Vice President of Development

Job Title: 
Vice President of Development
Job Description: 

While young people from low-income communities face systemic inequities in education and the workforce, they possess unique strengths, resilience and tremendous potential. When provided with support and resources, these young people fulfill their potential and achieve success in school, work and life.

Through a combination of mentoring and transformative experiences, Summer Search supports young people to successfully transition from adolescence into adulthood. We aim to unleash the potential of our young people while also building a toolkit for navigating and challenging systemic barriers to higher education and career opportunities.

Our alumni are three times more likely to graduate with a 4-year degree than their peers and become the kind of leaders our country needs -- civic leaders, advocates, industry leaders, teachers, mothers and fathers. Their collective leadership ripples out into the community and future generations and contributes to a more equitable society.

Since our founding in 1990, Summer Search has reached more than 7,000 young people and currently serves more than 3,600 high school and college students in five locations across the country – San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, and Seattle

At the onset of a four-year strategic plan, Summer Search is poised for its next phase of growth, innovation and impact. With a vision to foster the development of “students who fulfill their potential and lead their families and communities to thrive,” we aim to broaden our program outcomes to include education, employment, and income, expand our post-secondary support to students, and increase the size of our incoming class by 50% by 2022.

In order to realize this vision, Summer Search is seeking a Vice President of Development (VP) to lead a national fundraising program in partnership with a dedicated group of collaborators: our CEO and senior management team, national and regional development teams, national Board of Directors, and five regional advisory boards. The VP will set the strategic roadmap for fundraising and energize the entire Summer Search network to move forward with shared vision and purpose.

Summer Search is built upon a stable funding base with high potential for growth. As 70% of Summer Search’s budget ($23M in FY19) is from major and individual donors, the VP will have the opportunity to drive strategies that capitalize upon our individual giving success. Teamed with a track record of securing investments from institutional partners such as the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, AT&T Aspire, PwC, and SAP, the VP will lead efforts to broaden and deepen our relationships with foundation and corporate partners.

The VP will join an organization with strong values and a deep commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. With a genuine commitment to the students we serve, the VP will have ample opportunities to connect with our high school and college students, alumni, families, and school and community partners. The VP will lead with an understanding of the cultural context surrounding our students and elevate students’ voices and assets in all fundraising activities.

Specifically, the Vice President of Development will:

Drive long-term revenue growth through visionary and strategic leadership

  • Develop and oversee a comprehensive fundraising strategy for a national, multi-site organization. Galvanize our network (i.e., staff, national and regional board members, alumni, volunteers) to drive fundraising efforts on the ground.
  • Leverage the new four-year strategic plan to create investment opportunities and pursue new sources of funding from individual, foundation, and corporate supporters.
  • Serve as a key member of the senior management team, contributing to overall organizational strategies, representing the priorities of the development function and supporting the priorities of the rest of the organization through meaningful partnership and collaboration with department heads and regional senior leadership.
  • Create and manage to clear metrics for success and hold others accountability to achieving metrics.
  • Partner with marketing and program teams to align on fundraising priorities, institute messaging that clearly reflects our mission, and elevate the Summer Search brand. Ensure that program and development teams have opportunities to learn from each other and operate in lock step.
  • Ensure fundraising strategies and messaging are couched in organizational principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion, with a lens that reflects an understanding of systemic inequities and lifts up the assets and potential of our students.

Oversee and develop a network-wide development function and staff

  • Supervise a ten-member national development team, including two direct reports, and provide regular coaching to development staff across our five regional offices. Prioritize investing in staff development in order to support staff’s career pathways and retain high-performing staff.
  • Partner closely with regional Executive Directors and national leadership to develop annual fundraising goals and increase the capacity of regional fundraising.
  • Support a cohort of regional Directors of Development and support those leaders in building high-performing and values-driven team cultures.

Lead key fundraising activities that deepen relationships and opportunities for revenue growth

  • Personally cultivate, solicit, and steward select 5-, 6-, and 7-figure major donors, as well as provide input on strategy for major donors in partnership with regional leaders.
  • Oversee efforts to pursue a transformative breakthrough in fundraising to build out our financial foundation and sustainability for future growth. In FY19, this includes overseeing a feasibility study, working closely with the National Development Committee, and soliciting lead gifts.
  • Collaborate closely with national Board of Directors, regional advisory boards, and senior executive and development leadership to support our fundraising strategies and success.
  • Work closely with CEO as a thought partner and collaborator, driving efforts to ensure CEO is leveraged in funder cultivation and stewardship.
  • Partner with Development Chair of the national Board of Directors on board member nominations. Present to the board at quarterly, in-person meetings, and on committee calls as needed.

The Vice President of Development will embody Summer Search’s values and lead with authenticity, grace, high standards for excellence, and a heartfelt commitment to mission. Specifically, you are:
• An experienced fundraiser with a track record and passion for securing major individual gifts. You bring success in and enjoyment of every step of identifying, closing and stewarding funding relationships of $100K-$1M+ with individuals, foundations, and corporations. Experience leading fundraising at a national or multi-site nonprofit is a plus.
• A results-oriented, data-driven strategist who forms clear plans that are bold, achievable, and motivational to others. You bring success in building and implementing long-term fundraising strategies that incent a variety of players (e.g. national and regional staff and boards) to hit fundraising targets. You see the big picture and design strategy that works for the unique challenges and opportunities of an organization. You take an entrepreneurial and hands-on approach in translating strategy into tangible activities and results.
• An emotionally astute relationship builder who easily forms meaningful connections with others. You have a warm, energetic, and authentic personality that translates to building lasting relationships with a variety of constituents (e.g. board, staff, donors, alumni). You are experienced in fostering relationships between different stakeholders, working constructively through conflict and building active internal and external networks. You believe in winning together.
• An inspirational leader, team facilitator, and people manager with the proven ability to influence others. You influence, inspire, guide, and direct a group of people towards a defined vision or goal. You coach and mentor direct reports for high performance, as well as provide support and counsel to individuals and teams that are not direct reports. You have high standards for holding others accountable to goals.
• A passionate advocate who is committed to Summer Search’s mission and values. You believe that students have innate potential, and that through relationships and experiences, students can fully realize their potential. You thrive in an organization that values authenticity, gratitude, relationships, well-being, and a commitment to social emotional learning and personal growth.
• A champion for equity, diversity, and inclusion. You possess cultural sensitivity and humility, with an understanding of systemic and institutionalized racism facing communities of color. You speak concretely and passionately about social and racial justice, as well as actively work to ensure that Summer Search’s equity, diversity, and inclusion principles are infused in senior management and development practices.

While a Bay Area location is preferred, the VP of Development could also be based out of Boston or New York City. Must be willing to travel within the Summer Search network, as well as attend evening and weekend events and meetings; approximately 15% of time is travel.


  • We are committed to staff learning, growth and development. Our investment includes:
  • Competitive salaries. The salary range for this position is $165,000 - $185,000.
  • Medical insurance with up to 90% employer contribution
  • Dental, vision, FSA, life and disability insurance plans
  • 401 (K) and Employer Match up to $2,000 annually
  • Generous time off including 15 vacation days, 10 sick days, and 18 holidays (3 floating holidays of your choice, a birthday day-off, 10 company-wide holidays, and a 1-week December closure).
  • Individual, local, regional and national training; plus a $200 professional development stipend for external training
  • A commitment to developing leaders from within the organization
  • An organizational culture that supports staff well-being and holistic self-care/community care
  • Ample opportunities to connect with the students and communities we serve

With a staff that cares deeply about social justice and racial justice, we believe that diverse perspectives and backgrounds create a rich work environment and enhance our ability to pursue our mission. We are committed to building an organization with raised consciousness in order to impact how we work with students, as well as how we work together as a team.

We hope you will join us as we continue to build a justice-centered organization that fosters a work environment where all people from all backgrounds are welcomed and valued.

Click the "To Apply" link to submit a resume and targeted cover letter that answers the question, "What excites you about Summer Search and the VP of Development opportunity?” Please address your cover letter to Marc Spencer, Chief Executive Officer.


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