Posted On: 2021-07-12
Closing On: 2021-08-19
Location: Toronto
Employment Type: Full-Time
Level: Senior
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York University is seeking an aspirational and inclusive leader to spearhead our advancement, development and alumni engagement strategies and programs, while building a leading advancement team across the University.

Reporting to the President and serving as a member of the University’s senior leadership team, the Vice-President will oversee and mentor a team of 80 staff.

Understanding that success will come from collaboration and teamwork, the Vice-President will empower and encourage the Advancement staff, volunteers, and colleagues across the University to work together in achieving revenue and engagement goals.

This position will be based at York University’s Keele Campus, at 4700 Keele Street in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The successful candidate should also expect to travel within North America and internationally (as it is determined safe to do so pending COVID-19 guidelines) in order to meet with alumni, partners and donors.


York is a leading international teaching and research University and a driving force for positive change. Empowered by a welcoming and diverse community with a uniquely global perspective, we are preparing our students for their long-term career and personal success. Together we are making things right for our communities, our planet, and our future.

We are a community of changemakers. Every day, in every field, we at York are redefining excellence. Cultivating creativity, collaboration and innovation, we are building a culture of student success, academic and research excellence and community engagement that is shaping the global thinking of tomorrow.

Key to our strategy is to enhance local and global partnerships with other academic institutions, the private sector, government and not-for-profits in shaping the future of higher education and strengthening our impact on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Founded in 1959 on the Traditional Territory of the Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and the Huron-Wendat, York has become a leading interdisciplinary research and teaching University, all while staying true to our original values of accessibility, social responsibility, and academic excellence. Located in Toronto and within one of North America’s fastest-growing regions, York reflects the multicultural diversity of its wider community on its Keele and Glendon campuses, facilities in downtown Toronto, and in two international campuses in India and Costa Rica. The University has an established reputation worldwide with over 280 partnerships with international universities around the world, attracting international students with roots tracing back to over 170 countries. Last year, we began construction on a new campus in Markham, Ontario. The Markham Campus will be a catalyst for learning, research and innovation while serving as an anchor institution in vibrant York Region.

We have a student population of over 55,000 enrolled in more than 200 undergraduate and graduate programs. Our community includes more than 330,000 alumni worldwide, as well as 7,000 faculty and staff. We have 11 Faculties offering more than 5,000 courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and a budget of $1 billion – making us the second-largest University in Ontario, and the third largest in Canada. Recognizing our role in overcoming the legacy of systemic racism for Black Peoples, Indigenous Peoples and Peoples of Colour, as well as other forms of discrimination, we are putting equity, diversity and inclusion at the centre of all aspects of our work.

Our unique research collaborations have social, scientific and technological impact, and our international partnerships are helping students think bigger, broader, and more globally than ever before. We are one of the most ethnically diverse universities in the world, with enormous potential for future development given our location in the centre of a region experiencing the fastest growth in both population and innovation.

Academic & Research Excellence

Our goal is to offer a high-quality postsecondary education to diverse local, provincial and national communities, enriched through the research and scholarly activities of faculties that provide students with the knowledge and skills needed in a future fuelled by innovation and entrepreneurial creativity. High-impact and experiential learning are at the heart of our educational model. On a path to further intensify our scholarship, research and creative activities, we are strengthening our reputation as a leading influencer in the future of modern universities.

Student Success

Increasing our impact necessarily means that the success of our students is a top priority. We are committed to increasing the percentage and diversity of the population with access to a university education, and to ensuring their success by providing resilient knowledge and skills that meet the needs of employers and the external communities we serve. We have strengthened our new student support programs, expanded our communications and outreach efforts, and delivered countless services to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.

Community Engagement

York has adopted a perspective on the concept of community that is simultaneously global and local. We continue to contribute to an expanding innovation ecosystem collaborating with partners on complex research problems of common concern and creating experiential education opportunities for our students. Our programs are reaching communities near and far, our researchers are contributing invaluable knowledge to a wide array of disciplines, and our alumni are taking their comprehensive training to people down the street and across the globe.

Employee Engagement

We are home to a host of talented faculty and staff whose curiosity, passion, and engagement with their local and global communities is changing the world. York believes in nurturing a culture of respect. We value the contributions of all members of our community and celebrate each success as both an individual accomplishment and an institutional one.

Capital Investment

We are amid a tremendous transformation on our campuses. As our campuses expand, so do our horizons.

With two TTC Subway stations now operating, we are fully connected to the GTA. In 2023, the York University Markham Campus (MCC) will open its doors and offer students innovative programs focusing on technology and entrepreneurship to meet the emerging labour market and research needs of the region. We are also building a new home for our School of Continuing Studies and an innovative new art gallery on our Keele campus, and have many exciting capital projects – from new science and engineering facilities to a revitalization of campus public space – in the pipeline. We are also currently planning to submit a proposal to government for a new School of Medicine, and in the longer term, we are developing a vision for using our undeveloped campus lands to create vibrant new spaces to support our own needs as well as those of industry and the community.


The Division of Advancement is responsible for the identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of donors as well as building mutually beneficial relationships with alumni and many other members of the community. We are also deeply committed to building the reputation of York University as a leading, progressive, research-intensive University that will drive positive change in the 21st century.

Our mission is to lead and inspire meaningful engagement and philanthropic support from our diverse community of alumni and friends to advance the University’s excellence in education, research, and community service. We accomplish our mission through our values of accountability, collaboration and entrepreneurship.

This mission is carried out by nearly 80 employees in four departments within the Division:

  • Alumni Engagement: builds meaningful relationships and provides targeted programs and services to engage more than 330,000 York alumni worldwide in the life of the University and our students
  • Principal Giving, Donor Relations & Stewardship: leads effort to secure principal giving and is responsible for the full scope of activities related to donor relations, including stewardship and recognition
  • Development: leads efforts to promote and secure philanthropic support and build meaningful relationships with alumni, donors, friends, and community members
  • Advancement Services & Operations: manages ceremonial events like convocation, alumni and donor systems including research, data management, and gift processing along with finance, operations and HR for the Division.

York University’s Alumni Engagement efforts are focused on engaging York alumni, supporting our grads in life beyond York, and ensuring we are strategically leveraging alumni relationships, talent, and voices to benefit the University and our students. We achieve this through a variety of programs and services, and in partnership with the York University Alumni Board (YUAB).

The YUAB is comprised of dedicated individuals from a variety of academic backgrounds who are passionate about York and its mission. Whether the activity is in the form of advocacy, counsel, philanthropy or any other form of volunteer assistance, the graduates of York University have a unique and valuable role to fill in promoting the excellence, advancement and prestige of the University.

Impact: The Campaign for York University

Our current campaign is both a celebration of what York has already contributed to society and a challenge to ourselves and to our community to do even more. Building on our many successes, we will leverage our greatest strengths — our bold and progressive spirit, our community commitment, both locally and globally, and our exceptional record of philanthropic support from alumni and friends — to launch the largest campaign in York University’s history.

Impact: The Campaign for York University is our commitment to ourselves, our alumni and our friends to accelerate our impact and change the world. The campaign will help to advance our research discoveries and innovation, open the minds of our future leaders and strengthen our communities on campus and around the world.

The campaign is organized around three themes.

We have surpassed our ambitious goal of raising $500 million for the campaign, and are now looking towards next steps and developing a future campaign vision.


Academic Plan 2020 – 2025

YorkU Board of Governors

Economic and Social Impact Report 2020

President Annual Report 2020

Anti-Black Racism Framework

Indigenous Framework for York University

Impact Campaign: Faculty Priorities in Action


Possessing high expectations and even higher aspirations, the Vice-President, Advancement will create, implement, and serve a broad-based, integrated, long-term agenda to weave advancement into the fabric of York University. A committed and collaborative colleague, the new incumbent will partner with the President, Vice Presidents, Deans, and administrative leaders to develop mutually beneficial ideas and engagement strategies that lead to advancement success and the achievement of our strategic priorities as expressed in the University Academic Plan, 2020-25.

The ideal candidate will possess a deep understanding of the interrelation between alumni and development, beginning with the student recruitment and the student experience and continuing through the lives of our alumni. A champion of equity, diversity and inclusion, the Vice-President, Advancement will engage the Alumni Board, donors, campaign volunteers, and other stakeholders with authenticity and integrity.

Combining patience with tenacity, the Vice-President will maintain focus on and balance between both short- and long-term advancement goals. The new incumbent will prioritize activities and delegate accordingly to ensure that relationship building with alumni, donors, prospective donors, and key partners and volunteers remain a primary focus for this role.

A strategist with strong intellectual capacity, the Vice-President will possess creativity and exceptional critical thinking abilities. The ideal candidate will be highly organized and will be capable of equably dealing with the size, scope, and volume of this role. The successful candidate will also possess exceptional managerial and political acumen, ideally gained in a post-secondary or other complex environment.

The successful candidate will champion advancement internally at York and will serve as a conduit between the senior university administration and the advancement leadership team. An inclusive, accessible, and supportive mentor, the Vice-President will openly share knowledge, experience, guidance and ideas.  The ideal candidate will be an energetic and empathetic ‘builder’ who will combine passion and wisdom to instill optimism and confidence in the team.

As a member of the senior executive team, the Vice-President, Advancement will provide crucial leadership to York University as we embrace an uncertain and dynamic post-COVID world.


  • Developing a strategic advancement plan, in consultation with Senior Administration, academic and administrative leaders, Board of Governors, and the York University Alumni Board, to improve relationships and increase financial support to further York University’s mission
  • Engaging and strategizing with the President and University Executive Committee, in active partnership to build and achieve York’s overall vision and goals
  • Designing, implementing and supporting effective decentralized advancement programs at the Faculty level, in partnership with the Deans and other faculty leaders, while maintaining centralized reporting and management
  • Collaborating with academic and administrative colleagues to identify and develop funding opportunities and priorities for each Faculty and for the University as a whole
  • Providing guidance, training, and support to academic and administrative colleagues who serve as partners in fundraising activities
  • Leading, inspiring, supporting, and directing a team of advancement professionals to deepen alumni and donor engagement and to attract new and increased financial support
  • Putting equity, diversity and inclusion at the heart of the Division of Advancement, both in the growth of the internal team and in our engagement with diverse communities within and beyond the University
  • Inspiring and collaborating with academic and administrative leaders, and with senior fundraising volunteers, to sustain existing donor relationships and identify and build new ones
  • Working closely with York University Alumni Board leaders and volunteers, and with the Alumni Relations staff team, to ensure an integrated approach to the ongoing engagement of our 330,000 alumni in the life of the University
  • Ensuring ongoing positive relationships with new and existing individual donors, corporations and foundations, through exceptional relationship stewardship
  • Serving as York University’s chief development officer, developing and maintaining strong relationships with a portfolio of prospective donors, with accountability for personal revenue and activity goals
  • In partnership with staff leaders, overseeing the overall prospect pipeline and the flow of prospects through qualification, assignment, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship
  • Advocating for importance of data integrity and information management, and potential of technology to improve and augment advancement efforts
  • Continuing to ensure the rigour and quality of Advancement programs through monitoring appropriate accountability measurements for all aspects of development, alumni relations and advancement services
  • Serving as an ambassador and key spokesperson with donors, alumni, and other external stakeholders, in the Greater Toronto Area, throughout Canada, and internationally as appropriate
  • Partnering with the Communications & Public Affairs and Government & Community Relations teams to ensure consistent messaging and to optimize the use of communications vehicles to promote York’s key priorities and successes to key stakeholders
  • Maintaining networks with other professionals in the post-secondary sector and in the broader advancement community to maintain knowledge of competitive strategies and to benchmark York’s advancement practices and performance
  • Assuming overall accountability for the Advancement annual revenue and expense budgets
  • Ensuring compliance with legal and ethical standards, and University regulations and policies, as they pertain to development, alumni relations, and advancement services



  • Preference for senior level experience in a Vice President Advancement role but no less than five years of experience working as an Associate Vice President, Executive Director, or senior advancement leadership equivalent, within complex organizations
  • Proven team leadership and human resource management experience including the organization, motivation, and direction of a large team of staff, colleagues, and volunteers who work collaboratively to achieve shared objectives
  • A personal commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, and a demonstrated track record of supporting and promoting inclusion and belonging in the workplace.
  • Proven ability to develop relationships of trust and respect with Deans, Chairs, and academics
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively build and manage senior volunteer relationships that serve to enhance and advance the interests of the University and its mission
  • Respects and values the experience, ideas and perspective of others and strives to make connections that are mutually beneficial to the University
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, as well as exceptional listening skills
  • The ability to work in both English and French is considered an asset but is not a requirement for this role
  • Strong emotional intelligence, maturity, diplomacy, and judgement
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze and interpret information, and to make data-driven decisions


  • At least 15 years of experience working in Advancement, preferably including some level of previous experience working within the post-secondary education sector in an Advancement role
  • At least 10 years of experience specifically engaged in Major Gift philanthropy
  • Established track-record in the development and implementation of advancement strategy, including campaign and program planning, financial management and analysis, and accountability and performance management
  • Extensive leadership in developing and managing multi-channel, institution-wide, centralized/de-centralized fundraising and engagement programs
  • Experience translating strategic priorities into tactical advancement activities and successes
  • Deep and proven success in managing a portfolio of major and principal gifts prospects through identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship
  • Demonstrated ability to uncover and understand the interests of prospective donors and align these against the strategic needs of the University and its various units
  • Highly motivated and results-oriented individual who models the achievement of activity goals (quantitative and qualitative) to surpass individual and team targets
  • Clear understanding of and strict adherence to ethical fundraising standards, and communication of these standards and expectations for adherence to staff and volunteers engaged in fundraising
  • Commitment to learning and to student success, and engagement of students and student leaders in Advancement activities

Education & Credentials

  • A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree is required for this position, and an advanced degree is preferred. Consideration may be given to an equivalent combination of education and experience, if the majority of other competencies are met
  • Possess or be eligible for the Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE) credential; candidates will be required to complete certification within 12 months of commencing the position
  • A valid driver’s license and passport, and an ability to travel locally, nationally, and internationally (once pandemic restrictions are lifted). Such travel is a requirement of the role


KCI Search + Talent has been retained to conduct this Advancement leadership search on behalf of York University. For more information, please contact Tara George, Partner/ Lead, KCI Search + Talent via email at

All inquiries and submissions will be held in strict confidence. We would ask interested candidates to please send their resume and letter of interest to the email address above no later than August 19, 2021.

To view the full Executive Brief, please visit:

The University welcomes applications from all qualified individuals, including, but not limited to women, persons with disabilities, visible minorities (racialized), Indigenous Peoples and persons of any gender identity and sexual orientation. York University is committed to a positive, supportive and inclusive environment.

York University offers accommodation for applicants with disabilities in its recruitment processes. If you are contacted by York University regarding a job opportunity or testing, please advise if you require accommodation.

This position is open to all Canadian citizens, permanent residents and those legally able to work in Canada. Other individuals may be considered, per Canadian immigration laws. Candidates should please include their status when inquiring about or applying for this position.

Please note that the salary for this position is $250,000 to $270,000 per annum, with a target earnable performance bonus of 10-15% (max 20%). A comprehensive suite of benefits is also provided, including participation in York’s pension plan.

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