Job Posting

Vice President for Advancement and Executive Director of the Foundation

Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College | Bemidji, MN
Salary Range: $105,500-$147,500+ Depending on Qualifications

Heinze & Associates is pleased to assist Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College in its search for Vice President for Advancement and Executive Director of the Foundation. For priority consideration, please apply by February 27, 2023.

This is an exciting opportunity for an energic and visionary leader to champion philanthropic work in a broadened role being elevated as a vice president and member of the President’s executive cabinet. The VP for Advancement provides equitable, inclusive, and ethical leadership for the development of philanthropic strategy, stewardship, and culture that advance the mission, vision, values, and priorities of Bemidji State University (BSU) and Northwest Technical College (NTC).

The unique alignment of the two-year technical college with a four-year comprehensive state university makes for a nearly one-of-a-kind opportunity for community engagement and innovation that enhances access and affordability while creating new pathways to educational goals, credentials, and degrees for students. BSU and NTC’s location in Bemidji, a growing regional center, and among Minnesota’s three largest Tribal Nations creates possibilities for the aligned institutions to serve as an innovation hub for educational advancement and economic development throughout Northern Minnesota.

Reporting to the President of Bemidji State University (BSU) and Northwest Technical College (NTC), the Vice President for Advancement and Executive Director for the Foundation will lead the advancement team in becoming a premier fundraising enterprise built upon outstanding alumni and donor engagement. The Vice President will drive fundraising, alumni relations, and community relations; support the philanthropic engagement of the BSU Alumni and Foundation Board (primary responsibility) and the NTC Foundation (supporting role); and propel and support the President’s fundraising activities. The Vice President will assume responsibility for a broad and complex set of initiatives related to the philanthropic priorities and activities of the University. The Vice President will actively develop the growing institutional advancement team, formalizing and enacting a plan for the University’s next comprehensive campaign. The Vice President will utilize data including quantitative metrics and qualitative measures to set, monitor, and evaluate fundraising goals.

Team Development
The VP for Advancement will supervise a crew of 14 development professionals and support staff. These skilled and energetic individuals are poised to thrive under a leader who will develop a team ethos and approach, provide individual coaching and direction, and foster a culture of philanthropy. Greater coordination of BSU Foundation team efforts with the NTC Foundation and BSU-NTC campus leadership has potential to deliver breakthrough outcomes.

Comprehensive Fundraising Campaign
BSU is working with Bentz, Whaley, Flessner & Associates (BWF) to advance its donor engagement in preparation for a comprehensive fundraising campaign. This effort has strong support from the Bemidji State University Alumni and Foundation Board as well as a Campaign Readiness Task Force consisting of core alumni, donors, and community stakeholders. Based on research conducted in Fall 2022, BWF will advise the president and the Campaign Readiness Task Force regarding potential scale, scope, and timing of a comprehensive campaign in the early months of 2023.

BSU and NTC have recently hired Dr. John L. Hoffman as president of the two institutions. In his first six months in office, Dr. Hoffman has established a high degree of engagement and contact with alumni, donors, community partners, and other internal and external stakeholders. He is looking for a VP for Advancement who will strategically utilize a significant portion of his time to advance the philanthropic work of BSU and NTC.

Coordinated BSU-NTC Strategic Plan
For the first time in the history of their alignment, BSU and NTC will develop and enact a shared strategic plan. The launch of this strategic plan is scheduled for the end of the 2022-2023 academic year, which will fit well with the launch of a comprehensive fundraising campaign. The plan builds on core values of holistic student success and diversity, equity, and inclusion and targets outcomes of expanded educational value for students, alumni, and Northern Minnesota. The plan further promises to center the talent development of students and employees, bolster marketing and messaging, and enhance innovation and community engagement.

  • Serve as a member of the President’s Executive Cabinet Team.
  • Provide thought leadership related to the scope of responsibility in planning and decision-making for BSU and NTC including service as a senior advisor and trusted partner to the President in pursuit of the vision and mission of BSU and NTC.
  • Center holistic student learning, success, and achievement leading to long-term educational value in all
  • professional practices.
  • Demonstrate self-awareness of one's own cultural beliefs, perspectives, and privileges as a part of one’s
  • orientation toward leadership.
  • Acknowledge the specific and particular realities of Indigenous, Black and persons of color, 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals, first-generation college students, people from low-income families, and other minoritized communities within Northern Minnesota while also connecting communities to local and regional experiences in order to foster a greater sense of belonging among employees and students.
  • Advance a campus culture of proactive, transparent, and inclusive engagement with shared governance.
  • Actively and visibly engage with campus, local, and regional communities.
  • Promote practices that are environmentally sustainable and consistent with practices advanced by American Indian stewards of the region’s land, water, and air.
  • Proactively engage in data-informed practices that lead to continuous improvement.
  • Commit to the highest level of ethical practice including allocation of time and resources for reflection, rest, mentoring/consultation, etc.
  • Maintain currency in areas of leadership responsibility including fundraising, alumni relations, and foundation management through engagement with (a) strategically selected and agreed-upon professional organization(s).

Advancement and Planning
  • Serve as a driver, advocate, and champion for philanthropic work spanning BSU and NTC that elevates core institutional values of holistic student success and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Develop a comprehensive institutional development plan that extends from and aligns to the BSU-NTC strategic plan.
  • Ensure strategic coordination of fundraising efforts across BSU and NTC and harmonization of fundraising efforts between BSU and NTC as well as within BSU and NTC (e.g., among athletics, music and arts, academic departments, etc.).
  • Enhance operations and strengthen productivity in the areas of advancement, annual fund, major gifts, corporate and Foundation relations, planned giving, and alumni relations.
  • Work closely with the President in all phases of advancement and campaign leadership activities.
  • Create and execute fundraising plans that utilize best practices for annual, major, and planned gift programs.
  • Ensure institutional compliance with federal, state, agency and other applicable governing regulations as well as Minnesota State policies including those pertaining to conflicts of interest.

BSU Foundation
  • Recruit, hire, support, develop, supervise, and evaluate Foundation staff.
  • Provide leadership for team building and the development of a compelling culture of philanthropy within the Foundation that influences all internal and external relationships and work.
  • Serve as an ex officio member of the BSU Alumni and Foundation Board and the NTC Foundation Board.
  • Develop, implement, and assess an annual budget for the BSU Foundation including fundraising goals linked to BSU’s strategic priorities.
  • Work with the President and the Board Chair to refine the Bylaws and operations relating to the interrelationship between the Foundation and the College.
  • Ensure timely and accurate updates of progress and information are provided to the President and the Foundation Board.

NTC Foundation
  • Serve as an ex officio member of the NTC Foundation Board.
  • Support the President’s Head of Staff in providing leadership for the NTC Foundation Board and its philanthropic work.

Major Gift Solicitation
  • Develop relationships with a portfolio of up to 50 lead donors, some of whom are shared with the BSU-NTC president, and develop strategies that secure major philanthropic investments, gifts, and donations to BSU and NTC.
  • Project an executive presence and deliver solicitation proposals to potential major donors and partner organizations.
  • Provide guidance for work with donors who support both BSU and NTC to elevate their philanthropic activity beyond transactional interactions with separate institutions to coordinated investments aligned with donor interests and needs.

Campaign Leadership
  • Provide leadership for comprehensive fundraising plans and bridge plans between comprehensive campaigns.
  • Coordinate priorities of comprehensive fundraising campaigns with the BSU-NTC strategic plan as well as with academic, facilities, enrollment, and other relevant plans.

Minimum Qualifications
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • At least five years of progressive experience as an advancement, fundraising, or alumni professional.
  • A record of increasing scope and responsibility in institutional advancement leadership, including budget oversight and management.
  • An ability to work with individuals from diverse backgrounds, interrupt oppressive structures and practices, and create an institutional culture that is equitable, inclusive, and just.
  • Excellent demonstrated judgment and diplomacy in working with diverse groups to address complex issues.
  • Exceptional written, presentation, and verbal communication skills that can be applied across levels.

Preferred Qualifications
  • Graduate degree and/or postbaccalaureate certification in fundraising.
  • Extended experience as an advancement, fundraising, or alumni professional including leadership of and/or critical participation in a significant comprehensive fundraising campaign.
  • Working knowledge and/or experience with two-year and/or four-year higher education.

In the north woods, on the shores of Lake Bemidji, nestled within limitless natural beauty and surrounded by Minnesota’s three largest Tribal nations, are Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College. Located in Bemidji, Minnesota, these institutions provide a unique opportunity to support both a four-year, regional public university and a two-year technical college. Bemidji State University has been ranked as one of the top 30 public institutions in the Midwest region by U.S. News & World Report for each of the past four years. BSU offers its diverse body of around 4,000 students a comprehensive spectrum of opportunities with more than 100 undergraduate degrees and emphasis areas in more than 50 areas of study, 14 pre-professional programs, 10 graduate programs, and 10 certificates.

As Bemidji State embarks upon its second century of service, our vision is simple: we educate people to lead inspired lives. To achieve this, BSU prioritizes a campus culture in which diversity is embraced and all people are safe, welcome, and validated. BSU also proactively engages with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, and White Earth Nation in northern Minnesota, and Indigenous communities nationwide, in pursuit of its goal to become a destination university. Northwest Technical College is one of only three pure technical colleges remaining in Minnesota, helping around 1,000 students each year align their education with their employment goals. NTC offers nearly 40 certificates, diplomas, and degrees in 20 programs across six career paths. For more than 50 years, NTC has prepared students for fulfilling careers in well-paying, in-demand fields. The college’s accessible, affordable, hands-on programs also help the region’s employers meet their ever-growing need for a highly skilled workforce. With an open-enrollment policy and affordable tuition, NTC meets students where they are with a convenient mix of on-campus, online, and hybrid courses.

Through a shared services alignment, NTC students can take advantage of services, support, activities, and opportunities at BSU that expand and enhance their college experience — such as full access to BSU’s library and the ability to live in BSU’s on-campus resident housing. BSU and NTC employees are represented by eight bargaining units, including individual faculty unions representing each institution. These unions represent and advocate on behalf of around 650 employees, fostering an effective and collaborative shared governance environment. BSU and NTC are members of the Minnesota State system of 30 colleges and seven universities, encompassing a total of 54 campuses in 47 Minnesota communities. The third-largest system of higher education in the nation, Minnesota State annually serves more than 340,000 students.

We acknowledge that Bemidji State University is located on land and water that is the current and ancestral homeland of the Ojibwe and Dakota. We acknowledge the painful history of genocide, forced assimilation, and efforts to alienate the Indigenous inhabitants from their territory here. We honor and respect the many diverse Indigenous peoples still connected to this land, retained tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, and cultural resilience. Indigenous people are spiritual and physical caretakers of this land to which we all belong. Bemidji State University respects these sacred lands, stands with the community members from these Nations, and will fight injustice in all its forms.

Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College are located amid the lakes and forests of northern Minnesota. Bemidji State occupies a wooded campus along the western shore of Lake Bemidji, while Northwest Technical College lies just three miles east, near Bemidji’s robust industrial district. When settling the Bemidji area in 1750, the Ojibwe people named the lake Bemidjigamaag, a word that translates to English as “a lake with crossing waters,” as the Mississippi River flows in from the south and exits on the east. While folk legends claim Lake Bemidji was formed in Paul Bunyan’s footprint as he logged his way west, BSU professors will say it was simply the result in the last stage of glaciation in Minnesota.

Bemidji is a tight-knit community possessing all the charm and character of a college town. Named after the Ojibwe Chief Shaynowishkung, the city is located between three American Indian tribal nations: the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, the Red Lake Nation and the White Earth Nation. While the city of Bemidji proper claims a population of around 15,000, as a regional hub it provides goods, services, and employment to nearly 100,000 Minnesotans. Located just minutes away from a thriving downtown Bemidji, both the BSU and NTC campus communities have convenient access to affordable restaurants, fine dining experiences, cozy coffee shops, grocery stores — including a natural foods co-op — city parks, and nearly unlimited outdoor recreational opportunities. Small, locally owned shops and art sculptures line the streets of downtown Bemidji, while national chains can also be found in and around the Bemidji area. The historic Paul Bunyan Playhouse has a calendar of classic shows, restaurants offer weekly live music performances, the First Friday Art Walk provides a tour of new monthly art exhibits, and annual festivals bring the community together throughout the year. Additionally, the north woods setting means students, staff, and faculty have a variety of activities available at their fingertips year-round.

With more than 400 lakes within 25 miles of the city, — and a 240-acre research forest owned by BSU — there is easy access to kayaking, canoeing, swimming, boating, paddle boarding, hunting, hiking, biking, foraging, fishing, and more. An expansive network of multi-use trail systems is available for running, cross country skiing, single-track or fat-tire biking, and skijoring. Further, downhill skiing, snowboarding, and tubing lies just north of Bemidji at the Buena Vista Ski Area. Bemidji is also near two of Minnesota’s 66 state parks: Lake Bemidji State Park, which sits along Lake Bemidji’s northern shore, and Itasca State Park, home to the majestic Mississippi River Headwaters. Both parks are popular recreational and camping destinations where locals and tourists gather for sailing, swimming, and fishing during the summer months and skating, hockey, curling, and, yes, more fishing in the winter. Of course, no tour of Bemidji is complete without a visit to — and a selfie with — its two most famous residents: the iconic statues of Paul Bunyan and his trusty companion, Babe the Blue Ox. The famed duo, which has greeted visitors to Bemidji since 1937, are on the National Register of Historic Places and were once ranked by Kodak as the second most-photographed statues in America.

For further information about BSU visit or NTC at

For best consideration, please apply by February 27, 2023.

Apply online at

A complete application shall include the following:
  • A cover letter specifically addressing your qualifications, the core values of student success and DEI at BSU and NTC, and the focus on enhancing value for graduates at BSU and NTC.
  • Resume / Curriculum Vitae.
  • Unofficial transcript(s) of all undergraduate and graduate coursework.

Please do not email applications.

If you have questions about the position, or would like to make a nomination or referral, please contact:
Kris Hnastchenko, President
Heinze & Associates Executive Search

If you have questions about submitting an application, contact:
Melanie Pakonen
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