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Vice President for Advancement

  • 07 Aug 2020 4:11 PM
    Message # 9151252
    Maeven Sipes (Administrator)


    Vice President for Advancement



    St. Francis High School (SFHS), an independent Catholic college preparatory school in Wheaton, IL, seeks a dynamic fundraising professional who is passionate about advancing the mission of Catholic education. This professional is charged with providing strategic and operational leadership in the development of a comprehensive, high-performing advancement program and in building a culture of philanthropy in preparation for a capital campaign.

    Reporting directly to the President, the Vice President for Advancement is responsible for strategic planning, organization, and leadership of fundraising (annual, major, planned, capital gifts), alumni relations, special events, donor relations and advancement services. This institutional leader plays a critical role in building relationships and securing financial resources from external constituents to advance the mission of SFHS. This professional will also build strong, working relationships with SFHS faculty, staff, board, and volunteer leadership while serving as a vital member of the President’s Council.

    As the chief advancement officer, the successful candidate will be a data-driven decision maker and dynamic relationship-builder adept at strategically building new relationships and strengthening existing ones to expand the school’s base of support. The new Vice President for Advancement will have the opportunity to make a significant, and personally rewarding contribution to a successful and promising future for St. Francis High School.


    St. Francis High School is a Catholic, co-educational college preparatory learning community that fosters each student’s spiritual, intellectual, and social potential. The school currently enrolls approximately 700 students (49% male/51% female) in grades 9-12 and is distinguished for its exceptional academics, distinctive community spirit, and a wide range of co-curricular opportunities. Minds and spirits thrive inside the classroom as well as on the stage and field.

    In the last academic year, students attended from 111 different grade schools and 59 zip codes, some commuting as many as 25 miles. SFHS welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds, and students matriculate from private, public, Catholic schools as well as home-schools. The school’s successful International Student Program hosted 14 students from Asia and Europe. Currently, 20% of students receive tuition assistance, although the need is much greater.

    With a student/teacher ratio of 13:1, SFHS provides an optimal educational environment critical for both individualized and group learning. An extraordinarily committed faculty assure the ongoing success and stellar reputation of SFHS. Curricular and co-curricular opportunities for the students abound. Since its inception 63 years ago, St. Francis High School has continued to thrive and is supported by a dedicated and committed Board of Directors, many long-standing faculty and staff and engaged parents.


    • In partnership with the President, develop an advancement strategy that fulfills short- and long-term financial needs to complete projects and create financial security for SFHS.
    • Develop and manage a comprehensive multi-year advancement strategic plan with milestones to achieve progress toward short-term and long-term fundraising goals aligned with the school’s strategic plan and goals.
    • Oversee Advancement staff and all aspects of the advancement efforts including major and planned gifts, donor stewardship, annual fund, special events, alumni relations, parent clubs, database management and gift processing.
    • Create and implement an annual operating advancement plan and budget with measurable outcomes that focus on: (1) increasing financial support, (2) deepening and establishing stewardship efforts to ensure donor retention, and (3) expanding alumni participation.
    • Develop a major gifts program and supporting infrastructure which can position SFHS for a successful capital campaign.
    • On an ongoing basis, assess the status of the prospect pipeline, and assign potential prospects to portfolios while assuring sufficient movement within the stages and progress toward goals.
    • Develop and manage a robust personal prospect portfolio and successfully execute cultivation and solicitation strategies through visits, events, correspondence, and regular calls.
    • Support the President in building and managing a sufficient prospect portfolio that generates growth in the top tier prospect pool and number of completed solicitations.
    • Serve as a member of the President’s Council (the President’s leadership team).
    • Provide staff support for the Institutional Advancement and Nominating Committees of the Board.
    • Collaborate with Board of Directors, school administrators, teachers, coaches, and staff in identifying, cultivating, soliciting and stewarding individual donors.
    • Partner with other offices and colleagues in developing advancement communications and publications, including the annual report.
    • Liaise, as necessary and appropriate, with multiple external constituencies including alumni, current and past parents, foundations, corporations, Diocese of Joliet, and members of the community at large.
    • Serve as an ambassador for the St. Francis High School at functions and events.
    • Undertake other duties as assigned by the President.


    • A strategic and collaborative leader with a successful track record of eight or more years of progressively responsible experience in fundraising, relationship management and/or building and sustaining long-term revenue generating relationships.
    • Superb interpersonal and communication skills and ability to readily engage with donors, Board members, faculty, staff, alumni and other constituents; excellent writing and public speaking skills.
    • Significant experience and proven ability to build and lead a team of dedicated advancement professionals; ability to inspire and mentor.
    • A self-starter and data-driven decision maker who leverages data to inform strategy and measure success.
    • Organizational management skills with a working knowledge of long-range planning, budgeting, and fiscal management.
    • Proven ability to create, lead and manage a comprehensive fundraising program.
    • Adept and experienced in direct cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of major donors and high net-worth individuals.
    • Knowledge of fundraising best practices and techniques with focus on annual and major gifts as well as capital campaigns; campaign experience preferred.
    • Embrace and support the mission of St. Francis High School and Catholic education.
    • Ability to efficiently manage multiple competing and frequently complex tasks.
    • Character and integrity with an ability to maintain strict confidentiality.
    • Experience maintaining donor records using Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge database (or other fundraising/relationship management software).
    • Able to work evenings, weekends, and holidays as needed; occasional travel.
    • Proficient with Microsoft Office.
    • Bachelor’s degree required; master’s degree and/or professional certification preferred.
    • All St. Francis High School employees must pass required background checks in accordance with policies of both St. Francis High School and Diocese of Joliet.


    St. Francis High School offers a competitive salary and benefits package. Salary range will be commensurate with experience and qualifications.


    St. Francis High School has retained Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt (TW&B) to assist in this search.

    Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Resumes with cover letters as well as confidential inquiries, nominations, and referrals, should be submitted via email to the two TW&B consultants supporting this search: 

    Heidi Waltner-Pepper at hpepper@twbfundraising.com 

    Grace J. Cichomska at gcichomska@twbfundraising.com

    St. Francis High School is an equal opportunity employer.

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