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Associate Director, Major Gifts

Court Theatre, a department of the University of Chicago in Hyde Park, is seeking candidates for an Associate Director of Major Gifts.

Department: ARD Court Theatre
Position: Associate Director, Major Gifts
Classification: Year-Round, Full Time, Benefits-Eligible


The job manages programs designed to meet University fundraising goals for contributed income. Serves as strategist of efforts to secure gifts and build relationships with patrons, ticketholders, and friends of the university in addition to alumni, faculty, administrators and organizations with potential to make gifts. Develops communication strategies for projects.

The Court Theatre development department is a team of four fundraising professionals who work collaboratively to foster increased engagement with the Theatre and secure gifts and grants from individuals and institutions to support Court Theatre priorities and goals, as set by the Executive Director. The goal is to significantly increase philanthropic support in the next five years. We seek to accomplish this through in-person meetings, carefully curated cultivation and stewardship events, and other forms of donor engagement. As part of the University, we collaborate with Alumni Relations and Development colleagues across campus.

About the Department:

Alumni Relations & Development (ARD) engages alumni (~190k), current students, parents and friends of the University through intellectual, professional and social activities on campus, around the world and online. ARD raises $550 Million annually to support faculty and researchers, practitioners and patients, and students and programs across the University. Our work supports priorities in every division, school, department, and institute.

Court Theatre is the professional theatre of the University of Chicago, dedicated to innovation, inquiry, intellectual engagement, and community service. Functioning as the University’s Center for Classic Theatre, Court and its artists mount theatrical productions and audience enrichment programs in collaboration with faculty. These collaborations enable a re-examination of classic texts that pose the enduring and provocative questions that define the human experience. Court Theatre is committed to engaging, with equity and intention, the communities of which we are a part: the South Side of Chicago, the University of Chicago, and the local and national theatre community, including Court’s own staff, freelance technicians, and guest artists. Court is dedicated to creating an environment where people of marginalized identities can feel safe and flourish. This position has a hybrid work schedule which includes weekly in office presence located in Hyde Park. For more information, visit

Primary Responsibilities:

  • The Associate Director’s responsibilities are to secure leadership annual, major, and planned gifts as well as work closely with the Director to develop and execute strategies that support engaging and growing the Court Theatre donor base.
  • Serve as a frontline gift officer, managing development communications, coordinating stewardship and donor relations, and leveraging programs, events, and performances to strengthen donor engagement.
  • Identify, qualify, cultivate, solicit, and steward individuals or institutions that have the capacity and interest to make five and six-figure gift commitments to Court Theatre.
  • Lead discovery and prospect engagement activity for assigned regions or prospect segments with the goals of increasing contributed revenue, expanding the prospect pool, and growing the donor base to reflect the diversity and capacity of Court Theatre’s audiences.
  • Manage development communications: write appeal letters, briefings, and proposals; create and oversee donor content for print and digital publications; and collaborate and liaise with Court Theatre’s marketing department and Alumni Relations and Development’s strategic communications and direct response teams.
  • Develop and implement compelling plans for stewardship and donor relations, including coordination of Court Theatre’s giving societies such as the Producers Circle and Directors Circle, and look for new, innovative ways to engage donors and prospective donors to increase fundraising.
  • Assist in the planning and execution of strategic events, programs, and performances – specifically, but not exclusively, Producers Circle and Directors Circle dinners – designed to advance relationships with prospects, donors, and key volunteers.
  • Provide leadership in the development department and serve as project manager for key fundraising initiatives as assigned.
  • Collaborate with the Director of Development to identify and target key gaps in coverage among prospect segments with promising fundraising potential and build leadership annual, major gift, and planned giving pipelines.
  • Build knowledge and ability to communicate effectively, both in writing and in meetings, about a range of Court Theatre programs, priorities, productions, and initiatives, and deliver prompt and effective follow-up to prospects and donors.
  • Achieve personal fundraising activity goals monthly, quarterly, and annually.
  • Establish and maintain effective communication links with Court Theatre and University colleagues to ensure a coordinated approach to prospects and donors and the implementation of fundraising best practices.
  • Maintain active and regular local travel schedule to meet with donors and prospective donors as needed. Office schedule is currently hybrid – three days in the office with two days working from home maintain flexibility dependent on business needs.
  • Seek opportunities for professional development that will enhance job performance including attending webinars, seminars, building networks within the University and with colleagues at peer institutions.
  • Establishes fundraising goals and priorities based on department objectives, designs strategies to meet those goals, and monitors progress against goals.
  • Identifies, analyzes, and qualifies donor interest to maximize giving. Helps with overall planning efforts for the University’s most important prospects. Works independently to develop communication strategies for projects, including publications and public presentations.
  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Education: Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.
  • Work Experience: Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 5-7 years of work experience in a related job discipline.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree or advanced degree.
  • Minimum five years of professional work experience in nonprofit management, development, alumni relations, marketing, public relations, sales, or similar professional work experience.
  • Leading a project team or managing staff.
  • Experience working with volunteer leadership and/or Board members.
  • Demonstrated skill and knowledge of, or ability to learn quickly, the internal workings of the University as well as the technology tools available to the Office of Alumni Relations and Development, including the University’s donor relationship management system and the Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Demonstrated project management experience.
  • Demonstrated track record of success in cultivating, soliciting, and closing significant philanthropic commitments.

Preferred Competencies:

  • Manage confidential information with discretion and tact.
  • Act with integrity, professionalism, and confidentiality.
  • Work collegially and collaboratively in a team setting.
  • Prioritize multiple projects and independently follow through with detail.
  • Outstanding interpersonal and communications skills characterized by the ability to listen, to speak, and to write effectively.
  • Self-motivation and the ability to take initiative.

Working Conditions:

  • This position has a hybrid work schedule which includes weekly in office presence.
  • Standard office environment.
  • Travel to campus and/or non-campus locations for University business.
  • Work evenings and weekends as needed.
  • This position is located in Hyde Park.

Application Documents:

  • Resume/CV (required)
  • Cover Letter, addressed to Hiring Committee (preferred)

When applying, the document(s) MUST be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

To Apply:
External candidates must apply online through the UChicago employment portal at:

Search University Staff Opportunities, Posting #JR18842

Internal candidates (including temporary or student employees), should apply through their personal Workday site, and not through the External Job Site.

Employees must comply with the University’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements. More information about the requirements can be found on the University of Chicago Vaccination GoForward.

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University’s Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.

We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.

All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history.  A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment.  Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.

The University of Chicago’s Annual Security & Fire Safety Report (Report) provides information about University offices and programs that provide safety support, crime and fire statistics, emergency response and communications plans, and other policies and information. The Report can be accessed online at: Paper copies of the Report are available, upon request, from the University of Chicago Police Department, 850 E. 61st Street, Chicago, IL 60637.

About Court Theatre:

Court Theatre is the professional theatre of the University of Chicago, dedicated to innovation, inquiry, intellectual engagement, and community service. Court endeavors to make a lasting contribution to classic American theatre by expanding the canon of translations, adaptations, and classic texts. The theatre revives lost masterpieces; illuminates familiar texts; explores the African American theatrical canon; and discovers fresh, modern classics. Court engages and inspires its audience by providing artistically distinguished productions, audience enrichment activities, and student educational experiences. In all of this work, we are committed to recognizing, addressing, and eradicating racism, as we strive to better serve our South Side community. For more information about the theater, visit

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