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Director of Development, Discovery Partner Institute
Department:Principal Gifts
FT/PT Status:Regular Full Time

Job Description:




has an immediate opening for a


Director of Development, Discovery Partners Institute


The University of Illinois Foundation is the official fundraising and private gift-receiving organization of the University of Illinois.  It works closely with alumni and friends, faculty and staff, corporations and foundations, as well as campus development professionals to create fundraising programs and opportunities that benefit the University. 


PRIMARY FUNCTION:     Serves as the primary major gifts fundraiser for the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI;, a joint education, research and innovation institute led by the University of Illinois System.  DPI’s mission is to train people for high-demand tech jobs, conduct applied research and development, and build businesses to grow Chicago’s technology ecosystem.  DPI is a member of the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN), which drives innovation along with economic and workforce development across Illinois.





  1. Develop major gift fundraising strategies to support the talent, research, and business-building programs at DPI in alignment with the DPI business plan.
  2. Identify, qualify, cultivate, and solicit a portfolio of prospective donors for major gifts for DPI with a focus on six-figure gifts and above.
  3. Work collaboratively with members of the DPI leadership team, program directors, and external relations staff to coordinate relationship management strategies that advance philanthropic support of DPI.
  4. Work in close collaboration with college and unit advancement staff at the Universities of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, and Springfield to strategically manage multiple plans for individual prospects and to support fundraising priorities for those universities in support of DPI.
  5. Manage a portfolio of approximately 50 major gift and qualifications plans and, after the first full year on the job, successfully close a minimum of 12 major and principal gifts per year.
  6. Provide supervision for an associate director of development whose primary responsibilities will be in the cultivation of relationships with corporations, foundations, and other organizations for philanthropic support of DPI.
  7. In collaboration with stewardship colleagues at each of the three System universities, and with the assistance of the Associate Director of Development, Corporate and Foundation Relations for DPI, develop and manage stewardship plans for major donors to DPI.




  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience 
  • Minimum of five years successful major gift fundraising or related career experience
  • Results-oriented self-starter who thrives in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment 
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and written and verbal communication skills
  • Commitment to working collaboratively
  • Comfortable acting when there is a degree of ambiguity
  • Willingness to travel as needed




  • Experience in research universities or other large, complex organizations
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the Chicago business, civic, and philanthropic community



Application Deadline: October 31, 2021


Application Process: For full consideration for the role, all candidates must complete an online application and include a resume and cover letter.  Candidates may create a profile through  For further information regarding application procedures, contact Foundation Human Resources at