Chief Development Officer

December 2021 | New York, NY
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The Cancer Research Institute seeks an experienced and innovative Chief Development Officer to lead its comprehensive development program.

About Cancer Research Institute

In 1953, two visionary individuals, Helen Coley Nauts and Oliver R. Grace Sr., believed that they could end the devastation of cancer and founded the Cancer Research Institute. Their legacy is an organization that has built up an entire field of cancer research–the field of tumor immunology–that today is producing immunotherapies that are extending and saving lives of cancer patients.  

CRI’s portfolio of research programs spans the spectrum of drug discovery and development. Each program is separate and distinct but is also an important part of CRI’s overall strategy in their quest for safe and effective immunotherapies to treat all cancers.

  • Irvington Postdoctoral Fellowship Program: This program provides up to three years of funding for outstanding young scientists at the early stages of their careers while they carry out their work under the mentorship of leading immunologists and tumor immunologists. Since its inception in 1971, this program has provided funding for over 1,400 such investigators. While perhaps not as immediately exciting as a clinical breakthrough, this research is of utmost importance in furthering our understanding of the immune system and how it interacts with cancer. In addition, this program fills the important need of developing highly talented young research scientists with an interest in this field.
  • Clinic and Laboratory Integration Program: CRI’s Clinic and Laboratory Integration Program (“CLIP”) provides grants of $100,000 per year for two years, to fund translational research projects. This type of research draws upon the findings of basic research to design more effective clinical trials, and also analyzes the results of clinical trials to formulate new questions to be answered in the laboratory. CRI designed this program in 2011 to fill an unmet funding need in this space, and they continue to receive numerous CLIP grant applications every year.
  • The Anna-Maria Kellen Clinical Accelerator: CRI’s platform for developing, accelerating, and de-risking clinical study of next-generation combination cancer immunotherapies. This nonprofit-industry-academic collaboration model is composed of multiple key components, with the objective of testing the most promising combination therapies that utilize drugs from different companies. Such combination therapies are widely believed to hold the most promise for patients, so these trials are of critical importance. An international network composed of 90 scientific experts works together to identify new drug combinations with breakthrough potential. The reagents are sourced from biotech and pharmaceutical companies that CRI is able to identify based on their comprehensive knowledge of the immunotherapy field and their internal diligence research of the current immuno-oncology landscape. These studies are sponsored by one of CRI’s nonprofit clinical trial management partners and funded, in part, by CRI’s venture philanthropy fund. The Clinical Accelerator currently has more than 18 significant industry and nonprofit partners. By bringing together the leading scientific experts and the most promising reagents in a collaborative setting, the Clinical Accelerator speeds the drug development process in order to deliver new treatments to more patients, sooner. Since the program’s inception in 2010, the Clinical Accelerator has invested $127 million in 19 different clinical studies, with roughly $10-to-30 million invested each year.
  • Technology Impact Award: This program was launched in 2017 with the intention of promoting interdisciplinary collaboration between technological expertise and cancer immunology. The CRI Technology Impact Award is given to scientists or scientific teams with innovative ideas for new technologies that have the potential to advance the field of immunotherapy through adoption by the broader research community. These grants provide seed funding of $200,000 in the first year of the project, after which progress is reviewed, with the potential for follow-on funding when merited.
  • Lloyd J. Old STAR Program (Scientists Taking Risks): This program was designed in consultation with CRI’s Scientific Advisory Council to provide support for mid-career scientists who have the potential to make a significant impact on the field and be the next “stars” of immunotherapy. There is an unmet need for this type of sustained funding that is based on the caliber of the scientist rather than being tied to any specific project. STAR grants provide substantial funding of $1.25 million over five years for the most promising mid-career investigators, intended to give them the flexibility and freedom to pursue unexplored areas of research for which they could not otherwise obtain funding. CRI’s track record of selecting grant recipients who go on to become leaders in the field gives them the confidence that the scientists selected to receive STAR grants will be among those who conduct truly ground-breaking research that will propel the field forward.
  • CRI’s Answer to Cancer Patient and Caregiver Education Program: As part of CRI’s mission to advance lifesaving cancer immunotherapy research, CRI also serves as a trusted source of immunotherapy information for patients and caregivers who are exploring their treatment options. Drawing upon CRI’s global network of immuno-oncology experts including laboratory and clinical research scientists and patient advocacy partners, CRI has created a suite of educational offerings, provided free of charge in both English and Spanish, that are designed to inform cancer patients and their caregivers about the latest developments in immunotherapy including new standard-of-care treatments and immunotherapy clinical trial options. These offerings include the CRI Immunotherapy Patient Summit Series, CRI’s “Cancer Immunotherapy and You” webinar series, and CRI’s website resource hub sharing the latest updates on different types of immunotherapy as well as cancer-specific treatment and research progress. CRI’s website hub also connects patients and caregivers to one another and is a platform for sharing of personal immunotherapy experiences through the site’s patient profile pages and immunotherapy patient video stories. These resources are designed to inform and empower patients and caregivers, encouraging them to explore and discuss immunotherapy options with their health care providers while also raising awareness of the importance of patient participation in clinical research to advance cancer immunotherapy.

Cancer Research Institute - panel discussionToday, virtually every major research institution in the world working in immunology and immunotherapy has scientists on staff who have been or are currently being funded by CRI, with fresh talent on the way. Collaboration with the many others who have now joined in the belief that immunotherapy holds the key to conquering all cancers is now a cornerstone of CRI’s strategy. CRI will continue to be a pioneer and leader in bringing immunotherapies to more cancer patients by:

  • seeking innovative partnerships with biotech and pharmaceutical companies that are developing promising immunotherapies in their drug pipelines
  • collaborating with disease-specific cancer charities seeking to extend their research portfolio into clinical immunology
  • funding basic science and training future generations of scientists
  • educating patients and caregivers about their immunotherapy treatment options and encouraging them to advance research through participation in clinical trials.

About Philanthropy at Cancer Research Institute

CRI’s annual operating budget is in the range of $40 million and approximately 95% of the organization’s funding is from private philanthropy. This revenue is generated through a comprehensive development program that includes major gifts, annual giving, corporate and foundation giving, planned giving, and peer-to-peer fundraising. CRI’s development program operates on Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT and the organization prides itself on the comprehensive and accurate information in the donor database. 

Breakthrough programs such as the Anna-Maria Kellen Clinical Accelerator and the Lloyd J. Old STAR Program have attracted significant philanthropic investment, while CRI has also secured strong financial support for general operating and other critical CRI programs. CEO Jill O’Donnell-Tormey is an extremely active and effective fundraising leader and CRI directly benefits from the generous philanthropic support of its Board of Trustees.    

About the Opportunity

CRI seeks an exceptional fundraising professional to lead development for the organization, providing strategic leadership and direction to a comprehensive program. Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, the CDO will oversee a team of 5: the Director, Major Gifts; the Director, Foundation & Corporate Relations; the Associate Director, Individual Giving; the Development Associate; and the Development Assistant. The CDO will also work closely with the other members of the senior management team: the Chief Communications Officer, the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Information Officer, the Chief Marketing Officer, and the Chief Program Officer.

The CDO will be an ambassador for the organization, deepening engagement with constituency groups and driving broader awareness and philanthropic support for the organization. The CDO will develop and implement strategies to grow and retain existing donors and identify, cultivate, and steward new funding sources while implementing sustainable systems that enhance and measure productivity. They will collaborate to make strategic decisions to raise the profile and the funds to fulfill the organization’s vision and work closely with the Chief Executive Officer and the Board to prepare and implement a comprehensive development plan.

The right candidate will have proven success in growing and managing a high-performing development operation. In particular, they will have experience in successful major donor engagement and funding strategies and working with partners to support the efforts of a comprehensive development effort. The preferred candidate will be innovative and intellectually curious with a track record of creative and strategic leadership and management.

In the first three months, the CDO will be responsible for conducting a comprehensive assessment of the organization and presenting recommendations for new goal setting and achievement.

Key Responsibilities


  • Partner with the CEO, the Board and organizational leadership in taking CRI’s development program to the next level
  • Provide leadership in all facets of the development program including planning, analysis, major donor identification and cultivation, coordination of volunteer leadership efforts and related activities
  • Serve as a member of CRI’s senior leadership team
  • Develop strong and collaborative working relationships with other members of senior leadership to best understand CRI’s mission and programs, and effectively articulate this information to donors and the public
  • Work with the CEO to sustain and strengthen the engagement and stewardship activities of the Board
  • Work effectively and collaboratively with the senior management team ensure development activities are well coordinated with and supportive of organizational priorities
  • Bring a strategic perspective to development planning and innovation


  • Oversee a comprehensive, proactive development plan focused on major gifts, annual giving, foundation and corporate grants, and prospect identification and engagement that generates diverse financial support for the organization
  • Identify emerging trends and opportunities in philanthropy that are relevant to the mission and programs of CRI
  • Develop a strong donor pipeline that focuses on high net worth individual and institutional donor identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship
  • Design and execute fundraising proposals around key programs, in close collaboration with Marketing and Communications teams
  • Engage CEO in key donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship activities
  • Engage with data analytics and apply a data and metrics-driven approach to development planning


  • Review development program and design strategies for setting progressive revenue goals, establishing meaningful metrics, and evaluating performance
  • Oversee the building of an effective development infrastructure, including systems and data infrastructure, policies, and procedures to ensure effectiveness and accountability across the program
  • Report regular progress against strategic goals, including donor engagement and stewardship touchpoints, revenue and quota targets, and pipeline management details
  • Manage resources and outcomes efficiently and effectively
  • As appropriate, determine the need for and recruit talented professionals to join a successful development team

Key Qualifications

  • Cancer Research Institute - LabHigh level of development experience with progressively increasing responsibility, including at least 5 years of leadership and management experience
  • Strong frontline major gift experience with demonstrated ability to grow a donor prospect base and successfully close six and seven figure individual and institutional gifts
  • Experience building and sustaining relationships among high net worth individuals, foundations, and corporations
  • Passion for CRI’s mission and a strong understanding of and ability to communicate the mission and programs of CRI
  • Success supporting and managing organizational leadership in donor cultivation and solicitation
  • Ability to conceptualize and describe funding needs in a way that is compelling to prospects, donors, Board members, and other stakeholders
  • Knowledge of communications and marketing with excellent communications skills
  • Experience in building, managing, and mentoring development staff
  • Results oriented self-starter with an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit
  • Fundraising experience with healthcare and research nonprofits is welcome, but not a requirement

CRI welcomes and encourages diversity among its Board and staff consistent with its mission to benefit people everywhere. CRI is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to complying with all federal, state and local equal employment opportunity (“EEO”) laws. CRI prohibits discrimination against employees and applicants for employment because of the individual’s race or color, religion or creed, alienage or citizenship status, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, sexual and reproductive health decisions and decision making (of employees or their dependents), disability, marital status, familial status, domestic partnership status, genetic information or predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, pre-employment arrest record, or any other characteristic protected by law. CRI also considers for employment qualified applicants with criminal histories consistent with federal, state, and local law. This policy applies to all CRI activities, including, but not limited to, recruitment, hiring, compensation, assignment, training, promotion, performance evaluation, discipline, and discharge.

If you are interested in being considered for this upcoming search, please email your cover letter and resume in confidence to:

Kieran McTague
Senior Vice President and Director, New York
Development Guild DDI 

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