Chief Development Officer for the Center for Mind and Culture

Center for Mind and Culture LogoMersky, Jaffe & Associates, a national executive search and consulting firm, has been engaged to conduct a search for a Chief Development Officer for the Center for Mind and Culture, Boston, MA.


The Center for Mind and Culture (CMAC) is a non-profit research center aiming to generate creative solutions to urgent and complex social problems. Its approach to research is distinguished by several important characteristics.  CMAC

  • conceives social problems as aspects of a nexus of minds and cultures in a vast bio-cultural complex adaptive system; this complex-systems approach is critical for coming to grips with the types of challenges we now face.
  • is committed to a radically interdisciplinary approach, embracing natural sciences, computational sciences, social sciences, human sciences, medical sciences, engineering, and humanities expertise, drawing together relevant skills as needed for tackling each problem.
  • uses leading-edge technologies such as computational modeling and simulation, network analysis, big-data analytics, machine learning, content analysis, virtual-reality visualization, and neuroimaging, in addition to traditional scholarly research tools.
  • is non-partisan, focusing its research efforts on generating insights that can help people of any political or religious persuasion make better decisions and increase the effectiveness of compassionate and imaginative change agents.
  • mobilizes an international network of experts to develop and disseminate visionary insights to public and professional stakeholders, problem by problem – effectively reconfiguring university research talent to leverage social change.
  • provides an institutional locus for training researchers and for integrating researchers and volunteer experts into effective collaborative teams.
  • disseminates knowledge about the mind-culture nexus and the problems it examines so as to exercise a positive influence on both academic scholarship and the general public.

CMAC is committed to the vision of a world in which research-based information confers on all the opportunities to solve the complicated, overwhelming, and seemingly intractable social problems that we now confront. CMAC believes human beings are building the tools needed to unravel the tangle of forces that is the mind-culture nexus. We leverage these tools as well as humanistic wisdom to confront the challenges of these times.

Position Description

CMAC is seeking a Chief Development Officer (CDO) to generate support for a dynamic organization with a small local staff, a rich array of specialized volunteers, and an extensive global network of researchers and affiliates. The CDO will articulate CMAC’s mission and generate financial support for it, while preserving CMAC’s values and contributing to an enjoyable and fulfilling work environment. Successful candidates will have experience directing nonprofit development work, deep familiarity with the private research sector, a passion for research along with the ability to understand and communicate its value, and the capacity to leverage both corporate and individual sources of support.

The Chief Development Officer (CDO) will have primary responsibility for developing and implementing strategies to increase fundraising substantially and ensuring overall goals are set and achieved.  The CDO will provide leadership, expertise, strategic direction and day-to-day management in building an effective and organized fundraising program. Reporting directly to the CMAC Executive Director, the CDO will be a key member of CMAC’s Senior Management Team and will lead the development effort, execute change and reorganize all the resource development activities to increase revenue.  This CDO will direct a global effort that includes donor and funder prospecting and research, solicitation, stewardship, and foundation grant-seeking and support.

In consultation with the Executive Director and the Board, the CDO will design and implement a three-year strategic plan to increase fund development.

The Chief Development Officer will:

  • provide leadership and management direction for the financial resource development function and supervise all development activities and operations.
  • develop and execute an overall fundraising campaign strategy designed to increase philanthropic revenue, the donor and funder base and setting, monitoring and evaluating goals, benchmarks and performance.
  • engage in and direct personal solicitation of major gifts and grants prospects
  • direct a focused effort to conduct donor research and to identify, cultivate and steward potential new major donors.
  • provide support for other staff, Board members and CMAC leadership in fundraising, including donor cultivation and solicitation.
  • create the organizational case for support.
  • develop a tactical fundraising plan.
  • supervise the preparation of proposals for individuals, foundations and corporations.
  • prepare and monitor budgets for all development activities subject to the approval of the Executive Director and Board.
  • provide periodic reports to the Executive Director and the Board.
  • administer stewardship activities by supervising the maintenance of the database of contributors and gifts, track current and potential donors, and acknowledge, record and report all gifts with appreciation to donors.

The successful candidate will:

  • possess a successful track record in fundraising, especially in the areas of creation and execution of an overall fundraising strategy, individual major gifts and foundation support especially related to communicating the value of research.
  • have experience and knowledge of donor prospecting, donor research, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship.

The Chief Development Officer will also be:

  • an experienced professional in major gift solicitation and working with high level volunteers and philanthropists.
  • a strong manager and a self-starter who listens and is able to build a motivated team.
  • a hands-on manager with superior verbal and written communication skills.
  • passionate about research with a strong desire to cultivate conditions for its success and communicate its value to potential funders.
  • able to work independently and as part of a team to manage an unpredictable and time-sensitive caseload of complex assignments while providing quality service and meeting deadlines.
  • innovative and strategic in thinking about CMAC’s vision and CMAC’s network of partner organizations.
  • a strong problem-solver including the ability to see the big picture and grasp complex interconnections.
  • possessed of robust interpersonal and organizations skills with a demonstrated ability to build consensus and lead teams to achieve desired outcomes.
  • able to make philanthropic connections throughout Boston and beyond, especially within science and technology fields.
  • experienced in analyzing complex situations to translate technical concepts into well-written fundable proposals.
  • a graduate degree holder in STEM or business or possess equivalent experience in research and development.
  • able to demonstrate five years of experience in development related to nonprofits or research activities.


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If you, or someone you know, might be a suitable candidate for this unique position, please forward, in confidence, the person’s name, cover letter, resume, salary requirements and contact information to Rachel Woda.