Organization: Adler University

Location: Chicago, IL

Express Interest

About Adler University:

Adler University (“Adler”) is dedicated to graduating practitioners who will lead social change and create a more just society, through degree programs, training, and community engagement focused on socially responsible practice.

The University was founded in Chicago in 1952 to continue the work of Alfred Adler, a physician and psychotherapist who emphasized the individual’s need to engage with community and create positive social impact. He believed that practitioners must advocate for change to create the systems and conditions that promote health and well-being. For Adler, equality, civil rights, mutual respect, and the advancement of democracy were core values. Adler’s concepts are the foundation for the institution’s mission, work, and curriculum today. They believe that by preparing socially responsible practitioners in fields from psychology and counseling, to public administration and policy, they can contribute to a more inclusive and equitable society.

Adler enrolls more than 1,200 students at both its campuses in Chicago and Vancouver, British Columbia and its online program. Adler partners with more than 700 agencies to advance community health. Its Institutes and Centers maintain, promote and grow theory, research and pursue social change through services and communities. The Institutes and Centers include:

  • Center for Adlerian Practice and Scholarship: The Center’s mission is to maintain, promote and grow the core theory of research and methods of Adlerian Psychology, its foundational roots and best practice application in schools, at home, in clinical settings, the workplace and in the community; and
  • Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice: The purpose of IPSSJ is to meet public safety challenges with socially just solutions. They work with community groups, peer institutions and systems partners to address violence, public safety challenges and discuss potential resolutions.

To advance change in the world through their graduates’ work, the University must take aggressive steps to attract and retain the most capable and passionate students; to support the accomplished faculty and the academic and community programs that are their hallmark; and to make sure their physical facilities provide a stable and encouraging environment for this work. The 1: to Many campaign is the first comprehensive campaign in the history of the institution. The $10M campaign will help Adler build an endowment, enhance their operating budget and secure long-term commitments that are essential to every university.

Adler is committed to improving individual and community health and well-being through positive social change. For more information, please visit

The Opportunity:

The Associate Vice President for Development (“AVP”) will report to and work in close partnership with the Vice President for Institutional Advancement (“VP”), implementing strategies for growth and building a culture of philanthropy throughout the university. Ultimately, the AVP will be responsible for strengthening the infrastructure of the development team and the identification, cultivation and solicitation of new and existing donors.

The AVP will provide leadership, strategic direction and operational coordination to the alumni relations, annual giving and grants teams. S/he will actively manage a donor portfolio by personally participating in identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship as well as collaborating with the VP and the President of the University, to ensure that she and he are effectively supported and leveraged to achieve fundraising goals. The AVP will develop tailored strategies for individual, corporate and foundation donors that lead to sustainable fundraising growth.

The AVP will be an entrepreneurial and creative thinker, yet hands-on executor who will lead best-in-class individual giving and corporate and foundation programs. S/he will provide strategic direction for the Institutional Advancement team members driving accountability for achieving fundraising goals. The AVP will work in partnership with the VP to oversee and complete Adler’s campaign, 1:Many. S/he will guide donor engagement and solicitation resulting in increased giving levels.

Key success factors of this development role include:

  • Cultivating new revenue sources by creatively and strategically expanding the donor base, ranging from high profile individual donors to major national foundations and corporations;
  • Increasing the effectiveness and productivity of the development team by serving as a coach and mentor, motivating team members with energy and passion and ensuring clear expectations and accountability;
  • Developing and maintaining collaborative and impactful relationships with Adler’s senior leadership teams to enhance fundraising activities, and overall culture of philanthropy, and to solicit and close gifts;
  • Tracking key metrics and progress against strategic and tactical goals in annual progress plans;
  • Refining and directing strategies for alumni and donors through donor recognition programs/societies and stewardship;
  • Cultivating long-term relationships to ensure continued funding, funder engagement and involvement; and
  • Working with the VP to position Adler for long-term sustainable success through strong and growing philanthropic support, leading and inspiring a culture of philanthropy throughout the organization.

Candidate Profile:

The Associate Vice President for Development will be a creative, self-motivated and proven development leader who will exhibit personal integrity, honesty, zeal and compassion.

The ideal candidate will have the following personal qualities and characteristics:

A Leader in Development

The AVP will be an experienced leader in the field of development with a measurable track record of success within a fast-paced and complex environment. S/he will have demonstrated expertise with a wide range of fundraising channels. S/he will embrace Adler’s culture and will have the character and confidence to expand the organization’s development program. The AVP will have a demonstrated record of implementing direct fundraising initiatives including prospect identification, individualized cultivation and successful solicitation and stewardship. S/he will adopt an entrepreneurial approach to expanding and deepening new and existing donor support.  S/he will be a confident partner with Adler’s Board, senior leadership and faculty to provide strategic guidance and support in the cultivation of donors. A tactical leader, s/he will have a strong data and analysis orientation and a proven ability to use metrics to drive development decisions and achieve strategic objectives.

Team Management and Business Acumen

The AVP will offer creative, yet practical, ideas to achieve the strategic direction of both the development team and the overall organization. S/he will be an assertive and results-oriented leader with the ability to translate Adler’s development goals into clear objectives for development staff. S/he will be a builder with the ability to set priorities decisively, delegate responsibilities, assure accountability and allocate resources to ensure results.  In partnership with the VP, the AVP will strengthen and empower the team that will implement the course of action for achieving the university’s vision. The AVP will have exceptional leadership, critical thinking and planning and organization skills to translate strategy into operational goals. S/he will have a demonstrated understanding of efficient and successful development departments. S/he will have the proven ability to effectively motivate and manage staff teams and to build unified and collaborative partnerships in an inclusive, academic environment.

Relationship Builder and Collaborator

The AVP will have a motivating approach to building collaboration and buy-in and generating support from stakeholders. S/he will be a charismatic leader who can establish rapport and open communication with all constituents and successfully convey Adler’s mission and objectives. S/he will be a confident and articulate communicator with the ability to work fluidly across all levels. S/he will have a strong sense of accountability, take initiative, as well as be adaptable, highly organized, persuasive and detail oriented, with the ability to build collaborative relationships and foster trust both internally and externally. S/he will be able to develop a strong working relationship with key leaders and be a proactive communicator at all times.

Passion for the Mission

The AVP will have a passion for Adler University’s mission and values of social interest, compassion, justice, respect for individual diversity and difference, intellectual rigor, optimism and collaboration. S/he will embrace the university’s culture, while continually innovating to help Adler achieve its goals. The AVP will be an empathic leader who treats others with respect. S/he will be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.

A bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree in a related field is preferred.


Marissa Martin and Turner Delano of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role, please submit your materials here or email Marissa and Turner directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Adler University is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ applicants.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations, institutions of higher education, and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information, visit