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Chief Development Officer

Louis S. Wolk Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester
New York, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Dec 9, 2021

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Position Type
Executive, Fundraising, Annual Fund, Capital Campaigns, Corporate and Foundation Relations, Grant Seeking, Major Gifts, Planned Giving, Prospect Research, Other Fundraising, Programs, Grant Making, Administrative, Sales and Marketing
Advocacy, Arts, Health, Other Fields, Religion
Employment Type
Full Time
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THE OPPORTUNITY – Team with leadership to create a future of long-lasting relevance for the JCC in Rochester

Mention the JCC in Rochester, and people respond with personal stories of connectedness to the organization and its members.  Without being prompted, people share examples of how they explore their Jewish identity at the J without the intimidation of a more “formal” setting.  They share stories about lifelong friendships that were formed at Camp Seneca Lake.  They share stories about learning to play cards with their grandparents at the J.  They speak of wellness and ethics, films and books that opened their minds, the blending of generations and cultures, and an overall feeling of being “at home.”    Common quotes include, “The JCC is like my town square;” and “I raised my kids there.”  Successful leaders in the profession of fundraising and development strive to create an emotional connection between the organization they work for and prospective donors.  Here at the J, that emotional connection is already hard-wired in the hearts and minds of current and prospective donors.     

Fundraising and development sophistication at the JCC has evolved in fits and starts over time.  When the organization needs funding for the film festival, film patrons who love the JCC answer the call.  When the organization needs funding for camp improvements, camp alumni and parents answer the call.  When the organization needs to update the fitness center, fitness patrons answer the call.  Each fundraising project is successful but reactive, well-intentioned but siloed.  Leadership at the JCC is energized to elevate the importance of fundraising and development to a Chief Development Officer level for the first-time, with a goal to develop and execute a cohesive strategy across the entire organization.  The successful candidate will be a decisive, experienced leader who is more interested in executing creative, integrated fundraising strategies than wordsmithing the next annual campaign letter.   

 In the face of limited resources and a wide variety of programs and opportunities to support, the right candidate for this role possesses the ability to quickly synthesize changing information and re-prioritize goals and resources accordingly.  The ability to say “no,” or “not yet,” is a necessary attribute of the successful CDO to accomplish the organization’s top objectives.   

 This opportunity should be particularly appealing to development leaders who have energy and ideas but haven’t experienced adequate leadership support in prior roles for the implementation of those ideas.  The successful candidate will have an opportunity to team with a creative, energetic Executive Director to invent a vibrant future for the JCC in Rochester.  Members of the Board of Directors are confident that the CDO will discover a tremendous level of untapped development potential from Jewish and non-Jewish members of our community, and they are eager to support those efforts.  This role should also be of interest to development leaders who wish to support a variety of community needs instead of just one; from wellness to arts and culture, and from children to seniors, the JCC supports it, and all within an environment that celebrates diversity in all forms.

 The Chief Development Officer will manage an Associate Director of Development and a Development Coordinator and will also direct the activities of select staff who assist the three-person development team with fundraising activities as needed throughout the year.  The CDO reports directly to the Executive Director of the JCC and the successful candidate will be a member of the Organization’s senior management team.  The Chief

Development Officer has the full support of an engaged volunteer Development Committee to assist with related goals and will team with the Chair of the Development Committee to direct its efforts. 


 Within the first year, the Chief Development Officer will:


  • Team with JCC leadership, staff, board, Development Committee and JCC members to gain first-hand knowledge of the Organization’s vision, mission, and examples of its long-lasting positive impact on members, their families, and the community. 


  • Team with senior management and the Development Committee to create a three-year strategic plan for fundraising and development that supports the achievement of the JCC’s overall strategic plan. Lead the effort to execute the plan, including the establishment and monitoring of periodic goals for all development categories, including the annual fund, major gifts, grants, corporate partnerships, giving circles, Life and Legacy efforts, events, and stewardship.  


  • Lead the JCC’s effort to foster and inculcate a culture of philanthropy across the organization, starting with ambassador training for current members of the board and staff, and regularly scheduled training for new board members and staff.


  • Work with program leaders to execute an integrated development plan for major donors and corporate partners that supports the entire organization.


  • Within nine months, develop a dashboard of fundraising activity metrics to be shared, at least monthly, with senior management and the Board.


  • Within six months, develop a process for maximizing the power and accuracy of Raiser’s Edge across the entire organization. Use best efforts to scrub the accuracy of historic data in the system.   


  • Direct advancement staff in the establishment and execution of a “moves management” plan to identify new donors and advance entry-level donors to increasing levels of support of the JCC.


  • Conceive and implement donor and volunteer stewardship programs, including a robust plan for the JCC’s giving society for donors who contribute $1K or more annually.


  • Take the initiative to develop or deepen an understanding and appreciation of Jewish culture, as the preservation of Jewish culture is central to the mission and vision of the Organization.



 The successful candidate will possess the following:

 A Baccalaureate Degree from an accredited college or university.


  • An understanding for and appreciation of Jewish culture, and an elevated level of interest in increasing the identification of the JCC as an important hub for dynamic Jewish life in Rochester. 


  • A minimum of five years of experience leading the fundraising efforts of a not-for-profit.  Business development and consultative sales leaders with paid or volunteer philanthropy experience, or major gifts officers with well-rounded fundraising experience will be considered.


  • A record of accomplishment for meeting or exceeding fundraising/business development goals within pre-determined expense budget parameters


  • Experience with independently soliciting and bringing in individual gifts/revenue of $25,000 or more


  • Demonstration of creativity with prior approaches to meeting goals – moving beyond existing processes and events


  • A track record for training and motivating colleagues, senior managers, and board members to support a culture of philanthropy/business development.


  • A record of accomplishment for creating and maintaining up-to-date and accurate donor/business development records.  Demonstrated great habits of timely follow-up.


  • Proven ability to convert outside-the-box development ideas into results; an appetite for informed risk-taking.


  • Experience and a comfort level with addressing board members, business leaders and foundation managers, earning their support for strategy execution.


  • Experience with identifying, writing, and winning grant support from foundations and government agencies for relevant programs and services is a plus.


  • A sense of urgency and ability to adapt to unexpected changes posed by senior management, donors, and external market forces, quickly re-focusing efforts to solve new challenges at hand.


  • An approachable management style and a reputation for fostering collaborative environments.


  • Unquestioned professional and personal integrity


  • The successful candidate must reside in the Greater Rochester New York area or relocate to the area within 4 months of hire.


The Louis S. Wolk Jewish Community Center of Rochester is a special place, serving a unique purpose.  The JCC has been enriching the cultural fabric of the Rochester New York community for one hundred and fourteen years, with a mission of strengthening and promoting Jewish identity through all stages of life.  The JCC fulfills this mission by providing opportunities for meaningful cultural enrichment, physical well-being, and social, educational, and recreational experiences for individuals and families.  The JCC’s footprint consists of three properties:  a 200,000 square foot community center on Edgewood Avenue in Rochester; one hundred acres of natural land adjacent to the center and alongside the Erie Canal; and Camp Seneca Lake, a 100 year old overnight camp situated on 200 acres of land on Seneca Lake, part of the world-renowned Finger Lakes region.

 Protecting, preserving, and promoting Jewish values, traditions, customs, and history is woven into the fabric of many of the activities and programs within all Jewish Community Centers.  While temples provide a place where members of the Jewish faith can worship, the JCC provides a neighborhood where members of the Jewish faith live, socialize and nourish a sense of community.

 Over 350 JCC’s have been established across the country, with each one operating independently in the region within which it resides.  The JCC of Rochester is open to all residents of the community – both for membership and employment.  In fact, one of the most important values of the organization is inclusiveness; the JCC welcomes people from all religions, all abilities, all races, all ages, and all gender identities.

 The JCC’s Evolution

 Over the past thirty years, JCC’s across the country have felt the impact of shrinking Jewish demographics, and more recently have felt the acute impact of COVID on programming and finances.  Under new leadership, the Louis S. Wolk Community Center has risen to the challenge with the addition of creative programming, new partnerships, and re-invigorated fundraising efforts, all within an overarching goal to infuse a culture of Judaism across all offerings. 

Within just the past 18 months, the JCC has:

 Partnered with Lifespan on new programming to address wellness needs of its senior members

  • Partnered with Rochester Regional Health on physical and rehabilitation therapy programs for its members. Development is underway for dedicated space for those efforts
  • Partnered with a restauranteur on development of a new kosher/non-kosher catering service, staffed in part by people with developmental disabilities.
  • Developed an outside theatre, the Dawn Lipson Canalside Stage, offering concerts, theatre, and special events from June to September
  • Developed a corporate partnership program, raising $80K in year one
  • Partnered with Encompass to offer an educational venue and enrichment programs for children in our region when Encompass lost access to its regular venues due to COVID
  • Raised $3M in emergency funds in response to COVID

 This burst of creativity is driven in large part by the organization’s new Executive Director, who has been described by staff as a “why not” as opposed to a “why should we” thinker.  While the organization is still in the “messy” stage of transformative change, senior leaders, the board of directors and staff have a new level of optimism for the JCC’s increasing relevance and contribution to the greater Rochester community.

 Programs and Services Provided by the JCC

Fitness and Recreation

Within a renovated and expanded 100,000 square foot fitness center, the JCC offers fitness and recreation programs for all ages and abilities.  Facilities include an open gym, cardio and resistance training equipment, racquetball courts, yoga studios, an aquatic complex with three pools, locker rooms, personal trainers, group fitness classes and a youth sports league.  Current JCC membership composition of 7,000 individuals is approximately 50% Jewish and 50% non-Jewish.  Eighty percent of members use the fitness facility, and hundreds of  JCC members visit daily to participate in fitness, social, and/or cultural programs.


In addition to the fitness facility, the JCC offers Centered Wellness, a concept centered around offering programs and partnerships focused on the six dimensions of wellness:  physical, intellectual, social, emotional, environmental and spiritual.  Exercise programs can also be tailored for those with cardiac problems, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. 

 Youth and Education Programs

The JCC’s Wolk Children’s Center is an early learning center located on the JCC Campus, serving children 8 weeks to four years old.  In addition to a progressive curriculum, children have supervised access to the JCC gym, play gym and pool.

 The Before and After School Program bridges the time between school and home for school-age children, currently serving over eighty children, ages 5 to 14.  The Brighton and Henrietta school districts both provide bus transportation to the JCC.

 The JCC provides two summer camp experiences for members and non-members - overnight camping at Camp Seneca Lake, and day camping at Camp Sisol on the JCC Campus.

 Arts and Culture Programs

The JCC CenterStage provides a resident theatre company and 288 seat theatre, staging musicals, dramas, and comedies throughout the year, as well as playing host to a wide variety of additional scheduled entertainment throughout the year.

 The JCC manages and hosts the Lane Dworkin Jewish Book Festival, and the Ames Amzalak Jewish Film Festival, annual events that showcase Jewish authors, books of Jewish content, and contemporary Jewish-themed films from around the world.

 Community Programs

The JCC offers Senior Programs, providing classes, activities, programs, artistic endeavors, and special events designed for a mature population.

 Adults with developmental disabilities are also well-supported at the JCC, as the center provides fitness facility usage, adapted classes, swimming, art and jewelry-making classes, music participation opportunities, cultural events, and escorted travel opportunities.



This description is not meant to be an all-inclusive list of duties and responsibilities but constitutes a general definition of position scope.

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