Organization: Center for Employment Opportunities

Location: New York, NY

Express Interest

About Center for Employment Opportunities:

The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) is dedicated to providing immediate, effective, and comprehensive employment services to people with recent criminal convictions. CEO’s programs help participants regain the skills and confidence needed for successful transitions to stable, productive lives. CEO serves more than 5,000 participants a year, giving them the opportunity to support themselves and their families, remain crime-free, and contribute positively to their communities.

Headquartered in New York City, CEO currently operates in 18 cities across six states. In 2016, CEO embarked on a five-year strategic plan to serve 11,000 participants annually. CEO has gained support to expand its programs through government, nonprofit, and private organizations, including the Federal Social Innovation Fund, Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Robin Hood Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, Tipping Point Community, and, among many others.

The organization began as a demonstration project of the Vera Institute of Justice in the 1970s to address employment barriers facing the formerly incarcerated following release in New York City. The organization has grown into the leading reentry employment organization in the country and a model of social enterprise, where over 25,000 formerly incarcerated individuals have secured full-time employment since 1996.

CEO’s theory of change posits that if the employment needs of persons with criminal convictions are addressed at their most vulnerable point—when they are first released from incarceration or soon after conviction—by providing life skills educationshort-term paid transitional employment, full-time job placement, and employment retention services, they will be less likely to become re-incarcerated and more likely to build a foundation for a stable, productive life for themselves and their families. Based on CEO’s theory of change, CEO’s program model provides a road map for participants to achieve a long-term goal of remaining attached to the legitimate workforce and maintaining their freedom.

For more information on CEO, please visit

The Opportunity:

The Chief Development Officer will lead CEO’s fundraising efforts and have primary responsibility for strengthening the infrastructure needed to support and grow the organization’s budget through government, foundations, and other emerging revenue streams.

CEO has an annual operating budget close to $40M. The current revenue model is based on national and local foundation partnerships, procuring government contracts, and gaining earned revenue for its social enterprise transitional work crews. CEO is also expanding its individual donor pool. Under the strategic direction of the Chief Development Officer, CEO aims to deepen its relationships with institutional funders, while also expanding and diversifying the donor base and pipeline to include additional government, corporate, and individual support.

Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, Sam Schaeffer, the Chief Development Officer will be a member of the Executive Team and will lead a highly motivated four-person team. The Chief Development Officer role is a full-time position located in the New York City office.

Responsibilities of the Chief Development Officer include, but are not limited to:

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive development strategy to include foundation, government, and new initiatives, including major gifts and corporate philanthropy; work in partnership with the Executive Team and Directors across each of the CEO sites to ensure adherence to a national development plan
  • Serve as a leader alongside the Senior Management Team and the Board on all major fundraising initiatives to help CEO sustain current capacity and continue to grow and scale the organization
  • Provide coaching, guidance, and feedback to the Development Team on prospect research, proposal, and report writing; lead team in ensuring all materials meet deadlines and are systematically tracked and archived
  • Collaborate with Directors, Development Team members, and Communications staff to cultivate, develop, and mobilize the CEO network – volunteers, donors, champions, employers, and others – as contributors
  • Work closely with the Executive Team to support Board members in institutional and individual fundraising
  • Ensure the acknowledgement and stewardship of all individual donors
  • Attend and represent CEO at key fundraising events, meetings, conferences, and speaking engagements
  • Collaborate with Communications staff to implement CEO’s communications strategy and ensure the development and use of print and digital collateral consistent with CEO’s brand
  • Travel approximately 15% to CEO offices, partner meetings, and conferences

Candidate Profile:

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

  • Commitment to CEO’s mission and ability to speak persuasively to stakeholders about CEO’s model and program achievements
  • Demonstrated success managing and developing people and teams
  • High energy and commitment to CEO’s mission
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to influence, engage, and build relationships with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders
  • Flexible and adaptable style; a leader who can positively impact both strategic and tactical fundraising initiatives
  • Ability to construct, articulate, and implement annual Strategic Development plans
  • Strong organizational and time management skills with exceptional attention to detail
  • Commitment to a diverse, inclusive, and collegial workplace
  • A professional and resourceful style; the ability to work independently and as a team member, to take initiative, and to manage multiple tasks and projects at a time
  • 8+ years of professional experience in nonprofit development functions, including team management and success in growing a national budget
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required; master’s degree or equivalent preferred in communications, public relations, business, nonprofit management, marketing, or related field
  • Demonstrated success managing and forging relationships with both internal teams and multiple funding sources, and cultivating and expanding funder relationships over time
  • Technological savviness and prior use of donor databases, including Salesforce, is highly preferred


Melissa Madzel and Meghan Franklin of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role, please submit your materials here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

CEO is a diverse team working to advance economic opportunity for people returning home from incarceration. CEO welcomes diversity, and highly encourages applications from people of color and people with convictions. CEO is an equal employment opportunity for all regardless of race, color, citizenship, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, veteran or reservist status, or any other category protected by federal, state, or local law.

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