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Chief Development Officer

Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
New Jersey, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Mar 28, 2024

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 millions of dollars 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.


Job Summary:

As a partner and advisor to the President & CEO, and the Board of Directors, the Chief Development Officer (CDO) will fulfill a vision for the organization’s revenue growth, 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.

They 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.  They will lead a team of 7 Development professionals responsible for cultivating Major Gifts and Planned Giving, Direct Response (offline/online) campaigns, Corporate and Foundation Support, Special Events, Team Reeve and Data Analytics. 

They are also an integral member of the Leadership Team which oversees and manages the day-to-day operations.  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 our mission.




  • Develop and lead a comprehensive development strategy to sustain and grow core support from approximately $7 million to $10 million within three years, with an initial emphasis on expanding and diversifying philanthropic support from major donors, foundations, planned giving and new donors.
  • 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, introductions, and stretch giving from each director; Serve as staff lead to the Board’s Development Committee, providing guidance and support.
  • Oversee the growth of an individual major donor program that includes strategic donor stewardship, solicitation, and recognition.
  • Over time, develop additional earned income revenue streams and build out the Development team with additional staff
  • Handle budgeting and financial reporting for development activities.
  • Establish partnerships across corporations and other organizations to yield new revenue and tap into industry networks
  • Collaborate across departments to ensure deep understanding of programmatic objectives to expertly communicate Reeve activities and research advancements with donors
  • Identify organizations and opportunities to populate a pipeline of prospects with an emphasis on generating multi-year, major gifts of six to eight figures
  • Provide hands-on leadership, direction, mentoring and support to the existing Development team of 7staff members: update position descriptions as needed and ensure team/individual performance is measured against agreed-upon metrics. When appropriate, recruit professionals with proven ability to enhance the team’s capabilities.
  • 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.
  • Work in concert with the Managing Director of SCI Ventures, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reeve Foundation, the first venture philanthropy fund focused on innovative therapies for people living with paralysis.



  • A four-year college degree and 10 years in a Senior Director, VP or Management Position or equivalent experience in related field
  • Strong, comprehensive managerial experience within a foundation, not-for-profit, or complex organization; proven experience engaging board-level individuals
  • A minimum of 10 years’ experience as an effective people manager with the ability to 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
  • Proven track record in building and executing a development plan and evaluation of outcomes with a metrics-based approach
  • Experience managing major gifts, planned giving and other fundraising efforts; expert understanding of effective advancement models in a range of organizations.
  • Exceptional English written and oral communication skills
  • Intermediate level experience with a CRM system
  • Experience working in research, medical, patient advocacy/healthcare preferred



  • Experience working with a philanthropic venture fund



  • Entrepreneurial, flexible and agile, able to adjust to different work styles and environments
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills with the ability to speak publicly with comfort
  • Ability to effectively manage direct reports and demonstrate the ability to lead, motivate and direct staff
  • Collaborate well to build partnerships
  • Ability to think strategically and programmatically as well as successfully manage operations


15-20% travel required


Physical Demands/Office Environment

This position is primarily a sedentary role but will have periods of physical activity. The person in this position may need to occasionally move about inside the office to liaise with internal staff, access files, office machinery and a copy machine/printer. In addition, this person will need to be able to set up live events, including exhibit booths, stages for presenters and displays.  They will need to be able to lift up to 15 lbs. 

As stated above, the position involves moderate travel. 

The Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law.

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential job duty satisfactorily, with or without a reasonable accommodation. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform essential job functions.

The Foundation is committed to providing a work environment free of harassment and discrimination that supports individual dignity and respect. Accordingly, the Foundation maintains a strict policy prohibiting sexual harassment, unlawful harassment and any type of discriminatory treatment because of any “Protected Characteristic

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