Fundraising and Advancement, Health, Nonprofit and Social Impact

Chief Development Officer

  • Muscular Dystrophy Association
  • Flexible, with preference for New York Tri-State area

This position has been filled.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) is the #1 voluntary health organization in the United States for people living with muscular dystrophy, ALS, spinal muscular atrophy, and hundreds of other related neuromuscular diseases. For over 70 years, MDA has pioneered groundbreaking research, state-of-the-art advanced care and pathbreaking advocacy in Congress and the FDA for increased support and rapid treatment access for people and families living with a neuromuscular disease.

MDA’s mission to empower the people we serve to live longer, more independent lives is happening right now, through the ever-expanding pipeline of promise that in the last 12 years has yielded 20 FDA approved treatments for those with neuromuscular disease. Those treatments were created from MDA’s vision to open a new field of medicine and push the boundaries of the medical frontier we call genetic medicine. 

In the 21st century, MDA leads the way in developing treatments and cures on that new medical frontier. For virtually all human history, people with a genetic disease had no hope of a treatment. People with progressive genetic diseases – the ones that get worse over time like muscular dystrophy and most neuromuscular diseases – had no hope of even slowing their disease’s relentless progress and, thereby, gaining a longer life. Today, however, for the first time in history, for the first time in medicine, MDA supported scientists and clinicians are helping develop the first FDA approved treatments for genetic diseases that are stopping some of them and slowing many others.

Hope for a longer, more independent life is now becoming a reality for thousands of patients with muscular dystrophy and related diseases. And the pipeline of promise – more life empowering treatments and cures, is growing and creating ever more hope for the millions of patients and their families who are at the heart of MDA’s mission and vision.

Role Summary

 MDA’s Development Department is a full-scale, comprehensive fundraising operation responsible for executing approximately 90% of MDA’s annual fundraising goals. Aside from maintaining and growing current sources of revenue, the Department works closely with MDA’s Development Committee of the Board of Directors to attract and maintain new partners capable of directly donating significant, multi-million-dollar contributions or doing so in partnership with MDA staff and volunteers.

The Department consists of seven business units, each led by a Vice President who reports to the Chief Development Officer. The seven business units are aligned with MDA’s partnerships and include: Healthcare Partnerships, Corporate Partnerships, Retail & Hospitality Partnerships, Consumer Products & Services Partnerships, Organizational Partnerships, Foundations & Major Gift Partnerships, Community Engagement Partnerships and Cause Marketing Partnerships. The Department works closely with, and is supported by, MDA’s Marketing and Brand Awareness Department.

Development Department leadership in collaboration with MDA’s Board Development committee have championed a significant focus on identifying and securing new fundraising openings and partnerships that can accelerate and strengthen MDA’s annual revenue growth.

The Chief Development Officer (CDO) is a “hands-on,” results-oriented position that reports to the President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The CDO is a member of the senior executive team that is tasked with effectively and efficiently carrying out the Board approved strategy for achieving MDA’s growth and mission-oriented objectives. The CDO’s role is central to achieving those objectives through expanding, cultivating, and building a diversified revenue base that achieves profitable annual financial growth with margins consistent with best practices in charity outcomes as outlined by national, independent watchdog agencies such as Charity Navigator.

The CDO is the executive with primary responsibility for identifying, cultivating and securing major new revenue sources. Cultivating new revenue sources while maintaining current sources is the area of CDO leadership that MDA’s Board and CEO consider vital to MDA’s future. Accordingly, the CDO position is a high-profile position that in collaboration with, and support of the Board and CEO requires an executive who has an entrepreneurial, hands-on spirit coupled to a “can do” attitude executed with an appropriately sustained diligence in pursuing and following up all reasonable high impact new revenue-generating opportunities.

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

  • Deep personal commitment to MDA’s mission and ability to authentically engage and inspire others as a senior representative of the organization.
  • 5+ years in managing fundraising or business development teams with demonstrated track record of fundraising/revenue generation success.
  • Familiarity with nonprofit operations preferred.
  • Commitment to building diversity, equity, and inclusion in the development function; culturally competent with respect to issues such as race, gender, economic class, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion, language, age, national identity, religion, and other categories.
  • Excellent public speaking skills are required for speeches to multiple stakeholders in a variety of settings, including, for example, fundraising events, presentations to donors on recent achievements, and meetings with the Board of Directors.
  • In addition to public speaking skills, excellent overall communication skills with an ability to establish and maintain positive working relationships with all internal and external constituencies/ stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated leadership history in project management as either a direct project manager or as having managed other project managers.
  • Demonstrated experience working with collaboratively with senior-level colleagues, board members, and other volunteer leaders on successful fundraising or business development activities
  • Excellent analytical, critical thinking, problem solving, negotiation, and marketing skills.
  • Bachelor’s degree in business administration or related field; master’s degree preferred.

Muscular Dystrophy Association requires all new hires to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to the first date of employment. As required by applicable law, Muscular Dystrophy Association will consider requests for Reasonable Accommodations. 

MDA is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status. 

Muscular Dystrophy Association has retained the Diversified Search Group for this engagement. Managing Director Gerard F. Cattie, Jr. is leading the search. To express interest in this role, submit your application documents here.  Send inquiries and nominations via email to

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