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Director of Development

Yleana Leadership Foundation

New York, NY

The Director of Development is a newly created role within the Yleana Leadership Foundation designed to establish a formalized development program. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director of Development will identify, cultivate, solicit, manage and steward prospects and donors through direct mail, phone calls, online giving strategies, social media, personal visits, general communications, volunteer management and giving societies in order to secure the funding needed to advance the mission of the Foundation. In close collaboration with the Board, the Director’s focus will be building program infrastructure to spearhead fundraising efforts while enhancing the culture of philanthropy among all constituencies.

Specific Responsibilities

  • Establish a strategic and systematic focus on engaging high-net-worth individuals with major gift capability and inclination.
  • Research potential corporate and foundation grants, sponsorships and alliances for which Yleana qualifies and apply for them.
  • Identify private donors in target areas who currently support projects similar to Yleana and cultivate them.
  • Identify and develop special events, board, and major gift prospects and donors through face-to-face visits annually.
  • Meet or exceed $750,000 annual revenue goals while establishing a pipeline for future years.
  • Strategically engage Board members and senior leaders in the development process.
  • Engage senior leaders and Board and Trustee members, new and existing, in donor identification and development, while stewarding and cultivating to increase their personal commitment.
  • Oversee annual Trustee recruitment focusing on engaging individual philanthropists who have the capacity and interest in making a personal major gift to Yleana. Newly recruited Trustees will have well-thought-out strategy resulting in major gift cultivation and solicitation to a major gifts pipeline.
  • Identify, qualify, cultivate, solicit, steward and renew prospects while establishing a vibrant portfolio of special event and board prospects to meet or exceed regional special events revenue goals.
  • Identify prospects, trustees, and potential philanthropists to host salon dinners that serve to introduce new high-net-worth potential prospect/donor to Yleana.
  • Routinely network with and access Fortune 500 C-level executives in major metropolitan areas and interact with high-net-worth individual philanthropists for the purpose of cultivating relationships and developing personal giving.
  • Leverage existing network of contacts in these fields to help create Yleana’s own, independent network.
  • Demonstrate a keen sense of curiosity with donors to understand what compels each donor to give substantially by asking the right questions.
  • Successfully align donor interests to Yleana funding priorities.
  • Guide the development of compelling proposals and oversee the development of creative presentations and reports.
  • Provide accurate and timely activity and pipeline reports and revenue forecasts.
  • In conjunction with senior staff, ensure integrity of data.
  • Effectively manage Yleana resources including travel and business expenses.
  • Research, identify, and investigate new opportunities for funding from a wide variety of philanthropic and individual sources to expand and diversify the donor base and lead to overall Yleana fundraising success.
  • Looping in the Executive Director, the face of Yleana, as necessary to interact with donors. Setting her up for success by giving her relevant information about donors’ preferences/desires to be convincing in selling Yleana.
  • Additional duties as assigned by the Executive Director.


The Director of Development must believe in the mission and vision of the Yleana Leadership Foundation. He/She must model integrity, work to inspire colleagues and constituents and strive to build an effective fundraising program. The Director will be a relationship builder and visionary thought leader who can productively leverage contributions of others. The successful candidate will be flexible and compassionate to address the practicalities of a growing nonprofit, along with the creativity and persistence required to elicit new thinking and change.

  • An appreciation and passion for the mission of Yleana Leadership Foundation and a commitment to closing the achievement gap for students.
  • Bachelor’s degree required; MBA and CFRE preferred.
  • 6 to 10 years’ successful frontline major gifts fundraising experience including Board fundraising engagement.
  • Visionary and strategic planning capabilities to be applied toward developing the infrastructure for innovative fundraising program and the leadership necessary to ensure its successful implementation.
  • Impressive track record with major gift solicitations of $50,000 and above.
  • Success managing a portfolio of 50 to 100 relationships with annual goal achievement and year-over-year revenue growth.
  • Computer proficiency in GSuite and Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Outlook.
  • Effective fundraiser with the ability to identify, qualify, cultivate, solicit, close, steward and renew commitments of $100,000 or more.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with demonstrated ability to build, foster and maintain positive relationships with both internal and external constituencies.
  • Excellent public speaking skills complemented by a demonstrated ability to interact in a social setting with ease and grace.
  • Superior communication skills to express, orally and in writing, the mission, vision, and goals of the Foundation with clarity, passion, and persuasion.
  • Must be a self-starter with an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, and ability to set priorities and meet deadlines.
  • Ability to establish self as a credible representative of the cause, build strong partnership with the donor, identify donor “hot buttons” and design convincing proposals to meet both donor and institutional needs.
  • Proven track record closing complex six-figure commitments including asset-based gifts, planned gifts, multi-year campaign pledges and endowment commitments.
  • High energy, driven, dedicated, motivated, confident, flexible and creative.
  • Ability to work for prolonged periods at high levels of activity; managing multiple tasks with varying deadlines and attending to details; ability to think strategically.
  • Overnight travel, including over weekends, may be required.
  • Must possess and maintain a valid driver’s license and be able to navigate areas of the country or abroad by using a map or other direction methods.
  • Ability to travel by subway, car or airplane.

The Institution

The Yleana Leadership Academy is a residential summer academy which annually serves 80 rising high school seniors in urban areas (Baltimore, Boston, Lynn/Salem/Peabody, NYC, and Philadelphia) and seeks to close the achievement gap through a three-week transformative summer SAT intervention. The program is free to all participants; room, board, and all program-related fees (including transportation to and from students’ schools/partner organizations) are covered by the endowment. Students qualify for free or reduced lunch. Most of the students are first-generation and are about 95% of color historically.

Students live full-time at Colgate University and Mount Holyoke College, sleeping in dormitories, eating with their peers, participating in athletic and social events, and going on cultural excursions. Yleana seeks not only to give students the scores and tools to make college a tangible reality, but also to create a thriving community. Resident advisors who double as teachers will live with the students, helping them manage a new environment and inspiring them with the advisors’ own tales of college success. There is at least one staff member for every six students. Staff members will consist of experienced instructors, assistant teachers, adjunct teachers, and counselors-in-training (recent Yleana alumni, now transitioning out of the college admissions process and into attending college, who counsel the students and run non-academic programming).

Yleana’s staff are people who are constantly generating new and better ways to do things, drawing on what they have seen, read, and experienced, who replace “I can’t do that” with “Let’s make it happen.” Yleana prefers staff who can improvise, who are creative, who approach problems in unexpected ways, and who generally understand how to communicate the test to diverse groups of students.

Last year, the average score improvement in a 3-week period was 160-180 points on the SAT, and Yleana seeks to consistently improve that number. To get a feel for the Yleana experience, and understand the inspiring mission, please check out this video:

For additional information, please visit their website at

Yleana’s office is located at 222 Broadway, New York, NY, with the option to work from home 20-40% of the time after onboarding, upon agreement with Yleana’s Executive Director.
Benefits include health insurance and unlimited vacation.

Diversity and equal opportunity are at the core of Yleana and their mission. Yleana is committed to building a team that reflects the world. People who identify as members of historically underrepresented groups are highly encouraged to apply.

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