October 3, 2018 – Morris & Berger, a recruitment firm that specializes in searches for non-profit organizations, has been enlisted by LA Family Housing (LAFH) to help find a new chief development officer.
LAFH helps people transition out of homelessness and poverty through a continuum of housing enriched with supportive services. Since 1983, the non-profit has become one of the largest comprehensive real estate developer and homeless service provider agencies in Los Angeles and a regional leader providing solutions to end homelessness.
Reporting to the president and CEO as a member of the executive management team, the chief development officer is responsible for fund development, communications and community relations activities to sustain and expand LAFH programs and services.
The successful candidate will be “a strategic, highly-motivated, hands-on professional with exceptional interpersonal and communication skills,” said Morris & Berger. “The individual will be a compelling, charismatic leader with the ability to move a team forward by inspiring and motivating people with creativity, energy and a sense of humor.”
Leading candidates will have a minimum of 10 years of demonstrated high-level leadership success developing and implementing comprehensive development or external relations programs of a comparable size, the search firm said. Team management experience is required, and candidates should have a clearly articulated management philosophy that supports high performance and employee retention.
The ideal candidate will have experience in all areas of fundraising including annual giving, major gifts, grants and events, as well as an understanding of volunteer-supported organizations, and a fluency in databases that support fundraising, said Morris & Berger. Non-profit experience is required and knowledge of the Los Angeles philanthropic community is a plus.
Satisfaction from Success
Founded in 1984, Morris & Berger’s specialty practice reaches across the non-profit sector. It includes institutions of higher education, independent schools, foundations, human and social service agencies and clients in the performing and visual arts.
The firm is led by partners Jay Berger and Karin Berger Stellar. It has recruited CEOs for non-profits like Child Abuse Listening Mediation, the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, Hospice of Santa Barbara, National Math and Science Initiative, Portland State University Foundation and the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara.
“My entire career has been devoted to serving the non-profit sector,” said Mr. Berger. “There is a wonderful satisfaction that comes from enhancing the success of our non-profit clients.”
Ms. Stellar, for her part, said she has a strong commitment to those who are working to help others. “I tend to see the best in people and believe that those who are committed to the non-profit sector genuinely want to make the world a better place,” she said.
Chief Development Officers
Virtually every industry needs top-drawer chief development officers. CDOs play a key role in planning, coordinating and administering capital campaigns, corporate giving and galvanizing new donors while keeping previous funders content. Implementing funding strategies that “keep the lights on,” according to recruiters specializing in the function, is job one.
Recruiters generally say that the best training for these positions is experience, noting that there are many industry conferences and summits that are beneficial for benchmarking and sharing of best practices.
Here is a sampling of recent search for chief development officer form the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:
Vancouver, British Columbia-based PFM Executive Search placed Cynthia Kinsella as chief development officer of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society. Most recently, Ms. Kinsella was vice president of employee support solutions for Morneau Shepell’s Western region.
Development Resources inc. (DRi) has placed Emily Tracy as the new chief development officer of Polaris, an anti-human-trafficking organization. Ms. Tracy most recently served as national director of development for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, where she increased the organization’s annual revenue goal and secured multiple seven-figure gifts from high-level donors.
Executive search firm Caldwell Partners International placed Desikan Madhavanur as executive vice president and CDO of JDA Software in Scottsdale, AZ. Jim Bethmann, managing partner and co-leader of Caldwell’s TMT & IT services and information security practices, led the search. He previously worked at CA Technologies, where he served as senior vice president and business center head for data center orchestration.
Howe-Lewis International recruited Lori Abrams as vice president and CDO of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. She was previously director of development at the Valerie Fund. The Arnold P. Gold Foundation is a non-profit organization that works with medical and nursing schools, and in hospitals and other professional settings across the U.S.
Harvard Group International placed Mandy Nelson as the first ever CDO of After-School All-Stars (ASAS). Managing director and non-profit practice leader Cyndi Court led the search. Most recently, Ms. Nelson served for seven years as the associate vice president for development in the Pacific division of the American Red Cross.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media