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With permission from Cristo Rey Network

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Director of Development


About Bellwether Education Partners

Bellwether Education Partners is a national nonprofit focused on dramatically changing education and life outcomes for underserved children. We do this by helping education organizations accelerate their impact and by working to improve policy and practice.

Bellwether envisions a world in which race, ethnicity, and income no longer predict opportunities for students, and the American education system affords all individuals the ability to determine their own path and lead a productive and fulfilling life.

Our work focuses on five core areas:

  1. Policy analysis and research
  2. Strategy and growth planning
  3. Organizational effectiveness and efficiency
  4. Implementation support
  5. Educational program evaluation

We believe that the only way to ensure all children have access to a high-quality education is to take a holistic approach by changing field-level policies and perceptions while strengthening and supporting individual organizations. Since many of the challenges organizations face are complex, they require multiple perspectives and areas of expertise.

Through our integrated offerings, we provide comprehensive, coherent, and lasting solutions to education’s most long-standing and complicated problems.

Organizational Culture

Bellwether takes our mission of serving educators, students, organizations, and communities seriously. But we try not to take ourselves as individuals quite so seriously. We do challenging work, and we know how to have fun. From jumpsuits and talent shows at retreats, to PowerPoint presentations on werewolves and vampires at team meetings, we embrace our individuality — our quirks, talents, and diversity of viewpoints. We welcome different experiences and perspectives because we know that our team is stronger for having a variety of political, cultural, and educational beliefs represented. 

Bellwether strives to make the work rewarding and sustainable so we can find harmony between demanding jobs and full personal lives. We are proud that our team has poets, hockey players, food bloggers, activists, teachers, karate black belts, church leaders, cyclists, and much more. Our flexible work environment allows many of our team members to work where they like, and when they like (within reason, of course). This allows us to operate in ways that feel most productive to us and do more of what we love doing on our own time.

These qualities are clear in the core values that guide our work and reflect what is truly important to us as an organization:

  • Mission Mindset: We are dedicated to dramatically improving outcomes for low‐income students. Our nonprofit status allows us to focus on this mission, and it guides the people we hire and the clients and projects we support.
  • Tailored Excellence: We work with our clients to develop customized, innovative solutions. We direct our unwavering focus on quality toward successful outcomes for our clients.
  • Synergy: We believe the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that our teams make each other better.
  • Integrity: We exemplify the highest standards of individual and organizational ethics. We carefully balance client confidentiality with transparency to other clients and the public.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: We believe that to achieve our mission, we must be a diverse and inclusive organization broadly reflecting the various communities we serve.
  • Flexibility: We believe in the philosophy of “working smarter, not harder.” We trust our co-workers and teams to do excellent work in the manner they see fit.
  • No Drama: We have no tolerance for drama or the politics of education affecting our work. We respectfully and proactively deal with frustrations, disagreements, and unexpected hurdles.

Further, we value many forms of diversity and believe race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic issues play an especially acute role in the education sector and consequently our work. By actively seeking and hiring talent with diverse backgrounds and experiences, and maintaining an environment where divergent ideas and perspectives are freely expressed, we increase our collective ability to deliver thoughtful, relevant solutions and analyses for our clients and the education sector.

About the Position

This is an exciting opportunity to co-create the development strategy and systems that will enable Bellwether to achieve its ambitious mission. The Director of Development (DD) will supervise all aspects of our fundraising strategy, oversee the design of fundraising processes and systems, and work with the Bellwether partner team to secure the resources necessary to drive Bellwether’s growth and impact. The DD will be responsible for the development, implementation, and tracking of Bellwether’s fundraising strategies and goals. This is an instrumental new role on the Bellwether leadership team. The DD will work alongside a Communications and Marketing Manager and report to Co-Founder and Partner Andy Rotherham.

Bellwether has a strong revenue model that includes a diverse range of funding sources in which approximately two thirds of our revenue is fee-for-service and one third is grants. Bellwether currently has the support of major national funders, but seeks to deepen and broaden its relationships and to grow its development efforts rapidly in the coming years. We have recently realigned our service offerings around five specific areas where we see the most opportunity for impact. So although we are an established organization, Bellwether’s new DD will have an opportunity to help define and build the strategy and processes in support of this work, taking our fundraising to a new level of effectiveness.

Specifically, the DD is charged with developing and implementing plans to increase annual grant-based and philanthropic revenue and raise Bellwether’s profile with potential sources of support for our work. The DD will support and leverage the fundraising efforts of senior Bellwether leaders and will also represent the organization in various settings. The DD will help broaden and increase the number and type of organizations and individuals that see Bellwether as an investment vehicle of choice for high-impact, mission-aligned education work.

The Director of Development will:

  • Establish a development strategy aligned to Bellwether’s mission, growth goals, and capacity in partnership with the Bellwether leadership team;
  • Serve as strategic thought partner to senior leaders and provide them with knowledge management, communications, and meeting preparation support aligned with a coordinated development strategy;
  • Develop the plan for internal systems and supports to enable an effective ongoing development effort, including improving/developing tracking and reporting tools, defining processes, recommending staff and leadership roles;
  • Conduct prospect research to identify funding sources and coordinate approach strategies;
  • Manage the external prospecting process by supporting senior Bellwether leaders in coordinating meetings with key and potential supporters, and in conducting outreach to funders;
  • Selectively prepare grant and related proposals to secure funding for the organization;
  • Ensure accuracy and confidentiality in donor data and timeliness in donor correspondence;
  • Represent Bellwether in external settings, including meetings, conferences, and events; and
  • Support change management efforts to ensure strong implementation.


Bellwether is a fit for professionals who possess strong personal drive and motivation; demonstrate exemplary professional behavior and values; and who are resourceful, responsible, tenacious, independent, and self-confident.

Additionally, the successful candidate will have the following:

Experience and Knowledge

  • Three or more years of leadership experience in nonprofit fundraising or similar development experience;
  • Specific expertise in individual giving, including major gifts solicitation;
  • Experience building individual behaviors, processes, and systems that support organizational growth; and
  • Familiarity with education reform and a passion for improving access to excellent education for underserved students.


  • Superb writing skills and the attention to detail necessary to craft persuasive, compelling arguments in support of the organization’s aims;
  • Strong interpersonal skill set, including ability to work collegially with peers, reports, and supervisors who reflect a diversity of experience and perspectives;
  • Track record of effective lateral and upwards management to achieve goals in situations with and without positional authority for key actions;
  • Track record of building systems and teams that support sustainable, effective, and efficient fundraising and donor communications efforts and prospect management;
  • Excellent communication and problem solving skills;
  • Tested strategic and tactical planning experience on behalf of an organization, and entrepreneurialism and a high level of motivation;
  • Extremely well developed skills around organization, balancing multiple priorities, and tracking issues to completion;
  • Ability to conduct the in-depth research necessary to identify new sources of funding from foundations, corporations, investors, and/or individual donors, and the skills required to secure these resources through relationship-building; and
  • Ability to develop budgets, including basic Excel skills.


  • The requisite persistence and zeal to lead the organization’s efforts in support of our ambitious impact goals;
  • Comfort working in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial, and often ambiguous environment; and
  • Level of integrity and energy compelling enough to bring divergent groups together in a collaborative fashion and inspire them to act.


Bellwether Education Partners provides competitive compensation and an attractive benefits package that includes a performance bonus based on individual and firm success, health care coverage, and a 401(k) plan with an employer matching contribution policy.


Our work is national in scope, and our team is primarily concentrated in two major cities: Washington, D.C. and Chicago. Although we maintain offices in these cities, our flexible working style allows our professionals to work where they have built their lives, thereby enabling Bellwether to hire the best person for each role, regardless of geography.

To Apply

Applications or inquiries about the position should be directed to:

Lynne Graziano, Recruitment Coordinator

The review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Applications should consist of a letter of interest and a current résumé and should be submitted electronically.

Bellwether Education Partners is committed to providing equal opportunities. It is our policy to ensure that all individuals with whom we are in contact are not discriminated against on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, color, disability, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran’s status. Further, as described above, Bellwether is committed to building a diverse team and strongly encourages individuals from all backgrounds to apply.