Chief Advancement Officer

Graduate Theological Union
California, United States
$145,000.00 - $160,000.00
Jun 02, 2021
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time


An institution of higher education unlike any other, the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley brings together scholars of the world’s diverse religions and wisdom traditions to advance new knowledge, share inspiration, and collaborate on solutions. GTU carries out this work by:

  • Educating scholars for vocations devoted to study and service
  • Equipping leaders for a world of diverse religions and cultures
  • Teaching patterns of faith that encourage justice and care of the planet
  • Serving as an educational and theological resource for local communities, the nation, and the world

The GTU is the most comprehensive center for the graduate study of religion in North America. With a focus on interreligious and interdisciplinary perspectives, GTU faculty and students engage the world’s great religions and wisdom traditions in contemporary contexts. The GTU educates innovative leaders for the academy, religious organizations, and the nonprofit sector, equipping scholars to embody the critical thinking, ethical frameworks, compassionate values, and spiritual foundations essential to building a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.

More than a school of theology, the GTU is a union of schools and programs that, together, represent the world’s major religions in collaboration. More than a graduate school, the GTU is an enterprise that cultivates the highest scholarly standards and provides opportunities to translate scholarship into solutions with impact. The GTU provides a unique community where scholars and practitioners from across the world's great religions gather for academic study of their own and of other traditions and disciplines.


The City of Berkeley, California, was established with the charter of University of California in 1868, which established the Berkeley campus. Berkeley spans 10.5 miles in Alameda County.  

Berkeley is home to hundreds of arts organizations. Berkeley is known as a center of educational, culinary, and artistic excellence. It is easily accessible via BART, bus, and Interstate Highway 80. The population of Berkeley is about 125,000 and grows by 10,000 when students begin in the fall at UC Berkeley. The Graduate Theological Union and member schools are adjacent to the UC campus in a neighborhood known as “Holy Hill”.


The Chief Advancement Officer joins GTU’s President, Dr. Uriah Kim, and other senior leadership at a pivotal time. GTU recently completed a five-year strategic plan that has ambitious goals to build upon GTU’s nearly 60 years of service to the world. Leading a team of three, the Chief Advancement Officer will build a robust major gifts program while strengthening annual support. The Chief Advancement Officer has the opportunity to be entrepreneurial in leveraging GTUx, a new venture to engage people beyond traditional studies at GTU and to invest in and realize GTU’s mission. The Chief Advancement Officer will lead by example in cultivating and soliciting philanthropic support, while also working with the board of trustees and other leaders.

Key Responsibilities


  • Partner with the President, other Leadership Team members, Advancement staff, faculty, and the GTU Board in order to deliver effective strategies for donor engagement and take the Advancement effort to the next level
  • Provide leadership, management, and mentoring to Advancement staff; provide guidance on best practices and strategy when needed


  • Develop, refine, and implement strategies for fundraising that maximize potential giving
  • Direct the work of the Advancement team in order to implement fundraising programs using donor cultivation and stewardship opportunities that maximize giving
  • Manage an active portfolio of major donors and prospects by creating and implementing personalized cultivation and stewardship plans and gift requests for each donor within portfolio; assign other donors as appropriate
  • Play a leading role in fundraising and ensure Graduate Theological Union’s ability to cultivate and solicit major donors, foundations, and corporations to significantly increase contributions
  • Analyze reports on donor interactions to make strategic decisions to maximize giving opportunities; prepare and present information and progress to Graduate Theological Union’s Board and senior leadership team

Professional Experience/Qualifications


  • Six or more years of substantial and progressively responsible professional experience, including at least three years of experience supervising professional staff
  • Demonstrated experience overseeing complex or multiple projects through to success, including meeting financial goals and coordinating the work of key staff
  • Demonstrated success in fundraising; experience with individuals, foundations, and corporations; track record of soliciting and closing five-figure gifts with experience in six- and seven-figure gifts a plus
  • Experience in building and expanding an Advancement effort by making use of moves management, wealth screening, and other development tools
  • Experience with an organization (or willingness to learn) that uses long-term planning and Key Performance Indicators in the management of staff, operations, and resources


  • Exceptional leadership skills, with a collaborative spirit and strong management skills; demonstrated ability to inspire and motivate staff, board, donors, and faculty
  • Strong strategic and implementation skills; ability to grasp the opportunities and challenges of the organization and the role
  • Outstanding communicator; excellent speaking, writing, and interpersonal skills
  • Enthusiasm for developing and leading capital campaigns
  • Experience understanding a donor database (Raisers Edge preferred) and high comfort level analyzing and applying data to hone strategies and achieve goals
  • Understanding of the role of a digital pipeline in fundraising

Personal Characteristics:

  • Strong interest in the mission of GTU – an institution of higher learning unlike any other, which brings together scholars of the world’s diverse religions and wisdom traditions to advance new knowledge, share inspiration, and collaborate on solutions
  • Commitment to understanding diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice


  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential a plus


The salary range is $145,000 to $160,000 per year. A very generous benefits package will be made available to the qualified candidate.


Brakeley Search is conducting this search on an exclusive basis on behalf of Graduate Theological Union. Interested candidates should apply via email by sending a resume and a letter outlining qualifications as PDF or Word documents to Chelsea Burr at with “Graduate Theological Union CAO” in the subject line.

Inquiries may be made, in confidence, to Search Consultant Scott Staub at

EOE STATEMENT Graduate Theological Union welcomes diversity and is committed to providing equal employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or any other characteristic protected under federal or state law.

BRAKELEY SEARCH is a search firm focused exclusively on the nonprofit sector. As a division of Brakeley Briscoe, Inc. (BBI), the San Francisco Bay Area-based firm works with local, national, and international nonprofits to help them hire exceptional senior-level leaders.


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