Recruiting exceptional leaders for mission-driven organizations.

Chief Development Officer St. Louis, MO

Great Rivers Greenway (GRG) seeks an experienced, engaging, and mission-driven chief development officer. Joining the organization at a pivotal moment as GRG launches the Brickline Greenway initiative, this represents an opportunity for a talented leader to have a transformative impact on the environmental, economic, social, and physical well-being of the St. Louis region and community.

Great Rivers Greenway is a public agency, created by a vote of the people in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County in 2000 to establish a sales tax dedicated to parks and greenways. These funds have enabled GRG to collaborate with partners and communities to build, care for, and bring to life a vast network of greenways, creating healthy habitats and watersheds along the way. GRG has a clear, bold vision to build a dynamic network of connecting rivers, parks, and communities, and its mission to make the St. Louis region a more vibrant place to live, work, and play by continuing to develop this regional network of greenways. 128 miles have been built so far, with another almost 200 miles in planning and eventually 200 to 300 more to connect the whole region. GRG works intentionally to establish greenways as welcoming, inclusive common ground to enrich lives and bridge communities. With visits to these greenways up 76 percent in 2020, totaling 3 million visits last year, the Covid-19 pandemic has made it clearer than ever the critical need for all of us to have safe spaces for getting fresh air and exercise, as well as connection to nature and each other.

The next major focus for GRG in terms of public-private partnerships is the Brickline Greenway. The mission of this project is to transform St. Louis by connecting people and the city’s most treasured places, creating inspiring outdoor experiences and equitable opportunities for growth. Kicked off with a privately funded international design competition, the big idea is to not only physically connect Forest Park, the Gateway Arch, Fairground Park, and Tower Grove Park, but also for the greenway to be a catalyst for equitable economic development, with the project and process driven by community engagement. The project’s name was chosen by the public, to honor the beautiful and strong brick building material seen throughout the up to 17 city neighborhoods that it will connect.

As GRG prepares for this ambitious undertaking, the agency’s focus has expanded to diversify and deepen sources of support to create a stable and sustainable funding platform for the future. As part of this effort, Great Rivers Greenway seeks a dynamic and experienced chief development officer (CDO) to champion its mission and provide strategic vision, leadership, and direction for all fundraising and stewardship activities. This position is an employee of the public agency and reports directly to GRG's chief executive officer (CEO), Susan Trautman. The CDO will design, articulate, and implement a successful fundraising program, and will plan and execute an ambitious campaign. This unique public and private endeavor seeks to raise a total of $250 million, with approximately $75 million in estimated federal funding and $15 million from the GRG agency local sales tax funds; the CDO will be responsible for raising $155 million from individuals, corporations, and foundations.

To accomplish this goal, the chief development officer will increase and diversify GRG’s revenue streams by strengthening ties with existing supporters, developing sophisticated and effective approaches to identify new individual and institutional donors, and broadening the organization’s overall outreach efforts. The CDO will collaborate closely with the CEO, foundation president and board leadership, and key stakeholders to assess and define the strategic direction of the development function and create a comprehensive development program and campaign plan. This leader will work closely with all constituencies and manage all aspects of the development operation. The CDO will launch systematic initiatives to identify and cultivate a strong pipeline of donors and work to enhance public awareness, strengthening relationships and partnerships to benefit GRG philanthropically. This role will cultivate relationships with individual donors, private foundations, and corporations and will have experience building affinity and support from non-affinity donors, and will solicit gifts and grants at the six-, seven-, and eight-figure levels.

While this position will focus on the Brickline Greenway project, there are also 20 to 30 other greenway projects going on at any given time, as well as an overall fundraising program, board development, and collaboration with other departments and activities of GRG. This position currently has one direct report, the development coordinator, and manages consultants as needed. This department of two sets an annual budget, pursues grant opportunities, annual appeals, and follows a strategic plan developed in conjunction with the foundation’s board of directors.

The successful candidate will be able to passionately articulate the mission and transformative social, economic, health, and environmental impacts of Great Rivers Greenway, and will be skilled at building genuine relationships with individuals and communities of all backgrounds. With GRG’s community-focused mission and its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, the CDO be an active and engaged leader who is comfortable and willing to discuss complex and sometimes difficult topics. Working in close partnership with GRG’s senior leadership, the CDO will work to build on GRG's forward momentum by supporting programs and policies that promote accessibility and equitable outcomes for all. Great Rivers Greenway is committed to recruiting candidates from historically underrepresented or marginalized backgrounds and identities, as well as individuals who embrace the values, practices and outcomes of diversity, equity, and inclusion personally and professionally.

The ideal candidate must possess proven leadership and organizational skills, a keen understanding of fundraising best practices, a strong record of securing major and principal gifts, and a demonstrated ability to build a highly efficient and effective development program. The CDO must demonstrate a high level of integrity and trust, as well as a deep commitment to equity and inclusion. The successful candidate will be a self-starter who thrives in an entrepreneurial and team-oriented environment, with a sense of urgency and a clear set of priorities, but with the ability to adapt to quickly changing circumstances. The CDO will have strong communication skills and be an open, achievement-oriented professional with a proven ability to lead and motivate colleagues and volunteer board members to keep them engaged, energized, and focused on results. At least seven years of complex major and principal giving and/or foundation relations experience in a successful multi-million-dollar development program is required.

Jack Gorman is leading this search with Kennedy Kearney-Fischer and Molly Gallagher.

Great Rivers Greenway is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, veteran status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, or dis/ability (in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act) with respect to employment opportunities.

As a steward of taxpayers’ dollars, Great Rivers Greenway embraces the diversity of our region, proactively creating inclusive public spaces and processes with and for all. We're committed to bringing the vision of a dynamic network of greenways to life in ways that achieve more equitable outcomes for all. As an organization, we expect all employees, vendors, partners, and volunteers to support this dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our work. 

Find more information about GRG’s mission and business cases here.

To apply or nominate a candidate, please return to our site on a laptop/desktop for full functionality.
If you are viewing this on a laptop/desktop, enlarge the window to enable these buttons.
If you are viewing this on a laptop/desktop, enlarge the window to enable these buttons.