Managing Director of Development

Position: Managing Director of Development
Reports to: Executive Director
Location: Boston, MA

“The Zone has become a second home to me. I’m more focused on my school work because of my time in the Zone and I’m building bonds with my teammates.”
-Ashley, Madison Park Zone Member


Scholar Athletes (SA) is committed to supporting academic achievement through athletics and was designed to reduce the opportunity gap for urban public high school students. Through its programming, which includes Academic Coaching and Mentoring, Health and Wellness initiatives, and College and Career Planning, Scholar Athletes strives to improve academic performance and personal growth for the more than 5,000 high school aged youth it serves annually across the Commonwealth.
SA launched as a small program in 2009 with Suffolk Construction Company’s CEO John Fish as the founder and is now a multi-million dollar statewide organization pursuing its mission across more than twenty school sites in Boston, Springfield, and Everett, MA. SA has seen significant gains in outcomes, including a 98% graduation rate among senior Zone members, with 96% of senior Zone members graduating with a confirmed college or career plan, and with more than 800 Zone members participating in Health & Wellness programming.

To read more about the program’s impact, visit

Scholar Athletes is seeking an experienced and engaging Managing Director of Development to further develop and execute an overall fundraising strategy for the organization. With primary responsibility for overseeing the diversification of revenue streams and broadening the donor base, the Managing Director of Development will work closely with the Executive Director, founder, and Board to develop a pipeline of major gift prospects/donors, successfully solicit and steward a sizable portfolio of donors; and strengthen the development function at Scholar Athletes to support outcome achievement and future growth of the organization.

A successful Managing Director of Development will:
• Develop new and expand existing best practices around fundraising, cultivation, solicitation, and
stewardship, with a particular focus on expanding individual and major gifts
• Raise at least $2M a year for the organization from individuals, foundations, corporations, and other
• Develop strong relationships with board members and key volunteers to increase their involvement and support to ensure Scholar Athletes achieves its fundraising goals
• Oversee and manage fundraising strategy and actively participate as a member of the SA Executive Leadership Team to help set and achieve organizational goals.

In order to achieve the above outcomes, the Managing Director of Development will be responsible for:

Strategy, and Team Management:
• Assess and build out the development team, ensuring that roles and responsibilities are established to best serve organizational needs and meet fundraising goals
• Further develop and assess the organization’s Annual Fund and process for ongoing cultivation and
stewardship of small individual donors to complement the efforts to develop a Major Gifts pipeline

Major and Individual Giving:
• Identify, develop, and manage a portfolio of major gift prospects/donors who are capable of making gifts in the magnitude of 5-7 figures or more
• Conduct face-to-face prospect meetings annually for the purpose of identification, cultivation,
solicitation and stewardship
• Play a critical role in overseeing solicitations for the Scholar Athletes annual Gala, which raises
approximately $3M, or 65% of the organization’s annual revenue; and plan and implement other cultivation events in donors’ homes and businesses, as needed

Board Management:

• Work closely with Board members, organizational leaders, and other volunteers and staff, as appropriate, ensuring that Scholar Athletes achieves its fundraising goals

The Managing Director of Development will, over the first year, have:

• Developed strong collaborative working relationships with the Executive Director, founder, Board, and
senior leadership team
• Created, started executing on and monitoring a strategic fundraising plan with clearly defined goals,
timeframes, and metrics
• Established a strong understanding of and articulation of Scholar Athletes’ unique proposition, and its
potential impact in closing the urban youth opportunity gap
• Built a high-performing development program, where all development staff understand the big picture and goals
• Played a transformative role in overseeing all aspects of fundraising, especially diversifying the prospect list and revenue stream
• Shepherded the development team, providing leadership, supervision, and coaching that will lead to success in reaching established goals
• Assessed the philanthropic interests of the Board Chair’s identified prospects and created new strategies to cultivate, solicit, close, and steward them.
• Personally identified, cultivated, solicited, closed and stewarded gifts that cover his/her own salary.


This Managing Director of Development role offers the chance to:

• Make a difference – raising the resources to expand the reach of Scholar Athletes will help more urban high school students grow in academic performance
• Leave your mark – by building out the shop, by leading change
• Be entrepreneurial – by informing the direction going forward
• Enjoy work-life balance
• Round out your development skills by owning the whole effort
• Have fun – work with a smart, energetic team that loves their work.


The ideal candidate has the following qualifications:

• Significant senior fundraising experience with increasing levels of responsibility, including at least five
years of proven success in major gifts solicitation
• Demonstrated knowledge of development practices and principles and a successful track record in managing major gift prospects and closing gifts in at least the 5-7 figure range
• Experience in organizing and leveraging special events around major gifts fundraising
• Proven interpersonal and communication (oral and written) skills
• Strong and thoughtful people management skills, with demonstrated success managing and inspiring teams to achieve goals
• Superior organizational and leadership skills with demonstrated ability to work in a fast-paced,
professional environment and interact with all levels of stakeholders and staff
• Highly motivated; a self-starter with the ability to work independently and as part of a team and an
ability to coordinate and manage many projects simultaneously and handle confidential information with discretion
• A demonstrated ability to drive strategy and manage day-to-day logistics simultaneously
• Strong computer skills and familiarity with development software and prospect management (Salesforce preferred)
• Candidate must possess a passion for working with mission-driven organizations
• Bachelor’s degree required

The role also calls for a range of personal attributes – integrity; a strategic mindset; strong collaboration skills; an ability to develop, implement, and monitor plans; excellent presentation skills; and a strong desire for both success and impact. The ideal candidate has excellent managerial skills – can recruit strong people, and engage with, inspire, and motivate a team. S/he will thrive in a fast-paced, dynamic environment. Perhaps above all else, the successful candidate will be passionate about what they can contribute to student outcomes.

Scholar Athletes offers a competitive salary and benefits, commensurate with experience and skills.

Resumes should be sent as a WORD document to Ardith Myers, Founding Partner, AAM Search, Please also send a thoughtful cover letter, outlining how your skills and experience meet the qualifications for the position, also in WORD format. Thank you.

Scholar Athletes is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or veterans’ status or other status protected by applicable law.

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