Director of Foundation Relations, Sustainability

University of Colorado Published: March 24, 2020
Boulder, Colorado
Second Location
Boulder, Colorado 80301, United States
Job Type
Analyst / Research / Energy / Fundraising / Membership /

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~ As one of 34 U.S. public research institutions belonging to the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU)—and the only member in the Rocky Mountain region—our goal at University of Colorado, Boulder is to directly affect Colorado communities through collaborative research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. ~

In January 2020 the Corporate and Foundation Relations team, the Office of Industry Collaboration, and the industry and foundation-focused teams within the College of Engineering and Applied Science, along with the Leeds School of Business, all combined to form the Industry Foundations Relations (IFR) team. This team reports jointly to Advancement and the Research and Innovation Office.

The streamlined IFR team is part of CU's effort to deliver “a partner-centric strategy and an on-campus support team that aligns financial investment in the research, discovery, and creativity of Boulder’s faculty and students with satisfied corporate and foundation partners." 

Job Summary

The Office of Advancement encourages applications for a Director of Foundations Relations specializing in Sustainability, Energy, and Natural Resources! The position is part of a high performing team that serves as the front door for industry and foundation relations on the CU Boulder campus (CU) and reports to the Managing Senior Director of Foundation Relations.

The Director manages a portfolio of partners, including prospects that are capable of providing grants and making gifts in excess of $100,000, that help further the mission and goals of the university. The ideal candidate will be primarily responsible for refining and implementing strategies to advance cultivation, engagement, and solicitation activities with foundation partners.

The Industry & Foundation Relations team is organized around campus strength areas, or themes. We are hiring this position to lead the foundation strategy and fundraising for the “Sustainability, Energy, Natural Resources” theme for the campus. The Director will provide leadership within the university community and act as the strategic partner who is responsible for developing, managing, and sustaining the university’s relationship with key external foundation partners in this theme. With an increased campus emphasis on foundation giving, it will be the Director’s priority to identify the greatest areas of opportunity for funding to support the university’s mission.

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

  • Portfolio Management: Manage portfolio consisting of 30-50 foundation prospects. Develop strategies for each foundation in the portfolio. Maintain an active portfolio, engaging in qualification and discovery work in partnership with the research team. Goals relating to personal contacts, number of proposed gifts, grants, and prospect identification to be set with and approved by the manager. The portfolio includes foundation prospects capable of providing funding in excess of $100,000.
  • Develop cultivation and solicitation strategies for all foundations in the portfolio. Proactively develop relationships with program officers through phone calls, travel to visit, and invitations to campus. Plan and execute funder site visits. As a representative of the university, travel to meet prospects on one’s own for the purpose of effective cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship; when needed, coordinate travel with colleagues, faculty, and university leadership.
  • Through external engagement, develop and maintain awareness of funding opportunities. Elevate high priority initiatives to the attention of appropriate administrators and other leaders to further campus goal of securing groundbreaking foundation partnerships which support our world-class research and impact.
  • Represent the foundation relations team to key internal leaders in the “Sustainability, Energy, Natural Resources” theme. Understanding of higher education environment, working at a sophisticated level to identify and partner with key internal partners, including faculty, unit leaders, and administration. Develop trust, operating as a campus leader for developing and implementing campus foundation strategy in the theme area. Develop internal collaborations that propel external engagement. 
  • Coordinate within the Industry & Foundation Relations team to ensure effective use of administrator and faculty time. Share knowledge and opportunities with colleagues on the IFR team. In coordination with IFR team leadership, may liaise with unit-level advancement leaders. Promote a collegial campus advancement culture, sharing assists and making referrals as appropriate to colleagues within the team and across the CU system.
  • Ensure prospect strategies and donor intent agreements are detailed, contact reports are filed, and stewardship plans are carried out. Develop letters of intent, white papers, proposals, and other documents to grow relationships with prospects. Coordinate with appropriate university partners to ensure that documents align with policies and procedures set by the university. Work to ensure timely, accurate completion of proposals, pledges and fund agreements.
  • Assist in refining and implementing the foundation relations team strategic plan that includes measurable targets for each fiscal year. Coordinate with team leaders to maintain current pipeline projections.
  • Represent the Advancement unit at campus and external events, in order to support the university and cultivate/steward donors. 

What We Can Offer

  • Salary is commensurate with skills and experience.


  • The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass.
  • The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment.
  • Be Dynamic. Be Impactful. Be Boulder.


What We Require:

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Minimum of 5 years of top-level, fundraising experience. 
  • Software Utilized: Microsoft Office Products; MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; donor tracking software (knowledge of Advance helpful); online funder research databases (knowledge of Foundation Directory and others helpful).

What You Will Need:

  • Expert knowledge of fundraising techniques. 
  • Expert ability to communicate verbally and in writing, and develop and maintain interpersonal relationships. 
  • Expert ability to analyze information/situations and solve problems. 
  • Expert ability to handle sensitive information discretely and maintain confidentiality. 
  • Solid knowledge of current issues facing public universities and interests of assigned theme area, students, faculty, and alumni. 
  • Solid ability to cultivate and solicit donations from individuals and foundations at the leadership gift level. 
  • Solid ability to prioritize and manage multiple projects/tasks simultaneously; must have ability to work independently and collaboratively, and adapt to changing priorities.
  • Personal computer proficiency required, especially as related to the software referenced under "software utilized" (see above). Computer skills may be subject to testing/verification.

What We Would Like You to Have:

  • Advanced degree; graduate work in related field strongly preferred. 
  • Familiar with donor tracking software such as Advance, by BSR.  
  • Demonstrated experience in securing foundation funding of $100,000 or more.
  • Familiarity with and understanding of the higher education environment.

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