Annapolis, MD

Director of Stewardship, United States Naval Academy Foundation

The Organization

The U.S. Naval Academy Foundation helps to advance the Naval Academy and the Naval Academy Alumni Association by providing private resources to achieve and maintain a broad range of mission-enhancing activities that support the nation’s premier leadership institution and its graduates. The Foundation’s responsibilities in support of the Naval Academy include:

  • Developing, promoting, and enhancing the programs and facilities of the Naval Academy and its Alumni;
  • Soliciting and providing private gifts and grants in support of the Academy’s highest priorities within the Centers of Excellence – Leadership & Character, Academic, Athletic, and Admissions;
  • Receiving, managing, distributing and investing private contributions exclusively for the benefit of the Brigade of Midshipmen, the Naval Academy and its alumni; and
  • Advancing the admission of highly qualified candidates to the Naval Academy by providing scholarship opportunities to enable aspiring young men and women to attend private preparatory schools.

Our mission is to support the achievement of a “margin of excellence” that allows the Naval Academy to compete with the most prestigious universities in the country for students, faculty and resources.

Position Overview

The Director of Stewardship is responsible for the development and execution of a comprehensive stewardship plan for all donors to the Foundation, with a focus on principal and major-gift level donors. This position will advance the Foundation’s fundraising goals by ensuring positive, consistent, and meaningful engagement which sustains mutually-rewarding relationships between the Foundation, the U.S. Naval Academy and its prospects, donors, friends, alumni, parents and institutional partners. The Director will interact with principal gift and major gift-level donors, as well as staff members at the Foundation and Alumni Association, and senior staff across the U.S. Naval Academy.

This position requires a significant understanding of fundraising, stewardship and donor relations, as well as experience developing and managing a full range of strategic cultivation and stewardship activities. This is a full-time professional position reporting to the Director of Advancement Services, and has one direct report, the Assistant Director of Research and Stewardship.


Lead All Principal and Major Gift Stewardship Activities

  • Working closely with the Campaign Director, Director of Advancement Services, Executive Vice President of the Foundation and Major Gift Officers, creates tailored stewardship plans for principal gift and major gift level donors and updates them annually.
  • Implement/coordinate stewardship programs and plans for principal gift and major gift donors. Serve as project manager for these stewardship programs/plans.
  • Develop and implement Foundation’s Board of Directors stewardship and engagement activities.
  • For principal gift and major gift donors and VIP visitors to the Naval Academy that relate to Foundation activities, arrange all elements of visits and meetings with key Yard staff and administrators to ensure meaningful engagement and/or stewardship.
  • Collaborate with senior staff members to prepare the Foundation President & CEO to implement relationship strategies that engage, advance and steward principal gift and major gift donors and prospective donors. Prepare briefing materials, draft correspondence, document activity with key donor relationships and strategize on next steps with the President & CEO.
  • Prepare stewardship reports, both narrative and financial, presentations, correspondence, PowerPoint presentation, invitation copy and event follow-up materials.
  • Collaborate on opportunities to connect principal gift and major gift donors with the recipients of funding at the Naval Academy.

Lead General Foundation Donor Recognition

  • Manage the content of the annual report of donors lists; work in collaboration with the Communications team and Director of Advancement Services on the content of this annual report.
  • Oversee and develop all stewardship-related content of the USNAF website.
  • Work closely with Foundation and Communication colleagues to provide appropriate donor recognition through publications and general donor publicity.
  • Manage plans and implementation of all major donor recognition events, as well as updating and maintaining all donor recognition signage in various buildings. Oversee the preparation of custom stewardship gifts as appropriate.
  • Develop protocols for welcoming new donors into respective gift societies and work with senior staff to develop new recognition societies as needed.
  • Devise and use consistent, accurate and appropriate information-sharing mechanisms for stewarding donors and prospects.
  • Work closely with the Director of Advancement Services and Director of Gift Processing regarding production of gift acknowledgements and other courtesy correspondence.
  • Collaborate with the Events team to ensure that all venues, programming and other aspects of Foundation events serve to strengthen donor relationships and meet strategic goals.

Support and Collaborate with Major, Principal And Planned Gift Staff to Develop Fundraising Strategies

  • Work with Advancement Services team and major gift officers to develop creative and personalized stewardship and cultivation plans for top donors and prospects. Meet regularly with these teams on the progress of the stewardship and cultivation plans.
  • Provide gift officers with detailed, personalized stewardship information for their meetings with donors and prospects.
  • Brainstorm with gift officers on creative ways to engage donors with the Naval Academy community.
  • Review Yard events to ensure that all interested donors and prospects are invited to attend various activities.

Direct Stewardship Staff and Provide Overall Team Management

  • Supervise the Assistant Director of Research and Stewardship.
  • Address donor/constituent concerns regarding stewardship issues.
  • Oversee the annual stewardship reporting to individual donors for ongoing donations, endowed funds such as scholarships and professorships and major gifts to ensure consistency and quality.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the stewardship program and Foundation events, and make recommendations for enhancements where appropriate.
  • Participate in regular prospect management meetings and present as needed to alert attendees to upcoming stewardship activities that may impact their donors.
  • Oversee the Stewardship budget; approve and manage vendor relationships with custom-design-item suppliers.
  • Maintain overall stewardship program and process in the CRM database.
  • Create and oversee maintenance of policies and procedures for all stewardship functions at the Foundation.
  • Maintain professional connections and interactions with stewardship and donor relations professionals through CASE and ADRP.


  • BA degree. Advanced degree preferred.
  • 5-7 years of experience in higher education fundraising, stewardship, and/or special events planning.
  • Previous experience interacting with donors or other high net worth individuals and event management is necessary.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills and ability to manage sensitive and confidential information.
  • Prior supervisory experience required.
  • Excellent analytical and communication skills.
  • High degree of organization and attention to detail.
  • Experience in managing staff coordination, working independently, and as part of a team.
  • Exceptional ability to prioritize and manage multiple, diverse, and on-going projects simultaneously.
  • Ability to perform high-level tasks and willingness to provide occasional administrative support to the President & CEO and Executive Vice President of the Foundation as needed.
  • Proficiency in the Microsoft Office Suite (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
  • Proficiency with fundraising database/software, preferably Blackbaud’s CRM database.
  • Excellent writing, organizational and interpersonal skills.
  • Proficiency in financial and data analysis.
  • Service- and mission-oriented.
  • A sincere and enthusiastic belief in the mission of the U.S. Naval Academy.
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