Chief Development Officer, Denver Zoological Foundation

Job Type

Full Time




United States


The Aspen Leadership Group is proud to partner with Denver Zoological Foundation in the search for a Chief Development Officer.

The Chief Development Officer (CDO) will provide strategic and tactical leadership on all Denver Zoological Foundation (Denver Zoo) fundraising. As an external ambassador, the CDO will advance the Zoo’s mission and goals by actively  participating on the Zoo’s Executive Leadership Team to execute the vision and strategic direction for the future of Denver Zoo; planning, organizing, and implementing a range of fundraising programs that will enable Denver Zoo to obtain the capital improvement, operating, and endowment resources required to attain its goals; and assuming responsibility for hiring, managing, and evaluating staff and providing leadership to staff and volunteers within the Development department.

The successful candidate will benefit from working with a passionate and committed Board as well as a staff and volunteer group eager to grow and advance the mission and the Master Plan. 2017 revenues included $9 million in Scientific and Cultural Facilities District tax support; $17.2 million in admissions and membership revenues; $9.8 million in events, attractions, and concessions; $4.1 million in donations and gifts; $2.2 million in City and County of Denver support; and $2.7 million from other sources. 2017 operating expenses totaled $42.4 million.

The Colorado Zoological Trust , a separate organization created in 1997 to invest, manage, and distribute Denver Zoo’s endowment and estate gifts, currently has over $23 million in net assets for the benefit of the Zoo. In 2017, Denver Zoo was a part of a successful Denver bond campaign that will provide $20 million in capital funds over five years. The Zoo plans to launch a major capital campaign in the near future and completed a feasibility study in June for that campaign. The recent creation of the Leadership Council, along with firm philanthropic commitments from this Council and the Board of Governors, is designed to lay the groundwork for enhanced annual fundraising and the upcoming campaign.

Denver Zoo is one of the nation’s leading zoos and a cherished institution for more than 120 years. It is the highest attended cultural institution in the Denver Metro area. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Denver Zoo is known for its high quality animal care and welfare, innovative exhibits, inspiring educational programming, and worldwide conservation efforts. Denver Zoological Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) organization governed by its own Board of Trustees, assumes fiduciary, operational, management, and fundraising responsibilities for the Zoo.

A bachelor’s degree is required for this position as is a minimum of seven to ten years of professional experience in development and fundraising for not-for-profit organizations. A minimum of five years of management experience is required. An advanced degree or professional fundraising certification is preferred. All applications must be accompanied by a cover letter and résumé.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

4-year degree