Job: Chief Development Officer

Department: HQ – Headquarters


Location: Washington, DC

As a critical member of the senior leadership team reporting directly to the President, the Chief Development Officer (CDO) is responsible for building and maintaining a robust philanthropic enterprise through the development and execution of a comprehensive and strategic development plan. This CDO will have the opportunity to work with some of the most generous philanthropists of this generation—cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding transformational philanthropic support to advance the Institution’s mission and strategic goals.

Partnering closely with the President, the CDO will oversee the realignment and rapid expansion of a development department positioned to support the vision and ambitions for Carnegie’s exciting next chapter. The department includes oversight across advancement services, donor relations, major and principal gifts, foundation relations, prospect research, events, operations, and Institution-wide development communications.

Central to the CDO’s success will be the ability to work successfully with senior leadership, the Board, administrative and scientific staffs, and the community to build and implement a multi-year fundraising plan which illuminates priorities and optimizes scientific impact.
There will be a preference for location in Washington, D.C., or Pasadena, California, and will require occasional travel to other Carnegie Science departments, as well as donor events around the nation and at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, as needed for shaping development efforts.


  • Partner with the President, aiding in fundraising responsibilities, navigating potential and existing donor relationships, and devising a strategy on Presidential deployment.
  • Lead strategic planning and implementation of a comprehensive fundraising program, including the development of a cohesive communications and robust principal and major gift fundraising strategies. Effectively manage a portfolio of top-level principal and major gift prospects.
  • Build a case for philanthropic support of strategic priorities and design a clear go-forward plan with measurable success metrics for all key players within the Institution.
  • Manage the day-to-day operations of the Development Office. Develop, manage, and support a high-performing current team of eight to ten members while overseeing the department’s rapid growth in headcount and infrastructure.
  • Operate as a member of the President’s senior leadership team and key liaison to the Board of Trustees.
  • Engender a culture of philanthropy throughout and at all levels of the Institution, inspiring and guiding staff, leadership, and Board around fundraising.


  • Minimum of eight years of progressive leadership of multi-faceted development work in a complex
    organization, preferably in higher education or an independent scientific research organization with a science-oriented environment.
  • Proven track record of securing major and principal gifts, as well as effective fundraising, including broad-based knowledge of current and next-generation development programs, campaign design and execution, and advancement services.
  • Deep experience partnering with a Board, as well as recruiting, building, and managing volunteer leadership Boards.
  • Demonstrated success in establishing, building, mentoring, and inspiring high-performing teams.
  • Experience designing and implementing a strategic fundraising plan and guiding an organization’s President, senior leadership, and wider staff in the fulfillment of their fundraising responsibilities.
  • An intellectual curiosity about science and an appreciation for the importance of scientific research and science education activities.
  • Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree preferred.


Strategic Fundraising Vision
In an organization that is seeking to maximize its fundraising potential, the ideal candidate will work together with the President, senior leadership team, and the Board of Trustees to deliver sustainable and significant increases in philanthropic support. They will do this by:

  • Working in conjunction with scientific Division Directors and senior leadership, identifying gift objectives and translate the Institution’s fundraising goals into a clear, specific set of objectives and measures of success for leadership, board members, scientific staff, and the development team;
  • Managing a portfolio of major and principal gift prospects and donors while building a robust fundraising program, significantly expanding the Institution’s constituency of large gift donors;
  • Acting as a public-facing leader for the Institution, deftly engaging with diverse constituencies within and external to the Institution to achieve desired outcomes; and
  • Seeking creative pathways to identify, activate, and engage new prospects.

Results-Driven, Entrepreneurial Spirit                                                                              The ideal candidate will quickly develop a strategic and operational plan that allows Carnegie Institution for Science to achieve its fundraising objectives, establishing themselves as a trusted and influential executive. They will demonstrate this by:

  • Embodying a readiness to set ambitious goals and take intelligent risks while accepting responsibility and leading by example;
  • Enhancing the Institution’s philanthropic efforts and processes by benchmarking against industry best practices, demonstrating the vision to identify and execute new approaches, seize opportunities as they arise, and translate strategies into measurable actions that deliver results;
  • Building a palpable sense of confidence and pride about philanthropy and fundraising across the Institution; and
  • Communicating regularly about long-term goals to reinforce the bigger picture,  frequently reviewing progress toward goals and giving critical feedback to team members and leadership.

Organizational Impact and Influence                                                                                 The ideal candidate will possess a track record of people leadership in a complex, multifaceted environment. They will demonstrate this by:

  • Building strong, authentic relationships with, and bridges to, colleagues at all levels across the organization, earning trust by working effectively across functions;
  • Collaborating with the development team as well as leadership to manage projects, creatively solve problems, discuss challenging issues, and lead the philanthropic efforts;
  • Galvanizing the Board, Division Directors, President, and non-development staff around fundraising while guiding and mentoring as needed to help each individual reach their fundraising commitments;
  • Eliciting the respect of internal scientific staff, as well as national scientific leaders and policymakers, by bringing a level of personal sophistication to interactions and holding intellectual conversations that demonstrate an understanding of the Institution’s mission and impact on the scientific world; and
  • Motivating, inspiring, and mentoring their team, with a rigorous understanding of capability and potential, creating uniquely tailored career development plans for employees.


  • An inclusive, respectful, and team-oriented leader who enjoys learning from other perspectives and takes pride in shared success.
  • Emotional intelligence with the ability to interact effectively in a broad range of situations and with a variety of personalities.
  • Desire and ability to communicate clearly, listen attentively, and engage and persuade others as a trusted colleague, partner, and mentor.
  • Passionate about science, research, and education, and committed to Carnegie Institution of Science’s mission of improving the human condition through scientific advancement.
  • High level of integrity and demonstrated use of good judgement.


If you wish to submit application materials or nominate someone to serve as the next Chief Development Officer for Carnegie Institution for Science, please email