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Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) Foundation Director

Sanford Underground Research Facility
South Dakota, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Oct 8, 2022

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Position Type
Executive, Fundraising, Annual Fund, Capital Campaigns, Corporate and Foundation Relations, Donor Relations, Fundraising Administration, Grant Seeking, Major Gifts, Planned Giving, Prospect Research, Special Events
Academic Centers, Education, Other Fields, Research, Technology
Employment Type
Full Time
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SURF Foundation Overview

The South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) has an exciting career opportunity for a highly skilled fundraising executive to lead the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) Foundation. SURF is a world-leading multidisciplinary science lab located in Lead, SD and is the deepest underground laboratory in the United States ( The SURF Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports SURF’s mission to advance world-class science and inspire learning across generations. Specifically, the SURF Foundation’s mission is to provide philanthropic revenue to advance SURF’s K-12 STEM education, public outreach and cultural outreach programs.

The SURF Foundation has developed an ambitious vision to establish an Institute for Underground Science at SURF (“the Institute”). The Institute will be a world-leading center for underground science collaboration and intellectual community and provide leadership in long-term community planning by engaging with the global science community in a range of disciplines. The Institute will serve as the global “hub” for underground science information. Finally, the Institute will foster close collaboration and integration with science and outreach programs and establish world leadership in K-12 education and public outreach programs.

Position Summary

The South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) owns and operates the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF). The Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) Foundation Director leads the development and execution of an integrated strategy and supporting plans to achieve the Foundation’s fundraising objectives in support of the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) and SURF. The Director manages all Foundation planning activities, writing, constituency relations, donor solicitation, donor research and grants. This is a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Exempt-level position.

Line of Authority

The SURF Foundation Director reports to the SDSTA Executive Director, who serves as the Foundation's Chief Executive Officer. The Foundation Director also directly supports the SURF Foundation Board of Directors. The Foundation Director is an employee of the SDSTA and is functionally assigned to the SURF Foundation.

Functional Responsibilities (include but are not limited to)

  • Leads the development of an integrated Foundation strategy and supporting plans to achieve the Foundation’s fundraising objectives in support of the SDSTA and SURF.
  • Fundraises successfully at local, regional and national scales to meet SDSTA and SURF objectives.
  • Cultivates and solicits potential donors in giving categories and geographic areas via personal contact, media contact, public speaking and other fundraising tactics.
  • Supervises and directs direct mail activities. Develops profiles of major gift prospects utilizing records and public information and manages donor and prospect “moves” for donor relations.
  • Oversees the request and gifting process, including working directly with accounting staff.
  • Organizes and manages special events, including planning and implementation aspects.
  • Works closely with the Foundation staff to develop grant requests to the government, foundation and individual sources to support organizational goals.
  • Researches and writes grants for the support of organizational activities. Oversees grant writing performed by others.
  • Supervises day-to-day work activities of Foundation staff including hiring, goal setting, coaching and conducting performance reviews.
  • Develops and manages the Foundation’s budget as approved by the Foundation Board of Directors.
  • Supervises the maintenance of constituency and donor computer files, records and public information.
  • Writes and edits the foundation plan annually to include past results and planning.
  • Writes special correspondence to donors from the CEO.
  • Works with staff and volunteers to support other fundraising-related public events.
  • Works closely with the Executive Director and marketing agency to develop messaging and creative materials for various campaigns, including annual, major gifts and capital campaigns.


The SURF Foundation Director has the following accountabilities:

  • To the CEO and SURF Foundation Board for the efficient and effective management of the Foundation.
  • To the SURF Foundation donors for professional service and for ensuring a safe environment for all Foundation events for donors and prospective donors.
  • To the Foundation staff to create an inclusive culture of collaboration and mutual respect.


The SURF Foundation has the following authorities:

  • To participate as a member of the Foundation team, defining the strategic goals, objectives and activities for the Foundation in support of the SDSTA and SURF.
  • To execute Foundation strategies and plans and to oversee and manage the Foundation’s budget.



  • A Bachelor’s degree is required.


  • A minimum of five (5) years of proven fundraising and management experience is required.


  • Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) credential or equivalent is preferred.


  • Adaptability—Ability to effectively adjust to changing priorities and demands; must be able to work independently to solve problems and keep management informed of progress and status. Ability to accept criticism and adjust plans as appropriate.
  • Collaboration—Commitment to work with constituent groups including staff, board members, donors and partners.
  • Communication— Superior writing and presentation skills. Communicates effectively and clearly with a wide range of audiences in both written and oral form. Communicates complex topics for all to understand.
  • Decision Making—Ability to assess situations, evaluate options, choose the most appropriate course of action and effectively communicate decisions to staff.
  • Influence—Ability to present and gain support for ideas, projects and solutions.
  • Integrity—Unquestioned ability to maintain confidential information.
  • Mentoring—Ability to advise and instruct staff in the development of their skills to assist in furthering their abilities as members of the team.
  • Organization—Prioritizes tasks, manages time and has proven ability to meet deadlines including coordination of priorities for department staff.
  • Problem-solving—Demonstrated ability to research and analyze complex information and communicate it effectively and accurately.
  • Relationship Building—Ability to establish rapport with a variety of constituents and maintain effective work relationships with the scientific and education communities as well as local, national and international media outlets.
  • Safety—Ability to learn, understand and comply with SDSTA’s safety program.
  • Team building—Ability to build an effective team and provide focus and leadership to instill a strong team environment to lead the Foundation successfully.

Working Requirements

  • Proof of a valid driver’s license is required.
  • Comply with SDSTA’s safety program.
  • Act in accordance with SDSTA’s core values: Safety Focused, Care for Others, Professionalism and Being a Team Player.
  • Perform work in a typical office environment with prolonged periods of sitting at a desk and working on a computer.
  • Perform work in the SURF underground environment at depths up to 5000 feet.
  • Perform limited physical labor and light lifting (up to 30 pounds) including walking up and down flights of stairs.

The South Dakota Science & Technology Authority (SDSTA) is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer committed to the development of a diverse workforce. Applicants are invited to self-identify as an individual with a disability or as a protected veteran. Forms are available on the website or upon request from Human Resources.


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