Central Park Conservancy

Senior Director of Institutional Relations

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 – Institutional Relations” in the subject line.

Background: Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1857, Central Park is one of the most famous and beloved urban public spaces in the world. 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 more than $1 billion in the restoration of the Park and now hosts over 40 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 400 people and has an operating budget of $100 million.

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

Position: Reporting to the Senior Vice President for Philanthropy, the Senior Director of Institutional Relations will be responsible for all high-level giving strategies related to foundations, corporate foundations, corporate donors, and government agencies. As a member of the Philanthropy team’s leadership, they will serve as the point person for all aspects of institutional giving, including identification and qualification of new prospects, the maintenance and cultivation of relationships with current donors, and oversight of all written proposals, reports, and fundraising materials.

The Senior Director of Institutional Relations will be responsible for the management of a targeted portfolio of donors and prospects; they will also oversee and support the Director of Institutional and Planned Giving and the Director of Corporate Development. The ideal candidate will be naturally inquisitive, demonstrate innovation and fluidity in approach and process, and possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills. An in-depth knowledge of the NYC philanthropic community is essential.

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Lead the growth strategy for the Conservancy’s Institutional Giving program, advancing the Park’s strategic plan and increased financial security.
  • Proactively research new funding opportunities while building and maintaining relationships with foundations, corporate foundations, corporate sponsors, and state/federal government prospects.
  • Collaborate and communicate productively with Conservancy leadership, including the President’s Office and Board members; cultivate a strong working relationship with the Board and staff based on trust, confidence, and transparency.
  • Manage and develop a targeted portfolio of donors (inclusive of activity metrics) while supporting the Director of Institutional and Planned Giving and the Director of Corporate Development on their portfolio and metrics goals.
  • Guide and manage expense and revenue budgeting related to the Institutional, Corporate, and Planned Giving departments.
  • Identify key players in various corporate sectors, acting as the liaison between high-capacity partnerships and CPC leadership; expand and oversee the development of corporate partnerships and related programs, including the Business Leadership Council and all other Corporate Volunteer opportunities.
  • Develop and launch a multi-pronged (public and private) approach to engage and secure support from key Real Estate stakeholders; examine the feasibility of various Corporate Real Estate support strategies to raise the Conservancy’s profile in the sector.
  • Expand and steward the Olmsted Visionaries, the Conservancy’s Planned Giving donor group.
  • Oversee and support the generation and submission of grant proposals and Letters of Interest for private Foundations and State/Federal governmental entities; this may include writing, editing, or adapting materials.
  • Act as a liaison with Conservancy field and program staff to prepare and write proposals and reports and to present them in the most compelling manner.
  • Keep up to date on fundraising trends and strategies as well as the needs of community stakeholders and funders to build partnerships and identify opportunities.


  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Minimum 8-10 years professional fundraising experience
  • Proven Institutional Giving success at the six- and seven-figure level
  • Knowledge of and experience working in New York Philanthropic, Corporate, Institutional and Real Estate sectors
  • Proactive and engaged management approach with the ability to support and develop an experienced team of fundraising professionals; high emotional intelligence and the skills to communicate objectives clearly and motivate professional and institutional growth.
  • Relationship builder with proven success in the stewardship of donors, foundation leaders, and government officials
  • Experience with estate planning, charitable gift annuities, charitable trusts, and deferred gifts
  • Ability to prioritize with an analytical, organized, and detail-oriented approach to both fundraising strategy and management
  • Outstanding oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Creative, strategic thinker with a growth mindset
  • 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 $139k to $174k.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
The Central Park Conservancy’s work is guided by the belief that Central Park, and all public parks, must be managed and actively protected as an inclusive and democratic space for all. Working closely with New York City partners, the Conservancy will always strive towards creating and sustaining a sense of belonging for all visitors and advocating for equitable and accessible public use of the Park.

In service of this belief, the Conservancy is committed to fostering a workforce and organizational culture that is as diverse as Central Park itself and the dynamic city it serves.

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