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Executive Director of the Penn Fund


Philadelphia, PA, USA

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn’s distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

School/Center Overview

The Development and Alumni Relations organization at the University of Pennsylvania is one of the premier development organizations in the world. 

Penn’s Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) team members benefit from an exceptional work environment where professional excellence and individual pride in achievement are grounded in a strong institutional commitment to integrity and collegiality as we strive for collective success. For talented and innovative individuals, a career at the University of Pennsylvania offers the chance to be part of an exceptionally exciting environment at the nation’s first university. 

We seek talented individuals who will constitute a community that draws on the strength that comes with a substantive institutional commitment to diversity. Diversity is prized at Penn as a central component of our mission and helps create an educational and working environment that best supports the University’s commitment to excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship. 

Penn’s commitment to achieving eminence through diversity is ultimately a commitment to creating a more vibrant university so that our employees will be both stimulated and empowered to shape a better world.


Established in 1927, The Penn Fund, Penn’s undergraduate annual giving fund, serves as the primary philanthropic vehicle for Penn’s 100,000+ strong community of undergraduate alumni and students. Gifts to The Penn Fund benefit the University’s highest undergraduate priorities through unrestricted support and individual endowed scholarships.

Reporting to the Associate Vice President for Development for Undergraduate Programs, the Executive Director of The Penn Fund is primarily responsible for planning, directing, and implementing a large, successful, annual fund program to raise unrestricted and endowed scholarship support from the undergraduate alumni community. The successful candidate will be a proven fundraiser with demonstrated ability in fundraising and management, marketing, communications, and leadership of volunteer groups with complex organizations. 

The Penn Fund program has three core areas of focus, each led by a team leader (Director or Associate Director): Class Giving and Reunion Programs, Marketing and Donor Participation, and Young Alumni Programs. Additionally, administrative functions are managed by a coordinator and Leadership Annual Giving and Special Projects, including select international priorities, are led by an Associate Director both reporting into the Executive Director. When fully staffed, the team has 23 FTE with an additional four student workers. 

The Executive Director must have superb management skills in order to successfully lead the enthusiastic results-oriented staff. The Executive Director works closely with all members of the central and school based DAR team; working most closely with the central Major Gifts Program, Undergraduate Financial Aid Development, Gift Planning, International Development, School and Center Annual Giving Support, and Principal Gifts to develop gift strategies for key University prospects and to integrate annual giving activity into individualized prospect management approaches. 

The Executive Director also works very closely with the central Office of Alumni Relations on many projects, including: identifying new volunteer leadership, increasing the diversity of the volunteer base, especially among younger alumni, and ensuring the success of reunion-class fundraising efforts. Together with leadership from Alumni Relations, the Executive Director co-leads efforts for the planning and implementation of The Penn Reunion Leadership Conference (PRLC), Annual Giving based campaign events, pre-reunion events, joint efforts at Homecoming and Alumni Weekend. The successful candidate will ensure continued collaboration and partnership with the central Alumni Relations team. 

Student philanthropy, including Seniors for The Penn Fund (Penn’s senior class gift drive) fall under the direction of the Executive Director of The Penn Fund. The implementation of Penn’s student philanthropy and education program is a partnership between Alumni Relations and The Penn Fund. Close collaboration with members of the Alumni Relations team is essential to the ongoing success of the program and the successful candidate will seek ways to continue to develop the partnership between alumni relations and The Penn Fund with regard to young alumni giving and engagement.

The Executive Director is ultimately responsible for setting and managing data-driven goals for both revenue generation and alumni participation. Currently raising more than $30M in cash on an annual basis from over nearly 29,000 alumni donors and over 33,000 total donors, The Penn Fund is a driver for both unrestricted revenue and endowed scholarship support. As the primary driver for Penn’s US News and World Report participation ranking, a focus on strategies to continue to raise participation is essential.

The Executive Director must be able and willing to present in front of various groups of alumni leaders and staff in order to advance the mission of annual giving at Penn.

As a senior member of the Undergraduate Programs team within central development and alumni relations, The Executive Director of The Penn Fund will provide feedback and guidance on strategies to advance philanthropy from all undergraduate alumni. The ideal candidate will have experience working in a central office within a highly decentralize development program with a focus on major gift pipeline generation while also driving undergraduate alumni participation and revenue production. 

Specific Responsibilities:

Managing and leading a high-performing team in a goals-oriented environment; this includes recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining top talent;

Developing and implementing annual plans, as well as creating and supporting long-range strategies across development and alumni relations;

Supporting comprehensive campaign priorities and integrating The Penn Fund into campaign activities;

Overseeing the Ivy Stone Society, The Penn Fund’s loyal annual giving society and other Penn Fund specific recognition and stewardship programs;

Overseeing the creation and implementation of marketing strategies, including a coordinated series of direct mail, peer-to-peer, telemarketing, electronic and staff based fundraising tactics; 

Maintain a portfolio of top domestic and international Penn Fund donor prospects and conduct a minimum of 50 visits annually;

Support The Penn Fund’s activities and results in the United Kingdom and other international markets by engaging with key volunteers and alumni leaders in strategic international markets;

Recruit and train volunteer leadership for The Penn Fund Executive Board, set goals and standards for measuring volunteer engagement and impact Penn Fund productivity;

Develop fundraising techniques, policies, and strategies, including recognition and stewardship plans;

Provide leadership around fundraising initiatives for reunion class projects and support the activities of key volunteers within those classes;

Oversee information systems that are critical to the success of The Penn Fund program 

Work with the Treasurer’s Office and other programs to coordinate gift recording and associated activities;

Serve as a member of the campaign steering committee and event planning committee for The Power of Penn;

Work directly with development staff to coordinate interactions and collaborations with the Office of the President and Senior Penn Leadership (Provost, Executive Vice President Senior Vice President)

Participate in volunteer leadership meetings with groups outside The Penn Fund such as the Undergraduate Financial Aid Leadership Council, the Alumni Class Leadership Council, and the United Kingdom and Europe Leadership Council;

Provide high-level staff support at university functions for senior leadership including the President (alumni weekend, Penn Fund board meetings, pre-reunion events, etc);

Participate in joint meetings with DAR staff to promote the message of The Penn Fund and provide training sessions on best practices for talking about unrestricted giving to The Penn Fund;

Managing The Penn Fund budget


BA/BS; proven record 10 years of successful fundraising experience; solid administrative skills with ability to establish objectives, set performance standards, and organize and motivate a team of professionals to achieve fundraising goals; strong communication skills; demonstrated annual giving experience; must be familiar with a college or university based development and alumni relations organization, direct mail, paid student calling and other communication techniques; strong technical skills including knowledge of database programs and comfort discussing data and trends; ability to function independently, participating in and contributing to a total team effort; willingness to travel 25% of time domestically and sporadic international travel based upon programs; valid driver’s license.


Affirmative Action Statement

Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special RequirementsBackground check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.


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