Director of Development (FA)

Imagine if we could bring the same innovations that pervade every other part of our lives to child welfare. This is Foster America’s vision. Foster America recruits diverse talented professionals who have the skills needed to address old, persistent problems in our child welfare system in new ways: skills in data and technology, design and marketing, strategy and planning, and finance. We prepare these professionals to serve as full-time fellows at public agencies across the country, where they lead major child welfare reform projects. For example, our fellows with marketing and human-centered design backgrounds help agencies improve the recruitment of foster parents and our fellows with technology and data analytics backgrounds help agencies leverage data to prevent child abuse and neglect.
Since launching three years ago, Foster America has supported four cohorts of fellows, who have served in 30 agencies across 14 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. In the long-term, we aim to scale the reforms of our fellows, build a pipeline of transformative leaders for our field, and develop new experiments to change the outcomes of our country’s most vulnerable children and families.


At a time of rapid growth and experimentation, Foster America is seeking a Director of Development to drive efforts to secure major, multi-year support, primarily from institutional funders. This hire will own all aspects of fundraising and communications, with an emphasis on crafting compelling grant proposals and other written materials that clearly articulate Foster America’s unique approach to systems change. Building upon early support from partners like the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Kellogg Foundation, this hire will cultivate relationships with a diverse set of national and regional funders. Reporting to the Executive Director and joining a passionate 10-member team that is committed to social justice and racial equity, this hire will have the opportunity to help evolve and scale innovations that are transforming child welfare outcomes nationwide.
Specifically, the Director of Development will:

  • In partnership with the Executive Director and leadership team, design and implement a bold fundraising strategy to 1) raise $5M+ annually, 2) increase engagement of current supporters and 3) generate new relationships with institutional and individual funders.
  • Initiate and cultivate relationships with funder prospects with the potential to make 5 and 6+ figure gifts. Conduct research and develop strategies to pursue new prospects.
  • Partner with and leverage the Executive Director, Chief Program Officer, board of directors, program staff and fellows to cultivate donors and create funding opportunities that are tailored to programmatic priorities and a variety of funder interests e.g. systems change, child welfare reform, government innovation, social justice, and racial equity.  
  • Lead the crafting of proposals, letters of intent, briefing materials for meetings, funder presentations, stewardship communications, and other materials. Tightly manage a grants calendar to ensure that proposals, renewals, and reports are submitted on time. Lead regular meetings with team to ensure accountability and progress to fundraising goals.
  • Develop templates for use in development and communications materials. Leverage data, impact stories, and knowledge of the child welfare landscape in communications with funders and other audiences. Communicate an understanding of the social and racial context surrounding Foster America’s mission. Crafts messaging that elevates the accomplishments of fellows and agency partners.  
  • Create and strengthen processes and systems for gift processing, donor prospecting, cultivation, acknowledgment, and stewardship. Develop and manage systems for donors and prospects in Salesforce, ensuring that all touchpoints and projections are tracked with a high degree of timeliness and accuracy.
  • Serve as functional lead for communications, inclusive of speech writing, thought leadership writing, website content, newsletters, and other materials. Be strategic about ways to build Foster America’s brand and increase awareness.
  • Manage external grant writers and communications consultants as needed.


The Director of Development position calls for:

  • An exceptional writer, storyteller, and communicator. You are skilled in analyzing, breaking down, and communicating complex ideas in ways that inspire others to action. You demonstrate an understanding of the context surrounding an issue area and create logical arguments that clearly articulate the “why” behind an organization’s mission and impact. Grant writing experience is highly desirable.
  • A passionate advocate who is committed to Foster America’s mission and values. You care deeply about vulnerable children and are motivated to work to improve child welfare outcomes. You thrive in a start-up, fast-paced environment that values relationships, feedback, continuous learning and experimentation, and a deep commitment to social justice and racial equity.
  • A versatile and well-rounded fund development professional. You bring success in and enjoyment of the behind-the-scenes and donor-facing aspects of fundraising. You are knowledgeable about fundraising systems, processes, and best practices, as well as the philanthropic landscape and funders that are focused on systemic change. For professionals coming from other fields, a genuine interest and aptitude to excel at fundraising is required.
  • A “big picture” thinker with the ability to implement tactically. You approach challenges and opportunities through an analytical lens and take a hands-on approach to translating strategy into tangible activities. You appreciate how routine tasks and details contribute to overall success.
  • A collaborative leader with the proven ability to guide and influence others. You are successful in motivating, coordinating, and directing others towards a defined vision or goal. You “manage up” to senior leadership and effectively work across functional areas. You build relationships with ease and play well with others.
  • A flexible and well-organized project manager. You are methodological and create thorough plans to keep multiple projects on track. You are comfortable with ambiguity and can succeed in a highly entrepreneurial and fast-paced environment. You possess strong attention to detail and capacity to balance competing priorities.


  • Experience in Google Suite, MS PowerPoint, and relational databases are required. Salesforce experience is a plus.
  • An advanced degree in public policy, law, philosophy, journalism, marketing or a related field that requires logical and persuasive writing is highly desirable.
  • Knowledge of state or local government, human services, or child welfare is a plus.


This is a full-time position, with a preference for candidates in or willing to move to San Francisco, Boston, or Washington, D.C., or the willingness and ability to work remotely from other parts of the country. As a geographically dispersed team, our work is frequently conducted by phone, video, or email.
This position will require up to 15% domestic travel, particularly to Fellow convenings, team retreats and partner cultivation visits.
Foster America offers a comprehensive benefits package, including medical, paid vacation, paid parental leave, paid holidays, participation in a retirement plan, paid sick time, and professional development.


If this opportunity calls out to you, please click Apply Now button above and submit 1) a tailored, authentic cover letter that explains why this mission excites you and why this particular role is a fit for you, 2) your resume and 3) a 2-3 page writing sample e.g. grant LOI, policy brief. Please address your cover letter to Sherry Lachman, Executive Director. We review applications on a rolling basis and strive to get back to applicants within two weeks.  

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