Ascend Charter Schools

  • Director of Development

    Career Area
    Ascend Network
    Ascend Learning
    Start Date
  • Overview

    Ascend Public Charter Schools equip every student with the knowledge, confidence, and character to succeed in college and beyond. Founded in 2007, Ascend comprises 12 schools in the central Brooklyn neighborhoods of Brownsville, Bushwick, Canarsie, East Flatbush, and Cypress Hills, and educates 4,800 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, with plans to open six additional schools by school year 2022-23. By school year 2024-25, Ascend’s student enrollment will have doubled. Ascend is committed to operating truly public schools that enroll all students, fill every vacated seat through grade 9, and operate at current public spending levels. Its established schools have begun to not only close, but reverse longstanding racial and economic achievement gaps.


    By offering a rich liberal arts education in a warm and supportive environment, Ascend teachers animate children’s natural sense of curiosity and prepare students to think on their own, thrive on their own, and engage the world as informed, responsible citizens.


    Ascend’s ambitious curriculum and inquiry-based pedagogy fosters independence of thought and intellectual confidence; its innovative positive discipline model, based on Responsive Classroom and restorative practices, builds student agency and social and emotional competencies.




    The Director of Development will play a critical role in supporting the expansion of Ascend’s network of schools by raising philanthropic capital and engaging a broad spectrum of funders in its mission. Philanthropic funding will help enable Ascend to expand in accordance with its plan to serve 9,000 students by school year 2024-25, and further growth beyond that milestone.

    Reporting directly to the President, the position will work closely with Ascend’s senior leadership team and CEO. This is an extraordinary opportunity for a sophisticated development professional to apply proven revenue generating strategies and systems to an organization dedicated to academic excellence and accountability.

    The ideal candidate will be a strong strategic thinker with a record of securing gifts from foundations and corporations, as well as significant gifts from individual donors. He or she will not only have a deep understanding of best development practices, but will also have an ability to develop and implement innovative strategies to distinguish Ascend, attract interest, and build relationships.
    Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

    Vision Setting and Strategic Planning

    • Develop ambitious yet feasible revenue, donor quantity, and retention benchmarks to achieve short- and long-term development goals
    • Design and implement strategies and tactical plans to achieve short- and long-term goals for different donor segments
    • Develop rigorous performance measures and adapt as necessary
    • Identify new strategies and revenue streams for Ascend based on existing programing, results, and interest in the funding community
    • Strategically communicate Ascend’s unique story effectively to the right audiences, i.e. foundations and individuals, to deepen Ascend’s impact
    • Work with the senior leadership team to establish the goals, vision, metrics, priorities, and plans for Ascend’s fundraising efforts



    • Support Ascend’s leadership team in managing relationships with a growing network of institutional investors and develop a systematic grant-writing and reporting process
    • Research and actively engage potential institutional and individual donors, while building, expanding, and cultivating Ascend’s existing circle of friends
    • Coordinate stewardship activities including, but not limited to, internal/external meetings, school tours, face-to-face solicitations, and cultivation and solicitation events
    • Research compliance with all relevant regulations and ensure adherence to ethical principles and standards for fundraising
    • Engage both local and national charter funders 
    • Ensure the highest quality in fundraising communications and promotional materials, including proposals, applications, correspondence, reports, budgets and program information


    The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications:

    • At least eight years of experience in related development efforts for a non-profit organization
    • Alignment with the education philosophy and core beliefs of Ascend Learning
    • An ability to support the closing of significant gifts from foundations and corporations, as well as individual donors
    • Impeccable written, verbal, and presentation skills, with a sharp attention to detail
    • Highly developed interpersonal skills, sharp discernment, and ability to execute good judgment
    • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment under tight deadlines, navigating systems and organizations of scale and complexity, without sacrificing thoroughness and detail
    • Excellent organizational skills and experience with process-building, planning and execution, multi-tasking, and self-management
    • Demonstrates a strong sense of collaboration and alignment to Ascend Learning’s collegial culture
    • Dependability with demonstrated follow-through
    • Familiarity with foundations with interests in New York City is a plus
    • A self-aware leadership style with respect for all members of Ascend’s community and its funding partners
    • Bachelor’s degree required, advanced degree preferred



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