Brookline, MA

Vice President, Transformational Gifts & Strategic Initiatives, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

The Organization

Located in Boston and the surrounding communities, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute brings together world renowned clinicians, innovative researchers and dedicated professionals, allies in the common mission of conquering cancer, HIV/AIDS and related diseases. Combining extremely talented people with the best technologies in a genuinely positive environment, we provide compassionate and comprehensive care to patients of all ages; we conduct research that advances treatment; we educate tomorrow’s physician/researchers; we reach out to underserved members of our community; and we work with amazing partners, including other Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospitals.

Position Overview

Vice President, Transformational Gifts & Strategic Initiatives
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Brookline, MA

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is seeking a Vice President (VP) of Transformational Gifts and Strategic Initiatives to join the Division of Philanthropy. The VP of Transformational Gifts and Strategic Initiatives will be responsible for creating, articulating, and securing support for a broad range of Institute priorities and initiatives. Working with the Senior Vice President & Chief Philanthropy Officer (SVP & CPO) and other members of the Institute’s leadership team and colleagues in the Division of Philanthropy, the VP of Transformational Gifts and Strategic Initiatives will be expected to secure philanthropic support for Dana-Farber’s lifesaving research and care in partnership with the highest-level donors and potential donors across disease centers and programs.

The Vice President of Transformational Gifts and Strategic Initiatives will have responsibility for the identification, cultivation, engagement, solicitation, and stewardship of prospective donors, with the capacity to make transformational gifts above $25M. Reporting to the Senior Vice President & Chief Philanthropy Officer for Philanthropy, the VP will be responsible for developing an annual operating plan, setting annual and long-term goals and objectives, and monitoring and reporting progress as part of Division wide planning and accountability activities. Moreover, this position will be responsible for creating appropriate engagement plans of potential supporters and therefore must have expertise in helping leadership and faculty shape and articulate their vision for their respective initiatives and programs. This position requires knowledge of trends in basic and clinical research, clinical trials, community benefit, and national healthcare.

Responsible for assisting the entire Division with reaching annual philanthropy goals and campaign goals. Dana-Farber is currently in the quiet phase of its campaign ‒ the largest and most ambitious fundraising effort in the Institute’s history; one that will serve as a catalyst, enabling the Institute to change the landscape of cancer medicine and, ultimately, eradicate the disease.


Pipeline Development

  • Collaborate with and leverage Institute and Division resources to build a robust pipeline of current and new prospects as the foundation of the Transformational Gift efforts for comprehensive campaign and post-campaign fundraising;
  • Partner with Institute faculty and leadership to identify, build, and frame enterprise-level, cross-disciplinary philanthropic campaign initiatives for successful gift solicitation;
  • Collaborate with and provide back-up to the SVP & CPO for Philanthropy and to the President & CEO of Dana-Farber for Trustee and Transformational Gift prospects;
  • Engage Trustees and faculty as needed to create thoughtful plans for engagement.

Portfolio Management

  • Manage and oversee the implementation, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship activities for up to 100+ prospects toward successful close of $30M – $50M annually in new gifts and pledges;
  • Meet regularly and collaborate with other Division VPs and respective teams;
  • Set annual metrics (dollars, donor visits, etc.) approved by the SVP & CPO of Philanthropy.

Strategy & Analytics

  • Develop creative strategies to raise significant funds for Institute priorities and innovative fundraising efforts including the Presidential and Strategic Plan initiatives, disease centers, capital projects, unrestricted, and endowment funds;
  • Evaluate and recommend new strategies to establish best practices for Transformational fundraising;
  • Analyze and report on progress and outcomes of special projects quarterly;
  • Complete other projects as assigned by SVP & CPO of Philanthropy to drive fundraising initiatives and strategies forward at the Transformational Gift level;
  • Develop transformational strategies for medical research, health sciences, or major universities;
  • Will work closely with the VPs, AVPs, and colleagues in the Division of Philanthropy, senior leadership, medical practitioners, and clinical researchers particularly in formulating strategy and gift conversations related to sophisticated scientific, medical, and research priorities that will form the basis of the campaign’s initial priorities.

Leadership Development:

  • The VP will work closely with leadership of the Institute, be a member of the Division of Philanthropy’s Senior Management Group, and advise strategic direction of Transformation Gift efforts for the Division at-large;
  • Ability to build trust-based, respectful, collegial, and effective relationships with faculty, administrators, volunteers, and colleagues as part of a team in a large, complex, academic medical institution;
  • Support the Division of Philanthropy in being known as an employer of choice and team that people want to join;
  • VP will work closely with the leadership of the Institute and members of the Philanthropy leadership team to identify, quantify, and understand the short and long-term philanthropic priorities and to develop strategies necessary to guide clinicians, researchers, and staff to enhance philanthropic support for campus-wide initiatives including a multi-billion-dollar comprehensive campaign;
  • The VP will set best practices reflective of Dana-Farber’s extraordinary philanthropy program, employing and modeling key processes and programs that support an office-wide focus on collaboration, efficiencies, and metrics-based performance outcomes, in addition to primary role responsibilities.

Reports to Senior Vice President of Philanthropy and has no direct supervisory responsibilities. You will serve as a mentor, resource, role model, and coach to Philanthropy staff on matters of prospect strategy and solicitation; regularly share new approaches and techniques.


  • Bachelor’s degree required with a minimum of 15 years of principal gifts fundraising experience.
  • Preferred background in high performing and complex organizations, academic medical centers, and free-standing research institutes.
  • Experience with comprehensive campaigns and staffing executive leadership is required to be considered for this role.


  • Successful track record of closing eight-figure and nine-figure gifts. Demonstrated experience with expanding donor participation in giving efforts and expertise working with highest-level giving constituents.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, strong organizational and leadership capabilities, and ability to prioritize and manage multiple tasks successfully are necessary skills.
  • Public speaking experience and effectiveness necessary, in-person and via remote platforms (i.e. Zoom), along with the ability to communicate and work with colleagues and Institute partners with respect and diplomacy. Must exercise significant judgment, discretion and confidentiality in working with patients, prospective donors, volunteers, and Institute faculty and staff. Mastery of virtual video platforms (Zoom) and Microsoft Office, including Excel, PowerPoint, and Teams, is necessary.
  • Embody Dana-Farber’s Core Values: Impact; Excellence; Compassion and Respect; and Discovery every day. Add value to the Dana-Farber community by seeking opportunities to collaborate across the Institute.  Foster an ethical, positive, results-oriented culture founded on open communication.
  • This position will evaluate current programs and create and execute approved plans to expand and diversify the donors and participants for the events assigned in order to broaden our donor base and create even more inclusive events. Experience with diverse donors is a plus.
  • Must understand the national biomedical research and clinical healthcare market and natural curiosity and ability to quickly absorb, comprehend and articulate complex concepts.


Hybrid of onsite and remote office setting conditions may apply. Travel and evening and weekend work may be required.

Division of Philanthropy Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity Commitment Statement:

We’re stronger together.

In the Division of Philanthropy, we believe in the power of different voices. We encourage authenticity and diversity of every individual within our community. Our collective voices – donors, volunteers, staff, and patients alike – allow us to work together towards a world without cancer. Committed to being a place of inclusivity, belonging, and change, these are our core values.

The above information on this description has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by employees within this classification.  It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required of employees assigned to this job.  Requirements are subject to possible modification to reasonably accommodate qualified individuals with disabilities.  This document does not create an employment contract, implied or otherwise, other than an “at will” employment relationship.

External and internal applicants, as well as position incumbents who become disabled as defined under the Americans With Disabilities Act, must be able to perform the essential job functions (as listed) either unaided or with the assistance of a reasonable accommodation to be determined by management on a case-by-case basis.

DFCI offers a competitive benefits package including generous healthcare and retirement plans, at minimum 3-weeks’ vacation time in addition to 9 paid holidays, a flexible work environment, and work/life balance. We also provide an array of professional development opportunities.*

*All benefits subject to Institute changes

We’re hiring! Learn more about working in the Division of Philanthropy and view all open positions.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is an equal opportunity employer and affirms the right of every qualified applicant to receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, national origin, sexual orientation, genetic information, disability, age, ancestry, military service, protected veteran status, or other groups as protected by law.

How To Apply

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