Associate Director of Development, Center for Healthy Minds

Job Locations US-WI-Madison
Regular Full-Time


WFAA requires all individuals working out of WFAA offices or conducting in-person business to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. WFAA will consider requests for reasonable accommodation as required under applicable law.


The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA)*, the private fundraising and alumni relations organization for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is seeking a Associate Director of Development to support and grow the annual and major gifts program benefitting the Center for Healthy Minds / Healthy Minds Innovations (CHM/HMI). While employed by WFAA and reporting to a Managing Senior Director of Development at WFAA, the Associate Director of Development will work hand-in-hand with the current Development Director, the Founder and Leadership of CHM/HMI, coordinating efforts with CHM/HMI and WFAA staff as appropriate.


Whether it is securing support for basic research; building partnerships with individuals, family foundations, or corporate leaders; or raising funds for the sustainability of CHM/HMI, this position presents an opportunity to work with friends of UW-Madison and CHM/HMI from across the campus, the country, and the world, while affecting the very future for all of us on the planet. 


Founded by world renowned University of Wisconsin neuroscientist Dr. Richard J. Davidson (, the Center for Healthy Minds and Healthy Minds Innovations envision a kinder, wider, more compassionate world. The two organizations look to cultivate well-being and relieve suffering through a scientific understanding of the mind. CHM/HMI’s research, rooted in neuroscience, comes down to one basic question: What constitutes a healthy mind? To begin to answer this, CHM/HMI investigated the science of emotions, contemplative practices and qualities of mind CHM/HMI suspects affect well-being, including attention, resilience, equanimity, savoring positive emotions, kindness, compassion, gratitude and empathy. The Center, part of one of the world’s top research institutions, benefits from cross-disciplinary collaborations in the arts and humanities, the physical and natural sciences, and the social sciences. CHM/HMI takes pride in being a global hub for innovations in affective and contemplative neuroscience in addition to well-being across the lifespan.


Who is WFAA?
The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association is a private, nonprofit corporation that encourages individuals and organizations to make gifts to the university and to connect with the UW. In 2014, the UW Foundation merged with the Wisconsin Alumni Association® to better serve a growing population of UW alumni and donors. We believe that private support grows out of good relationships between campus leaders, faculty and program staff who need support, and the alumni and friends who want to invest in UW–Madison. We provide important engagement opportunities to link UW–Madison alumni to each other and to their alma mater, building a strong community of Badgers.


Diversity and Inclusion:

Just as the university community benefits from differing viewpoints, perspectives, and experiences, inclusion and diversity are imperative for the success of our mission. WFAA values people and the differences that they bring to the organization, and creates an environment in which all staff members and constituents feel respected and have opportunities to thrive. 


Essential Functions

Lead Annual Gift Development

  • Develop objectives, priorities and strategies for lead annual gift development related to capital campaigns, special programs, and ongoing fund raising in collaboration with dean/faculty/staff, WFAA team and colleagues.
  • Implement development strategies with assigned constituencies, managing a portfolio of prospects and donors in varying stages of involvement to advance them strategically through the development process.
  • Cultivate lead donors for networked philanthropy opportunities as appropriate.
  • Work with prospect management, WFAA research and development colleagues to identify and qualify a portfolio of major gift prospects from existing and potential donors.
  • Schedule and conduct initial assessment/exploratory meetings with prospects, following up with correspondence, phone calls and additional visits as appropriate to qualify prospect.
  • Plan and conduct visits/trips, events and other ongoing contact to build relationships with donors, effectively presenting the case for philanthropic support and explaining gift opportunities.
  • Artfully ask for the right gift, at the right time, in the right way.

Donor Relations/Stewardship/Recognition

  • Plan and implement recognition for donors, including writing thank you letters, making personal calls, arranging meetings, hosting events, etc.
  • Plan and implement ongoing communication and stewardship with donors.
  • Coordinate with Alumni Relations team on volunteer opportunities to more deeply engage donors and prospects.
  • Participate in the external relations activities of the campus unit, attend sponsored events, etc., to solicit, encourage, increase the involvement of alumni/donors in campus unit & UW activities.

 Special Campaign Management

  • Coordinate with campus partners on special project needs or giving campaigns.
  • Work with Advancement team and campus partners (students, faculty and staff) to set goals for campaigns and to determine strategies to achieve those goals.
  • Manage budgets & student assistants as appropriate for campaigns.
  • Direct content for campaign communications (i.e. website, pledge cards, brochures, etc.).


Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent professional work experience;
  • 1 + year in gift development experience or a related;
  • Ability to meet travel requirements (@25%).

Other Qualifications:

  • Excellent oral, written, interpersonal, analytical and organizational skills required;
  • Appreciation of the vital role played by the Center for Healthy Minds / Healthy Minds Innovations (CHM/HMI) and an interest in promoting its programs as well as an ability to work effectively with university officials and prominent alumni and donors;
  • Ability to articulate the case for private support with sufficient effectiveness so that individuals understand the vision and strategy of the school and choose to invest in the vision;
  • Self-directed, entrepreneurial, ability to work independently, and as a member of an effective development team;
  • Experience and demonstrated success in fundraising or related activities.


WFAA is committed to provide our employees with an environment that is inspiring, creative and respectful.  We offer competitive pay and an excellent benefits program, which includes a 10% 401k contribution after 1 year of service!


The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association is an Equal Opportunity Employer *The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association is the “doing business as” name of the merged organization comprising the University of Wisconsin Foundation ( and the Wisconsin Alumni Association ( Its legal corporate name is registered as the University of Wisconsin Foundation.


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