Chief Development Officer
Academy for Global Citizenship
Job Information:

Are you a mission driven person who believes that creating a better and more sustainable world begins with how we inspire our youth in school?  Do you get excited by big ideas and enjoy being an influencer of positive change?  Do you have infectious energy and is your craft campaign/major gifts fundraising? If so, we’re excited you found us!

We’re in search of a new Chief Development Officer to join the senior team of the Academy for Global Citizenship (AGC). The individual will oversee all annual fundraising and lead the second phase of our philanthropic campaign to build a 21st-century learning campus. This is a new position designed to attract an experienced fundraising executive looking for their next professional challenge/opportunity. The Chief Development Officer will report directly to the Executive Director and enjoy the full weight of an engaged board of directors and supportive donor community.

AGC was born from an audacious request of a group of idealistic young people led by Sarah Elizabeth Ippel, who was then 23 years old, who demanded that the city of Chicago join them in reimaging what is possible in public education. Ten years later, the school has become internationally recognized as a model for the thoughtful integration of environmental stewardship, global citizenship and whole student wellness into the daily curriculum and culture of a public school. Although AGC is a small, single site charter school serving a majority low income and minority population on the city’s southwest side near Midway Airport, it has received the highest honors and international praise for championing a new educational framework for an ever-changing world.

AGC’s mission is to develop mindful leaders who take action to positively impact their local and global communities. The daily work of students, staff and families is built on the pillars of:

  • Modeling academic excellence
  • Developing inquirers
  • Serving the whole child
  • Cultivating international awareness
  • Fostering environmental stewardship
  • Facilitating collaboration within the community

While AGC has been focused on helping local students create lives full of possibility, AGC also has reached 1.5 million students around the world by sharing its work openly and encouraging replication of its model. The successful completion of AGC’s new 21stcentury learning campus is integral to a larger and longer-term goal to serve as a global laboratory of innovation in education and to share our work open-source with as many other schools as possible around the country and outside the U.S.

The plans for the campus are some of the most architecturally ambitious seen in the U.S. today.  The model school of the future will be located on a nearby 6-acre empty parcel that AGC owns and is perfectly sized to accommodate our 650 pre-K through 8thgrade students and staff. This campus, set to open in the next few years, will house not only AGC’s K-8 school but also an early childhood center, a teacher training institute, an urban farm, reimagined learning spaces and additional sustainability and wellness resources for the community.  To learn more, visit

If this sounds interesting, it is! We’re hoping to attract a Chief Development Officer who is eager to:

  • Be an energetic thought leader in the organization and champion for the AGC model
  • Own responsibility for our campaign to build a new campus
  • Oversee fundraising for general operating support
  • Be a hands-on, caring individual with vision and ability to follow through
  • Work closely with a thoughtful, strategic, and enthusiastic staff that’s in place at AGC, and with our dedicated board of directors
  • Advocate for AGC in the community, strengthening programs and raising funds
  • Serve as one of the “faces” of AGC with a strong external presence, increasing brand awareness and strengthening our reputation

The Chief Development Officer oversees AGC’s fundraising and empowers the Executive Director and board of directors with effective relationship management and fundraising activities across all aspects of development including individual, corporate and foundation giving, as well as events and the campaign.

Reporting to the Executive Director, specific responsibilities include:

Campaign Leadership – (50%)

  • In collaboration with the Executive Director and board of directors, lead the second phase of a $35 million campaign to build our new campus (philanthropy will cover half the cost).
  • Engage the Executive Director and board of directors in campaign fundraising, including identifying, cultivating, soliciting and stewarding six, seven and eight-figure gifts to the campaign.
  • Lead regular prospect strategy sessions, participate in site visits, go on calls, follow up on requests and provide coaching and supportive activity.
  • Carry a portfolio of leadership gift level prospects and regularly meet with individual, corporate and foundation donors and prospects to tell the story of AGC and inspire support for the campaign.
  • Create a prospect identification program for AGC staff, board and friends, so that donors with giving objectives that are aligned with AGC’s campaign can become involved and make high impact gifts.
  • Maintain the named space and gift opportunities matrix, so that we are able to match donor interests with mission specific projects/spaces and public recognition of donors is available to maximize giving.

Fundraising Leadership – (35%)

  • Oversee an annual giving program with a goal of $400,000 generated by grants, individual gifts and AGC’s signature Chefs’ Playground gala.
  • Serve as the primary liaison to the gala committee, which comes together annually to plan the event and raise funds by soliciting sponsorship, selling tables, securing auction items and leveraging their individual and corporate relationships for the benefit of AGC. The annual gala raises $225,000.
  • Maintain the grants calendar, meeting proposal and stewardship deadlines.
  • Maintain information systems, including donor records, prospect research, tracking, reporting and gift acknowledgment.
  • Staff the development committee of the board of directors.

Thought Leadership – (15%)

  • Advance AGC’s public image and model by serving as an active and magnetic ambassador for AGC’s mission and vision with key stakeholders, including representing AGC at local, national and global education conferences and events.
  • Form relationships throughout the Chicago region and around the world that contribute to enriching and collaborative experiences for AGC’s students, teachers and families.
  • Stay abreast of and report on trends in the education movement and philanthropy that may impact approaches to fundraising.


Our Chief Development Officer will be a proven leader with a commitment to AGC’s mission to advancing environmentalism and sustainability through innovative education opportunities.  The individual will be a strong relationship builder who has demonstrated breakthrough outcomes in a similarly mission aligned organization, nonprofit or school setting.  The ideal candidate will excel at campaign work and enjoy driving fundraising to support AGC’s vision.  She or he also will serve as one of the externally facing representatives for AGC’s work.

We seek a professional with a minimum 10 years’ professional experience in a nonprofit or business environment with a minimum 5 years’ in a leadership role.  A bachelor’s degree is required, and a master’s degree is preferred.

Additional skills and attributes of sought-after candidates include:

  • Campaign/fundraising experience with a record of success in leading and growing a reputable organization, nonprofit or similarly focused school/organization (experience with an environmental education organization a strong plus)
  • Exceptional verbal, written, listening and interpersonal skills with an ability to motivate and persuade people
  • Strong strategic thinking and planning skills, with an ability to manage concurrent projects and priorities effectively
  • Experience forming, cultivating and expanding partnerships with key stakeholders in public and private sectors, such as foundations, individuals and government agencies
  • A passion for advancing educational achievement in low income communities, as well as a commitment to the vision/mission of AGC
  • Perseverance and an entrepreneurial spirit
  • A team building, facilitative rapport with peers and staff and a problem-solving approach to obstacles