Chief Development Officer

Job Type

Full Time



Start Date:


Application Deadline:



Columbia Point
United States



The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, under the leadership of President Mary K. Grant, Ph.D., who took office in January 2018, is preparing for the next phase in its development with an executive opportunity for an accomplished Chief Development Officer (CDO).

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who served the United States Senate for near 47 years, had a vision for creating the Institute and said, “To preserve our vibrant democracy for future generations, I believe it is critical to have a place where citizens can go to learn first-hand about the Senate’s important role in our system of government.”

The Institute opened in the spring of 2015 with the mission of educating the public about the important role of the Senate in our government, encouraging participatory democracy, invigorating civil discourse, and inspiring the next generation of citizens and leaders to engage in the civic life of their communities.

More than 50,000 students from nearly 600 schools and thousands of visitors from virtually every state in the country have experienced the Institute’s many innovative, participatory educational programs, exhibits, and public programs.

At this important time in the Institute’s growth, the Chief Development Officer will partner with the President in leading a comprehensive development program, building a high-performing team, and taking the program to the next level.


The Chief Development Officer (CDO) is joining the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate at a critical time under the leadership of a new president.

The CDO will report to and partner with the president in leading a comprehensive development program. The CDO will serve as a key member of the executive leadership team along with department heads of finance and operations, education and visitor experience, external relations, and technology. The Chief Development Officer will provide leadership, direction, and coordination for achieving institutional fundraising goals and the development of a philanthropic action plan consistent with the Institute's strategic plan, mission, vision, and values. Primary constituencies include individual donors, corporations and foundations, and federal and state grantors. The CDO will also work closely with the Board of Directors, members of the Board’s Development Committee, and will have primary responsibility for developing key external alliances to secure and increase philanthropic support. Leading by example, the Chief Development Officer will be responsible for building, strengthening, and inspiring the development team while introducing best practices to achieve established and agreed upon fundraising goals.


The CDO will lead a team of Development professionals responsible for securing increased philanthropic support from private sources including, individuals, corporations, foundations, government agencies, and other institutions and organizations. The development team currently includes the roles of:

  • Director of Institute Giving
  • Associate Development Officer
  • Associate Director of Development - Annual Fund and Membership
  • Development Coordinator
  • Alumni Relations Coordinator
  • contracted consultants, interns, and temporary employees

Building and motivating the team to a sustained standard of excellence and best practices will be a hallmark of the CDO’s leadership and management style.


The CDO must have a minimum of eight years progressively responsible senior leadership experience in the institutional advancement field coupled with a successful record of accomplishment in attaining established fundraising goals. The CDO should have demonstrated a track record of identifying, cultivating and soliciting major gift prospects and closing 6 and 7 figure gifts from individuals and corporations. The CDO will have prior experience building a development department, testing and developing new funding models for an organization. He/she/they will have proven success at fostering collaboration between development and program staff, building and sustaining a successful philanthropic culture.

The CDO should have demonstrated success working with highly visible board members. Capital campaign experience and a track record of building, managing, and mentoring high-performing teams that produce timely, cost effective, high quality results is expected. The CDO must be able to provide leadership, direction, and management of the Institute’s development team while creating and fostering an environment of respect, accountability, motivation, and growth. The CDO must be familiar with current institutional advancement best practices. Membership in professional organizations such as the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Planned Giving Group of New England (PGGNE), and the Friday Forum (TFF) is supported. Volunteer board participation preferred.


  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills (written and verbal) with internal and external audiences. Proven ability to effectively articulate clear and compelling messages
  • Ability to effectively communicate the mission of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute to potential donors with the passion possessed by Senator Kennedy
  • Ability to recruit, retain, build, and lead a new development team
  • Experience working for, or closely with, a membership-driven organization, museum, or educational institution
  • Experience planning and executing special fundraising events
  • Well-developed communication and presentation skills; able to serve as a key ambassador
  • A capacity for creativity and innovation
  • Genuine interest and belief in the Institute’s mission
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office and fluency with fundraising software
  • Demonstrated experience with public relations outreach and practices
  • Willingness to embrace the AFP Code of Ethical Standards and Donor Bill of Rights
  • Ability to lead by example, flexibility, tenacity, and sense of humor
  • Ability to create and maintain good working relationships with a variety of diverse internal and external team members
  • Willingness to embrace teamwork as an operating principle
  • Strong analytical, organizational, and problem solving skills
  • Ability to travel, both locally and out of state, as required
  • Ability to pass a criminal background and credit check required



Bachelor’s degree required, advanced degree preferred. CFRE credential highly desireable.


Certificates, Licenses, Registrations:

  • A valid driver’s license, good driving record and access to a vehicle is required.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

4-year degree

How To Apply

Send Nominations or Cover Letter and Résumé in confidence to:

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for The United States Senate is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.