Director of Principal Gifts, The New York Climate

The New York Climate Exchange (“The Exchange”) is an exciting new nonprofit climate solutions center designed to build community, foster collaboration, advance climate knowledge, and empower marginalized communities through cross-disciplinary networking, impactful programming, and cutting-edge facilities. While The Exchange will have a physical presence on Governors Island, its spirit and influence will extend beyond the Island into New York City and, eventually, across the country and world. The Exchange’s diverse coalition of partners – committed and prepared to collectively disrupt the status quo – incorporates local and global perspectives on climate change from academia, industry, environmental justice, public health, and government. As the first of its kind, The Exchange will unlock integrated and scalable approaches to sustainability, ultimately serving as a global model for scalable and sustainable positive change.

The Exchange is a highly impactful and visible initiative, selected in April 2023 after a two-year global competition by the Trust for Governors Island and NYC Mayor’s Office to create a first-of-its-kind climate solutions center.

As the world rallies to face the consequences of climate change, the degree of public and private financial support already expressed for the important work of The Exchange is heartening. The Exchange secured a total of $160 million in philanthropic support as of September 2023, including a combined gift of $100 million from the Simons Foundation and Simons Foundation International, and $50 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Over an additional $300 million in philanthropy is needed in the next two years to successfully enable the capital and operating visions.

Position Overview
The New York Climate Exchange seeks to recruit its first-ever Director of Principal Gifts to cultivate, solicit, and steward donors capable of seven and eight-figure philanthropic gifts. This is a unique opportunity to help advance a fundraising organization from the ground up in collaboration with diverse partner organizations focused on affecting real change battling the biggest crisis of our time — climate change. The Director will be a key leader in extending The Exchange’s outreach in New York and beyond by engaging donors, traveling broadly in partnership with the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Advancement Officer (CAO), other Exchange leaders, and colleagues across the Exchange’s expansive partner network.

This position will require a seasoned, entrepreneurial advancement professional who wishes to play a key role in building a sophisticated and sustainable philanthropic model for an emerging organization. The Director will be adept in principal giving as well as hold a sophisticated understanding of building sustainable, data-driven fundraising programs.

The Exchange is committed to identifying a diverse hiring pool for the Director of Principal Gifts role.

While The Exchange will consider a broad range of backgrounds, the ideal candidate will have the following qualifications/experience:

Commitment to, and passion for, the mission of The New York Climate Exchange.
Minimum of 10 years of experience in progressively responsible development leadership positions (staff management experience not required).
Demonstrated track record of frontline fundraising for an institution of higher education, nonprofit organization, or other environment of similar complexity with multiple stakeholders; previous work experience in higher education and/or climate and environmental issues is preferred.
Demonstrated success in the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of seven, eight, and ideally nine-figure gift prospects; success in strategically engaging and securing gifts from previously unaffiliated constituencies.
Commitment to and demonstrated knowledge of organizational mission and vision; ability to communicate and create excitement about the mission, vision, programs, and fundamental value of this historic initiative.
Strength in developing fundraising strategies and experience working directly with the most senior levels of an organization.
Execution of planning regimen on an individual, program, and institutional partner level.
Strong willingness to collaborate in a highly team-based environment; ability to build working relationships across the organization.
Exceptional interpersonal skills with the ability to build, foster, and maintain positive professional relationships with colleagues, organizational partners, and external constituencies.
Excellent writing, communication, and presentation skills to deliver an effective, coherent, and consistent message.
Successful track record translating research and program activity into compelling philanthropic objectives and previous proposal writing experience is preferred.
The ability to travel frequently in support The Exchange’s philanthropic priorities, attend events and personal cultivation and solicitation visits with the CEO and CAO, other Exchange leaders, and coalition partners.
A history of and commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Experience in a start-up environment is highly preferred, and experience working with climate/environmental initiatives is a plus.
Bachelor's degree.

The annual salary for the role is anticipated to range from $175,000 to $225,000, commensurate with experience.

The New York Climate Exchange provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws.

Research indicates that men tend to apply for jobs when they meet just 60% of the criteria, while women and people from other marginalized groups only apply if they are a 100% match. If you are passionate about The Exchange’s mission and think you have what it takes to be successful in this role even if you don’t check all the boxes, please apply. We would appreciate the opportunity to consider your application.

You must be able to work in the United States as The Exchange does not yet have visa-sponsoring capabilities.

The Exchange has retained the DSG Fundraising & Advancement Practice of the Diversified Search Group to assist in this confidential search process. Inquiries, nominations, and applications (current resumes and cover letters) may be submitted via the following link or directed to the leader of the search team.

Gerard F. Cattie, Jr.
Managing Director and DSG Fundraising & Advancement Practice Leader
Diversified Search Group
The Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Avenue, 49th Floor, New York, New York 10174
[email protected] | 212.542.2587

Job Details


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The New York Climate Exchange


New York, NY

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