Organization: High Jump

Location: Chicago, IL

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About High Jump:

High Jump equalizes access to education for middle school students who have exhibited academic ambition and potential and who are of limited economic means. High Jump provides academic enrichment, counseling and support programs to students of diverse backgrounds, with the goal of sending students to superior college preparatory schools, ensuring their success while they are there and enhancing their ability to gain admission to highly regarded four-year colleges and universities.

High Jump began as a partnership among the Latin School of Chicago, Francis W. Parker School and the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation to ensure that students’ access to an outstanding secondary school education would not be limited by lack of information, limitations of home schools or personal financial resources.

Today, High Jump is a tuition-free, two-year, academic enrichment program for seventh and eighth grade students performing in the top 30th percentile (typically earning As and Bs) with limited financial resources. The program recruits public and parochial school students who display academic promise but are not already benefitting from advanced instruction, gifted services, or other forms of targeted academic support.

High Jump operates three campuses in Chicago at the Latin School of Chicago, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and Francis W. Parker School and consists of six weeks of daily intensive programming in the summer and two to three Saturdays each month during the school year. This amounts to more than 350 instructional hours annually, or 33% more class time, beyond students’ regular schooling.

Through the High Jump experience, students build academic and social skills, grow in self-confidence and make critical decisions about next steps in their academic careers. The program has had great success in fulfilling its mission, as evidenced by its extraordinary alumni.

Since its founding in 1989, High Jump has prepared more than 1000 students for entrance into top public, independent and parochial college preparatory schools. With over 630 applications annually, High Jump is currently serving 360 students a year, 180 per class. Under the leadership of Executive Director Lee Hart, High Jump has seen record growth in the last few years and continues to expand annually.

Governed by a 36 member Board of Trustees, High Jump’s FY16 budget is approximately $2.2M, which has grown from $1.3M in FY13. In FY15, High Jump raised $1.9M and has increased the goal to raise $2.2M for FY16, which will contribute to the organization’s continued recent growth.

High Jump administrative offices are located at the Latin School of Chicago. For more information on High Jump, please visit

The Opportunity:

High Jump is at a critical moment in time. For 25 years High Jump has been delivering the highest quality academic programs as measured by test scores, high school and college placement and student satisfaction. To meet the growing needs of the children of Chicago, in the last three years, the program tripled in size. To sustain this growth and position the organization for further growth, the mission needs and deserves the highest quality advancement and fundraising operation.

In late 2015 High Jump retained the strategic, leadership and fundraising consulting firm of Latz & Wall to conduct an assessment of its advancement efforts. The assessment is designed to examine the extent to which High Jump is positioned for long-term sustainable success. The assessment will validate many of High Jump’s core strengths and also highlight challenges and opportunities, the responses to which will position the organization for long-term sustainable success.

One of the recommendations of the assessment will be to reinvigorate the Advancement operation at High Jump. The Director of Advancement will be a key player in building the new Advancement Office restructuring and on-going operation. The result of this work will be a highly effective and attractive “Culture of Philanthropy” where strong relationships drive philanthropic support.

High Jump depends on the Director of Advancement to provide overall leadership and assume ultimate responsibility for advancement and marketing communications. As a member of the Leadership Team, the Director of Advancement provides vital input into High Jump’s strategic and operational planning and serves as a thought partner to the Executive Director.

The Director of Advancement builds and maintains strong relationships with the organization’s key stakeholders. A pro-active and visible advocate amongst the organization’s various constituent groups, the Director of Advancement maintains and manages an active portfolio of supporters and prospective supporters for the organization’s various advancement initiatives.

The Director of Advancement reports to the Executive Director and serves as the staff liaison to the Development Committee of the Board of Trustees. S/he oversees the Advancement team and defines staff positions, interviews and recommends candidates for hiring, mentors, manages and motivates employees, conducts meaningful performance reviews and ensures the best use of professional resources to foster individual potential and superior teamwork.

Candidate Profile:

The Director of Advancement will be a strategic thinker who will enhance High Jump’s development efforts and capacity. S/he will bring a genuine passion for the organization’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 Advancement will be an experienced leader in the field of development with a measurable track record of success. S/he will have demonstrated expertise with a wide range of fundraising channels including individual giving, foundation and corporate relations, special events and annual giving, including the successful solicitation and closing of major gifts, as well as marketing and communications. S/he will have proven drive and achievement in growing comprehensive development systems and a demonstrated record of designing and implementing successful direct fundraising initiatives, including prospect research, individualized cultivation, solicitation and recognition strategies.

Strategic Leadership:
With a creative and entrepreneurial mindset, the Director of Advancement will be able to partner effectively with the Executive Director and the Board of Trustees on the ongoing implementation and development of High Jump’s advancement and marketing and communications strategies. S/he will be able to effectively lead the team on the execution of these strategies and will be able to build buy in and support for the organization’s vision and mission from High Jump’s various constituents. S/he will also have the capacity to lead others and will be able to guide the advancement team to fulfill its goals.

A Relationship Builder and Communicator:
The Director of Advancement 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 Advancement 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 High Jump’s mission and objectives. S/he will have a strong working relationship with the Board and will be a proactive communicator at all times. S/he will have the personality to work comfortably with a variety of internal and external constituents including the Board of Trustees, donors, prospects, teachers, students, parents and administrators at partner schools. The Director of Advancement will be an exceptional communicator with superior written and presentation skills.

A Passion for the Mission:
The Director of Advancement will have a passion for education, serving diverse populations and High Jump’s mission. S/he will be committed to seeing High Jump continue to grow and will formulate and guide the development strategy to achieve the organizations goals. S/he will embody High Jump’s values and welcome being part of a learning organization. The Director of Advancement will have a desire to be a member of the strong High Jump team and will value the organization’s current upward growth. A charismatic and motivational individual, the Director of Advancement will thrive in an entrepreneurial environment. S/he will be an empathetic leader, treating others with respect. The Director of Advancement 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 preferred.


Koya Leadership Partners has been exclusively retained for this search. Alexandra (Alex) Corvin and Marissa Martin are leading this search.

To express your interest in this role, please submit your materials through Koya’s online link: here or email Alex and Marissa 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