Organization: Gilda’s Club Chicago

Location: Chicago, IL

Express Interest!

About Gilda’s Club Chicago:

So that no one has to face cancer alone™ – Gilda’s Club Chicago (the Club) provides over 350 programs for men, women and children living with cancer, and families and friends to help build social, emotional and informational support as a supplement to medical care. All programs, services and support are provided free of charge.

Gilda’s Club is named in memory of comedienne, Gilda Radner, best known for her work as an original cast member of “Saturday Night Live”. Gilda was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1985. She said that having cancer gave her membership in an elite club she’d rather not belong to. Gilda learned how to live with cancer by connecting with others and by reducing her stress and aloneness. She passed away in 1989, but her legacy lived on when her husband and friends honored her wish that no one face cancer alone and to commemorate the life-changing support she received, they established Gilda’s Club. The first red door opened in New York City in 1995.

Gilda’s Club Chicago opened its doors on Valentine’s Day 17 years ago and focuses on services that complement the stresses of diagnosis, treatment and deaths for cancer patients, their families and their friends. The organization offers not just support groups but also supplemental seminars on healthy eating and navigating healthcare billing, weekly classes in yoga and tai chi, and events where people can take their minds off cancer.

In July 2009, The Wellness Community and Gilda’s Club Worldwide joined forces to become the Cancer Support Community. By helping to complete the cancer care plan, CSC optimizes patient care by providing essential, but often overlooked, services including support groups, counseling, education and healthy lifestyle programs. Today, CSC provides the highest quality emotional and social support through a network of more than 50 local affiliates, 100 satellite locations and online.

Headquartered downtown, Gilda’s Club Chicago has grown beyond its clubhouse. The Club now includes several programs in the metropolitan area including: Advocate Christ Medical Center and Advocate Children’s Hospital, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, and Rush University Medical Center.

The FY15 budget for Gilda’s Club Chicago is $1.9 million and has been awarded a Four Star Charity by Charity Navigator for the last two years. The Club’s Board Members are committed to substantially grow Gilda’s Club Chicago, both in mission and financial support.

For more information on Gilda’s Club Chicago please visit:

The Opportunity:

The Director of Development is the leader for all fundraising strategies and initiatives for Gilda’s Club Chicago. Through this hire, the Club will transform and reach a new and aspiring level of philanthropic success.

Reporting to, and partnering closely with CEO, LauraJane Hyde, the Director of Development will work with the Board, a strong senior team that includes the Director of Special Initiatives, Program Director, and Marketing Director, donors and other key constituents to advance the Club’s development efforts. S/he will oversee and manage a Development Manager who possesses a deep understanding of the organization. S/he will create and spearhead a robust fundraising strategy, ensuring strong alignment with the strategic vision. S/he will lay out the fundraising pyramid and execute efficiently on the growth plan.

The Director of Development will identify, solicit and cultivate high net worth donors and corporate prospects to build a strong donor pipeline and achieve the organization’s strategic objectives.

S/he will be instrumental in driving Gilda’s Club Chicago’s future success. S/he will enhance the overall approach to advancement – one that creates a true culture of philanthropy throughout the organization, improves and develops sustained success in contributed revenue and ultimately fulfills the Club’s mission and achieves it vision.

The Director of Development will be responsible for raising funds from a range of sources, including institutional and private donors. S/he will also be responsible for events including the Agents of Hope Dinner, honoring individuals and organizations that have made exceptional contributions to Gilda’s Club’s mission.

Key metrics for success include:

  • A comprehensive business plan is developed positioning Gilda’s Club for long-term, sustainable programmatic success through strong and growing philanthropic support;
  • Ensure robust annual fundraising that meets/exceeds the goals to ensure that the club is fully funded.
  • Develop and connect long-term relationships with new major donors to the Club’s mission and model (growing individual giving revenue from $200,000 to $500,000);
  • Identify, cultivate and secure corporate and foundation grants (growing from $415,000 to $600,000);
  • Provide effective management; ensure the Development Manager is mentored, understands expectations and remains engaged, driven and motivated; and
  • Donor communications and stewardship strategy are clearly articulated and effectively reflect the story and importance of philanthropy, specifically for the organization’s Red Door Annual Giving Society.

Candidate Profile:

The Development Director will be an experienced and charismatic leader who will take a ‘hands-on,’ strategic approach to leading a best-in-class development program. S/he will also bring a genuine passion for Gilda’s Club Chicago’s mission coupled with deep experience driving fundraising success.

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

An Expert in Development: The Director of Development will be a humble leader with a measurable track record of success. S/he will have demonstrated expertise with a wide range of fundraising channels. 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. Hand-in-hand with a process orientation, the Director of Development will also adopt an entrepreneurial approach to expanding and deepening new and existing donor support. S/he will provide strategy for fundraising campaigns, events, and support the Club’s development marketing communications and materials.

Strategic Leadership: With a creative and entrepreneurial mindset, the Director of Development will work closely with the CEO and the Board Members to create a development strategy and partner closely with the Development Manager on the execution. S/he will have experience designing, implementing and evaluating ongoing and long-term fundraising plans that support organizational growth. With a commitment to seeing the Club continue to expand in additional health care facilities, s/he will push the organization to increase its development efforts and enhance its capacity to raise funds from individuals, corporations and foundations.

A Relationship Builder and Communicator: The Director of Development will be skilled at building and sustaining excellent relationships and will be a confident and articulate communicator. With the ability to work fluidly across all levels, the Director of Development will be able to build collaboration and buy-in and generate support from stakeholders. S/he will be a charismatic, high-energy leader who can talk with anyone and successfully convey the Club’s mission and objectives. Collaborating closely with the CEO, the Director of Development will implement a comprehensive and multifaceted donor-communication and stewardship strategy ensuring donor satisfaction. S/he will partner closely with the Marketing Director to support development communication and materials. S/he will have a strong working relationship with the Board and will be a proactive communicator at all times.

A Passion for the Mission: The Director of Development will have a passion for improving and supporting the lives of men, women and children living with cancer and their caregivers. S/he will embrace Gilda’s spirit, and will have the character and drive to guide the development strategy to achieve the organization’s goals. An individual motivated by their engagement in the Gilda’s Club Chicago community, the Director of Development will thrive in a positive, entrepreneurial and supportive environment. The Director of Development will be an empathic leader, treating 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.


Koya Leadership Partners has been exclusively retained for this search. This search is being led by Marissa Martin and Melanie Damm.

To express your interest in this role, please submit your resume using Koya’s online link: or email Marissa and Melanie directly at

All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits 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 about Koya Leadership Partners, visit: