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Director of Principal Gifts

Vera Institute of Justice
New York, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Nov 18, 2021

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Position Type
Fundraising, Major Gifts
Salary Band
Commensurate with Experience
Employment Type
Full Time
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Who We Are: 

The Vera Institute of Justice is powered by hundreds of advocates, researchers, and activists working to transform the criminal legal and immigration systems until they’re fair for all. Founded in 1961 to advocate for alternatives to money bail in New York City, Vera is now a national organization that partners with impacted communities and government leaders for change. We develop just, antiracist solutions so that money doesn’t determine freedom; fewer people are in jails, prisons, and immigration detention; and everyone is treated with dignity. Vera’s headquarters is in Brooklyn, New York, with offices in Washington, DC, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. Learn more about life at Vera; click here

What You’ll Do: 

Vera’s goal is to fund our new and ambitious three-year strategic plan, and to successfully complete the organization’s shift from relying on project-specific public funds to soliciting unrestricted philanthropic support. Our new funding model especially emphasizes gifts at the six-figure, seven-figure, and eight-figure levels from ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs). Vera seeks a passionate, inaugural Director, Principal Gifts who will be in our Brooklyn headquarters.

The Director will create and execute the strategy to expand philanthropic support from high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and UHNWIs. The successful candidate will have the stature and demonstrated ability to generate excitement about Vera’s mission, programs, and initiatives. S/he/they will provide the inspired strategy and leadership to drive Vera’s principal gift fundraising, with a commitment to the highest standards of professionalism and excellence. The ideal candidate will provide an entrepreneurial approach to secure support from HNWIs and UHNWIs for Vera’s national programs and initiatives. The ideal candidate will have principal gifts experience and a demonstrated track record of expanding and building HNWI and UHNWI philanthropic constituencies. S/he/they will possess significant experience in the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of HNWIs and UHNWIs.  

The Director will manage a portfolio of individual prospects and donors and partner with Vera’s executive team, program leaders, and Development team to engage and solicit prospects and donors. The Director will report to the Vice President, Development. They will help create and implement Vera principal gifts fundraising strategy, which will include both quantitative and qualitative goals. The Vera Institute of Justice has retained Freeman Philanthropic Services, LLC to assist with this crucial recruitment.  

  • The Director will have the opportunity to help lead the design and implementation of a strategic and operational plan to significantly expand philanthropic revenue from HNWIs and UHNWIs.  

  • Develop an extensive understanding of Vera’s programs and initiatives  

  • Partner with the Vice President, Development to design and implement annual and multi-year fundraising plans and goals for individual giving 

  • Create and lead the expansion of philanthropy from individuals, particularly HNWIs and UHNWIs; ¬ Maintain a donor-centric and comprehensive approach 

  •  Maintain a select portfolio of prospects and devise cultivation, solicitation, and closure strategies  

  • Provide Vera’s program and leadership team members with effective strategies for approaching donors and prospects 

  • Generate for program and leadership team members written talking points, email drafts, and other outreach material, and assist them with donor contact and follow up 

  • Ensure that donors and prospects are asked for the appropriate amount of money, by the right person, at the right time, and in the most effective way 

  • Partner with Vera’s Development events team to engage prospects and donors 

  • Partner with Vera’s Development Prospect Research Manager to identify promising HNWI and UHNWI prospects 

  • Help create, and follow, processes to maintain best fundraising and operational practices, utilizing clearly defined goals, objectives, and transparent methods 

  •  Contribute to an organizational environment where teamwork, collaboration, passion for the mission, and dedication are expected and valued   

Who are you? 


  • A demonstrated ability to meet and exceed the responsibilities listed in the preceding section, the ideal Director will possess the following experience and qualities. 

  • The Director will be expected to contribute broadly to all aspects of Vera’s mission and philanthropic growth. 

  • Strong passion for, and demonstrated commitment to, Vera’s mission 

  • Extensive knowledge of principal gift fundraising 

  • Demonstrated ability to provide strategic direction and daily management for fundraising initiatives, resulting in significantly improved performance 

  • Demonstrated track record of successful solicitations, including the skill to proactively identify, build, and manage a portfolio of major gift prospects where the donor constituency is not immediately obvious 

  • Excellent communication skills (both written and oral), intellectual curiosity and dexterity, and the ability to translate various priorities into compelling cases for support Self-motivation, energy, and flexibility 

  • Commitment to the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, excellence, and diversity; and  

  • Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree preferred. 

Applications may also be faxed to: 

ATTN: Human Resources / Director-Principal Gifts  
Vera Institute of Justice 
34 35th St, Suite 4-2A, Brooklyn, NY 11232 
Fax: (212) 941-9407 
Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission. 
No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted. 

Vera is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment status, or caregiver status.  

Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.  

For more information about Vera, please visit 


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