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Director of Foundation Relations & Strategic Initiatives

Occidental College
Los Angeles, California

Job Details

Position Summary

The Director of Foundation Relations and Strategic Initiatives reports to the Associate Vice President for Development (AVPD) and manages a team focused on two central Development programs:  Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR) and individual gift proposal development, and also guides CFR prospect identification and cultivation efforts.  They place an emphasis on writing proposals and lead or co-lead (with the Associate Director) grant-seeking efforts on behalf of the College. Core competencies are: (1) Grant Writing/Proposal Development, (2) Reporting and Stewardship, (3) Major Gifts Team Support, and (4) Project Management. In their role, and in coordination with the Senior Director, LA Philanthropic Outreach, the Director manages a portfolio of institutional funders and is expanding it by reviewing the CFR funding landscape and developing cultivation and solicitation strategies.

Summary of Duties, Responsibilities and Goals

Corporate and Foundation Relations

  • Full range of CFR responsibilities, including: identifying and researching prospects; cultivating prospects; writing proposals; proposal solicitation, submission, and tracking; and providing meaningful stewardship to CFR funders.
  • Builds and maintains a portfolio of CFR partnerships and prospects to support the mission of the College.
  • Develops an annual Foundations plan, identifying each foundation that will be solicited, for what project, projected request, submission deadline, and expected decision date.
  • Develops an annual plan for prospective Foundations, identifying when LOI’s should optimally be submitted and appropriate next steps; works to create a CFR prospect pipeline to support the College’s long-term fundraising objectives.
  • Develops strategic approaches to corporations and foundations to seek the highest award possible.
  • Screens existing funders for renewal opportunities.
  • Develops and writes high priority proposals that advance institutional priorities, working in collaboration with appropriate campus partners to frame a compelling case for the requested contribution, articulate goals and outcomes, develop grant budgets, and gather relevant data and information to support grant applications.
  • Reviews and edits all foundation grant proposals, LOIs, and reports produced by the office before submission to ensure quality, consistency, and compliance with grantor guidelines.
  • Manage “up and across” the College to convene and facilitate meetings and teams of faculty and administrators to foster project and proposal design.
  • Prepares strategies and briefings in preparation for meetings with CFR representatives; composes grant related correspondence for the President.
  • Stays sufficiently well informed about new and ongoing College programs and initiatives to match potential and existing funders with areas of need.
  • Remains current with national and regional trends and priorities in grant making.


  • Manages a full-time associate director and a full-time development coordinator of strategic initiatives who prepare requests for CFR as well as individual funders.
  • Manages OSI budget.

Individual Gift Proposal Development

  • Oversees the production and standards for all gift proposals; works with gifts officers and relevant campus partners to write customized, compelling requests for support.
  • Coordinates with the Director of Gift Administration and Stewardship to ensure alignment with donor recognition and stewardship practices.
  • Oversees the development and updating of departmental and programmatic profiles across campus.
  • Positions the team as the primary point of contact for all language related to standard and custom gift opportunities.

Other duties as assigned



  • A minimum of a B.A.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Excellent and demonstrable writing, editing, research, and critical thinking skills are essential
  • Minimum of five years’ experience with grant proposal writing and a working knowledge of fundraising, preferably within institutions of higher education, or comparable professional experience.
  • Adaptable communication style; ability to communicate effectively to a variety of stakeholders
  • Tact, mature judgment, and discretion are required.
  • Strong computer literacy and organizational skills; Proficiency with MS Word and Excel.
  • Facility with fundraising databases and evidence of an ability to master these resources. 
  • Requires flexibility, versatility, and ability to work in fast-paced, deadline-driven environment  
  • Strong sense of professional ethics and confidentiality standards.
  • Understands the specific experiences of historically marginalized racial groups in the U.S., particularly Black, Indigenous, Latinx and LGBTQIA+ groups.
  • Professional demeanor, comfort, and ability to collaborate with diverse constituencies, including funding agencies, administrators, faculty members, and Institutional Advancement colleagues.

Desired qualities:

  • Experience in higher education preferred.
  • Organized and self-starting with outstanding written, oral, and analytical skills, the ability to handle multiple deadlines, and a willingness to learn quickly and work independently.
  • Knowledge across academic disciplines and ability to write persuasively and fluently in a number of general academic/College areas (e.g., sciences, arts, humanities, scholarships).
  • A commitment to the mission of the liberal arts college.

 Application Instructions

Please submit a resume and cover letter explaining how your qualifications meet the requirements of the position to [email protected] and write "Director of Foundation Relations and Strategic Initiatives" in the subject line. Applications that do not have a cover letter will not be considered.  

Additional Information 

Occidental is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not unlawfully discriminate against employees or applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, breastfeeding or related medical condition, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, marital status, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic characteristic or information, military and veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law. Occidental is strongly committed to increasing the diversity of the campus community and the curriculum, and to fostering an inclusive, equitable, and just environment within which students, staff, administrators, and faculty thrive. Candidates who can contribute to this goal through their work are encouraged to identify their strengths and experiences in this area. Individuals advancing the College’s strategic equity and justice goals and those from groups whose underrepresentation in the field are particularly encouraged to apply.

Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications. A comprehensive benefits package is available that includes: excellent health, dental, life, and retirement benefits; tuition benefits for the employee, spouse, domestic partner, and dependents; additional extras including use of gym facilities and the College Library.  

All qualified applicants will be considered for employment, including those with criminal histories, in a manner consistent with the requirements of applicable state and local laws, including the City of Los Angeles’ Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Ordinance.

Occidental College is committed to working with and providing reasonable accommodations to applicants with qualifying disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation because of a disability for any part of the application or employment process, please contact Human Resources.

As a condition of hire for a staff position and for appointment to a faculty position, Occidental College requires that all candidates who have received a conditional offer of employment complete an application form (if they have not already done so) and consent to a background check. Satisfactory completion of a background check, along with pre-employment verifications and references are required as a condition of employment, but only as permitted by federal, state, and local law, including the City of Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Ordinance. 


Nestled in Eagle Rock, between downtown Los Angeles and historic Pasadena, Occidental gives you the best of both worlds: small-town charm and L.A.’s rich cultural life. You'll find a collegial and intimate academic work environment, and our students, faculty and staff make up a diverse, close-knit community of peers.

Oxy offers excellent health, dental, vision, life and retirement benefits, along with many other extras. These include a tuition exchange program, special discounts, use of our new swimming pool and tennis courts, weight room and gym facilities, plus all the perks that Southern California and a small liberal arts school have to offer.

Find Us
1600 N. Campus Road
Los Angeles
United States

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