Executive Director of Development
Applications will be accepted until May 5, 2017 or until position is filled
The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) seeks a proven, strategic fundraising leader who will inspire a new spirit of philanthropy throughout the school community. The new position of Executive Director of Development will have the opportunity to lead the school’s development team and manage its upcoming capital campaign.
NCSSM challenges academically talented students from across the state with an advanced curriculum in STEM fields and the humanities. NCSSM began in 1980 as an academic experiment: What would happen if some of the state’s most motivated students came together in a place dedicated to the power of science and math? Nearly four decades later, NCSSM has built a firmly rooted reputation as an academic powerhouse, educating intellectually gifted students from every corner of the state, representing rural and urban communities, all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. Eleven states have used NCSSM as the model for their own programs.
Program options for academically talented students with special interest in STEM include a residential program for North Carolina high school juniors and seniors who want challenging courses, a variety of extracurricular opportunities, and a community of peers; an online program, a two-year, sequenced program that allows the state’s high school juniors and seniors to explore high-caliber STEM courses while still attending their home high school; interactive videoconferencing (IVC) courses, live, synchronous courses taught by NCSSM faculty to students in their home high schools; and a variety of summer academic experiences for students in grades 7 through 12. NCSSM currently serves 680 students through the residential program, 360 students through the online program, and 370 through IVC courses. Hundreds more are reached through summer programs each year. Instructors are required to have an advanced degree in their subject area, and more than 30% of the faculty have Ph.D.’s.
There are now almost 10,000 graduates of NCSSM, nearly 100% of whom attended colleges and universities, with 58% of recent graduates enrolled in undergraduate institutions in North Carolina. A 2009 economic impact study reported that approximately 60% of alumni continue to live and work in North Carolina, adding more than $500 million annually to the state’s economy.
The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Foundation was created in 1979 as an independent 501(c)(3) organization to receive and manage philanthropic contributions to the school. Governed by its own Board of Directors, the Foundation has current assets of approximately $12.5 million, $10 million of which is endowed. Though state funding, currently at $21 million, continues to provide the bulk of the school’s operating and capital budgets (note that capital funds are appropriated separately from operating funds), private giving to the Foundation is an increasingly essential component of the school’s success. Fundraising revenues have doubled from an average of $738,731 to $1,540,530 annually during the last decade, a positive trend that leadership wants to extend. Today, philanthropic giving drives excellence with salary support for specialized teachers and training opportunities for faculty, access to technology, experiential opportunities for students beyond the campus and assistance for students from financially challenged backgrounds to cover supplies and incidentals.
For more than a decade, state legislators and the UNC Board of Governors (which oversees the state university system, the School of the Arts and NCSSM) have been discussing ways to expand the number of students served by NCSSM. In 2016 a statewide bond referendum was approved, setting aside funds to establish a second NCSSM campus in Morganton, NC. A western campus could result in very positive outcomes for fundraising, particularly attracting donors with stronger connections to the piedmont and mountain regions of the state. The school is currently engaged in a visioning and planning process with the hopes of breaking ground in 2018 and opening for operation in 2021. Plans for a capital campaign will encompass the needs of both campuses.
The Executive Director will be NCSSM’s “fundraiser-in-chief,” reporting to the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement and working collaboratively with the Foundation President. The Vice Chancellor spends a majority of his time working with the school’s lead donor, the State of North Carolina, while the Foundation President leads a three-person team managing contributions, the donor database, and Foundation operations. The NCSSM Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, and Foundation President will all carry major gift portfolios, and the Executive Director will lead the overall effort.
The Executive Director should be the model for how best to cultivate, make the ask, and inspire donors to increase their commitment to the school. He/she must be able to work solo and also know when it is best to play a supportive role in securing a commitment. The School is a meritocracy where teamwork, hard work, creativity, and preparation are held in high regard and the same will be expected of its fundraising leader and team.
NCSSM’s new fundraising leader must be a builder. Although the fundraising program has existed for decades and the school completed a successful $10 million capital campaign in 2008, a more sophisticated and highly effective fundraising operation will need to be created to drive success into the future. The program should draw from “best in class” approaches from private and public schools and universities and will be put to its highest and best use when it is powered by an ambitious, well-diversified strategy that includes alumni, parents, students, employees, and corporate and foundation support, and attracts current and estate gifts. The development program assessment completed in November 2016 by moss+ross will be a great resource for the Director as he/she develops a plan. Underscoring the strategy must be the larger and visionary goal of creating a new culture of philanthropy that captures the imagination of all stakeholders, engages them early, and keeps them connected.
The potential for growth cannot be understated. This tuition-free school has been a transformative experience for students since its beginning and alumni feel a strong connection to the institution, often stronger than the connections they have with their universities. Many credit NCSSM for their professional success. The first generation of graduates are now in their 50s and at peak moments of their own lives and careers. There is a strong cohort of 30- to 40-year-olds who are successful entrepreneurs and professionals in a variety of well-paying fields. Approximately 10% of graduated alumni are donors, as are 7% of their parents. Approximately 50% of current parents give. The cumulative fundraising total from the last five fiscal years exceeds $7.5 million.
Although the school is still relatively young, donor research points to the capacity of alumni and parents to give more consistently and at much higher levels, including a significant number of six- and seven-figure gifts. The Executive Director will need to evaluate the current donor pipeline and develop better ways for identifying, cultivating, and soliciting the school’s best alumni and family prospects. The same could be said for corporate and foundation support, which has been stronger in previous years. As the faculty brings out the great potential of the students through the academic program, so must the Executive Director and development team do so with all constituents through the fundraising program.
The Executive Director cannot do this work on his/her own. He/she will need to inspire a small staff to think big by creating a team spirit that thrives on collaboration and creativity and by setting clear, ambitious, and reasonable goals. A Major Gifts Officer and an Annual Fund Officer will report to the Executive Director and the team is likely to grow with the success of the program. Now is the time to create an environment where the best is expected and team members receive the mentoring and support they need to be successful. The Executive Director will work closely with the Director of Communications, Constituent Relations Director (who manages the Alumni Association and Parent Association), and the Grant Writer, all of whom currently report to the Vice Chancellor.
NCSSM’s new fundraising leader will participate in the planning process for the western campus expansion and the overall vision for a capital campaign meeting the needs of both campuses. Capital campaigns create urgency and can be an excellent vehicle for raising the bar on all fundraising. This is an opportunity the school’s fundraising leader should use strategically to bring more and new alumni, parent, and corporate leaders into the fundraising enterprise and a reason to reach out to a greater number of donors and prospects in more meaningful ways.
The Foundation’s Board of Directors will be the new Executive Director’s partner in creating a new culture of philanthropy and in taking the fundraising program to new heights of success. The Board has intentionally shifted from a purely fiduciary role to a fundraising support role. The Executive Director will work in concert with the Foundation President to help the Board evolve and grow in its fundraising role and responsibilities, including when it comes to recruiting new Board members and fundraising training. The Executive Director will work directly with the Board in vetting prospects and involving Board members in cultivation and solicitation meetings with donors and prospective donors.
There has never been a better time to bring in new philanthropic leadership. The enthusiasm exists and there are prime untapped donors already connected with the school who have the passion and wherewithal to make a significant impact. With the school’s 40th anniversary on the horizon and its plans for expansion, what is needed now is a smart, tenacious, and proven fundraising leader with an entrepreneurial spirit to lead, create, and direct NCSSM’s development program in a way that transforms the overall culture of private financial giving to the school; a leader who can capture the excitement of this time and convey it to others with passion and a convincing invitation to join the effort. NCSSM’s first Executive Director of Development has the opportunity to create a legacy that will serve the students, the school, and the state for generations to come.
The Executive Director of Development will serve as the lead development officer for the school, will report to the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement, serve as a critical member of the Chancellor’s cabinet and work closely with academic and Foundation leadership. The Executive Director will manage a team that currently includes the Major Gift Officer and Donor Participation Officer. Other positions could be created based on the needs of the campaign and fundraising opportunities.
General Leadership Responsibilities
Education and Preferred Qualifications
Compensation: Commensurate with experience and abilities and reflective of salary levels in similar positions in the state system and nonprofits. The position is classified an exempt position by the state under the category of Senior Academic or Administrative Officer II.
To apply: Submit one document that includes your cover letter (providing your salary requirements and how you learned about the position) and your resume and send via email to:
Mr. T. Brock Winslow
Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement
North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
Applications will be accepted until May 5, 2017 or until the position is filled. Writing samples, a short presentation and five references will be required from finalists. Academic, credit and criminal checks will be conducted before a final offer is made.
The consulting firm of moss+ross (www.mossandross.com) has been retained to assist with the search.
The Executive Director of Development is position #65025163 within the state of North Carolina system with the classification of EHRA SAAO-II. NCSSM is an EEO/eVerify/VEVRAA Employer.