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Director of Foundation and Philanthropic Partnerships

Education Design Lab
District of Columbia, United States
$90,000.00 - $130,000.00
Closing date
Jul 28, 2022

View more

Position Type
Fundraising, Corporate and Foundation Relations
Employment Type
Full Time
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Director of Foundation and Philanthropic Partnerships 

Full-Time, Washington, D.C. (Preferred, but can be remote)

Typical Salary Range: $90,000 - $130,000

About Education Design Lab

Education Design Lab (“The Lab”) is a national nonprofit that designs, tests, and implements unique education models and credentials that address the rapidly changing economy and emerging technology opportunities to ensure equitable outcomes for learners and earners. The Lab has partnered with some of the most aspirational institutions, and often their ecosystem partners, as they consider how to design their offerings to serve learners flexibly with more data-driven, human-centered models, processes and tools. Our biggest areas of work include improved career pathway visibility, micro-pathways, 21st century skills, microcredentials, alternative on-ramps to degree, upskilling workers, and training college leadership teams in change management and agile prototyping.

The Lab is unlike other organizations in the nonprofit education space. We are boundary- spanners and work across disciplines and alongside schools, employers, entrepreneurs, government, foundations, nonprofits, and innovators. We are known for our work on the ground and have significant experience managing national and local learning cohorts, working with organizations such as Ascendium,  The Lumina Foundation, the Gates Foundation, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Walmart, American Council on Education, and the ECMC Foundation. To learn more about the work we do and what we care about, visit, and follow on Twitter @eddesignlab. 

About the Role

Education Design Lab is excited to be seeking a Director of Foundation Partnerships to support the prospecting, development and management of partnerships with higher education institutions, funders, and other post-secondary organizations. The new Director will contribute to a range of operational and partnership development activities at the Lab, including, fundraising, budgeting, proposal writing, pitch development, and client management. This is an outstanding opportunity for a mid-career professional who relishes the idea of joining an influential, rapidly growing national nonprofit organization in a dynamic, disrupted field. The Lab is still small enough for any team member to have an immediate impact on the success of the organization, but with a sector profile that is garnering more and more attention every day.

This role is ideal for anyone who has interest in reinventing current post-secondary education systems and/or an interest in nonprofit fundraising, leadership and partnership development. The role offers the opportunity to interact with the entire Lab team across its many projects as well as many of the key foundations and a range of K-12, post-secondary and workforce organizations. This position is well suited for candidates coming from a career in strategy, philanthropy, development, and/or nonprofit management. This team member will interact daily with the Chief Growth Officer and participate as a critical fourth member of the Partnership Development team. The Director will wear two critical hats on the team by 1) seeking out and securing new foundation and philanthropic relationships and 2) conceptualizing, drafting and preparing proposals that  secure new funding opportunities for the organization. This work will include collaboration with the Lab’s education design team and senior leadership to create and share consistent, compelling narratives to potential funders.

The ideal candidate will be committed to  EDL’s mission to increase equitable higher education and labor outcomes for  historically  underserved learner populations. They will have a strong track record of successful fundraising, strategy leadership, and an ability to  manage numerous simultaneous projects. The Director will equally be a talented proposal writer and interpersonal communicator with 10 years of experience in nonprofit organizations with a focus on public-private partnerships, place-based strategies, education, future of work, edtech.

Success in this role requires someone who thrives in a startup environment and enjoys collaborating across teams, bringing order to chaos and managing multiple projects at once. The ideal candidate will be flexible, proactive, a self-starter, a fast learner, maintain a sense of humor, and is enthusiastic about joining a diverse team of designers and innovators. They will quickly learn how to write and communicate using “the Lab’s voice” - while striving to improve our pitch to funders. They will thrive on sense-making in a rapidly changing, intellectually stimulating environment. The Director of Foundation Partnerships will be comfortable with ambiguity and building new processes from a blank slate.

Data show that women and BIPOC candidates more frequently do not apply to a job because they don’t feel that they meet all of the qualifications listed. Our job descriptions are general overviews, not a mandatory comprehensive list. If you feel passionate about our efforts and believe that you have the skills to succeed in this role, we want to hear from you! 

We encourage all interested persons (including Black people, Latinx people, indigenous people, people of color, first generation graduates, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQIA community, veterans, and people with experience with community colleges and with learners who have long been under invested in) to consider submitting an application for this role if they meet the majority of the qualifications listed below. 


Responsibilities of the Director of Foundation Partnerships 

Reporting to the Chief Growth Officer, the new Director of Foundation Partnerships will take on the following responsibilities:

Build, diversify, and manage the Lab’s network of foundations and philanthropists. 

 As previously siloed sectors (K12, post-secondary, workforce, college success) merge into one, the need to build relationships with funders across private philanthropy, corporate giving, and government is paramount. The successful candidate will: 

    Identify new potential funding sources and opportunities for the Lab’s work to align to philanthropic portfolios  Build relationships with program officers at leading foundations  Design pitch plans and outreach strategies for engaging new funders, tailoring the Lab’s work to individual funders  Identify  and respond to RFPs that align with the Lab’s service offerings  Develop and execute new fundraising campaigns using our Salesforce CRM to set targets and track outreach 

Draft proposals and other narratives for new and existing funding partnerships

    Lead in writing  initial drafts in response to requests for proposals (RFPs)  Craft concept notes and proposals for a range of grant-funded and fee-for-services projects Apply insights from the Design Teams to draft project budgets and staffing implementation plans for proposals Collaborate with the Chief Growth Officer on the final approval and submission processes for each proposal Communicate with program officers and potential funders to clarify RFP guidelines and troubleshoot any challenges associated with the RFP process

Collaborate with Program Design Teams

    Serve as a strategist by translating the goals and strategies of the Design Teams into compelling narratives for funding proposals Serve as a thought partner working with the Design Team and Digital Transformation teams to identify opportunities for evolving new ideas and work streams into “fundable projects” Prepare and deliver regular updates to Education Designers on the strategy and progress of the development pipeline to support resource planning  Ensure consistent communication between the partnership development team and the design team so that each team is aligned on organizational goals and funding strategy  

Contribute to the strategies, goals and processes of the Business Development team 

    Collaborate with colleagues on the Business Development and Partnership  team to continually develop and evaluate  goals and key performance indicators for our unit  Contribute substantially to overall and project-based fundraising strategies Develop action plans for reaching the team’s development goals Recommend strategies, process, and tools to improve the team efficiency 

Qualifications and Experience 

The ideal candidate will have the majority of the following characteristics and experiences:

    Expertise across two or more focus areas:  higher education, skills-based economy, workforce development, future of work, edtech, change management, human-centered design, and/or innovation Strong understanding of the education-to-work space, knowledge of education and workforce data a plus   Experience and interest in breaking down racial and economic barriers to education 10 years of multi-sector experience at regional and/or national levels, such as nonprofit, philanthropy, private industry, government, and education. We are especially interested in candidates with direct experience managing cross-sector initiatives focused on social impact Strong communication skills, with excellent writing, synthesis, and facilitation/speaking skills An expert eye for detail and project management Experience with using CRM (Salesforce experience preferred) The ability to build trust and effective relationships with partners at all levels, and engage diverse stakeholders to coalesce around shared goals and objectives An entrepreneurial approach, with a passion for tackling complex problems and a high level of comfort with uncertainty and experimentation An openness to different perspectives and a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion A desire and ability to track the results and impact of our work


Application Instructions 

To apply, please submit a cover letter and resume using the form linked here as soon as possible. Be sure to include your skills with specific technology platforms and/or systems. Applicants will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Equal Opportunity Employer
Education Design Lab is an equal opportunity employer; applicants are considered for all roles without regard to race, color, religious creed, sex, national origin, citizenship status, age, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, marital, parental, veteran or military status, unfavorable military discharge, or any other status protected by applicable federal, state or local law.

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