Vice President and Chief Development Officer

February 2020 | New York, NY
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Fountain House seeks a Vice President and Chief Development Officer to drive the strategy and growth of its comprehensive development program.

About Fountain House

fountain house staffFor more than 70 years, Fountain House has empowered people with serious mental illness to live and thrive in society. Today, it is the most widely replicated community-based mental health model for people living with mental illness in the world with over 300 replication programs serving over 100,000 people throughout the US and in more than 30 countries, all operated by people with mental illness and built from the ground up to respond to the economic, social, and cultural needs of their individual communities. 

Nearly 2,000 individuals with serious mental illness, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression, come to Fountain House in New York to contribute their talents, learn new skills, access opportunities and build friendships. Side-by-side with staff working in direct accompaniment with members, they operate award-winning programs including employment, education, wellness, housing, and social enterprise, and work as partners to perform the functions that sustain and grow their member community. In doing so, Fountain House members break the bonds of social isolation and marginalization that they disproportionately face due to their illness and related stigma and are able to realize their full potential and capabilities in an environment that elevates their agency, dignity, and hope.

Fountain House is one of the largest mental health service non-profits in the country and is the first mental health organization to receive the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the largest and most prestigious recognition of humanitarian non-profit efforts.

The Challenge

In the US and around the world, people with serious mental illness, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression, find themselves incarcerated, homeless or unstably housed, and cycling through emergency rooms, shelters, and jails. They experience housing discrimination and limited educational and employment opportunities creating a domino effect of poverty, social isolation, marginalization, and preventable suffering. They are disproportionately likely to be the victims of serious violence, including gun violence.  On average, the World Health Organization estimates that people living with serious mental illness live up to 25 years less than the general public, due to unaddressed mental, physical, and social needs. This is a public health and social crisis that has been relatively hidden from view and remains unaddressed by all segments of society.

Mental illness impacts 450 million people globally. Nearly one million people take their own life each year, including over 40,000 in the US last year alone.  The World Bank Group and the World Health Organization estimate the direct and indirect costs of mental illness at $2.5 trillion today. By 2030, that cost is expected to reach $6 trillion.

In the US, people living with serious mental illness face myriad challenges, including unemployment (85%), homelessness (40%), incarceration (24%), and 9.2 million also live with a co-occurring substance use disorder, including opioids and alcohol. The National Institutes of Mental Health estimated a loss of productivity due to serious mental illness of approximately $257 billion.

The Fountain House Solution

Fountain House proves that recovery is possible for people with serious mental illness. It knows that access to safe, dignified environments and programs in which to recover is a matter of human rights and social justice, as well as good policy and politics. Fountain House knows that recovery is different for each individual, but that the conditions to foster recovery put the member at the center of their own healing and growth.

Fountain House members experience an improved quality of life compared to others with serious mental illness, as evidenced by reduced hospitalizations and a significant decrease in healthcare costs, higher education completion rates and employment rates, as well as lower rates of homelessness, incarceration, and recidivism.

Fountain House BuildingFountain House is a solution at the level of the individual, family, community, and society, and increasingly is engaged in policy discussions at the local, state, federal and global levels.

Fountain House strives to increase awareness of serious mental illness, ensure access to care and support, reduce stigma, sponsor related research, and expand the global impact of its community-based model.

Using public and private funding, Fountain House operates several organizational units and facilities, including:

  • Our flagship clubhouse program in Manhattan on West 47th Street, where Fountain House’s working community operates, incubates innovative programming and advances its vision to improve the lives of people living with mental illness.
  • A clubhouse in the South Bronx, that expands Fountain House’s work to meet the increasing mental health needs in a borough that experiences the highest rate of psychiatric hospitalizations and highest prevalence of serious psychological distress.
  • The nation’s largest College Re-Entry program that helps academically engaged 18-to-30-year-old college students who withdraw from their studies due to mental health challenges, return to college and successfully reach their educational goals. Since its founding in 2014, nearly 90% of College Re-Entry participants have returned to school.
  • The Center for Leadership and Education which, together with partners at Clubhouse International, help prepare future leaders and mental health advocates to replicate the Fountain House community-based mental health model across the globe. A major component of this initiative, the Colleague Training Program, features an experience-based learning environment to instruct program staff on the design and intentionality behind the model, and how to adapt it to their local conditions. From this, a range of leadership and support functions emerge in relation to clubhouses across the country and the world, including emerging leadership and support for the network of 14 clubhouses across New York City, and partnerships with clubhouses across the US, Europe, Asia/South Asia, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa.
  • One of the largest supported housing networks in New York State, serving more than 400 members at any given time. As a pioneer in housing individuals living with mental illness, Fountain House operates programs that ensure that every member has a stable living environment that reduces social isolation, through Fountain House residences, independent apartments, or with family and friends.
  • The Fountain House Gallery and Studio which sells original artworks and collaborates with an extensive network of top-tier artists, curators, and cultural institutions in and around New York City. Fountain House Gallery cultivates artistic growth, makes a vital contribution to the New York arts community, and challenges the stigma surrounding mental illness.
  • Fountain House Farm in New Jersey where members actively participate in horticultural, agricultural, and animal husbandry activities.
  • The Sidney R. Baer Jr. Center which provides integrated medical and psychiatric care to Fountain House members, in partnership with one of the largest federally-qualified health center networks in New York State.
  • A robust transitional and supported employment program with over 40 corporate and other institutional partners in New York City, including Warner Music, H&M, UniqLo, Chase and others.

About the Opportunity

This past September, Fountain House welcomed Ashwin Vasan, M.D., Ph.D., as its new President and CEO.  Dr. Vasan’s expertise in healthcare, public health policy and political and social advocacy on a local and global level will advance Fountain House’s work around mental illness, homelessness, criminal justice, healthcare and social welfare for marginalized people and communities. Building from strength, Fountain House now seeks to expand on its proven community system of care and its reach and influence on a local, national and global level. In particular, Dr Vasan has laid out a priority to explicitly focus on the policy and political intersections with mental health, and the urgent need to position Fountain House both as non-partisan but also explicitly progressive in its vision for a more equitable, just, and dignified future for people and communities affected by mental illness.

Fountain House LearningIn close partnership with Dr. Vasan – and working in collaboration with the Vice President and Chief External Affairs Officer as well as key leadership across the organization – the Vice President and Chief Development Officer will advance Fountain House’s essential mission by growing and broadening its development program. This results-orientated strategist and relationship builder will be responsible for the development and implementation of Fountain House’s fundraising strategies and initiatives which currently include major gifts, grants, annual giving, planned giving and endowment development. A skilled relationship builder, this person will strengthen a fundraising department currently raising approximately $6M annually from private donations alone.

Key Responsibilities


  • Partner with President & CEO and Board in taking Fountain House’s development program to the next level, in line with the strategic plan for greater local, national and global reach
  • Provide leadership in all facets of the development program including planning, analysis, major donor identification and cultivation, coordination of Board efforts and related activities
  • Serve as a key member of Fountain House’s senior leadership team
  • Work with the President & CEO to strengthen the engagement and stewardship activities of the current Board of Directors
  • Develop strong and collaborative working relationships with other members of senior leadership to best understand Fountain House’s mission and programs, and effectively articulate this information to donors and the public
  • Work effectively and collaboratively with VP & Chief External Affairs Officer to ensure Development activities are well coordinated with and supportive of External Affairs Priorities


  • Oversee strategic review and design of Development team, including potential restructuring, and leadership in assigning and hiring key positions on team
  • Maintain and expand upon deep philanthropic relationships with a portfolio of leading individual, foundation, and corporate prospects
  • Oversee all development functions including major gifts, corporate and foundation support, annual/individual giving and direct mail, government grants, planned giving, special events, and digital/small-dollar fundraising. Ensure effective cultivation and stewardship of donors
  • Identify donor funding opportunities that match Fountain House’s organizational priorities and operational needs
  • Develop a robust donor pipeline that focuses on individual, foundation, and corporate donor identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship
  • Expand Fountain House’s fundraising in the digital and grassroots sector, focusing on large-volume, small-dollar donations
  • Design and execute key fundraising campaigns around priority projects, in close collaboration with External Affairs/Communications team
  • Engage President & CEO in key donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship activities


  • Assess current development program and design strategies for setting progressive revenue goals, establishing meaningful metrics, and evaluating performance
  • Oversee the building of a best-in-class, modernized development infrastructure, including systems and data infrastructure, policies, and procedures to ensure effectiveness and accountability across the program
  • Coach, mentor, and motivate development team members to maximize their talent and potential.
  • Prepare and monitor the annual development budget and fundraising targets for operational revenue
  • Report regular progress against strategic and operational goals, including donor engagement and stewardship touchpoints, revenue and quota targets, and pipeline management details
  • Ensure an appropriate return on investment for the institution by managing resources and outcomes efficiently and effectively
  • In addition to advancing the fundraising potential of the current staff, create strategies and opportunities to attract talented professionals to join a growth-oriented development team

Key Qualifications

  • 10+ years of fundraising experience with minimum of 5 years of management experience
  • Experience leading a comprehensive development team that includes major gifts, corporate and foundation support, annual giving, planned giving, events, and digital fundraising
  • Demonstrated success building philanthropic relationships and securing major gifts at the six and seven figure levels
  • Track record of strategically building programs, pipelines, and volunteer networks to serve organizational objectives and maximize revenue
  • Strong management skills that include the ability to motivate, unify, influence, and hold staff accountable to high standards and achievement of goals
  • Demonstrated ability to establish solid working relationships with board members, volunteers, and staff
  • Demonstrated ability and understanding of fundraising across a growing multi-site, multi-state, multi-country portfolio of programs, in line with strategic expansion efforts
  • Passion for the mission of Fountain House and the ability to effectively serve as an ambassador for the organization
  • Humanistic and emphatic leader who will be able interact with staff and Fountain House members with respect, kindness, authenticity and ease
  • Commitment and experience in leading inclusive dialogue and outreach to people of diverse backgrounds, lived experiences, and needs


A very competitive compensation and benefits package will be offered to attract an outstanding candidate.

Please email your cover letter and resume in confidence to:

Kieran McTague
Senior Vice President & Director, Principal
Development Guild DDI

Interested in this position or other new career opportunities?