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3 May 2018

Executive Executive Director

American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science – Posted by DRG San Francisco, California, United States

Job Description


The mission of the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science (ACWIS) is to provide philanthropic support and raise awareness in the United States for the Weizmann Institute of Science (the Institute) in Israel, which is dedicated to curiosity-driven, science-backed research. Over the years, the Institute has demonstrated that when you grant exceptionally talented researchers the freedom to follow their curiosity and work in an environment where collaboration among disciplines is championed, far-reaching discoveries with practical applications will follow. In fact, scientists at the Institute are granted an average of two patents per week.

The Weizmann Institute of Science is divided into five faculties—Biology; Chemistry; Biochemistry; Physics; and Mathematics and Computer Science—that comprise 18 research departments. In addition, the Institute includes a Scientific Archaeology Unit, a Department of Science Teaching, the Feinberg Graduate School, the Davidson Institute of Science Education, and a technology transfer unit. The Institute’s scientific community encompasses approximately 3,800 faculty, students, and staff on its verdant 280-acre campus.

Founded in 1944, the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science (ACWIS) is a national network of dedicated lay leaders and professional staff who share the Institute’s vision of advancing science for the benefit of humanity and strengthening Israel through science and technology. ACWIS engages in various activities in order to raise philanthropic funds for the Institute from individuals, families, foundations, and the business community in America; to educate the American public about the Institute’s groundbreaking research; and to represent the Institute’s interests in the United States. Through their generous philanthropy, ACWIS supporters become partners with Institute scientists in the search for answers to the most difficult challenges facing humanity. ACWIS is one of the most successful and innovative fundraising organizations in the nation. Its average annual fundraising achievement over the last five years has been more than $65 million.

With a national staff of 65 and an annual budget of $16 million, ACWIS also has a network of regional offices and national experts in major gifts, planned giving, national and international programs, and marketing. Improving upon traditional fundraising strategies, ACWIS has created the Center for Personalized Philanthropy, to provide customized giving opportunities for its donors.  ACWIS employs a “total financial resource development” model that focuses on a donor’s overall and lifetime support of Weizmann. This approach looks at a donor’s lifetime goals for making an impact and offers a menu of opportunities to fulfill their philanthropic passions. Additional information about ACWIS can be found at: 

The Opportunity

This is an opportunity for a bright, inquisitive, people-oriented fundraising professional and leader to join a very successful organization as it celebrates its 75th Anniversary.  The Executive Director will partner with a regional advisory board and will be an integral part of a national team focusing on generating revenues on behalf of the Institute.

The Executive Director will have the opportunity to keep up to date with the latest Weizmann research and Institute discoveries.  S/he will engage supporters and prospects in: parlor meetings, luncheons and galas; meetings with Institute scientists; educational campaigns to spread the news of research discovery; and special initiatives like NextGen, the Vera and Chaim Weizmann Honor Society and Women for Science.  S/he will develop and maintain donor relationships; develop and implement fundraising and leadership development programs; and increase awareness of the research at the Institute among donors, prospects and the broader community.

Weizmann donors and prospects are driven by the excitement of the science and what new discoveries will benefit humanity in the future.  Although deep knowledge of science is not required, this position calls for someone with immense curiosity and the ability to translate complex scientific research being conducted at the Institute into terms that the layman will grasp.

The Executive Director will report to the Senior Vice President, Financial Resource Development, in the National Headquarters.  S/he will supervise a Program Coordinator and will have the opportunity to participate in recruiting a Director of Development to round out a team of three in the regional office.


Financial Resource Development

  • Design and implement strategies for the identification, cultivation, and solicitation of individuals and corporations for major gifts at the six- and seven-figure levels
  • Develop and maintain a portfolio of donors including new prospects and existing donors
  • Coordinate with National staff the identification, cultivation and solicitation of foundations, and planned gifts
  • Articulate, where appropriate, the various gift opportunities for our donors and be successful at closing gifts


  • Work with advisory board and National leadership to set the strategic direction of the Northern California Region.
  • Assume responsibility for the management of staff and ongoing activities throughout Northern California region.
  • Contribute to the mission of ACWIS and cooperate with National staff by accepting special assignments, offering constructive suggestions and providing consultation and support
  • Coordinate with National Office and cooperate with other Regions

Donor Relations

  • Maintain on-going contacts with donors and prospects through a variety of programs, forums, visits, written communications and face-to-face meetings. It is the expectation that this position will make a minimum of 3-5 such meetings a week with donors, prospects, and leadership
  • Develop opportunities that move people along the donor pyramid and recognize long-time donors and cultivate them towards a planned gift
  • Enhance existing relationships between donors and regional, national, and international leaders of ACWIS and WIS.

Communications, Public Relations and Community Awareness

  • Serve as an enthusiastic and well-informed spokesperson for ACWIS and the Institute. Continually learn about Weizmann research and activities and share new developments with selected donors and prospects
  • Utilize memberships in professional organizations and participate in various local organizations to enhance community awareness of ACWIS and the Institute
  • Maintain professional knowledge by reading the literature, attending educational and professional seminars and establishing personal networks

Event Planning and Implementation

  • Design, plan and oversee events focusing on the science at the Institute in order to expose individual, corporate, and foundation prospects and donors to the Weizmann message
  • Plan and oversee a variety of events and programs related to three core American Committee initiatives: NextGen, Vera and Chaim Weizmann Honor Society and Women for Science
  • Promote National and Regional programs, as well as, Weizmann Israel experiences (missions) to the Institute

Board Development:

  • Identify, recruit and nurture a regional board of donors who support ACWIS by: making gifts of substance; providing access to prospects; serving as spokespersons; and participating in regional, national and international activities.
  • Cultivate the “next generation” of leaders and donors who have major gift potential by providing leadership development opportunities where appropriate. 


The ideal candidate will be a forward thinking and visionary professional capable of clearly articulating a case for giving, raising both private and institutional funds, and demonstrating an authentic commitment to the mission and goals of the Institute.

  • At least 15 years of professional experience, with 5-7 years of successful major gifts fundraising experience.
  • A proven track record of success in the cultivation, stewardship, and closing of gifts from individual major donors and foundations at and above the six-figure level.
  • Ability to lead, in a highly collegial manner, within a complex, national and international organizational culture.
  • High standard for quality and productivity, focusing on results. A strong work ethic, ability to maintain and model high personal, ethical and professional standards, as well as an outgoing and positive personality.
  • Success in increasing the effectiveness of development efforts through established objectives, performance standards and quantifiable benchmarks.
  • Consensus builder, effective communicator and collaborator who is also willing to challenge assumptions with diplomacy and think outside of the box.
  • A passion for the mission of ACWIS, a sharp mind, immense curiosity and the ability to effectively articulate the science and achievements of the Weizmann Institute to high-powered donors in terms a layman can grasp.
  • A demonstrated understanding of, and experience with, the networks of the Jewish philanthropic community in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley; a demonstrated ability to engage various groups within this community.
  • Technologically competent; demonstrated proficiency in Microsoft Office software. Experience in contemporary fund raising strategies such as “Moves Management”; knowledge of Raiser’s Edge and DonorScape preferred.
  • Experience with all development vehicles so as to comfortably engage potential donors in discussions about major and planned gifts to ACWIS.
  • Entrepreneurial self-starter with a high energy level, accustomed to and comfortable within a lean work environment
  • Demonstrated integrity, a good listener and a proactive communicator, with a charismatic and energetic demeanor towards personal engagement.
  • Effective and persuasive communicator with demonstrated excellence in written and verbal communication; and a strong executive level personal presentation.
  • Equally comfortable in “a grandmother’s living room” or in “a corporate CEO’s boardroom”
  • Strong organizational, planning, and priority-setting skills.
  • The ability to travel and work evenings and weekends, as necessary, including to the biennial staff conference held at the Institute.
  • A sense of humor and perspective are considered assets.
  • A bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree and CFRE accreditation preferred.

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Job Categories: Operations. Job Types: Executive.

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