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Vice President for Advancement

Vice President for Advancement

Vice President for Advancement

Spertus Institute is an innovative and creative institution of higher Jewish education.

As Spertus approaches its centenial, it is positioned to be a leading center of high-impact, applied Jewish learning: learning that applies Jewish texts, thought, and experiences to solve the most pressing challenges of today and tomorrow. Building on our success to date, we aim to further grow our programmatic and geographic footprint across the globe.

As Spertus Institute looks to the next century of this important work, it seeks an experienced fundraiser to serve as Vice President for Advancement.

Position Overview

The holder of the newly created position of Vice President for Advancement will serve as a key leadership team member and strategic partner to the President /CEO, Dean/CAO, Board of Trustees, and Spertus staff on all aspects of philanthropic resource development. The VP for Advancement will also be directly responsible for Spertus Institute’s major gift portfolio.

As a professional with significant fundraising experience and a strategic leader with a track record of innovation, the Vice President for Advancement will lead the growth of the Institute’s fundraising across all philanthropic revenue streams. Specifically, over the next three years, as Spertus Institute implements a new Strategic Plan, grows its programmatic and geographic footprint, and approaches its Centennial, the Institute seeks to expand both its annual fund and endowment. A member of the senior staff cabinet, the Vice President for Advancement will engage a broad spectrum of donors and supporters, building enduring relationships. The Vice President for Advancement will oversee a team that is currently comprised of two full-time staff members.


Strategic Leadership and Advancing the Strategic Plan

  • Serve as a thought partner and strategist with President and Academic Dean in shaping the Institute’s growth.
  • Identify and help to develop new initiatives to meet the goals of the Strategic Plan.

Advancement-Driven External Relations

  • Represent Spertus in meetings with individual donors, and corporate, foundation, and community partners.
  • Maintain and grow existing relationships and forge new ones to increase brand awareness and funding.
  • Manage Major Gift Portfolio: Identify major gift prospects, develop and execute solicitation strategy, and secure gifts to meet goals.

Leadership on Fundraising Direction and Strategy

  • Lead the development team to create and successfully execute the organization’s annual fundraising plan and special campaigns or initiatives.
  • Grow the current annual campaign from approximately $1.5 million (including grants) to at least $2.5 million over the next three years.
  • Inspire an organizational culture of philanthropy to foster new areas of revenue, including alumni giving.
  • Set long-term fundraising goals to meet current and future financial needs in alignment with Spertus Institute’s strategic plan.
  • Work closely with the Marketing and Communications team on the development of strategic fundraising communications and the integration of fundraising messaging into the organizational brand.
  • Create and monitor metrics for success across all fundraising campaigns.
  • Oversee all fundraising activities.

Relationship Cultivation and Stewardship

  • Ensure the growth and management of current and prospective donors, building strong and enduring relationships with major gift donors (at Spertus, major gifts are considered $25,000 and above) as well as Trustees and corporate partners.
  • Coordinate with team members across the Institute to ensure effective engagement and stewardship with donors and stakeholders, deepen relationships with existing donors, including alumni, and ensure a rewarding donor experience to increase retention and giving.

Board Relations

  • Work closely with the Board of Trustees on Board development and fundraising initiatives, including the annual Trustee Campaign, Legacy & Endowment Committee, and corporate sponsorship through Trustees’ business affiliations.
  • Assist the President and CEO with identification and qualification of potential new board members.
  • Educate and support Trustees in their ambassador and fundraising roles.

Second Century Campaign

  • Lead the organization’s fundraising efforts for the Second Century Campaign, a campaign to build Spertus’ endowment, set to launch in a quiet phase in 2021 with a goal of raising $10-15 million in conjunction with the 2024 Centennial.

Fundraising Systems
Oversee the work of the Director of Development and Development Coordinator to:

  • Build and ensure the efficient use of best practice fundraising systems and processes and oversee accurate and timely reporting.
  • Ensure effective use of the development database system, Raiser’s Edge.  

Experience and Qualifications Necessary for this Role

  • Possess at least a Bachelor’s degree.
  • Show evidence of strategic thinking and successful implementation of strategic initiatives.
  • Have knowledge of the structure of contemporary Jewish communities, institutions, and key issues.
  • Be an outstanding advancement professional with a minimum of seven years of relevant nonprofit fundraising experience and deep knowledge of best-practice fund development.
  • Have demonstrated success cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding relationships with major gift donors, raising major gifts in the range of $100,000 and above.
  • Possess exemplary people management skills and with proven success in leading, managing and supporting a team of development professionals in the achievement of fundraising goals.
  • Demonstrate experience in leading, organizing, managing and evaluating events, campaigns and special projects.
  • Have highly developed interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Be an effective and engaging presenter of information to trustees, staff, and other stakeholders.
  • Be informed by data, with experience leveraging data to understand opportunities, create and execute strategy, and drive decision making.

This position may be based outside Chicago, but will require remote supervision of the Development staff, participation in regular Spertus senior leadership and staff meetings, monthly travel to Spertus Institute's Chicago campus to meet with colleagues and donors, and travel to other geographic locations as part of donor identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.


You will be successful in this role if you are a dynamic, results oriented leader and a creative, innovative thinker who is:

Relationship-driven: Loves having the opportunity to engage a wide range of donors and community members; is effective in training Trustees to be fundraisers and inculcating in them a culture of philanthropy.

An active listener: Asks powerful questions and elicits stories for and from potential donors.

Inspiring: Is a leader who can bring people along with you and can articulate a clear vision, whether to external partners or internal stakeholders.

Collaborative: Can work closely with all parts of the organization, regardless of department or role, and understands that the best results come from teamwork.

Ethical: Has a high level of integrity, transparency, and is focused on creating a culture that fosters high ethical standards.

Action Oriented: Knows how to get things done and is driven by results; sets challenging goals and develops plans to achieve them.  


  • Salary Range: $150,000-$180,000
  • Attractive Benefit Package includes vacation and paid sick leave, medical and dental insurance, retirement savings, employee assistance program, early Friday closures, and Jewish and secular holidays.

Start Date

  • Flexible, as early as June 1, 2021.


Submit a cover letter and resume to with the words VP for Advancement in the subject line.

Applications will be reviewed as they are received.


Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership is a nondenominational institution of higher Jewish education, proudly based in Chicago and increasingly serving students around the world. Its offerings include graduate degree programs in Jewish Studies, Jewish Education, and Jewish Professional Studies, as well as a range of sophisticated professional and public programming.

Founded in 1924 as Chicago’s College of Jewish Studies, Spertus Institute today offers dynamic learning opportunities, rooted in Jewish wisdom and culture and open to all. These opportunities enable personal growth, train future leaders, and engage individuals in exploration of Jewish life. Spertus Institute is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It is guided by core principles that inform its operations and programming. Mission and Core Principles

For Spertus, this is a time of exciting opportunity and growth. Tied to a new Strategic Plan, we are building our standing as a leading center for thoughtful and relevant applied Jewish learning, with programs that address current and emerging needs. About to enter our second century as an academic institute with renewed vigor and vision, we are expanding the Spertus team to achieve ambitious academic and global expansion goals.

What is it like to work at Spertus? Here is what our staff has to say.

In our most recent employee survey, 9 out of 10 employees agreed that:

  • Their work contributes to the organization’s mission, strategy, and goals.
  • They have what they need to be successful in their roles.
  • They are comfortable asking for help from others on their team.
  • They have confidence in the leadership of the organization.
  • Spertus demonstrates care and concern for its employees.

If this is what you would like to be saying about your workplace, Spertus just might be the place for you.

Spertus Institute provides equal opportunity in all employment practices to all qualified employees and applicants without regard to race, ancestry, color, religion, gender, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, medical conditions, pregnancy, marital status, military status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, or any other category protected by federal, state, and local laws. This policy applies to all aspects of the employment relationship, including recruitment, hiring, compensation, promotion, transfer, disciplinary action, layoff, return from layoff, training, and social and recreational programs. All such employment decisions will be made without unlawfully discriminating on any prohibited basis.

Photo above courtesy DMK Adrien Barakat.