Chief Advancement Officer

University of Virginia, the Miller Center


The Miller Center is seeking a gifted advancement professional to help pursue its vision of inspiring American leaders with insights that advance democratic institutions and the public good. A nonpartisan research unit of the University of Virginia, the Miller Center has established itself as the leading center of learning, publication, and public dialogue on the U.S. presidency. Its record of success includes working closely with the administrations, libraries, and foundations of every presidency since Herbert Hoover. That work includes conducting the official oral history of the last five presidential administrations, as well as research projects, commissions, dialogues, and events that set agendas, shape debates, and design policies.


Over the next decade, the Miller Center will play a central role in helping the University of Virginia become the leading center of learning and teaching on the U.S. presidency, democracy, and public service and also in helping collect, select, promote, and connect scholarship and scholars to public problems.


More broadly, the Miller Center will play a critical role in University-wide efforts to advance our democracy and promote public service. The Chief Advancement Officer will work as a member of the senior leadership team in designing and executing the medium- and long-term objectives of the Center, in collaboration with the leading schools and departments of the University. The first such effort is a partnership on a Democracy Initiative with the College of Arts and Sciences.


Position Overview

The Chief Advancement Officer (CAO) will join the Miller Center at a time of exciting transformation. As a member of the Center’s senior leadership team, she/he will formulate, coordinate, and drive the execution of a comprehensive fundraising strategy to advance the national mission of the Center <>. The CAO will have the opportunity to build a program, making critical decisions about campaign planning, staffing, and messaging. This position will have primary responsibility for strategically connecting with and securing philanthropic support from individuals and organizations nationwide. In addition to taking responsibility for the vision and narrative of the Center’s contribution to the University’s capital campaign, this role will be responsible for adding ongoing strategic insight to public programing and how we communicate the Center’s strengths.


The CAO will report to the Director and CEO of the Miller Center and be an employee of the University of Virginia. The CAO will work closely with the Development Committee of the Center’s Governing Council and collaboratively with University Advancement, as well as the philanthropic foundations of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Darden School of Business and other fundraising units.


This is a University Executive Staff position that continues through September 30, 2021, with extension subject to need, performance, and the availability of funding.


Key Priorities for this Position

The Chief Advancement Officer will lead the Miller Center’s advancement team and ultimately be responsible for the organization’s fundraising. Working in concert with the fundraising team, she/he will develop and implement overall strategy for fundraising and stewardship, including metrics, goals, and outcomes. She/He will build and manage a diverse portfolio of prospects and donors including individuals, corporations, and foundations. The CAO will effectively manage a team of professionals, overseeing donor stewardship efforts, major gifts, endowment relationships, planned giving, corporate and foundation giving, annual giving, and the Center’s role in the University’s Third Century Capital Campaign. The CAO will be responsible for operation and administration of the advancement functions, including personnel, finance, compliance, and related matters. She/He will serve as the principal liaison for the advancement team’s operational and strategic aspects to the Miller Center Director and CEO and to the Governing Council and Development Committee, Center faculty and staff, University Advancement, related University offices, and other relevant parties.


This role will develop a strategy for building a pipeline of donors to accomplish endowment growth in addition to growth in annual cash fundraising. Our financial goals for the CAO include:

•                Double the annual cash fundraising from $2.5M (FY18) to at least $5M

•                Grow endowment through fundraising from $75M to $125M


Personal Qualities and Qualifications

The successful candidate will have a passion for what the Miller Center does at the University of Virginia and a vision for its unique value proposition, including familiarity with public affairs, American politics, the presidency, public policy, and/or law, and will create a case for giving to the Center. She/He will have the ability to engage donors in the vision of the Center.


A compelling candidate will have demonstrated results creating a highly stable and effective team through articulating clear goals and responsibilities and providing feedback to support individual accountability. She/He will have the desire to establish a foundation of excellence. Strong candidates will be entrepreneurial and creative in identifying prospects. They will have the ability to work collaboratively and be resourceful in a complex environment. The leader will have a successful track record of exceeding goals and improving outcomes and, preferably, accomplishments in either a think tank, university, non-profit, or political setting.


Required competencies include significant leadership experience with a proven ability to communicate across a broad range of audiences, including superior written and oral communication skills. Candidates must have experience with financial forecasting and budgetary responsibilities. Preferred candidates will have an understanding of fundraising for nonprofits, political entities, and/or academic institutions and exposure to a breadth of fundraising sources: individuals, corporations, and foundations. The successful candidate will demonstrate experience in management and strategic planning and the ability to work comfortably with senior officials. She/He will proactively offer strategic and tactical direction to the Miller Center Director and CEO, senior faculty and staff, and the Center’s Governing Council. We seek an energetic and charismatic leader with the ability to manage complex systems and participate in the ongoing work to hone the organization’s strategy with an understanding of philanthropic opportunities.


A bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree is preferred.


About the Miller Center

The mission of the Miller Center is to contribute to the solution of major national problems through comprehensive and intensive research, with a special emphasis on bringing that research to policymakers and the public.


As part of the ongoing educational mission of the University, the Miller Center hosts public forums that connect scholars, policymakers, recognized authorities, and students for nonpartisan civil discourse. Exceptional presidential scholarship is the essence of the Center, serving the University community as the leading partner in active citizenship, supporting democracy and public service initiatives.


Vision Statement: To inspire America’s leaders with nonpartisan insights, especially on the presidency, that advance democratic institutions and the public good.


To Apply

To learn more about this opportunity, please visit


Applications should include a c.v., letter of interest, contact information for at least three references, and a writing sample. The search will be carried out with full confidentiality; candidates will be notified before references are contacted. To be considered for this position, all applicants must apply through the Jobs@UVA portal at


For confidential inquiries or to nominate someone for this opportunity, please contact AJ Davidson, Senior Search Consultant with the University of Virginia’s Executive Search Group, at


The University of Virginia is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.