President for Portland State University Foundation

The Opportunity

The Portland State University Foundation (PSUF) seeks an entrepreneurial leader who will strategize and build financial and community support for a vibrant, urban institution of higher learning located in the heart of downtown Portland. The Foundation’s new President will possess the highest level of personal and professional integrity, executive leadership experience, success in developing donor relationships, practice in successfully leading a large team, and a passion for achieving the University’s mission. The President is accountable to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and will simultaneously work very closely with University leadership. This authentic leader will build and steward deep, collaborative relationships with all stakeholders, including the President and Trustees of the University, donors, academic and administrative leaders, Foundation Trustees and team, students, business and public sector leaders, and other community partners. The Foundation President will guide the organization to raise significant resources for the University’s capital campaign and all other fundraising efforts that will ultimately broaden the impact of the University on the region.

The Organization

Portland State University, ranked as one of the most innovative universities by US News & World Report, was founded in 1946 and operates based on its motto, “Let knowledge serve the city.” With partners such as Intel, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland Public Schools, and the City of Portland, among others, PSU is celebrated for leadership in urban and public affairs, sustainability, business, engineering and computer science, education, social work, liberal arts and sciences, and the arts. Serving almost 30,000 students, it’s Oregon’s largest, most diverse, most accessible university. For more information, please visit Snapshot of PSU and Portland State University.

The PSU Foundation invests in student access and success through scholarships, and in University excellence through teaching, programmatic and capital support. Philanthropic giving has risen by double digits for the fifth consecutive year, and nearly quadrupled in the last four years. Donor-funded scholarships have increased 79% in the past two years. The Foundation’s endowment nears $60 million, for which the PSUF President will be accountable for its management. Last year, the PSU Foundation raised more than $46 million in private gifts, and anticipates the continued positive trajectory with the right leadership in place. For more information about the Foundation, please visit PSU Foundation.

The Position

With oversight from a diverse and sophisticated Board of Trustees that represents the Portland community, the new President will strategically guide the Foundation with vision and leadership. Responsibilities include:

Leadership: The President works collaboratively with the Foundation Board of Trustees and the University governing body, as well as leaders throughout the University, to ensure that all activities and resources are aligned with the University’s priorities. In collaboration with the Chair of the Board of Trustees, the President facilitates the deliberations of the Board to ensure alignment of vision, strategy, goals, budgets and new initiatives to support the University’s mission. S/he provides updates, solicits feedback, and helps to identify and recruit Trustees who will help ensure the ongoing success of the Foundation. The President works to ensure meaningful engagement for each Trustee. 

University Relations: In alignment with the University’s overarching goals, the PSUF will leverage its strategic and operational expertise, financial acumen, and assets in partnership with the University to engage the resources of the private sector. The Foundation President, a strong communicator and presenter, is the primary spokesperson for the Foundation and actively participates in the communities touched by the University and its alumni. S/he works closely with the President of the University and University leadership, building credible relationships throughout the University that ensure a broad understanding and support for the unique role of an independent nonprofit foundation established to serve the needs of a public university. S/he fosters an environment that values the contributions of volunteers and seeks ways to engage alumni and friends of the University to their best advantage. The Foundation meaningfully recognizes volunteers at all levels. 

Development: The President leads University-wide development. Through strong relationships with key constituents, the PSUF secures private support for the benefit of the University. The President engages leaders within the private and public sectors to support advancement activities, including the development of new revenue sources and partnerships necessary to achieve the University’s aspirational goals. 

Management: The President is accountable to lead and develop a team of highlymotivated, high-performing professionals who oversee development/fundraising, technology and operations, finances, human resources, and Board relationships. S/he works with the PSUF development staff to establish fundraising strategies best suited for the specific purposes of the schools and other campus units; to measure fundraising progress and productivity; to assist with donor cultivation activities and to personally cultivate and solicit individuals, corporations and foundations. The President will build and sustain a culture within PSUF that values individual professional development and achievement in an environment of collaboration and strong teamwork. The President models accountability, integrity and transparency.

Operations: The President is also responsible for day-to-day operational excellence and exemplary donor relations. S/he administers the Foundation by ensuring the highest standards, including transparency in donor stewardship and communication. S/he is responsible for effective and trustworthy oversight of PSUF’s assets, including effective governance of the investment portfolio and real estate assets through its subsidiaries. Other responsibilities include working closely with the board of the Alumni Association to engage alumni, and oversight of Advancement Services to provide data accuracy in reporting and predictive modeling.

Traits and Characteristics

• Results-oriented: set, pursue, and achieve goals; thrive in a fast-paced, transformative organization

• Flexibility/Versatility: manage multiple projects and duties simultaneously, while paying careful attention to details and meeting deadlines

• Superior interpersonal abilities: work effectively with diverse personalities using tact, maturity, and flexibility; treat and support people as individuals and members of a team; recognize and value diversity

• Strong intellect: enjoy wrestling with complex subjects and synthesizing them into compelling messages

• Service-oriented: build productive, professional relationships that serve the institution

• Integrity and loyalty: maintain the highest principles and values, including respect for donors in accordance with fundraising ethics, as well as fidelity to the institution

• Mission alignment: strong affinity for the mission of higher education 

Cultural Competencies

• Create an environment that acknowledges, encourages, and celebrates differences

• Function and communicate effectively and respectfully within the context of varying beliefs, behaviors, orientations, identities, and cultural backgrounds

• Seek opportunities to gain experience working and collaborating in diverse, multicultural, and inclusive settings with a willingness to change for continual improvement

• Commit to the core values that guide our ethical, professional approach to our work: accountability, adaptability, collaboration, diversity, entrepreneurship, excellence, integrity and respect

Required Education and Experience

• Bachelor’s degree and ten (10)+ years of substantial, progressively responsible and successful principal and major gifts fundraising experience, as well as executive leadership and management experience; a combination of education and experience will be considered

• Master’s or advanced degree is preferred; CFRE credentials are preferred

• Strong written, interpersonal communication, persuasion, decision making, and problem solving skills

• Well-developed administrative skills, including strong organizational, time management and project planning skills

• Ability to garner a sense of trust from others and to manage and maintain confidentiality of sensitive information

• Ability to translate big ideas into actions

• Possess sound judgment and discretion

• Ability to lead and influence with integrity

• Proficiency with relevant software tools; must be able to work nights and weekends

This exceptional opportunity offers competitive compensation and excellent benefits. 

To Apply

All applications are held in strict confidence. To be considered, applications must be received no later than 5:00 pm Pacific time on Friday, January 1, 2016. Applications should be directed to the attention of Melissa Ulum, Managing Partner at MS&S Search, or Vincent Robinson, Managing Partner at The 360 Group. 

Please submit your credentials and letter of interest via email to:

[email protected]

If you have questions, please contact Melissa Ulum at:

[email protected] or 503.730.7615 

We hold diversity as a core value and encourage applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds to apply.

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