New York, NY

Director of Development, Vera Institute of Justice

The Organization
The Vera Institute of Justice seeks a driven, experienced, and entrepreneurial Director of Development. Working with the President, trustees, and senior leadership, the successful candidate will strengthen current fundraising strategies and develop new ones, primarily amongst individual donors and other sources of unrestricted funding. This is an excellent opportunity for a development professional with a passion for justice and for a builder who can professionalize the development operations in a distinguished and evolving organization. With public interest in criminal justice and potential for reform at a high-water mark, and with the Institute under energetic new leadership, this is an exciting professional opportunity and the right candidate can have a significant impact on the justice system.

The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization committed to justice, fairness, and human dignity. Through the testing of new ideas, research, policy guidance, and promoting debate, Vera helps justice system leaders increase the quantity and quality of justice they deliver. Vera has offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. Vera has four interdisciplinary substantive centers (Immigration and Justice; Sentencing and Corrections; Youth Justice; and Victimization and Safety) and one smaller program (Substance Use and Mental Health). Work within these centers and programs is expansive and includes efforts to help cities and states reduce jail and prison populations; coordination of legal orientation programs for people in deportation proceedings; development and implementation of assessment tools to reduce juvenile detention and screen for mental health treatment needs; improvement of victim services for people with disabilities; and helping police departments to improve relations with communities.

Vera places a premium on raising public awareness about the opportunities for justice reform, and has a robust communications department as well as its Washington, DC office that publicizes its research and program work to stakeholders and the media. It is regularly cited in major media outlets such as the New York Times and NPR, as well as on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures. Vera is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace.

Vera is currently governed by a 24-person board of trustees, including the President. Trustees are drawn from law, finance, business, the social sciences, medicine, the federal judiciary, and academia (

Position Overview
Vera’s annual budget is primarily supported by grants and contracts with local, state, and federal governments and foundations, with an operating budget of $50 million (including substantial sub-contracts). Vera’s substantive centers and programs perform the majority of their own fundraising from government entities and foundations; staff members from across the institute cultivate relationships with a wide range of foundations and government agencies, write proposals, and manage their own grants.

Vera’s development function, established in the mid-2000s, focuses exclusively on corporate and individual contributions and has historically raised approximately $750,000 annually in unrestricted funding. The two vehicles for individual and corporate fundraising are an annual end-of-year appeal and a gala benefit. This year’s gala was held on May 19th at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers. The honorees were Diana Taylor, Vice Chair of Solera Capital, LLC and Deval Patrick, Former Governor of Massachusetts. The development director position is currently open and activity is run out of the Office of the President with the part-time support of a Special Assistant and full-time support of a Development Coordinator. It is essential to the Institute’s strategic direction to substantially increase the level of unrestricted contribution in the coming years and to build a high-functioning development operation.

The Director of Development will report to the President, and work closely with the Director of Communications and the board of trustees. In particular, (s)he will staff the board’s Development & Communications Committee, establish annual fundraising goals, and develop the strategies to achieve and execute them with the help of the Development Coordinator and outside consultants as appropriate. Further growth in development staff is anticipated as general support revenue increases. Core responsibilities for this position include:

  • Set strategies for and develop and oversee all fundraising concepts, plans, and operations for contributed income from major gifts, direct marketing, planned giving, and corporate sponsorship.
  • Design and implement fundraising initiatives to set and secure revenue goals.Increase the portfolio of individual gifts and maintain active and productive relationships with major donors and the board to deepen their engagement and grow financial support.
  • Staff the board of trustees in all fundraising efforts and work closely with board committees and the President to set goals and direction for broadening the support base.
  • Oversee Vera’s gala event and plan all development-related events.
  • Create a case for support and other fundraising materials.
  • Manage Vera’s fundraising database and donor tracking systems and oversee staff responsible for data entry and gift processing.
  • Foster a culture of philanthropy within the organization by ensuring that the organization’s culture, systems, and procedures support fundraising.
  • Analyze current grant management systems, and lead efforts to support fundraising activity across the Institute.


  • Vera seeks a candidate with the following qualities and skills:
  • A passion for, and working knowledge of, social justice and change;
  • Demonstrated experience in fundraising leadership positions, with networks and a proven track record of securing significant major individual gifts or corporate grants and sponsorships;
  • Demonstrated ability to set strategy and execute plans;
  • Experience working productively with boards and/or other high-level volunteers;
  • Strong financial skills;
  • Excellent writing, editing, and communications skills;
  • Knowledge of and experience working with fundraising databases;Strong interpersonal and supervisory skills, collaborative instincts, sense of humor, and charm; and
  • Comfort working in a fast-paced and dynamic environment.

Commensurate with experience.
Excellent benefits.

How To Apply
Submit cover letter and resume. The deadline for applications is June 30, 2015. Online submission in PDF format is preferred. However, if necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to:
Vera Institute of Justice
ATTN: Human Resources / Director of Development Recruitment
233 Broadway, 12th floor
New York, NY 10279
Fax: (212) 941-9407

Please use only one method of submission (online, mail or fax). No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.

Vera is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, or current employment status. Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission. For more information about Vera, visit our website at

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