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Senior Associate Director, Foundation Relations and Strategic Partnerships

Duke University
North Carolina, United States
Salary Not specified
Closing date
Oct 15, 2021

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Position Type
Fundraising, Corporate and Foundation Relations
Health, Research
Employment Type
Full Time
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Occupational Summary:

Advance Duke Health’s mission in research, education, and healthcare by building and supporting successful and lasting relationships with foundations and private grant-making organizations. As a member of the Foundation Relations and Strategic Partnerships team in Duke Health Development and Alumni Affairs (DHDAA), serve as a frontline fundraiser toward a primary goal of increased philanthropic support for the identified institutional priorities of Duke Health. Design, coordinate, and implement strategies to secure gift and grant funding from private, family, and corporate foundations, as well as from other private grant-making organizations, at the local, regional, and national level. Work closely with faculty members to articulate the current and potential impact of their work in alignment with mission and priorities of prospective funders. Maintain positive, productive, and ongoing interaction with senior administration of Duke Health, faculty, physicians, volunteers, and development colleagues.  Proactively identify new prospects for Duke Health. Exercise autonomy, diplomacy, and persistence while navigating the complex academic medical center environment and representing the organization to foundation leaders of the highest level.

 Work Performed: 

Fundraising Activities – 75%

  • Cultivate, solicit and steward foundation prospects within assigned portfolio and primarily at the major gift level ($100K or more), traveling as necessary.
  • Keep abreast of foundation priorities and funding trends to recommend highly coordinated and proactive cultivation and solicitation strategies to maximize funding success.
  • Guide faculty members in the preparation of concept papers, letters of inquiry, and proposals to compellingly articulate the alignment and relevance of their work to foundation funding priorities.
  • Proactively identify new foundation prospects for Duke Health priorities. Direct research requests and analyze information on foundation prospects to qualify interest, determine giving potential, and contribute to the development of cultivation and solicitation strategies.
  • Identify opportunities for Duke Health leaders to visit foundations or private grant-making organizations. Develop strategy for leader involvement and oversee the creation of briefing materials. As appropriate, lead planning meetings to prepare Duke leaders and faculty for positive and productive interactions. Similarly, assist in planning and staffing for site visits by foundation leaders.
  • Build relationships with senior leaders, board members, and other key representatives at foundations and private grant-making organizations to further inform these strategies and, when possible, cultivate them as advocates for Duke Health priorities.
  • Develop or edit proposals, reports, brochures, and other materials; assist with publicity arrangements on important gifts, programs, accomplishments, or events.

 Collaboration and Outreach Activities – 15%

  • Build partnerships, and establish and maintain regular communication with faculty members to identify programmatic strengths and expertise that can be matched to foundation funding opportunities. Also, increase the number of faculty referrals of foundation and company contacts in order to develop institutionally coordinated strategies toward larger solicitations.
  • Support major gift officers across Duke Health to navigate the complexities of foundation fundraising and grants administration processes, providing expertise and ensuring compliance with institutional research administration requirements.
  • Work with colleagues across the institution to collaborate on prospects with joint or multiple interests.

Administrative Activities – 10%

  • Monitor deadlines and ensure appropriate dissemination of limited nomination opportunities; serve as liaison to University Development and Research Development colleagues to coordinate Duke Health's participation in internal application processes.
  • Maintain knowledge of requirements and best practices in grants administration; use knowledge in prospect cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.
  • Follow procedures in coordination with the Office of Alumni and Development Records and the Office of Research Administration to ensure effective recording, accounting, acknowledgment, and reporting follow-up on all gifts and grants resulting from solicitations.
  • Develop contact reports and record activities in the moves management system.
  • Other related duties as assigned.


Work requires communications, analytical and organizational skills generally acquired through completion of a bachelor's degree program. Masters degree preferred.


Work requires seven years' experience in fundraising, grant writing, alumni affairs, public relations, marketing, or a related field in order to acquire skills necessary to administer, coordinate and/or participate in a foundation and corporate fundraising program. Experience in a complex, multi-tiered work environment is preferred, as is experience in an academic medical center, in another academic setting, or in a healthcare environment. Must be willing to provide writing samples for an interview.


 Preferred experience in foundation relations, research development, science communication or editing, program development, or complex project management in an academic medical center, in another academic setting, or in a healthcare environment. OR AN EQUIVALENT COMBINATION OF RELEVANT EDUCATION AND/OR EXPERIENCE

 The Senior Associate Director of Foundation Relations must be able to manage and prioritize requests coming from different offices and to balance a deadline and goal-based environment with the need for thoughtful research and writing. Experience with science and/or medicine is strongly recommended. 

 Must be able to work with colleagues throughout Duke Health and Duke University on the development of funding opportunities for foundations and corporations who have multiple interests at Duke Health and Duke University.

 Must be able to represent DHDAA to foundations and other philanthropic organizations with the highest capacity of giving and who have an interest in Duke Health and Duke University.

 Must have proven writing ability, which will allow the Senior Associate Director to write or edit proposals and letters of inquiry fluidly, ether those written in cooperation with faculty, principal investigators, and development colleagues, or those initiated by the Senior Associate Director.

 Must have excellent verbal communication skills, as the Senior Associate Director will be asked to represent the office to both faculty members and to foundation representatives.

 Experience with development research, particularly focused on institutional (foundation and corporate) fundraising, is strongly recommended.


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