New York, NY

Chief Development Officer, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF)

The Organization

Since 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) has been the vanguard in the battle for civil rights and racial justice in the United States. LDF was founded by legendary civil rights lawyer Thurgood Marshall (who went on to serve as the first African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice) and became a wholly separate organization from the NAACP in 1957. LDF brought together an intrepid team of attorneys with a bold vision for a truly just and equal democracy. They shaped the foundations of the civil rights all Americans enjoy today.

More than 80 years later, LDF lawyers continue to battle against voting laws that suppress African American votes, racially discriminatory barriers to employment and housing, ongoing segregation in our nation’s schools, and a criminal justice system that too harshly punishes people of color in federal and state courts. LDF policy advocates bring their expertise to Capitol Hill, while LDF organizers are on the ground in communities across the country supporting local efforts to transform policing and education.

LDF is renowned for its impact litigation that drives critical advances in civil rights – most notably its landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board Education, which overturned the “separate but equal” doctrine of segregation and led to the integration of the nation’s public schools.

LDF’s work focuses on the four interconnected areas of political participation, criminal justice reform, education equity, and economic justice. Over the years, LDF victories have secured equal access to the ballot and to public accommodations for African Americans, eradicated arbitrary barriers to employment opportunity, and eroded racial bias within the criminal justice system. Outside the courtroom, LDF advocates have ensured that major civil rights laws including the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Fair Housing Act were passed, reauthorized, and implemented.

LDF recently completed its 80th Anniversary Campaign, raising $80 million to support its strategic priorities. Since 2013, LDF has steadily grown in resources and staff size, and expanded the range of its donor engagement. Supported by three major foundations in 2013, the organization now receives substantial support from scores of foundations. Major individual donor support has also expanded exponentially. During the past 8 years LDF has also grown its board and staff. As of 2021, the staff has tripled in size, and LDF plans to open a third office – a southern regional office – in Atlanta later this year.

In 2020, the response by donors to the need for urgent racial justice work resulted in unprecedented support for LDF. As a result, LDF is financially positioned and empowered to make even bolder moves to meet the challenges of the moment. LDF is now engaging in organizational development and strategic planning that will culminate in a rebranding process.

Amid this compelling backdrop, LDF seeks a mission-driven leader for the critical role of Chief Development Officer (CDO). The CDO directs and leads LDF’s efforts to advance philanthropy and donor understanding of and engagement with the programs and priorities of the organization, working closely with the President and Director-Counsel, senior staff, and the Board of Directors. The CDO is responsible for conceptualizing, organizing, and implementing a comprehensive and strategic fundraising program that will sustain and fully leverage the influx of support LDF has received. Reporting to the President and Director-Counsel and serving as a key member of the senior management team, the CDO oversees a current team of approximately 24 individuals across the areas of Individual Giving, Institutional Giving, and Development Services. The CDO will be empowered to optimize the organizational design/functional alignment of the Development department in consultation with the President and Director-Counsel, on the understanding that additional staff capacity will be necessary to achieve long-term goals.

Position Overview

This position will be remote until September 2021. Beginning October 2021, any candidate selected should be prepared to report to work in the office location assigned to this position.

The ideal candidate will have the following professional skills, competencies, and personal characteristics:

  • Passion for the mission of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. and comfortable discussing topics related to race and justice. Ability to authentically engage and inspire others as a senior representative of the organization.
  • Ten or more years of proven leadership experience in planning and implementing a successful, comprehensive fundraising operation for a nonprofit organization, including major gifts, annual fund, planned giving, corporate and foundation giving, e-philanthropy, and direct mail, as well as leadership in a major fundraising campaign (planning, implementation, and successful conclusion); an established track record of increasing philanthropic revenue (with an emphasis on major giving).
  • A demonstrated commitment to issues of racial justice and equality.
  • Knowledge of and fundamental adherence to the principles, ethics, and best practices of modern fundraising, including the integration of various giving programs to diversify the funding base and cultivate greater donor commitments.
  • Deep understanding of philanthropic networks that are relevant to LDF, as well as trends in national and New York City philanthropy and their implications for LDF fundraising.
  • Experience working in or leading a diverse staff. Ability to lead, recruit, evaluate, and develop a diverse team of development professionals and contribute to the ongoing fostering of a high-functioning, results-oriented, multi-racial/multi-ethnic workforce. Track record of maintaining best practices, clear goals, and shared accountability, as well as conceptualizing and executing development office growth.
  • Demonstrated success in developing the case for support and strategic, innovative fundraising plans, and executing those plans to grow fundraising and exceed goals. Demonstrated experience cultivating, training, building relationships with, and working in collaboration with executives, senior staff, and volunteer leaders on development-related activities, providing them with quality support and intelligence and increasing their comfort with and success in fundraising.
  • Successful track record of personally identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding major gifts from individual and institutional donors at the level of six to seven-figures or greater.
  • A forward thinker with a track record of utilizing new methods of constituent engagement and connectivity, who will be driven by innovation in developing advancement best practices in the current and post-COVID-19 world.
  • The ability to extract and analyze data to make effective, efficient decisions about donor strategy and process. Working knowledge of modern data management practices and innovations that can streamline advancement processes and contribute to the integration of related functions.
  • Ability to travel on a national scale, as needed, consistent with public health guidelines.
  • Bachelor’s degree required.

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are committed to providing equal employment opportunities to you without regard to race, creed, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status, age, veteran status, medical condition or disability, genetic information, gender identity, or any other protected status under federal, state, or local law.

How To Apply

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) has retained the Diversified Search Group to assist in this confidential search process. Inquiries, nominations, and applications (current resumes and cover letters) should be directed electronically to:

Gerard F. Cattie, Jr.
Managing Director
Practice Leader – Fundraising & Advancement
Diversified Search Group
The Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Avenue, 49th Floor, New York, NY 10174 | 212.542.2587

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