Chief Advancement Officer

Trinity Park Conservancy Dallas, Texas
Job Type Paid permanent

The Trinity River as a physical, public space in Dallas has been a topic of conversation for more than a century, with dozens of plans circulated over the decades to improve flood control and otherwise develop the area for community benefit. Yet, those various efforts to realize the potential of the Trinity River Corridor have remained largely unrealized in terms of recreation, environmental stewardship, and community development. The Trinity Park Conservancy (formerly The Trinity Trust Foundation) has played a significant leadership role in renewed efforts during the past 14-plus years to advance a coordinated plan for the Trinity River Corridor. The corresponding Trinity River Corridor Project is one of the most monumental public works and economic development projects in Dallas’ history, and the Conservancy has championed a holistic approach, including the incorporation of urban design best practices, a commitment to equitable development, and an ethos of leveraging the project as a tool for social justice.

Trinity Park Conservancy is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization working to support and carry out the design, operation, and maintenance of the recreational, ecological, and economic development projects along the Trinity River. Since 2004, the Conservancy has raised more than $115 million in private philanthropy to support projects such as Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Margaret McDermott Bridge, Ronald Kirk Bridge, and miles of trails. The Conservancy serves as the philanthropic partner to the City of Dallas and the Trinity River Local Government Corporation in order to leverage public, partner, and private funding for multi-year conservation initiatives and transformative park projects with short-term deliverables and long-term impact. As a nonprofit organization, the Conservancy has a unique role to play in engaging the community to create an inclusive vision of spaces along the river that benefit the nearby neighborhoods and the environment.

The Trinity River Corridor is a vast and untapped resource within Dallas. With the largest urban hardwood forest in the nation and hundreds of acres of great outdoor space, the Trinity River will give Dallas citizens a beautiful and unique gathering place from which to come together and enjoy their river. It will provide citizens and visitors an opportunity to reconnect with a relatively wild landscape close to home, providing accessibility to nature with areas for walking, biking, paddling, picnics, and more.

The Conservancy is proud to be the steward for this effort and to work with Dallas citizens to make the vision a reality.

Amid a backdrop of strategic investment and entrepreneurial growth, replete with visionary new executive leadership and a dynamic Board, The Trinity Park Conservancy seeks candidates for the newly created role of Chief Advancement Officer (CAO). Reporting to the President and CEO, the CAO is a member of the executive leadership team and oversees all functions of fundraising, including individual major and principal gifts, corporate and foundation giving, planned gifts, annual fund and membership programs, special fundraising events, and prospect research. In addition, the CAO oversees enterprise-wide marketing and communications, and holds overall responsibility for the Conservancy’s campaign efforts. Key priorities for the CAO include the following: building out the infrastructure and processes for a sustainable, comprehensive, major-gifts-focused development program; establishing a culture of philanthropy across the organization; leading donor discovery, and new levels of engagement with current and prospective donors; creating greater awareness of the Conservancy’s mission and role in advancing the Trinity River Corridor Project; and, ultimately, aligning external funding with the financial needs of the Conservancy. The CAO will supervise a current staff of five and will be empowered to optimize the organizational design/functional alignment of the advancement team in consultation with the President and CEO, and it is expected that the team will expand over time commensurate with the growth of the advancement program and the Conservancy overall. The CAO will also work closely with a highly respected and talented volunteer leadership group, who possess extensive campaign experience and are among the most respected leaders in Dallas. The CAO will be a strategic partner to the President and CEO, working closely and collaboratively across the institution to carry out the Conservancy’s mission.

The Conservancy seeks a student of modern philanthropy who has experience across all areas of a comprehensive development program, particularly in major gifts fundraising. The CAO must champion strategic, data-informed decision-making, industry best practices, and an ethos of continuous improvement and transparency. S/he must be able to effectively leverage complementary communications through strategic, forward-thinking collaboration. The successful candidate will be a proven leader, manager, mentor, and collaborative colleague who is comfortable driving major initiatives and supporting the leadership of others, with a track record of effectively managing growth in a start-up or entrepreneurial environment.

Required qualifications and experience: passion for the mission of the Trinity Park Conservancy, social justice, and conservation; bachelor’s degree required, advanced degree preferred; minimum of eight years of experience in progressively responsible development leadership positions, which includes work in all functional areas (individual giving, institutional giving, planned giving, stewardship, board relations), oversight of comprehensive philanthropic program, and leadership in a major capital campaign; demonstrated ability to successfully work in an entrepreneurial nonprofit setting that prioritizes new donor discovery and engagement; demonstrated ability to provide management oversight, leadership, and direction with at least three years of supervisory experience, including experience creating and managing a budget; particular strength in developing the case for support and strategic, complex fundraising plans, and executing against those plans to achieve goals and objectives; experience working directly with the most senior levels of an organization is very important, as is the ability to effectively strategize and engage various groups and constituents; demonstrated ability to strategically move individuals and institutions across the spectrum of prospect development; a history of securing six, seven, and eight-figure gifts, as well as experience working with annual fund strategies to groom the next generation of annual leadership and major gift donors; demonstrated ability in planning and executing strategic communications to complement advancement initiatives and achieve goals; experience identifying, nurturing, and motivating board or other volunteer leaders, and a sophisticated understanding of their role in building an effective fundraising network; skill at goal setting and measuring success, and agility in addressing alternate program directions to meet goals when necessary; the ability to extract and analyze data to make effective, efficient decisions about donor strategy and process; experience in high-level Dallas philanthropy and knowledge of the corresponding players, strategies, and trends is a plus.


Trinity Park Conservancy has retained Diversified Search to assist in this confidential search process. Inquiries, nominations, and applications (current resumes and cover letters) should be directed electronically to:

Gerard F. Cattie, Jr.

Managing Director

Practice Leader, Development & Philanthropy

Diversified Search

The Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Avenue, 49th Floor, New York, NY 10174 | 212.542.2587

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.