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Vice President for University Development

Job no: 493584
Work type: EAP - Executive, Administrative, Professional
Location: Grand Rapids
Categories: University Development

Grand Valley State University seeks candidates for the role of Vice President for University Development and Executive Director of the Grand Valley University Foundation (referred to hereafter as “Vice President”). The Vice President reports directly to the President and is an integral part of the President's Senior Leadership Team. The Vice President is responsible for visioning and leading the university’s comprehensive fundraising efforts, ensuring alignment with mission and strategy, advancing a culture of philanthropy, and executing against short and long-term objectives in an evolving and growing organization. The person in this position is the administrator of the Development Office and associated foundation, providing oversight for 35+ personnel with three to four direct reports and budgets related to fundraising and friend-raising efforts. The Vice President serves on the President’s Cabinet and as staff to the GVU Foundation Board of Trustees.

With a renewed focus on team building and a culture of empowerment, the Vice President will lead Grand Valley development operations to new levels of success at an important time in the university’s history. A key member in advancing the university’s strategic vision, the Vice President will work closely with the President, senior administrators and faculty, Trustees, alumni, and other external constituencies to further align development operations with best practices and achieve ambitious fundraising growth. The advancement function includes responsibility for annual fund, major gift, and planned giving programs; endowment growth; alumni engagement efforts; capital and comprehensive campaigns; donor stewardship activities; and development services.

The ideal candidate will have the following personal and professional skills, qualities, and competencies:

  • Ability to communicate effectively and passionately Grand Valley State University’s mission and impact to the broader community.
  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field of work.
  • At least five to seven years of experience in a supervisory capacity in a nonprofit development role, with a strong record of providing strategic and operational leadership, including creating and managing a budget.
  • Strong grasp of and commitment to best practices in all areas of advancement, as well as demonstrated leadership experience in higher education fundraising and alumni engagement. Sophisticated understanding of the need to educate alumni on philanthropy and advance an institution-wide culture of philanthropy.
  • Experience in developing the case for support and strategic fundraising plans, particularly a comprehensive campaign, and executing plans to achieve goals and objectives.
  • Successful track record of personally cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding major gifts from individual and institutional donors at the level of six to seven-figures or greater.
  • Demonstrated ability in planning and executing integrated, strategic, and innovative communications in support of achieving fundraising goals.
  • Demonstrated analytical and organizational skills in evaluating existing programs, conceiving and implementing new programs or strategies, and resolving complex and/or sensitive operational and interpersonal issues.
  • A forward thinker with a track record of utilizing new methods of donor engagement and connectivity, who will be driven by innovation in developing philanthropic best practices in the current and post-COVID-19 world.
  • Knowledge of and experience working in the philanthropic climate of West Michigan preferred.
  • Ability for regional and national travel, consistent with public health guidelines.

Grand Valley State University has retained the Diversified Search Group to assist in this confidential search process. Inquiries, nominations, and applications (current resumes and cover letters) should be directed electronically to:

Gerard F. Cattie, Jr.
Managing Director
Practice Leader – Development & Philanthropy
Diversified Search Group
The Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Avenue, 49th Floor, New York, NY 10174
gerard.cattie@divsearch.com | 212.542.2587

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