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Founded in 1906, Girls Preparatory School is a nationally recognized leader in girls education and nurtures each student in mind, body, and spirit to help her become her most fully realized self. At GPS, girls are given opportunities for leadership and are encouraged to express themselves and to find a sense of purpose. The school’s values of honor, respect, curiosity, individuality, and relationships permeate every facet of the culture and create an environment in which high expectations blend with support and care as students find their own path. Girls thrive as they explore their interests, develop lifelong friendships, and come to understand the value of their voice. GPS graduates are not only well prepared for future academic success but also are equipped with the resilience, independence, confidence, and desire to make a positive impact that make them leaders in their professional fields and in their communities.
Throughout its history, Girls Preparatory School has enjoyed the generous support of current and former parents, grandparents, and alumnae. Its endowment stands at $33 million, and the annual Impact Fund raises over $1.15 million to support the operating budget and to provide the flexibility to respond to the school’s highest priorities throughout the year. Donors can direct Impact Fund gifts to one of six funds that reflect their personal priorities: Arts & Humanities, Athletics, Faculty & Staff, Financial Aid, Technology Integration, or Area of Greatest Need. In December 2016, GPS held its first annual Bruiser Bee, a fundraising and community-building event featuring an adult spelling bee and live and silent auctions. The Bruiser Bee attracts both friends of GPS and members of the broader Chattanooga community, and proceeds support the Impact Fund. In addition to Giving Societies that recognize one-time gifts to the Impact Fund, Girls Preparatory School has established eight Giving Circles, which honor donors who have committed to make a significant gift, ranging from $7,500 to $100,000, over the course of three years. The school is currently engaged in a $2.5 million capital campaign for athletics, which is expected to be completed by December 2019, and anticipates launching a larger capital campaign in the coming years following the completion of its master plan.
The new Director of Development will join a community that benefits from a strong sense of tradition as well as the energy and excitement surrounding the creation of the Reaching Our Highest Potential strategic plan. Building on the success of GPS’s fundraising to date will be critical to securing the resources necessary for the achievement of the strategic plan and the continued pursuit of the school’s vision: “GPS strives to stand among the nation’s leading schools and is driven to educate and prepare our girls to be a strong force in the global community and to be recognized as models of active and ethical citizenship.” Like many schools, GPS has a core of long-term, loyal donors who have been generous to the school for many years but have reached or are approaching their capacity for giving. Accordingly, a key priority for the future is expanding the current base of support by engaging the next generation of parents, grandparents, and alumnae. Identifying the varying needs of different constituents and tailoring approaches to communication, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship to meet donor expectations will be an important element of ensuring that both existing and new donors continue to make Girls Preparatory School a philanthropic priority for years to come. The school will also put a particular focus on creating more meaningful opportunities for alumnae to engage with each other as well as better communicating the ways in which GPS is educating, inspiring, and empowering girls in order to strengthen alumnae’s commitment to the school itself. The fundraising firm Grenzebach Glier and Associates is currently conducting an audit of the entire development effort to identify additional opportunities for growth, to obtain data that will inform overall strategy as well as specific goals, and to suggest the ideal structure of the development staff.
Reporting to the Head of School and working closely with the Board of Trustees’ Development Committee, the Director of Development is responsible for creating and implementing strategies, goals, and programs that generate philanthropic support and promote alumnae, parent, and grandparent engagement. He or she will ensure the success of all development efforts, including the Impact Fund, major and planned giving, and capital and endowment campaigns. The Director of Development manages a department that will consist of seven staff members. The current department structure includes the Director of the Impact Fund, the Assistant Director of the Impact Fund, the Director of Alumnae and Community Engagement, the Director of Parent Engagement and Special Events, a Major Gifts Officer, the Database Manager, and the Advancement Office Manager. Specific duties include the following:
Creating and executing strategic development plans to meet long- and short-term fundraising goals, including growing both the number of donors and the giving level of current donors and otherwise strengthening the culture of philanthropy among GPS constituents.
Acting as a key spokesperson on behalf of Girls Preparatory School and building relationships both with school constituents and in the broader Chattanooga region.
Cultivating and soliciting major donors both directly and by supporting the fundraising work of the Head of School, trustees, and other volunteers.
Partnering closely with the Director of Strategic Communications and Marketing, as well as with the Director of Admission, to maintain accurate and consistent messaging to both internal and external constituencies regarding GPS’s mission, vision, values, and accomplishments.
Continually seeking new avenues of funding, such as approaching families new to the school or the area and reestablishing or strengthening relationships with alumnae and past parents.
Providing philanthropy education programs for trustees, parent volunteers, and alumnae volunteers so that all community members understand the importance of giving and have the training and tools necessary to support the school’s fundraising goals.
Overseeing the day-to-day operations of the development office, including ensuring that processes and systems are efficient and effective, that donor histories and gift reporting are accurate, and that stewardship is timely.
Cultivating an ethos of collaboration and communication in the development department, mentoring and guiding staff members with clear goals and regular feedback, and ensuring that the office is optimally structured and staffed.
Strengthening connections with alumnae and alumnae parents by developing multiple and varied avenues through which graduates and their families can engage with GPS and with each other.
Being an active and visible presence in the life of GPS in order both to build relationships and to maintain a first-hand understanding of the school’s programs and students’ achievements.
Maintaining ongoing communication and an effective partnership with the business office.
Fostering a strong sense of community through special events and relationship building, and ensuring that all donors and volunteers feel valued and appreciated.
Candidate qualifications can be viewed in the full search profile, available online here.
About Girls Preparatory School
Brigham Hill Consultancy provides retained executive search and related management consulting services to not-for-profit organizations. By combining the rigorous search protocols of the business world with a sensitivity to the unique mission of not-for-profits, we help our clients secure quality leadership for their organizations as they undergo growth and change.