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Director of Development

Merion Mercy Academy

Merion, Pennsylvania

Reporting directly to the Head of School, the Director of Development will identify, cultivate, solicit and steward donors to advance the mission of MMA from all constituencies including the Board of Trustees, committee members, faculty and staff, alumnae, current parents, past parents, foundations, corporations and other members of the community at large. The Director’s focus will be on building a culture of philanthropy throughout the school community while overseeing the Office of Development which includes all fundraising efforts, data management, annual giving, alumnae relations, events and supporting the parents’ association. The Director will be responsible for identifying, researching, and spearheading the implementation of a diverse and multifaceted fundraising program to support the school’s strategic vision, cultivating a culture of giving and gratitude across all constituencies.

The incoming Director will be tasked with strengthening the operational infrastructure within the Office of Development in order to meet MMA’s institutional goals and support the strategic plan. Serving as the chief architect and strategist for all development efforts the Director will oversee annual giving, major gifts, planned giving, foundation relations, stewardship, capital initiatives and alumnae relations. The Director will staff the Head of School on all matters related to development and will serve as a member of the Administrative Council, working closely with its members and the entire MMA community.

Specific Responsibilities

  • Provide leadership and vision to establish and maintain both short- and long-range goals for cultivation, stewardship, annual and capital fundraising and planned giving that will increase the culture of philanthropy across all constituencies of the school.
  • Oversee all aspects of the development program, including annual giving, planned giving, major gift strategies, capital campaign planning, corporate and foundation proposals, a strong alumnae association, parents’ association and all special events.
  • Build program infrastructure, train support and provide management for a staff of three with direct supervision of the Assistant Director of Development, Database Coordinator and Alumnae Relations Coordinator.
  • Implement a metric-driven environment positively managing the team to meet goals and achieve effective outcomes.
  • Oversee maintenance of the database while utilizing data analytics to drive goal setting, develop strategy and provide outcome reporting as required.
  • Identify, cultivate, solicit and steward top prospects with a focus on major gifts, using a systematic approach to engage donors and prospective donors.
  • Identify corporate and foundation funding opportunities and oversee the submission of grant applications.
  • Strengthen relationships with the school’s alumnae and further develop alumnae programming in collaboration with the Director of Alumnae.
  • Collaborate with the admissions office on public relations initiatives and the marketing and communications office to create/produce fundraising-related communication materials to expand and enhance the school’s visibility and reputation.
  • Establish and maintain the budget for development office, working closely with the CFO coordinating gift reporting and restrictions while ensuring all directed gifts are handled to donor’s specific bequests.
  • Work closely with finance and admissions offices to strategize financial aid and scholarship fundraising goals.
  • Enhance existing relationships while building new relationships, systems, and programs that further tap into the generosity and resources of the community.
  • Act as administrative liaison to the Development Committee of the Board preparing regular reports, advising on and preparing agendas for meetings and assisting the Committee in developing policies, procedures and goals to guide MMA’s fundraising efforts.
  • Nurture and maintain a highly collaborative relationship with the Head of School, the Board Chair, and individual Board members, supporting them in all their fundraising responsibilities and accompanying them on donor visits when appropriate.
  • Support, activate and elevate the Head of School’s engagement and leadership in fundraising, collaborating on key issues including prospect development, solicitation, stewardship, Board membership and external relations.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the Head of School.


The Director of Development must have an understanding of and passion for the goals and mission of Merion Mercy Academy and a commitment to the traditions of an all-girls Catholic secondary school based on the Mercy Core Values. The ideal candidate is an experienced fundraising strategist and relationship builder with a history of innovation in fundraising and donor development to support the future of MMA. The ability to effectively articulate specific fundraising goals and motivate and manage a team to achieve those goals will be essential to the success of the incoming Director. The successful candidate must have a track record of experiences that include knowledge of strategies and best practices proven effective in donor engagement and fundraising efforts, coupled with proven success implementing a goal-oriented, metric-based program utilizing data to determine goals and evaluate success. The new Director of Development will be a visionary, collaborative leader and outstanding communicator who clarifies goals, builds teams and cultivates trust while at the same time demanding accountability.

  • Minimum of ten (10) years of increasingly responsible management positions in development/ fundraising with a preference for independent school experience.
  • Broad exposure to all facets of development, including data management and analysis, annual giving, major gifts, planned giving, corporate and foundation relations and capital campaign planning and implementation.
  • Proven experience developing solicitation strategies and a track record of success cultivating and soliciting high-level donors.
  • Strong management skills, both strategic and operational, and a demonstrated ability to build, manage, mentor and motivate an effective team, while effectively engaging and staffing volunteers.
  • Experience with systematic, database-driven analytics, donor targeting, solicitation and recognition.
  • Visionary and strategic planning capabilities to be applied toward the development of an innovative fundraising program and the leadership necessary to ensure its successful implementation.
  • A team player and team builder that has a passion for and commitment to achieving excellence in all aspects of MMA’s mission while fostering a high level of respect for colleagues.
  • Ability to serve as a trusted advisor to the Head of School and the Board of Trustees on matters related to development.
  • A high degree of professionalism, sound judgment, awareness, and discretion while maintaining complete confidentiality.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with demonstrated ability to build, foster and maintain positive relationships with both internal and external constituencies including administrators, faculty, trustees, volunteer leaders, students, donors and prospects.
  • Excellent public speaking skills complemented by a demonstrated ability to interact in a social setting with ease and grace among individuals from a variety of diverse backgrounds and professions.
  • Superior communication skills to express, orally and in writing, MMA’s mission, vision, and goals with clarity, passion, and persuasion.
  • Self-confidence and humility combined with a sense of humor and a collaborative management style.
  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree preferred.
  • Must be willing and able to travel regionally and work nights and weekends when necessary.

The Institution

Founded in 1884 by the Religious Sisters of Mercy, Merion Mercy Academy (MMA) is an all-girls independent Catholic secondary school that has grown from a small village school to a premier, transformative educational institution rooted in Catholic values. Located on a beautiful campus along the Main Line area of Philadelphia, the Merion Mercy culture is welcoming and inclusive, enrolling 440 students from diverse geographic areas and socio-economic groups coming from over 100 feeder schools in the region.

Approximately 52% of its students commute from the suburbs, 31% are from economically diverse neighborhoods in the city of Philadelphia, 12% are from New Jersey, and 5% are international students from China, Egypt, Korea, and Vietnam. Eighty percent of students are Catholic. The school’s footprint reaches wider than other private schools and continues to grow and expand, thanks, in part, to available transportation and financial aid. The school’s 47 devoted faculty, administrators, and counselors are forward-thinking teachers, mentors, and advisors who know students by name thanks to a 9:1 student/teacher ratio and an average class size of 17. Educators are focused on the process of learning, rather than on just covering content, as well as on differentiated instruction which addresses the fact that all students do not learn in the same way. They are experts in their fields, with 69% of faculty possessing advanced degrees and an average tenure of 16.1 years. Eight religious are part of the faculty/staff body, and three additional serve the school as volunteers.

There is an intentional emphasis upon educating all students to “Live Mercy and Seek Justice,” and a true sense of sisterhood among the students that transcends the classroom. The rigorous academic program challenges each student to prepare for college and a lifetime of service, thus developing globally competent and compassionate women for the future. One hundred percent of graduates attend four-year colleges, including some of the most selective schools in the country.

Merion Mercy is fully accredited by the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools. It is also an active member of the National Association of Independent Schools, Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools, National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, National Association for College Admission Counseling, Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools, National Association for College Admission Counseling, National Catholic Education Association, Mercy Education System of the Americas, and Pennsylvania Association for College Admission Counseling.

For additional information, please visit their website at

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