Central Park Conservancy

Senior Director of Philanthropy Operations and Research

To Apply

 The Central Park Conservancy has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search. Inquiries, nominations, and applications may be directed in confidence to:
Elly Kirschner, Senior Director
Harris Rand Lusk Executive Search
New York, NY 10016


When emailing your resume and cover letter describing your interest in the role, please write “CPC” in the subject line.

Central Park is one of the most famous and beloved urban public spaces in the world. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1857, the 843-acre park was the first purpose-built public park in the country and is a National Historic Landmark. The Central Park Conservancy, a private not-for-profit organization, was founded in 1980 to rescue the Park which had fallen into serious disrepair. Since that time, the Conservancy has overseen the investment of approximately $1.5 billion in the restoration of the Park, and now hosts over 42 million visitors a year.

The Conservancy’s mission is to preserve and celebrate Central Park as a sanctuary from urban life. The City of New York has formally entrusted the care of the Park to the Conservancy which is responsible for every aspect of its care, including landscape maintenance, capital improvements, and the visitor experience. Committed to sharing the best practices in urban park management, the Conservancy also serves as a resource for other NYC parks and for public-private partnerships around the world. The Conservancy employs roughly 350 people and has an operating budget of $108 million.

The Conservancy recently completed a seven-year plan, Central Park Conservancy, A Plan for the Stewardship of Central Park: 2020-2027, which focuses on the ongoing capital investment of the last four decades into Central Park. The Conservancy has launched a $420 million campaign to fund the capital, operating and endowment initiatives and priorities laid out in the Plan.

Reporting to the Vice President for Philanthropy, the Senior Director of Philanthropy Operations and Research will lead a team in the implementation of best-practice development operations, prospect research, and data management. As a senior member of the Philanthropy team, this position will work closely with colleagues across Philanthropy and collaborate with Finance and IT departments. The ideal candidate will have a comprehensive knowledge of fundraising infrastructure and analytics, preferably in a large and complex operation with diversified funding streams. They will be data-driven and committed to the “science” of fundraising, while at the same time have an appreciation and understanding of the “art” of fundraising. They will be naturally inquisitive, demonstrate creativity and fluidity in approach and process, and possess strong tactical data management skills. An in-depth knowledge of the NYC philanthropic community is essential for this role.

Specific Responsibilities

  • Lead the design and implementation of a long-term strategy to support CPC’s organization-wide goals
  • Manage an effective operations infrastructure that supports an innovative, streamlined, and scalable fundraising effort
  • Oversee the team responsible for the philanthropy data, gift processing, and prospect research functions, setting appropriate team development goals and milestones
  • Document data standards and procedures in a manual for the Philanthropy team and provide regular training for new and existing RE users
  • Conduct annual audit on data health, examining the effectiveness of coding and procedures and implementing regular clean up
  • Direct business rules to maximize effective reporting to support informative benchmarking and analysis
  • Guide prospect management strategy, including prospect identification, prioritization, and portfolio maintenance
  • Collaborate with frontline fundraisers to support cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of prospects and donors to advance fundraising goals
  • In partnership with the Director of Development Information Systems, Development Data Manager, and Prospect Research Manager, incorporate industry best-practices for segmentation/personalization, moves management, and identifying capacity and wealth markers
  • Develop strategy for growth of prospect pipeline with Individual Giving, Membership, Visitor Services, and Communications departments as well as external consultants. Provide day-to-day data management and prospect research support as needed


  • Bachelor’s Degree; minimum 10 years professional fundraising experience
  • Systems-oriented and data-driven leader with well-honed fundraising operations skills, including the ability to critically evaluate and improve fundraising efforts
  • Strong management skills with proven experience cultivating and building a team of committed and achievement-focused professionals
  • Understanding of fundraising best-practices for donor and prospect management as well as campaign operations
  • Experience with complex funding sources, including high net worth individuals, corporations, foundations, membership, special events, and peer-to-peer giving.
  • Analytical, organized, proactive, and detail-oriented with a strong ability to prioritize
  • Proven experience working with CRM systems and research tools, specifically Raiser’s Edge and Luminate Online
  • Outstanding oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Creative, strategic thinker with excellent project management and cross-functional fundraising abilities
  • Familiarity with nonprofit organizations and funders, particularly in New York City
  • Strong follow-through with the proven ability to set and meet deadlines and benchmarks
  • Able to work effectively as part of a collegial and collaborative team
  • Commitment to the mission and vision of the Central Park Conservancy

This is a NYC-based role with a salary range of $150k to $170k.

122 East 42nd Street, Suite 3605, New York, NY 10168