Development Director - Embarc, Inc.

Job Type

Full Time




125 South Clark Street
United States


Title: Director of Strategic Partnerships

Reports to: Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder

Functional Responsibilities: Strategic Planning, Fundraising and Development


Embarc's mission is to cultivate post-secondary success by inspiring students to build their social capital, stretch the boundaries of their neighborhood, alter their world view, and seize opportunities in school and life. Embarc is regarded as one of the most exciting emerging nonprofits in Chicago that specializes in combining a robust 3-year curriculum with immersive, hands on learning experiences that connect students to multiple sectors of the Chicago community to drive academic skills and close the achievement gap.

Since its founding in 2010, Embarc has served more than 2,000 students, growing from a pilot of 100 to a robust program impacting nearly 800 students in 2018. We’re proud that they’ve achieved an average 97% high school graduation rate, 85% college enrollment rate, and 97% overall postsecondary success. Embarc’s impact is projected to grow to nearly 1,000 students annually by 2020.


Embarc is seeking an analytical leader and dynamic communicator to serve as our Director of Strategic Partnerships. We’re excited to bring in a creative individual to fill this role that is passionate about our mission and is seeking a rewarding challenge with significant opportunity for Leadership and professional growth. The Director will lead a small but mighty development team of two, with an External Affairs Manager driving storytelling and brand evolution through innovative marketing, communications, and events.

The Director of Strategic Partnerships will lead and evolve our development and partnership strategy and infrastructure and serve as an external face of Embarc. The Director, in partnership with a highly-engaged Chief Executive Officer (CEO), will be responsible for meeting ambitious fundraising goals while serving as a strategic thought partner as the organization navigates a critical stage of growth.

The Director will need to be energized by working in an entrepreneurial environment, possess an exceptionally high level of personal responsibility, be equally comfortable creating strategy, managing back end processes, engaging with funders, and desire the opportunity to grow professionally with the organization.


The Director of Strategic Partnerships will be responsible for achieving the following outcomes within the first year:

●     Set the vision and build the strategy for a cohesive development and partnership strategy

●     Secure investments from a diversified set of funding streams to meet or exceed $2M revenue goal for FY2019, a target that has more than doubled in the past three years. This may include foundations, individuals, corporations, events, and earned income.

●     Successfully create and initiate implementation of a compelling three-year development plan, ensuring effective communication and collaboration with internal and external stakeholders alike.

●     Evolve donor stewardship strategies and events to innovatively engage diverse audiences in Embarc’s compelling and proven successful approach to experiential education.

●     Seek and pursue opportunities to build more effectively, share and manage information across the organization to drive sustainable revenue growth.



I. Strategic Planning (20%)

●     Partner with the CEO and Board of Directors to create compelling development plans that support strategic organizational growth goals and includes new and existing strategic partnerships.

●     Set ambitious annual development goals which tap a diversified set of funding sources to achieve near and long term revenue targets.

●     Regularly assess progress towards near and long term plans and identify the key drivers of success or identify roadblocks

II. Infrastructure and Systems (10%)

●     Oversee all development operations and reporting processes, maintaining a development calendar, ensuring deadlines are met, and tracking and communicating progress against key goals.

●     Actively evolve a robust donor tracking system to monitor donors, prospects, activity, and action steps.

●     Collaborate across organization to identify and leverage opportunities for more effective information management and sharing to build more effective partnerships.

III. Foundation Relations (20%)

●     Lead the creation and timely submission of grant inquiries, proposals, and reports in collaboration with Embarc leadership and team.

●     Strategically craft foundation requests and conceptualize language with with an eye toward strategic partnerships supporting organizational growth.

●     Initiate, coordinate, and lead meetings and site visits in collaboration with Embarc leadership and team.

●     Seek opportunities to position Embarc as a thought leader with relevant local and national foundations.

IV. Individual and Corporate Donor Relations (30%)

●     Strategize methods of approach for institutional donors with an eye toward strategic partnerships supporting organizational growth.

●     Research and qualify relevant individuals and corporations for support.

●     Develop successful cultivation and solicitation strategies to direct and monitor the progress of relationships.

●     Leverage board resources wherever possible in identification, research, qualification, cultivation, and solicitation.

●     Build out robust donor profiles for prospective and current donors.

●     Initiate, coordinate, and lead meetings and site visits in collaboration with Embarc leadership and team.

●     Support CEO in onboarding and engagement of Board of Directors; maintain back-end systems for recruitment, regular meetings, and annual goal-setting and assessment.

●     Support External Affairs Manager as needed in driving Auxiliary Board engagement.

●     Partner with External Affairs Manager to build seasonal fundraising campaigns to target individual donors.

V. Stewardship and Events (20%)

●     Support External Affairs Manager in organizing and executing one existing (Variety Spectacular) and any potential new annual fundraising events to drive increased net revenue.

●     Partner with Board of Directors, Auxiliary Board, and other key stakeholders to leverage resources and drive volunteer engagement wherever possible.

●     Leverage existing practices, learn from outstanding practitioners in the space, and identify new opportunities to lead execution of high-impact donor engagement events.

●     Partner with External Affairs Manager to develop and implement innovative storytelling strategies to drive more effective donor engagement.


●     Bachelor's degree required

●     A minimum of seven years of nonprofit development experience; working with diverse corporate, foundation, and individual donors strongly preferred

●     Experience working in a mission-driven and/or entrepreneurial organization

●     Proven ability to retain and upgrade gifts

●     Possesses a deep understanding of and desire to learn about sophisticated and innovative fundraising best practices; thinks “outside of the box” in order to achieve outcomes with partners.

●     Willingness to learn additional development and organizational best practices and styles from colleagues of differing backgrounds.

●     Strong storyteller with excellent communication skills who is able to articulate our work and why it is critical in a compelling manner to a multitude of stakeholders

●     An extremely high level of personal responsibility with exceptional goal orientation and a proven track record of success in executing projects to meet and exceed ambitious goals

●     Strong critical thinking and analytical skills with an ability to develop and understand high level strategic objectives as well as the tactical details critical to achieving these objectives

●     Meticulous attention to detail, record keeping, and organizational skills with an ability to manage multiple tasks

●     Proficiency in Google Suite and Microsoft Office; experience driving effective database and customer relationship management solutions.

To apply to this position, please email a cover letter and a resume to Amanda Long -

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

No requirement

How To Apply