Chief Advancement Officer, Mount Tamalpais College

  • Cook Silverman Search
  • San Rafael, CA, USA
Full Time Fundraising

Job Description


The mission of Mount Tamalpais College (MTC) is to provide an intellectually rigorous, inclusive Associate of Arts degree program and college preparatory program, free of charge, to people at San Quentin State Prison; to expand access to quality higher education for incarcerated people; and to foster the values of equity, civic engagement, independence of thought, and freedom of expression. Mount Tamalpais College is a national leader in providing quality higher education opportunities to incarcerated people and in expanding access to higher education within California’s prison system and nationwide. In recognition of our work, the organization was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama in 2015.

Mount Tamalpais College (MTC) is currently in a period of tremendous growth. After twenty years of operating a robust higher education extension site degree program at San Quentin, the organization is nearing independent accreditation. This major step requires the building out of extensive infrastructure, including in the realms of institutional effectiveness, data management, and information technology and library services, among other critical systems. 

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As a member of the Executive Team, the Chief Advancement Officer (CAO) will provide innovative leadership and strategic vision to all aspects of the College’s development and communication efforts, and work collaboratively with team members to establish and execute a plan for significant institutional growth.  They will be responsible for the creation and implementation of a comprehensive, strategic advancement program in all areas of fund-raising, donor cultivation, communications and outreach. The CAO will maintain a portfolio of major donors and will be primarily responsible for securing major gifts aimed at meeting the strategic goals of the College’s leadership and its programs.


The Chief Advancement Officer reports directly to the President and will manage a team of four talented development and communications staff.  The CAO is a member of the senior executive team which includes five senior leaders for the College.


  • Manage a portfolio of 100 or more major gift donors and prospects capable of a gift of $5,000 or more annually
  • Communicate regularly with portfolio and other key MTC supporters, including through face-to-face engagement, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship meetings, ensuring that each major donor and prospect has a clear strategy and timeline
  • In collaboration with Finance and Operations, continually assess and monitor MTC’s financial needs, and ensure that fundraising plans support the organization's sustainability and growth
  • Work closely with the President and the Board to establish fundraising goals, and staff board on management of their prospects
  • Responsible for creating a culture around philanthropy at MTC, leading by example with tenacious and relentless optimism
  • Lead and/or support the development of high-quality written and visual materials to support MTC’s major gift cultivation and other fundraising activities
  • Manage, encourage and mentor the Development and Communications team, including support of external professional development opportunities
  • Create and implement a planned giving program including marketing and solicitation of donors, including bequests, blended gifts and other vehicles
  • Establish and maintain a deep familiarity with core programmatic and operational activities across the organization, including regular engagement with MTC students, faculty, staff, and other key partners and stakeholders
  • Other duties as needed


  • Bachelor’s Degree in a relevant field, fundraising certifications and coursework valued.
  • Extensive and progressively challenging experience working in a senior advancement/philanthropy-based position (in higher education desired).
  • Advanced knowledge of all aspects of fundraising, donor and public relations, and communications skills and best practices required.
  • Advanced knowledge of design and implementation of identification, cultivation and solicitation strategies and techniques.
  • Advanced strategic planning, critical thinking, analytical and persuasion/negotiation skills.
  • Exceptional capacity for creative, independent, and critical thought, and an appreciation for complexity and nuance.
  • Strong interpersonal and public relations skills.
  • Excellent communication skills, both oral and written.
  • Strong organizational skills, as necessary for the development and management of goals, strategies, campaigns, prospects and donors.
  • Substantial experience managing and mentoring a staff, to advance productivity, personal initiative, and collaboration.
  • Knowledge of CRMs required, Salesforce preferred.
  • Technically savvy with MS Office, Google Office, wealth screening and project management software.
  • Extensive knowledge of the local Bay Area and California philanthropic communities.
  • Deep commitment to MTC’s mission and goals, including working closely with individuals and groups of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, as well as spending time inside San Quentin State prison to observe the program, in order to learn about and represent MTC with authenticity and credibility.
  • A high degree of self-awareness, and a spirit of curiosity.



Education Requirements

Bachelor's Degree


The salary range for this position is $160,000 to $180,000 plus full benefits.