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Director of Development, Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service


Director of Development, Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service

  • R0041763
  • Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
  • Advancement
  • The University of Virginia
The University of Virginia seeks to hire an experienced fundraising professional to fill the role of Director of Development for the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, the Commonwealth’s flagship public service organization since 1931. Well-known throughout Virginia, the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service strengthens and preserves effective governance by linking the research and resources of the University of Virginia to contemporary challenges for public leaders, especially those found in local, state, and national policy. The Cooper Center builds capacity in organizations and individual leaders in both the public and private sectors while informing policy and programs through the expertise of more than forty faculty and staff working in Economic and Policy Studies , Survey Research , Demographics, the Senior Executive Institute, the LEAD Program, the Constitutional Officer Education Program, and the Virginia Institute of Government .

Within the Cooper Center is the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership . Founded in 1993 to bring together diverse individuals who want to understand public policy and effective leadership, its non-partisan mission is to strengthen and enhance the quality and understanding of government at all levels throughout Virginia. Through a variety of programs-for high school and college leaders to early-career professionals to influential business and community leaders-the Sorensen Institute has established itself as a powerful and effective force for rebuilding public confidence in our political system. The Sorensen Institute’s flagship program, the Political Leaders Program (PLP), is designed mid-career adults already engaged in the political, civic, business, nonprofit or governing life of the Commonwealth or its regions. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recognized the Sorensen Institute's High School Leaders Programs as among the very best in the nation and a national model when it comes to giving young people the skills and motivation to become politically engaged in their communities. Among Sorensen’s thousands of alumni are people serving in critical leadership positions in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Many graduates of Sorensen’s programs go on to serve in elective office or other key government positions all over the Commonwealth.

The Weldon Cooper Center is also an inaugural partner of the Karsh Institute for Democracy , a pan-university institute that was established to take full advantage of UVA’s position as one of the nation’s top public universities and its unique historical link to the nation’s founding to serve as a nonpartisan catalyst for action. It seeks to foster participation and civil debate on issues of national importance, support and amplify the study and discussion of the underpinnings of democracy and engage in public outreach for practical impact and action with students, citizens, policymakers and other leaders. Additional partners include UVA’s Center for Politics, the Democracy Initiative in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, the Karsh Center for Law and Democracy, the Miller Center of Public Affairs.

The Opportunity

The Director of Development, Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, will design and execute an advancement strategy that will generate philanthropic support for the Center’s highest priorities, and by promoting its individual units. The incumbent will be joining the organization at a pivotal time with the opportunity to advance the mission and strategic direction of the Center and communicate that mission to those dedicated to good policy, effective governance, and strengthening communities. The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership is unique in having an external advisory board and an established base of alumni and donors. It operates under the imperative to raise sufficient funds to operate its various programs for political leaders, from high school leaders to early- to mid-career professionals. Initial work will require attention to maintaining and advancing Sorensen’s performance in fundraising.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
  • Build and manage a portfolio of current and prospective major-gift level donors ($100K+) and move them towards giving levels that achieve annual and long-range fundraising goals of the Center.
  • Create personalized strategies to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward individuals within their portfolio for the Center’s top initiatives.
  • Work with the Center’s and University leadership, faculty, staff, and volunteers to engage prospects and implement solicitation plans for the Center
  • Staff, advise and brief the Center’s Executive Director and University’s Associate Vice President for Development as necessary on development visits and major solicitations
  • Oversee the strategy and execution of development-focused events and meetings that further the fundraising goals for the Center
  • Collaborate with other frontline-fundraisers and program directors across Grounds, especially within the newly formed Karsh Institute for Democracy
  • Develop or build upon a working knowledge of Virginia politics, government, and business and civic leadership

Professional Experience

The ideal candidate will have at least eight years of demonstrated success in fundraising, sales or managing relationships with high-net-worth individuals including identifying and cultivating new relationships, moving relationships forward, and managing and tracking relationship activity. Preference will be given to candidates who have previous experience in political and/or higher education fundraising and staffing senior leaders and volunteers. They will collaborate with other fundraisers across the University in overall relationship building of alumni, parents and friends to ensure a coordinated approach for prospects and donors and to develop and implement cultivation and solicitation plans. They will possess a high degree of initiative, flexibility and will have the skills to shape and be shaped by an evolving fundraising initiative.

The Director of Development will also be responsible for implementing a campaign plan for the Cooper Center. The successful candidate will possess exceptional communication skills, a high degree of personal integrity and the ability to keep the big picture in focus while attending to the small details. Experience using data to evaluate and plan is essential. This position requires a valid driver’s license and the ability to frequently travel domestically with some evening and weekend work.


A Bachelor’s Degree is required, Master’s Degree is preferred.

Committed to attracting and retaining a diverse staff, University Advancement honors your experiences, perspectives and unique identity. Together, we strive to create and maintain working environments that are inclusive, equitable and welcoming so we can best achieve our mission of supporting our broadly diverse partners, schools, and networks of engaged alumni, parents, and friends of the University.

UVA Advancement offers a flexible and hybrid workplace . All team members must have access to and maintain a secure home office environment with high-speed internet service and work collaboratively with others using a variety of technologies and tools. Depending on the type of position and work performed, or as deemed by manager, some positions may be required to work intermittently in a shared office space located in Charlottesville, Virginia.

This position will remain open until filled. This is an Exempt level, benefited position. This position is a restricted position and is dependent upon project need, availability of funding and performance.

To Apply:

Please apply through Workday , and search for R0041763. Internal applicants must apply through their UVA Workday profile by searching 'Find Jobs'. Complete an application online with the following documents:
  • CV
  • Cover letter

Upload all materials into the resume submission field, multiple documents can be submitted into this one field. Alternatively, merge all documents into one PDF for submission. Applications that do not contain all required documents will not receive full consideration.

For questions about the application process, please contact Ashley Cochran, Senior Recruiter at alc6dk@virginia.edu .

For more information about UVA and the Charlottesville community please see http://www.virginia.edu/life/charlottesville and https://embarkcva.com/ .

For more information on the benefits at UVA, visit hr.virginia.edu/benefits .

COVID Vaccination Requirement and Guidelines

Please visitthe UVA COVID-19 Job Requirements and Guidelines webpageprior to applying for current information regarding vaccination requirementsandguidelines for employment at UVA.

The University of Virginia, i ncluding the UVA Health System which represents the UVA Medical Center, Schools of Medicine and Nursing, UVA Physician’s Group and the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, are fundamentally committed to the diversity of our faculty and staff. We believe diversity is excellence expressing itself through every person's perspectives and lived experiences. We are equal opportunity and affirmative action employers. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status, and family medical or genetic information.


Each agency within the Commonwealth of Virginia is dedicated to recruiting, supporting, and maintaining a competent and diverse work force. Equal Opportunity Employer

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