Director of Development

Ackerman Institute for the Family is recognized nationally and internationally as a preeminent provider of innovative approaches to professional training, clinical services, and community programs for families facing major life challenges in our complex society.

The Position

The Director of Development will be a champion of social justice inspired with a sense of innovation, creativity, and urgency to maximize resources to enhance Ackerman’s mission of assisting vulnerable families. They will exercise the leadership prowess to advance the organization’s fundraising program to the next level. The Director of Development will work closely with the President and the Board of Directors to ensure that marketing, communications, and development strategies support growth and long-term financial stability. They will build sustainable donor relationships and achieve organizational goals by designing and implementing a comprehensive plan to cultivate and secure financial resources including appeals, events, and, most importantly, major gifts from individuals, foundations, corporations, and high-net-worth individuals. The Director of Development will direct a comprehensive fundraising strategy that supports the development and programmatic goals, builds brand awareness, and further strengthens the Institute’s global reputation.

One of the first and most highly regarded training institutions for family therapists in the United States committed to promoting family functioning and family mental health, the Ackerman Institute for the Family is dedicated to helping all families at all stages of family life.

Through its dynamic commitment to training, research, and treatment, Ackerman’s work positively affects generations of families, provides mental healthcare professionals with new knowledge and skills, and brings innovative perspectives to community service agencies and other healthcare facilities.

Located in New York City, Ackerman trains more than 1,000 clinicians a year through extensive onsite and community-based programs. The Clinic provides over 6,000 family therapy sessions at its onsite clinic. The Institute’s operating budget for the 2017 fiscal year was $4.5 million, with an administrative staff of 19 and a part-time teaching/supervisory faculty of 35.


The new Director of Development will:

  • Work closely with the President/CEO and the Board of Directors to fashion, implement, and direct comprehensive fundraising strategies while maximizing financial support from the Board;
  • Work with the President and Ackerman Institution faculty to identify foundations and funders to support projects, centers, and initiatives, tapping the faculty’s talent and resources;
  • Provide staff support and motivation to the Board of Directors and the development committee of the Board, ensuring increased communication with Board members, active engagement of the Board with fundraising activities, and the development of new Board candidates closely aligned with Institute strategic objectives;
  • Oversee annual giving campaigns with existing donor base and launch an innovative major gifts campaign to develop new donor bases;
  • Develop strategies for renewing and increasing revenue from major donors, individual contributors, family foundations, and corporations;
  • Help create plans for a separate effort focused on achieving a major increase in the Institute’s endowment;
  • Build a creative and active media relations effort in direct support of fundraising and other capital formation programs.

Opportunities and Challenges

  • The Institute is now positioned to focus on its core mission and to increase the fundraising streams to support and grow its programs.
  • Given that the majority of the organization’s public support comes in the form of restricted funding to support the various programs, there will be a need to focus on the development of new funding streams.
  • Public and private funders are beginning to require that mental health providers like Ackerman demonstrate outcomes and assess and document practices, given the trend in health care, social services, and public education toward greater accountability for results. The new Director will need to be aware of outcome evaluation strategies for all programs and activities.

Qualities and Qualifications

The Director of Development will bring or be:

  • A commitment to social justice and racial equity;
  • An appreciation for and ability to communicate clearly and promote persuasively Ackerman’s exceptional and unique training, clinical, and community services;
  • Five to eight years of successful fundraising experience with proven success in face-to-face gift solicitation and a focus on major gifts (the Director of Development will work closely with the President to develop all cultivation and stewardship processes for donor relationships); the ability to work well in a team environment is essential;
  • Record of achievement in developing and implementing programs for individual donors and foundations;
  • A strong self-starter, proactive, detail oriented, and able to handle multiple projects simultaneously;
  • A history of working with diverse constituencies including faculty, volunteers, and board members;
  • Familiarity with foundation and corporate fundraising as well as significant grantwriting experience;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to articulate a mission with clarity and passion;
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to project professional competency, leadership, and integrity;
  • A leader with a high level of integrity who values and encourages open communication, collaboration, and outstanding performance;
  • Intelligence, creativity, high energy, and adaptability, with a sense of humor and personal perspective;
  • Willingness to have fun, laugh, and be part of the community of faculty and administrative team.

How to Apply

Ackerman Institute for the Family seeks a diverse pool of candidates and will offer a competitive salary. Applications, including cover letters and résumés, and nominations should be sent to the attention of Jane Phillips Donaldson and Paul Spivey at


All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, disability, or veteran status. The Ackerman Institute for the Family is committed to social justice and is an equal opportunity employer.


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