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Chief Development Officer

Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
New Jersey, United States
Competitive Salary
Closing date
Jun 23, 2022

View more

Position Type
Executive, Fundraising, Corporate and Foundation Relations, Donor Relations, Fundraising Administration, Major Gifts, Other Fundraising, Special Events
Health, Research
Employment Type
Full Time
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About Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by advancing innovative research and improving the quality of life for individuals and families impacted by paralysis. The Reeve Foundation is a pioneer in the field of spinal cord injury (SCI) research and has funded $140 million in the laboratories of key thought leaders around the world. The Foundation is committed to building on the findings of decades of research and developing therapies that bring meaningful solutions to people with SCI. Its National Paralysis Resource Center provides the most comprehensive knowledge, tools, and services for individuals impacted by paralysis through dedicated Information Specialists, a substantial Quality of Life Grants Program, Peer & Family Support Program, Military and Veterans Program, Racial and Health Equity initiatives and Advocacy program.


Position Summary

As a partner and advisor to the President & CEO, and the Board of Directors, the Chief Development Officer (CDO) will establish and articulate a vision for the organization’s next fundraising chapter, build and execute a development plan and evaluate outcomes using a metrics-based approach.

The Chief Development Officer will be a seasoned fundraising professional who will transform and reach a new and aspiring level of philanthropic success – one that will propel the Reeve Foundation on a sustainable path for accomplishment in the coming years. The Chief Development Officer will be both a strategic thinker who can help guide the organization’s growth and a practical implementer who can cultivate new relationships to build the visibility, impact, and financial resources of the Foundation.

Leading a team of nine Development Associates responsible for cultivating and stewarding relationships for Major Gifts and Legacy Giving, Direct Response (offline/online) campaigns, Corporate and Foundation Support, Special Events, Individual Giving, Corporate Development and Data Analytics. 

As an integral member of the Executive Management team which oversees and manages the day-to-day operations of the Foundation, the Chief Development Officer will embody the values and mission of the Reeve Foundation and, as a result, inspire and motivate others internally and externally to fulfill the mission.


Position Duties and Responsibilities

  • Develop and lead a comprehensive development strategy to sustain and grow core support from $7 million to $10 million within three years.
  • Work closely with the President & CEO to lead the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of foundation, corporate, and individual major donors to build lasting relationships and ensure ongoing support.
  • Partner effectively with the Board of Directors, ensuring a close relationship to promote the organization’s development strategy and inspiring engagement.
  • Identify and bring new national corporate supporters engaged in research, programs, education, and community events.
  • Oversee regional growth opportunities in select markets with key stakeholders.
  • Partner with Chief Scientific Officer to create research funding opportunities that are tangible, attractive and compelling to donors, corporations, and foundations.
  • Manage a personal portfolio of “high touch” donor prospects to solicit 5 and 6 figure gifts.
  • Serve as staff lead to the Board’s Development Committee, providing guidance and support.
  • Plan and lead the creation of donor communications, appeals, acknowledgments, proposals, reports, and other written and online materials.
  • Oversee the growth of an individual major donor program that includes strategic donor stewardship, solicitation, and recognition.
  • Provide budgeting and financial reporting for development activities.
  • Collaborate across departments to ensure deep understanding of programmatic objectives to expertly communicate Reeve activities and research advancements with donors.
  • Provide hands-on leadership, direction, mentoring and support to the existing Development team of nine staff members; asses and update position descriptions as needed and ensure team/individual performance is measured against agreed-upon metrics.
  • Hire and train staff as the organization grows.
  • Participate in organizational planning and ongoing management of the Reeve Foundation. Work with other senior team members to maintain a unified strategy for daily operations.

Candidate Requirements

  • A four-year college degree and 10 years in a Senior Director, Vice President or similar management position or equivalent experience in related field as an effective people manager with the ability to lead and motivate staff to achieve results.
  • Ability to create and implement long-term strategic plans for fundraising activities, experience in managing budgets, creating forecasts, and analyzing progress through established metrics.
  • Successful track record in building and executing a development plan and evaluation of outcomes with a metrics-based approach.
  • Experience managing relationships and strategy relating to major gifts, legacy giving and other fundraising efforts.
  • Keen understanding of effective advancement models and best practices in a range of organizations.
  • Strong, comprehensive managerial experience within a foundation, nonprofit, or complex organization.
  • Proven experience engaging board-level individuals.
  • Intermediate level experience with a CRM system.
  • Experience working in research, medical, patient advocacy/healthcare preferred.
  • Ability to lift 20 lbs. throughout the day.
  • Ability to sit or stand for long periods of time.
  • Flexible and agile, able to adjust to different work styles and environments.
  • Outstanding presentation skills and communication skills and the experience and proclivity to be an outgoing spokesperson, relationship builder.
  • Ability to effectively manage, lead, motivate and direct staff.
  • Excellent coalition building skills with an ability to communicate and work effectively with a variety of internal and external stakeholders.
  • Multidimensional ability to think strategically, programmatically, and operationally.
  • Unimpeachable integrity; a long-term perspective; a strong sense of accountability; a practical ability to get things done; wisdom and good judgement; flexibility and courage to shift direction and experiment with new initiatives.


The Batten Group and Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation are equal opportunity employers committed to the principles of non-discrimination in the workplace. Under this agreement, candidates will not be discriminated on the basis of age, race, creed, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, marital status or any basis that is prohibited by federal, state, or local law.


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