Ackerman Institute for the Family

Director of Development and External Affairs, New York, NY



The Ackerman Institute for the Family (AIF) was founded in 1960 and is one of the premier institutions for family therapy treatment and one of the most highly regarded training facilities for family therapists in the United States. The Institute serves a diverse population of families at all stages of family life by offering a variety of programs that address a broad range of issues and concerns. The faculty at the Institute have achieved national prominence and earned national awards for the development of innovative approaches to family therapy and professional training.


The Director of Development and External Affairs will be a champion of equity inspired with a sense of innovation, creativity, and urgency to maximize financial resources to enhance Ackerman's mission of assisting vulnerable families. They will build a development operation to advance the organization's fundraising program to the next level. The successful candidate will report to and partner with the President and the Board of Directors to ensure that all outreach, marketing, communications, and development strategies support growth and long-term financial stability. They will build sustainable donor relationships and achieve organizational goals by designing and implementing a comprehensive plan to cultivate and secure financial resources including appeals, events, and, most importantly, major gifts from individuals, foundations, corporations, and high-net-worth individuals. Directing a comprehensive fundraising strategy that supports the development and programmatic goals, they will build brand awareness and further strengthen the Institute's local, national, and global reputation.


Essential Job Functions include:

  • Possess a strong commitment to promoting social justice and racial equity;
  • Be a true supporter, partner, and collaborator with the President in building the financial health and culture of philanthropy throughout the organization by developing the strategy and goals and then executing according to plan;
  • Be an exceptional entrepreneur on all levels from setting up a development operation and system to attracting sustained giving;
  • Provide energy, leadership, and inspiration with a positive can-do attitude in supporting the generosity and good will of the Board of Directors;
  • Listen effectively to the Board as a whole and to each Director individually; understand their interests and maximize their individual investments and engagement, ensuring a rewarding experience for them and continuing to build their commitment to and pride in Ackerman;
  • Oversee annual giving campaigns with the existing donor base and launch an innovative and aggressive major gifts campaign;
  • Renew and increase revenue from major donors, individual contributors, family foundations, and corporations;
  • Develop, cultivate, and secure new donors and new funding streams, including corporate;
  • Plan and develop all special events, including the major annual gala;
  • Strengthen efforts to increase the endowment;
  • Have strong donor software knowledge, including Raiser's Edge and other platforms;
  • Tap faculty talents and resources to enhance visibility and encourage giving;
  • Help promote strategic alliances to strengthen the impact and visibility of the organization;
  • Build a creative and active media relations effort in direct support of fundraising and the Institute in general;
  • Be results-focused with the persistence and determination to reach and exceed goals;
  • Utilize outcome evaluation strategies, effectively demonstrating, assessing, and documenting results;
  • Stay current with trends in the mental health and family therapy fields.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Strong presentation skills.
  • Adept with a variety of multimedia training platforms and methods.
  • Extremely proficient in Microsoft Office Suite and Zoom.
  • Ability to interact with students, faculty, and staff at a professional level.
  • An unwavering commitment to equity in all forms, internally and externally, as a personal and professional value;
  • An enthusiastic team player with the gift to reach, inspire, and engage productively with the President, staff, faculty, Board of Directors, and other constituencies;
  • Ability to set a strategy, build the development infrastructure, inspire, and manage a team to ensure loyalty, hard work, unity, stability, and effectiveness;
  • Proven fundraising experience and success with major gift solicitation from individuals and organizations and with developing cultivation and stewardship processes for donor relationships; a record of successfully diversifying funding sources;
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to project professional competency, leadership, and integrity – respecting others;
  • Discipline to adhere to financial goals, analyze and identify challenges, and formulate creative solutions;
  • A strong self-starter – proactive, detail oriented, and able to handle multiple projects simultaneously;
  • Creativity to break free from established ways and try new approaches to reach goals;
  • Able to communicate clearly, passionately, and persuasively Ackerman's exceptional and unique training and clinical and community services;
  • A leader with a strong work ethic, high level of integrity, and an optimistic spirit;
  • A commitment to open communication, partnership, and collaboration.


  • Bachelor's degree in related field required.
  • 10+ years of related experience required.


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Making substantial movements (motions) of the wrists, hands, and/or fingers to type, file, perform clerical tasks, and/or operate a computer.
  • Exerting up to 25 pounds occasionally to lift objects.
  • Speaking/talking to express or exchange ideas or provide instructions.
  • Hearing with or without correction to perceive normal speaking levels. Must have the ability to receive detailed information through oral communication.
  • Sitting at a desk the majority of the time.
  • Standing/remaining upright on the feet periodically.
  • Walking/moving about on feet to accomplish tasks, from one part of the office to another.
  • Visual acuity with or without correction to prepare and analyze data and figures, view a computer terminal, read extensively, operate office machines, and determine the accuracy, neatness, and thoroughness of the work assigned.


The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.

  • This position is full-time, five days a week.


  • AIF requires its employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 including any booster shots if required, where allowable under the law and based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health authorities, unless they are approved for a reasonable accommodation based on disability, medical condition, pregnancy, or religious belief that prevents them from being vaccinated.
  • If you are not vaccinated, you are required to have received at least one COVID-19 shot prior to your first day of employment and to provide proof of your vaccination status within the first 30 days of your employment. For the two COVID-19 shot regimen, you will be required to provide proof of your second COVID-19 shot within the first 60 days of your employment. Failure to provide timely proof of your COVID-19 vaccination status will result in the termination of your employment with AIF.
  • If you are unable to be fully vaccinated due to disability, medical condition, pregnancy, or religious belief, you will be required to apply for a reasonable accommodation within the first 30 days of your employment in order to remain employed with AIF. As a part of this process, you will be required to provide information or documentation about the reason you cannot be vaccinated. If your request for an accommodation is not approved, your employment may be terminated.


The Ackerman Institute for the Family provides equal opportunities to all individuals without regard to race, religion, national origin, disability, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, veteran status, or any other status protected by law. It does not discriminate based on any status protected by law. This policy applies to all employment, education, volunteer, and clinical care-related activities or in any other aspect of the Institute's operation. Black, Indigenous, and people of color; trans, non-binary, and intersex people, especially transwomen; those from poor and working-class backgrounds, immigrants, people with disabilities; as well as people at the intersections of these experiences are highly encouraged to apply.


$175,000 to $200,000.


Applications, including cover letters and résumés, and nominations should be sent to the attention of Paul Spivey at Ackerman@PhillipsOppenheim.com.