Director of Development

Position and Organization Description

Accelerate Institute is seeking a talented Director of Development. Reporting to the CEO, the Director of Development is responsible for planning, managing and implementing the development strategy, driving all contributed income for Accelerate Institute in support of its current and long-term strategic objectives. The Director of Development will also be responsible for the management of the Ryan Award, an annual award given to high-performing principals selected from a national candidate pool. This position will ensure the effective delivery of the Institute’s vision, mission and brand through its fundraising programs.

The Director of Development will possess a proven track record in providing creative and innovative leadership in resource development and in promoting and administering dynamic fundraising strategies. The successful candidate will have demonstrated skills in the full spectrum of development activities including grant development, with a strong emphasis in soliciting major gifts of $100,000+ from national and regional foundations, special events, board development, annual fund, and donor cultivation, stewardship, and recognition. She or he will be self-motivated, results-oriented, creative, entrepreneurial, highly energetic and intelligent, with exceptional interpersonal and organization skills.

About Accelerate Institute

The Accelerate Institute closes the achievement gap by creating high impact school leaders who accelerate student achievement. Grounded in the belief that demographics are not destiny and that all children can achieve at high levels given equal access to quality education, the Accelerate Institute identifies and develops school leaders that unleash the potential of urban schools. Accelerate Institute develops this talent by drawing on the leadership model used to achieve success at our nationally-recognized charter school, Alain Locke Charter School. Accelerate Institute is located in Chicago, Illinois.

Position Responsibilities

  • Fundraising Strategy and Plan: Actively work with CEO to develop and implement comprehensive fundraising strategy; Cultivate new funding streams: local, national, institutional
  • Revenue Oversight: Collaborate with Finance to maintain financial strategy; Provide any updates on funding, ensure accountants have necessary paperwork/proposals/correspondence; Develop budgets per funders request
  • Grants/Donor Research and Proposal Development: Identify new foundation and corporate prospects for solicitation through grant proposals and major gifts; Develop proposals for foundation, corporate and non-profit partners, packaging and submitting grant proposals.
  • Events: Work with the Director of Operations and Development to plan, organize, and execute major fundraising events for the organization.
  • Data Management (Salesforce): monitor and ensure integrity of donor information- provide statistical analysis; analyze current donors/stakeholders within the database; upgrade database to keep current and maximize potential; create report templates to produce relevant financial, donor and programmatic reports
  • Donor Cultivation, Stewardship, and Recognition: Work with CEO to cultivate new and continued donors including the creation and implementation of mailing campaigns, donor follow-up, and campaign follow-up; Implement and maintain stewardship and recognition of donors.
  • Supervise Development Manager: Manage and oversee Alain Locke Charter School fundraising revenue stream, train in all fundamentals of fundraising: prospect research, grant writing, annual appeals, board development, program development, and collaboration.
  • Ryan Award Process and Selection: Implement and execute nomination process; Lead/coordinate vetting and selection process of nominees; Coordinate site visits/award presentations; Coordinate logistics around Impact Dinner; Collect and disseminate Ryan Awardee information for press releases, print materials, mailings; Refine process to ensure high quality and increased nominations
  • Serve as Board secretary for Alain Locke Charter School
  • Programmatic/Organization wide Support: Support work of other organization teams, as needed

Required Qualifications and Skills

The candidate must have a bachelor’s degree and demonstrate:

  • Minimum of 7–10 years of comprehensive development experience in similar roles of increasing responsibility and leadership in the nonprofit sector 
  • Demonstrated success in securing multiple major gifts ($100,000+) from foundations and corporations 
  • Exceptional communication and writing skills and strong oral communication skills 
  • Extremely detailed oriented and organized, with the strong ability to proof and edit documents 
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills for multiple target audiences 
  • Proven ability to work unsupervised and solve problems independently, effectively and creatively 
  • Ability to lead multiple long and short term projects simultaneously, meeting all related deadlines with the ability to plan, prioritize, coordinate, and manage own work
  • Advanced knowledge of MS Office and experience working with donor tracking databases (Salesforce preferred)
  • Results-oriented team player with the ability to work in a fast-paced environment and to produce high-quality work in a timely manner
  • A strong commitment to education reform and the mission of Accelerate Institute


Accelerate Institute offers a competitive salary and full benefits package.

To Apply

  • Qualified candidates can apply via e-mail only to Juanita Shelby, Please include “Director of Development” as the subject of your e-mail. Please submit all of and only the following: 
  • Cover letter describing your interest and passion in creating equal access to education for all children 
  • Resume that clearly articulates your qualifications to the required skill sets defined above 
  • Salary history (on a separate document please)

For more information on Accelerate Institute, go to

Equal Opportunity Employment

Accelerate Institute is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages interest from people of color, LGBT applicants, and persons with disabilities.