Graham Windham

Chief Development Officer

To Apply

Graham Windham has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search. Inquiries, nominations, and applications may be directed in confidence to:

Harris Rand Lusk
122 E. 42nd Street, Suite 3605
New York, NY 10168


Please put Graham CDO in the subject line of your emailed application


Founded in New York City in 1806, Graham Windham is one of the most respected and effective child welfare organizations, and a leader in meeting the needs of the City’s at-risk youth. In full partnership with families and communities, Graham Windham (“Graham”) strives to make a real difference with children, youth and families who are overcoming some of life’s most difficult challenges and obstacles, by helping to build a strong foundation for life: a safe, loving, permanent family and the opportunity and preparation to thrive in school and in the world.

Graham achieves its mission through four principles: respect, grow, thrive and lead. Graham reaches more than 5,000 children and families in 12 sites that provide social and educational services including The Graham School, a residential education and treatment center serving more than 300 at-risk students and the Family Success Initiative, which currently works with nearly 400 families whose children are at risk.

One of the most pressing issues facing youth in foster care is the emancipation cliff – at age 21, youth in NYC foster care age out of the system and are no longer eligible for benefits that may include their case worker, therapist, lawyer and even foster parent. Devoid of any support, an alarmingly high number of these youth become homeless by the age of 24. Graham has piloted an innovative, evidence-based program, Graham Slam, that extends support for youth in foster care to age 26 and a living-wage career. This program offers education, career training and guidance to young people. Although hailed as a success and critically important to safety-net services, this program currently has the capacity to serve only 400 young people.  To meet the needs of the hundreds of other foster youth in the City, Graham has taken a leading role in advocating for systems-wide change to address the emancipation cliff through the Fair Futures campaign, a coalition of 90 organizations in the child welfare arena. On June 19th, 2019 the City of New York announced their investment in Fair Futures by providing $10M in the 2020 budget to assist in the roll-out of a program similar to Graham Slam: trained, salaried coaches to work with foster youth providing guidance on education, housing, and career prep, and emotional and social support.

Graham has always been well known in the child welfare arena. However, it wasn’t until the musical Hamilton became a hit that much of the general public knew that Graham Windham was founded in part by Eliza Hamilton together with fellow activists Isabella Graham and Joanna Bethune. Although the Graham board and staff were incredibly strong and possessed a deep-seated “leadership from the top” ethos, the added brand recognition offered a boost to fundraising.  To continue this momentum, the board and leadership launched a strategic planning process that identified key ways to grow the organization to better realize its mission. To this end, Graham has launched a multi-year, $15M Eliza Hamilton Legacy Campaign that will allow Graham to expand programs, build infrastructure and grow an Innovation and Impact Fund. Having already raised more than $7M during the campaign’s quiet phase, Graham now seeks a Chief Development Officer (CDO) to plan and manage the campaign through its public phase and, simultaneously, build an effective development operation to grow contributed income to 20% of the annual budget.

The Opportunity

The CDO is responsible for securing the necessary investment of resources to achieve the organization’s strategic vision and meet the goals of the campaign. S/he must be a dynamic fundraising leader and highly effective manager with the skills to oversee the development of an overall campaign plan. By the end of the campaign, the annual fund-raising goals will be significantly higher than they are today, and the development department must have best -practice operations and activities to continue that momentum. The ideal candidate must also be able to meet the challenge of scaling-up and managing an effective and efficient development office.

The CDO’s scope of responsibilities include designing, implementing and evaluating all fundraising strategies relating to foundations, corporate, individual & digital supporters, including annual and legacy giving. S/he will steer the development of a comprehensive communications plan to include compelling campaign elements such as a persuasive and sincere case statement. The CDO must be a leader who can articulate a vision for and build consensus around fundraising goals and objectives.

Specific Responsibilities

As a member of the Executive Council, the CDO will report to the President & CEO. Working closely with the Board of Directors, in collaboration with Graham’s Leadership team, the CDO is responsible for carrying out the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Work with CEO to identify funding needs and targets, and design and oversee development strategies that lead to a sustainable and diversified funding stream.
  • Implement a multi-faceted fundraising strategy inclusive of campaign gifts, individual and major giving, foundations, corporations, planned giving, digital fundraising and event support.
  • Manage, professionalize and improve Graham’s fundraising infrastructure – data management, gift processing, office procedures and event management – to support the campaign and ensure the staff, systems, processes and activities meet ongoing development needs.
  • Develop a case for support that positions Graham for investments that support the full breadth of its activities.
  • Set goals for a major gifts strategy; devise and implement a calendar of new, targeted events that engage top-tier donors and volunteers. Recruit host committees and work with volunteers on local events and special initiatives.
  • Develop a robust annual giving program that moves individual donors and volunteers to contribute their talents and meet needs identified by program leadership.
  • In collaboration with the campaign consultant, develop and oversee a master campaign calendar, including timetable, leadership structure, needs list, and activities.
  • Hire, train, manage and mentor staff and consultants. Communicate fundraising goals and progress throughout.
  • Develop and implement creative communications and marketing strategies.
  • Create funding benchmarks, evaluate progress, and report on activities.
  • Serve as a passionate, eloquent ambassador on behalf of Graham’s mission, thereby increasing the visibility and understanding of its work and impact.


  • Bachelor’s degree; minimum of 10 years fundraising experience, at least three (3) in a leadership role.
  • Experience managing all stages of a campaign as well as a development office.
  • Ability to manage and lead a professional and dedicated development team, as well as demonstrated capacity to build a culture of philanthropy within an organization as a whole.
  • Track record of building constructive and effective relationships with people inside and outside of the organization, including a highly committed and involved Board of Directors; ease in working with leaders of business, government and philanthropy.
  • Proven success building an individual giving program and engaging major donors in stewardship events and solicitation meetings; demonstrated success in staffing volunteer committees
  • Skilled at creating and implementing a successful communications plan that advances fundraising.
  • Superb interpersonal and persuasive communication skills.
  • Strong management, budgeting, and reporting experience.
  • Creative, strategic, and analytic thinking and problem-solving
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office, donor databases, and web-based applications.
  • Willingness to work occasional evenings and weekends.
  • Genuine interest in and willingness to continually learn about issues facing underserved children and families.

For more information, visit: https://www.graham-windham.org/

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