Chief Advancement Officer

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The Organization:

The Headstrong Project (Headstrong) was founded in 2012 by Zach Iscol, a combat-decorated Marine Corps Officer, and other committed colleagues, to provide frictionless, world-class mental healthcare to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress and other hidden wounds.

In partnership with Weill Cornell Medical College, one of the nation’s leading health care centers, and with the help and direction of top clinicians across the country, Headstrong has developed a comprehensive treatment program for post 9/11 Veterans dealing with PTSD, addiction, anxiety and depression, trauma, grief and loss, and anger management.

The Headstrong model directly addresses the challenges and barriers that prevent high quality care for veterans, and has developed effective solutions for eliminating them –  by providing cost-free and individualized assistance through networks of experienced clinicians, and by eliminating the necessity for “bricks and mortar” facilities, long wait times and extensive forms.

The program is highly impactful and unique in its approach, guided by three principles: Headstrong is free of charge, free of bureaucracy, and free of stigma.

Headstrong has experienced rapid growth since its founding and has a current budget of $4.4 million. The program is in 14 markets across 20 cities and has provided assistance to 600 veterans – helping them regain their mental fitness. Currently there are 375 veterans in treatment across New York City and State, San Diego, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Colorado.

Due to its unique model and successful outcomes for veterans, interest in program participation continues to grow on both the supply-side including clinicians and particularly on the demand side – veterans in need of mental health care services. A combination of which serve as the basis for scaling the Headstrong model nationally. Headstrong is currently contracted with 131 Therapists around the country and have provided over 15,000 clinical sessions to date.

The Headstrong Project continues to experience explosive growth and highly impactful programmatic outcomes. As a critical member of the executive team, the Chief Advancement Officer will create a strategic development plan, raise funds from existing and future donors, and increase organizational and brand visibility. Headstrong is seeking an extraordinary leader, team player and advancement professional committed to providing mental health treatment for post-9/11 combat veterans and scaling the program nationally.

The Role:

Location: Preferably New York City, but will consider Washington, DC.

Reports to: Executive Director (ED)

Travel: Role will require approximately 30% national travel


The Chief Advancement Officer (CAO) will help develop and execute strategic organizational goals during Headstrong’s next stage of ambitious growth, including:

  • Provide leadership and guidance to the ED, Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and Board of Directors to develop and enhance Headstrong’s resource and development strategy, communications and strategic partnerships.

  • Capitalize on short- and long-term opportunities for expanding revenue and organizational visibility, ultimately building the foundation for long-term financial sustainability and brand awareness on a national level.

  • Provide strategic leadership and support to a highly dedicated team of professionals across the organization responsible for delivering on a diversified fundraising plan, partnership cultivation, programmatic leadership, and operations.

Key Responsibilities:

Strategic Leadership & Management

  • Develop, direct and be accountable for a diversified, multi-year development strategy with a strong emphasis on individual and corporate giving, in partnership with the ED, Board, and members of the ELT.

  • Partner with the ED, Board and ELT to deepen existing funder, partner and alumni relationships, cultivate new and innovative revenue sources to support organizational goals.

  • Serve as an ambassador and spokesperson for Headstrong and articulate the mission to external constituents in a variety of forums.

  • Work with the ED to establish external performance measures, leverage CRM capability to track gating analysis, monitor results and assess future opportunities in existing locations, and for new markets.

  • Work with the Board Chair to create a Board fundraising policy and establish development committees with clear deliverables; educate board members to better understand their fundraising roles and responsibilities; provide training, access to resources and ongoing support.

  • Attend Board meetings to report on progress against agreed-upon goals and metrics, and to discuss development strategies for new and current donor prospects.

  • Create and manage a development budget.


Development & Relationship Building

  • Advise and oversee fundraising strategy development for identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of current and future donors.

  • Oversee the current fundraising portfolio; provide expertise in soliciting and cultivating new donors at the six- and seven figure giving levels, as well as individual and smaller online donors.

  • Partner with the ED to create new and innovative ways to ways to raise awareness of Headstrong at a national level and leverage the current program model and partnerships to identify both new markets and collaborative opportunities, and other constituents who will support the replication of the Headstrong model nationwide.

  • Leverage programmatic knowledge and client success stories by working closely with the Clinical Director and his team; coordinate development and programmatic activities; when appropriate attend fundraising meetings together.

  • Leverage marketing and branding strategies to bring in small donor dollars via social media, other on-line activity, and email and print campaigns; ensure high impact content development and presentations that will create consistent messaging and a compelling case for strategic partnerships and financial support from individuals, foundations and corporations.

  • Enhance the visibility of Headstrong by being a spokesperson of the organization and a leading voice for post 9/11 Veterans’ rights to access to high-quality, bureaucracy-free mental health care treatment.

  • Together with the ED, engage and energize those responsible for Headstrong’s success: clinicians, team members, board members, event committees, alumni, partnering organizations, funders and – critically – current, past and future clients.


Internal Management & Infrastructure

  • Recruit, train, manage and mentor current and future development staff; foster an environment of cohesiveness and collaboration.

  • Provide leadership, motivation and partnership to the ED and board members in carrying out their development responsibilities; accompany the ED and board members on solicitation calls and personally conduct major gift solicitations.

  • Develop a strategy based on the evaluation and analysis of past foundation giving, as well as, established and prospective corporate partnerships.

  • Oversee and provide professional development to part-time Grant Manager.

  • Leverage and develop current CRM and technology systems to track financial performance pertaining to organizational goals and metrics.

  • Oversee all stewardship activities including donor acknowledgement, donor recognition, pledge reminders, donor record accuracy, prospect research, proposal development, data sharing and monitoring of contributed revenues against goals.

  • Assure that best practices are in place and that relevant and innovative fundraising messages are developed for diverse demographic and geographic supporters.

Candidate Profile:

Professional Experience:

  • 10+ years of progressively successful advancement, development experience, or directly related experience in a growth-oriented nonprofit, healthcare or organization serving veterans and their families; private sector professionals with board or volunteer experience and a connection to the Headstrong mission will also be considered.

  • Successful record of building comprehensive, best-practices advancement programs; demonstrated expertise of raising assets and resources from various sources in support of organization growth and sustainability.

  • Demonstrated success in identifying, cultivating, ‘making the ask’, and stewarding individual major/principal gift donors, foundations, and corporate donors; experience with on-line fundraising and social media.

  • Proven track record of closing gifts to enhance resource development, relationship building, and sustainability of the organization to open new markets and serve more veterans.

  • Strategic thought partner to the ED and Board to leverage their time and maximize their impact in Advancement.

  • Track record of successfully guiding an organization’s brand with new strategic partners, potential donors and other key stakeholders.  


Personal Attributes:

  • Passionately committed to the Headstrong mission of providing confidential treatment to post 9/11 veterans that is cost-free, bureaucracy-free, and stigma free.

  • Collaborative and empowering leadership style; a self-motivated team player and builder; considered a go-to person and resource for training, coaching and professional growth.

  • Hands-on executor who will help the Headstrong senior leadership to maximize the organization’s impact and reach through data-driven planning and innovative approaches to cultivating new donors.

  • Strategic thinker with significant presence and gravitas that inspires confidence with high net worth donors, high-level corporate executives, foundations, partners, alumni, the military community, the Board and staff.

  • Strong strategic planning and process management skills, budget management experience, and computer proficiency; knowledge of best practices and the ability to apply them in innovative ways.

  • Outstanding relationship builder and collaborator; an engaged, active listener, able to communicate effectively with a broad group of stakeholders.

  • Exceptional storyteller and dynamic public speaker; ability to inspire and embrace the role of being an ambassador of The Headstrong Project.

  • Excellent communication and influencing skills; persuasive, credible and polished communicator, both written and verbal.

  • An emotionally intelligent leader with a strong value system and accountable to others.

  • Personal characteristics of integrity, sense of humor, the ability to be flexible and work as part of a team.


  • Bachelor’s degree required; MBA or other advanced degree/equivalent preferred.


The Headstrong Project is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Personnel are chosen on the basis of ability without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, marital status or sexual orientation, in accordance with federal and state law.

How to Apply:

If you, or someone in your network, is interested in exploring this opportunity, please submit a resume and a cover letter to:

Janet Albert – Partner, Bridge Partners


Tory Clarke – Partner, Bridge Partners


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