Chief Development Officer (MJF)

Background and Mission

The Milwaukee Jewish Federation, founded in 1902, is a fundraising organization that cares for the needs of the Jewish people and builds a vibrant Jewish future in Milwaukee, in Israel and around the world. Last year MJF distributed over $21 million from the Annual Campaign and the Jewish Community Foundation. The 2019 Annual Campaign raised $6.45 million, the fifth consecutive increase in annual achievement, and the growing Jewish Community Foundation currently holds $190 million in assets. Last year the Foundation contributed $13 million to 1,105 charities through 4,539 grants.

MJF is focused on building planned giving and endowments to secure Annual Campaign gifts as well as grow the long-term financial stability of the Jewish community. Last year endowed gifts comprised 14% of the Annual Campaign. MJF recently added an estimated future value of $19.5 million in planned giving and endowments to the foundation by participating in the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s Create Jewish Legacy program.

MJF owns and operates seven properties including a 26-acre community campus and housing for seniors and adults with disabilities. MJF also has a Jewish Museum that welcomed 10,000 visitors last year, a Holocaust education center that reached 28,000 individuals last year, a Jewish newspaper that distributed 103,000 newspapers last year, and Israel Center, which hosts the longest-running Shlichut (Israel emissary) program in North America.

MJF is part of a network of federations across North America that collectively raise and distribute more than $3 billion annually, making the network one of the top 10 charities on the continent.



The Milwaukee Jewish Federation cares for the needs of the Jewish people and builds a vibrant Jewish future in Milwaukee, in Israel and around the world. In fulfilling the mission, MJF is committed to the principles of Klal Yisrael (the collective unity of the Jewish people), Tzedakah (the obligation to care for one another), and Tikkun Olam (improving the society in which we live). Learn more about MJF by reading the annual report:


MJF is looking for a top executive to be a strategic partner with the CEO in order to establish the Federation as the center for Jewish philanthropy in Milwaukee. MJF seeks a collaborative, strategic, and experienced development professional to do three things: to increase the overall annual campaign, to manage and grow the Foundation, and to create opportunities to give supplemenatlly through the Federation. Reporting directly to the CEO, the Chief Development Officer will bring new approaches and proven strategies that complement MJF’s strong philanthropic foundation. The CDO will help MJF design and drive growth initiatives that enable MJF to tap into new segments of the donor marketplace effectively and efficiently.

S/he will inspire, empower and mentor a development team and work in partnership with the CEO and Board of Trustees on all fundraising efforts and will be an integral member of the organization’s senior executive leadership team. To be successful in this position, the new Chief Development Officer must have an authentic passion for the mission, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a demonstrated success as an engaging and relational fundraiser.

Key Responsibilities

Overall Vision and Implementation

  • Drive fundraising for the organization and serving as a motivational force in fundraising efforts
  • Create and implement a strategic and operating plan for integrated resource development, including planned giving, annual campaign, supplemental giving, corporate giving and foundation support
  • Implement the development plan in an organized and transparent way
  • Evaluate the organization’s strategies for fundraising and set new goals each year to create a donor-centered and segmented fundraising approach to better meet MJF’s mission and organizational objectives.
  • Identify and cultivate new donors and steward existing donors in partnerships with the CEO and Board members
  • Review and evaluate the current development operations and, if necessary, restructure them.

Staff Management and Supervision

  • Supervise and support the development team
  • Provide oversight to ensure that gifts are recorded and donors are recognized appropriately
  • Recruit, train, develop, and inspire staff, creating a dynamic, effective, and integrated development team.
  • Focus on professional development; including performance measurements, individual coaching and team-building; foster an environment of achievement and ensure staff accountability for excellence through clearly defined and measurable goals.

Board Relations

  • Actively participate in leadership gift solicitations. Cultivate, steward, and build strong relationships with a portfolio of select major donors.
  • Work closely with the President, volunteer leaders and development team to articulate the case for each program’s funding priorities to ensure that philanthropy meets targeted needs and goals.
  • Collaborate with volunteer leadership on development-related activities in ways that inspire them to action and strengthen their intellectual and emotional commitment.

Marketing and Community Relations

  • Collaborate closely with the marketing team on all development-related marketing materials and communications.
  • Develop and maintain strong working relationships with synagogues, agencies and community leaders.


  • A proven leader with senior development experience with demonstrable achievements in management, both strategic and operational.
  • Expertise in strategic and operational resource development planning (both short and long-term); demonstrated ability and experience building on an existing development program, including individual and institutional philanthropy, in such a way that has been a major step up.
  • Creative, innovative, entrepreneurial and strategic inclinations.
  • Proven ability to personally develop strategies, cultivate, solicit and steward major donors and to inspire high-net worth individuals and major foundations to financial leadership.
  • Demonstrated experience training and working with executives, senior staff and board members in development-related activities, providing them with quality support and intelligence, and increasing their comfort with and success in fundraising.
  • A strong work ethic, ability to maintain and model high personal, ethical and professional standards, as well as an outgoing and positive personality. A sense of humor and perspective.
  • Excellent attention to detail and responsiveness; able to multi-task; able to organize, prioritize and execute responsibilities in the face of conflicting priorities or unexpected situations with a high level of discretion.
  • Knowledge of trends in fund debelopment resource, prospect identification and research.
  • A passionate and optimistic individual who inspires team members to find opportunities to make improvements and strive for excellence in execution of their plans.
  • A motivational communicator, both written and verbal, who is effective in 1-on-1 and group settings, as well as equally engaging with internal and external audiences.
  • Experience developing and managing budgets required.
  • Excellent people skills and the ability to interact and engage comfortably with a wide variety of key constituents across the community.
  • Personal commitment to Jewish values and knowledge of Jewish traditions, history and issues; knowledge of Israel and the Jewish Federation system is desirable.


This position description is based upon material provided by the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, an equal opportunity employer.


Sarah Raful Whinston, Senior Search Consultant

To apply to this position please visit


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