, and effectiveness;
  • Proven fundraising experience and success with major gift solicitation from individuals and organizations, and with developing cultivation and stewardship processes for donor relationships; a record of successfully diversifying funding sources;
  • Strong interpersonal skills, with the ability to project professional competency, leadership, and integrity – respecting others;
  • Discipline to adhere to financial goals, analyze and identify challenges, and formulate creative solutions;
  • A strong self-starter – proactive, detail oriented, and able to handle multiple projects simultaneously;
  • Creativity to break free from established ways and try new approaches to reach goals;
  • Able to communicate clearly, passionately, and persuasively Ackerman’s exceptional and unique training, clinical, and community services;
  • A leader with a strong work ethic, high level of integrity, and an optimistic spirit;
  • A commitment to open communication, partnership, and collaboration.


The Ackerman Institute for the Family provides equal opportunities to all individuals without regard to race, religion, national origin, disability, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, veteran status, or any other status protected by law. It does not discriminate based on any status protected by law. This policy applies to all employment, education, volunteer, and clinical care-related activities or in any other aspect of the Institute’s operation. Black, Indigenous, and people of color; trans, non-binary, and intersex people, especially transwomen; those from poor and working-class backgrounds, immigrants, and people with disabilities; as well as people at the intersections of these experiences are highly encouraged to apply.


Applications, including cover letters and résumés, and nominations should be sent to the attention of Paul Spivey and Jane Phillips Donaldson at


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