Vice President of Philanthropy

UNIVERSITY CIRCLE INC. (UCI) is the community service corporation responsible for developing, serving and advocating for University Circle as a vibrant and complete neighborhood without borders.  Residents and visitors come from around the world to enjoy the rich diversity of experiences found in this spectacular square mile.  Since its founding, UCI has facilitated over $4 billion of new development through land-banking, developed over 2,000 housing units, positioned the Circle as a vital destination with over 3 million annual visitors, brought 1.5 million students to the area, generating $1.5 million in institutional admission fees and training 3000 teachers, developed numerous beautification projects, including Wade Oval, and coordinated long-term Circle planning projects such as Healthline and Opportunity Corridor.  It is one of the most successful real estate development initiatives in the region, and is home to over 8,000 residents.

Now working with 37 member organizations including the Cleveland Museum of Art, University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University and The Cleveland Orchestra, UCI celebrates Cleveland as a four-season city with events including Parade the Circle & Circle Village, WOW! Wade Oval Wednesdays, Holiday CircleFest and The Rink at Wade Oval, which draw visitors from nearby neighborhoods and throughout the region. University Circle welcomes millions of visitors, workers, and lifelong learners. UCI’s Community Education Program was created in 1973 to bring the assets of the Circle to Cleveland school children.  From pre-K to older adults, UCI’s community and education programs ensure that students in Cleveland and throughout Northeast Ohio have access to University Circle’s cultural treasures.


The VP for Philanthropy will lead and provide strategic vision for all aspects of UCI’s fundraising activities and constituent relationships. As a member of the senior leadership team reporting to and working closely with the President, the VP for Philanthropy is responsible for leading the philanthropic team and developing and maintaining active and productive relationships with internal and external constituencies, including the Board of Trustees, all departments of the administrative staff, and friends and supporters of UCI.  The VP of Philanthropy will be responsible for designing and executing a multi-faceted, robust development strategy to meet UCI’s current and future resource challenges, integrating organization-wide resource needs and future priorities, and will be a highly visible presence in the Cleveland community.  

UCI’s current budget of $10 million is supported by an endowment of approximately $25 million, as well as services and fees, the fundraising program, real estate and parking operations.


  • Effective partner for the President, Board of Trustees, administration and key constituents to plan and execute a comprehensive, broad-based development plan building on UCI’s unique program and driven by the long and short-range resource needs of the organization.
  • Work closely with the President, Board of Trustees and administration on institutional strategic planning and other activities that have an impact on the organization as a whole.
  • Serve as a visible community spokesperson for UCI, develop relationships with member organizations in University Circle, and cultivate relationships with potential donors and new friends in the community. 
  • Set clear direction and priorities for the Philanthropy department. Recruit, lead, mentor and develop staff, and promote excellence through well-defined and measurable goals.  Foster a collaborative and communicative work environment for effective operations and a culture of excellence.
  • Develop the analytical and reporting tools to drive a strategic and metrics focused institutional development function; deliver solid financial leadership to coordinate contributed income results with budgetary goals.
  • Ensure diversity, equity and inclusion as foundational concepts in the philanthropic and organizational goals of the philanthropy department.  
  • Expand UCI’s philanthropic base beyond the traditional sources of support and increase financial commitments in major gifts, planned giving and overall institutional support. Broaden capital fundraising opportunities to include endowment and legacy gifts, and a capital campaign for the possible renovation of the organization’s historic headquarters.
  • Build a robust pipeline of major donors, using proven techniques and practices in a way that is also consistent with the organization’s unique culture. 
  • Apply new ways to solve complex situations, originating new techniques, criteria or standards to address innovative opportunities, challenges or initiatives.


  • Five-plus (5+) years of leadership experience in development/philanthropy, preferably with a not-for-profit, community or similar organization.
  • Bachelor’s degree (master’s or advanced degree a plus), with a deep understanding of the importance that civic, educational and cultural institutions and real estate can play in today’s society.
  • Outstanding development professional with a demonstrated track record as a fundraiser, leader, collaborator and strategist. Engaging and charismatic speaker for Board and outside events.
  • Ability to work in close partnership with the Board of Trustees on major philanthropic initiatives; to motivate, guide and support a volunteer Board.  Deep experience in board support, recruitment and governance.
  • Knowledge of the Cleveland philanthropic community a plus.
  • Successful cultivator, solicitor and steward of relationships with major donors, including individuals, foundations, corporations and legacy giving.
  • Demonstrated ability to inspire and mentor staff, responsibly delegate tasks, and ensure a collaborative working environment.
  • Proven ability to collaborate effectively with diverse groups outside and inside the organization.
  • Energetic, hardworking self-starter with an engaging and good-humored personality; brings optimism and flexibility to the task; self-disciplined; dedicated to excellence while keeping things fun. 
  • An excellent communicator, a listener, a strong leader, and a team player, with superior organizational and writing skills. The ability to synthesize, streamline and share information from a variety of sources to illuminate the mission of UCI to a broad audience. 
  • Proven commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, with experience in developing new initiatives and including others in a collaborative environment.
  • Success in high level fundraising, donor stewardship, public funding, capital and renovation campaigns, endowment planning and growth, and other strategic development efforts.  
  • Strong professional integrity and grounding in philanthropy with an understanding of legal and ethical implications of fundraising. 
  • Comfort and proficiency with the use of essential office software, technology and fundraising tools.  Familiarity with Raiser’s Edge (BlackBaud) is helpful.
  • Entrepreneurial spirit and experience in creatively and effectively bringing about positive change and maintaining high morale.


H C Smith Ltd is pleased to represent University Circle Inc., a unique not-for-profit development, service and advocacy organization in the Cleveland metropolitan area, in its search for a Vice President of Philanthropy.  

UNIVERSITY CIRCLE is an extraordinary neighborhood of people of all backgrounds and interests, and the home of world-renowned museums, arts and cultural organizations, top universities, nationally recognized hospitals, excellent restaurants and unique public spaces. With thousands of residents, students and job opportunities, University Circle is Cleveland’s second largest job hub and the fourth largest in Ohio. In 2021, USA Today ranked University Circle #1 as the “Best Arts District” in America. Forbes ranked University Circle as one of America’s Prettiest Neighborhoods; with high praise for its symphony orchestra, museums, botanical garden, planetarium, high-end foods, world class culture and walkability.




Click here for more information or to apply. University Circle Inc. is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace where differing perspectives are a source of strength. BIPOC individuals are encouraged to apply.  All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Showing 1 reaction

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Deanna Norcross
    published this page in Job Board 2022-05-26 16:09:14 -0400