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Vice President, Philanthropy Operations

  • Friday, January 20, 2023 9:26 AM
    Message # 13065471

    Aspire’s mission is to support the successes of people with disabilities, strengthen families and build embracing communities. Aspire currently provides service support to an estimated 1,000 individuals and 600 households in the greater Chicagoland area and southeastern Wisconsin. 

    Inclusivity is at the forefront of Aspire’s work and as a leader in disability services, Aspire creates mutually beneficial partnerships to strengthen communities from within, invests in innovative solutions to drive person-centered results, and promotes models for inclusion beyond society’s expectations. Aspire’s innovative programs include an array of community-based housing options and services, life enrichment curriculum-based learning opportunities, job training and career engagement services, and social enterprises which provide jobs and education through Aspire CoffeeWorks and Aspire Art360. 

    Learn more at:


    Aspire’s next Vice President, Philanthropy Operations will oversee, inspire, and build strong relationships along with a team of six fundraising professionals, including three direct reports: Director of Grants and Partnerships, Philanthropy Associate Director and Director of Annual Giving. These team members supervise the Philanthropy Coordinator, Corporate Partnerships Specialist and Donor Services Specialist. This role is responsible for making sure that fundraising operations run smoothly, strategically, and are integrated with other departments.

    What You'll Do:

    -Collaborate with the Chief Philanthropy Officer to create a plan, execute, lead and manage a comprehensive effort to grow contributed revenue across the organization 

    • Set the strategy and tone for fundraising, emphasizing the implementation of innovative and creative ideas for securing private donations and building a major gifts pipeline
    • Work with team members to manage and track philanthropy activities for each fundraising area; help identify shared prospects and craft strategies and recommendations for positive outcomes
    • Work with directors to develop and track progress against fundraising goals

    -Directly supervise and coach a top-talent philanthropy team

    • Provide management, mentorship, inspiration and professional development to both direct and indirect reports 
    • Provide oversight and strategic direction for the Director of Grants and Partnerships around funding applications and compliance related to grants, creating a fundraising program, and strengthening strategic corporate partnerships
    • Provide strategic direction and engage with the Philanthropy Associate Director to create structure around mid-major and major gifts for campaigns and annual giving, as well as donor stewardship
    • Provide oversight and strategic direction for the Director of Annual Giving around a comprehensive annual giving program designed to increase unrestricted gifts, serve as a pipeline for major and planned gifts, and support the overall development of annual campaign goals of Aspire
    • Provide direction around the use of Aspire’s donor database, including overseeing the implementation of a new CRM in 2023

    -Lead and advise directors on cultivation and stewardship strategies

    -Partner closely with the marketing and events team to ensure creative and relevant content for donor communications and events that tell Aspire’s story

    -Serve as staff liaison to the Philanthropy Committee


    A Bachelor’s Degree is preferred and ideally, a minimum of 8+ years of increasing experience and responsibility in a philanthropy department, including oversight, staff management, major gift solicitations, and annual campaigns, as well as board and leadership development. A broad knowledge of the organizational structure and policies needed to integrate and align all fundraising strategies is desired. Proven team leadership, management and administrative skills.

    Who We're Looking For:

    • You have a passion for all people and Aspire’s mission, vision, and values personally resonate with you
    • You have demonstrated experience and increasing responsibility in philanthropy strategy planning and operations roles 
    • You have deep passion for fundraising systems, including CRMs, grant tracking, and moves management
    • You know how to empower team members through active communications
    • You are an effective communicator, skilled at crafting clear, concise, and compelling written and verbal messages
    • You’re a strong project manager, capable of driving multiple work streams toward deadlines, and an adept multi-tasker
    • You have experience leading a team, and you enjoy mentoring, advising, and developing others
    • You understand how to build trust with both internal and external stakeholders
    • You enjoy working in an entrepreneurial environment and are graceful and poised under pressure

    Salary & Benefits:

    Aspire offers a competitive salary and benefits. This is a full-time, exempt position eligible for health and life insurance, short- and long-term disability, and a generous paid time off policy that includes 13 holidays, 15 vacation, personal, and sick days. The schedule is hybrid, currently following a 3 days in 2 days remote model at our offices in Hillside and Waukegan. We value diversity and strongly encourage women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities, people from underrepresented/nontraditional backgrounds, and veterans to apply.

    The target base salary for this position is $100,000. You are also eligible for a performance bonus, based upon company and individual performance each fiscal year.

    This search is being conducted by Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt. Application materials should include a cover letter and resume. Materials should be submitted via email to Heidi Waltner-Pepper, Senior Vice President, Ter Molen Watkins and Brandt (TW&B) at

    Confidential inquiries and questions concerning this search may be directed to Heidi Waltner-Pepper, Senior Vice President, TW&B via email at or Amy Funk, Senior Vice President (TW&B) at

    Employment is contingent upon the successful completion of employment references, criminal background check, TB test, and fingerprinting.

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