Associate Director, Development Communications

Job Type

Full Time




Grand Central Station
P.O. Box 4777
New York
United States


The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) was founded in 2000 with one clear objective: accelerating meaningful therapeutic advances and, ultimately, a cure for Parkinson’s disease (PD). The Foundation applies extraordinary scientific, business and media assets to this singular focus—thus creating a unique and dynamic organization. Since inception, MJFF has quickly grown into the largest global funder of Parkinson’s disease research outside the U. S. federal government, having funded over $800 million in research projects in both academic and industry labs worldwide.

Core to our philosophy is how we think of our capital and its risk profile relative to other stakeholders in the drug development pipeline. We work aggressively to de-risk various therapeutic strategies and tools in the hopes of building a robust pipeline of new treatments for patients. In order to achieve our mission of finding a cure for PD it is critical that we engage with, and bring together, members of the PD community including researchers, physicians, health professionals and most important, people with Parkinson's and their families. We believe that raising the Foundation’s profile with a broader audience will help us more efficiently reach and mobilize highly engaged stakeholders who are more likely to feel personally vested in helping speed progress toward a cure.

We believe that to find a cure for PD as quickly as possible, our capital needs to push research forward today — we therefore deliberately have no endowment. We instead start our fundraising from zero each year and seek to deploy funds raised as quickly and wisely as possible. MJFF raises over $90 million annually. Today, the Foundation has approximately 130 full-time employees who are based in New York City. This is an onsite position and is not conducive to telecommuting.

Position Description:

The Communications team is seeking a seasoned communications professional for its open Associate Director, Development Communications position. This is a rich and challenging opportunity for a versatile writer/editor and exceptional project manager who will share primary responsibility for producing (conceptualizing, writing, editing, art-directing) fresh and vibrant content — aimed at a diverse donor audience — across digital and print channels. This role is appropriate for an experienced professional who works well individually and as part of a team in a fast-paced, high-volume environment. Candidates must demonstrate a proven track record of crafting persuasive, clearly written material, capturing a range of authorial voices and tones, contributing to fundraising communications strategy, and successfully juggling multiple priorities and deadlines.

The successful candidate will be a self-starter who not only brings exceptional writing and editing skill but is equally energized by the opportunity to develop new content strategies in a fast-changing environment, as well as to responsively act on content needs assigned by others.

On a day-to-day basis, the Associate Director, Development Communications will be required to produce a high volume of accessible, engaging content and correspondence focused on the Parkinson’s community and the Foundation’s scientific programs to speed a cure. This includes:


§ Lead editorial development of core publications suite (annual report, impact statement, backgrounder, newsletter(s), year in research recap) and other collateral as required — project-manage from idea gathering through writing, editing, and review.

§ Work with internal stakeholders to understand programmatic goals for new and existing funding programs, and write/copyedit supporting materials as needed

§ Create fresh and engaging blog content on a weekly basis — community and donor profiles, general Parkinson’s news, ways to support research, event recaps, etc.

§ Write for the web as needed, and update existing fundraising-related Web pages

§ Write and edit emails such as Welcome series, and other materials as requested in support of the overall Development marketing/communications program

§ Manage style guide, including sharing periodic updates with Communications team and others in organization.

§ Resource and manage stable of freelance writers and copyeditors for project assignments, as needed.

§ Contribute to speakers’ comments and talking points for Foundation events

Lead Strategic Inputs:

§ Lead content and editorial plan for direct mail and planned giving, including recommendations for compelling revenue generating storytelling.

§ Work collaboratively with the Creative and Production group to uphold brand standards throughout publications/materials.

§ Contribute to the maintenance and evolution of website content

§ Make strategic recommendations on the integration of print and digital content to ensure broad and leveraged exposure

The successful candidate must bring the following skills and experience:

§ Superior and distinctive writing ability demonstrated through 5-7 years of relevant, progressively responsible writing and strategic messaging experience, preferably in fundraising and preferably for health care or scientific research, such as in the communications or news office of a research institute or university — or, at minimum, strong interest in biology and neuroscience

§ Strong editing skills and fastidious attention to detail. Impeccable grammar, spelling and language facility

§ Excellent project management

§ Experience independently developing work plans, timelines and budgets

§ A thorough working knowledge of print production; ability to shepherd print publications from concept to delivery

§ Ability to quickly produce high-quality work under pressure

§ Comfort in a data-driven, analytical environment

§ Ability to initiate and manage relationships with internal and external partners

§ Proficiency with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

Additionally, those who thrive at MJFF tend to possess the following personal attributes:

§ Well-developed analytical skills and business acumen

§ High emotional intelligence; savvy for negotiating multiple feedback inputs and gaining buy-in while balancing the opinions of various stakeholders

§ Innate ability to think creatively and channel innovative concepts into action plans and output

§ High productivity

§ Entrepreneurialism and problem-solving orientation

§ Commitment to excellence; willingness to go above and beyond

§ Positive outlook and high energy with a roll-up-your-sleeves, get-it-done attitude

§ Adaptability and comfort in a rapid-growth and change-oriented setting

§ Intellectual curiosity and a broad range of interests


Finalist candidates will be asked to take an editorial test.

Every member of the Communications team at MJFF must demonstrate a track record of hard work, strong attention to detail, excellent project management and the ability to meet competing deadlines and manage multiple projects at once.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation is known for its optimistic, problem-solving approach to Parkinson’s drug discovery/development, and has an established organizational voice — a tone of excellence (high-quality journalistic inquiry that is authoritative but never arrogant), simplicity (while avoiding oversimplification of technical material), directness (speaking plainly and never sugar-coating) and authenticity (never overpromising, never biased). The Associate Director, Development Communications will be expected to work to absorb this voice and quickly begin to incorporate it in his/her writing.


The Michael J. Fox Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

4-year degree

How To Apply

How to Apply


Interested candidates should submit a resume and thoughtful cover letter describing their specific qualifications and interest in the position. Submissions without cover letters will not be considered. Please follow this link Please, no telephone inquiries and do not contact our staff directly. Only applicants who best match the position needs will be contacted. 

The Michael J. Fox Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.