Job Posting

Chief Advancement Officer

Constellation Fund | Minneapolis, MN
Salary Range: $160,000 - $185,000

Ballinger | Leafblad is pleased to conduct the search for a Chief Advancement Officer at Constellation Fund in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Constellation Fund is a poverty-fighting organization in the Twin Cities that invests philanthropic resources into nonprofits raising the living standards of individuals and families experiencing poverty in the seven-county metropolitan area. Constellation takes an outcome-based approach to this critical effort, prioritizing evidence over anecdotes to find, fund, and empower poverty-fighting service providers shown by evidence to be creating transformational impact in our community.

With one in five residents of the Twin Cities living in poverty, our philanthropic community must strategically focus its resources on the interventions providing the largest poverty-fighting impacts. Constellation approaches this pressing challenge by thoughtfully applying the principles of modern economic decision making to the important business of local philanthropy. By carefully leveraging peer-reviewed research, local demographic information, and data from nonprofits, Constellation methodically measures the relative impacts of the varying nonprofit interventions in our community to ensure that precious philanthropic resources are allocated to the organizations found to be most impactful in the fight against poverty.

Since the Board of Directors underwrites Constellation’s operating costs, every outside dollar raised by the organization goes directly to its carefully vetted nonprofit grantees, which are provided not only with funding, but also with access to best-in-class pro bono partners that can provide invaluable services and expertise otherwise inaccessible to most nonprofits in their efforts to improve and scale their impacts.

Prior to the start of the Constellation Fund, Founder Andrew Dayton lived in San Francisco and gained insight into nonprofit start-ups. Andrew was inspired by an organization called Tipping Point, which focused on fighting poverty in the Bay area. The company identified the most impactful nonprofit organizations in order to more efficiently give back to people in need.

Intrigued, Dayton assembled a team of experts in policy, economics and poverty alleviation and founded the Constellation Fund in 2018. The organization has one goal: to eradicate poverty by using predictive analytics to get the best possible return on philanthropic investment.

Since its founding, Constellation Fund staff have built and continue to lead a grant program centered on research to estimate the economic impact of potential partners. This research consists of identifying and summarizing evidence of the effectiveness of nonprofit programs, identifying demographic characteristics of low income individuals, and designing protocols to capture monetary benefits for these individuals.

Constellation Fund awards grants to nonprofit organizations with no restrictions on the use of funds, a rare form of capital in the philanthropic sector that allows the organizations to grow their impact purposefully. In addition, grantees receive connections to best-in-class pro bono partners to provide services and expertise otherwise inaccessible to most poverty-fighting organizations.

Constellation Fund is emerging from an entrepreneurial start-up to an established, faced-paced, growth-oriented organization. The culture reflects a spirit of innovation and creativity that values patience and urgency equally while being deeply engaged in addressing significant disparities across the community.

Constellation Fund has a culture that is further identified by an entrepreneurial mindset in tandem with a deep investment in the longitudinal work-- required to have the necessary impact and outcomes.

Leadership and staff at Constellation Fund support solutions by focusing on leveraging philanthropic opportunities to:
  • build on quantifiable solutions
  • implement new practices
  • elevate an emerging narrative about the significant impact targeted contributions can have in addressing some of our deepest community disparities

The culture is a learning and nurturing environment reflective of a passion and interest to grow something unique across the community landscape. Staff seek to act with agility and creativity and function at the highest possible level.

Fight poverty in the Twin Cities by raising the living standards of individuals and families living below the poverty line in the seven-county metro area.

  • Make every decision with one question in mind: what will have the greatest impact for those living in poverty in the Twin Cities?
  • Make informed, reasoned choices in the face of ambiguity or pressure.
  • Seek to identify root causes and to move beyond treating symptoms.
  • Challenge prevailing assumptions and pursue better approaches.
  • Follow the best available evidence, even when it’s uncomfortable.
  • Willing to respectfully rethink the status quo.
  • Make tough decisions, take smart risks, and are open to possible failures.
  • Question actions inconsistent with our values.
  • Go to great lengths to carefully select our partners, and we trust them.
  • Treat everyone with kindness, respect, and compassion.
  • Build strong partnerships and celebrate each unique contribution.
  • Seek and embrace diverse perspectives to make better decisions.
  • Seek candid feedback and work to deeply understand before reacting.
  • Admit mistakes freely and openly.
  • Share information and assets proactively.
  • Provide polite, honest, and timely feedback to colleagues and partners.
  • Engender confidence by demonstrating consistent results.
  • Invite and accomplish remarkable amounts of meaningful work.
  • Strive relentlessly to improve our organization and our community.
  • Recognize that we all have biases and work to grow past them.

Constellation invests in and empowers nonprofit service providers that demonstrably raise the living standards of individuals living in poverty in the Twin Cities. To do this, we focus our support on four key issue areas and, importantly, the intersections between them: education, employment, health, and housing. These are broad categories, so Constellation prioritizes the evaluation of organizations addressing key drivers of poverty that local data, research, and lived experiences indicate are exacerbating inequities.

The parameters required of organizations to receive grants are:
  • Organizations must operate within one or more of the following counties in the seven-county Twin Cities region: Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, or Washington.
  • Organizations must predominately serve those living below 185% of the federal poverty line in the seven-county Twin Cities metro.
  • A significant portion of the organization’s programs must address one or more of Constellation’s core poverty-fighting impact areas: education, housing, health, and employment.

Focus areas change with each grant cycle. Constellation Fund has identified three focus areas for the November 2023 grant cycle. These focus areas reflect ongoing areas of need in our communities and areas where we would like to grow an understanding of community-based solutions.

Health - Medication-Assisted Treatment for Substance Use Disorder
Constellation Fund will provide grants to organizations that provide medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorder. Services may include, but are not limited to, MAT programs that include medication to treat alcohol use disorder, MAT programs that include medication to treat opioid use disorder, and programs that provide education and distribution of naloxone for reversal of opioid overdose.

Housing - Housing Services for Individuals with Justice System Involvement
Constellation Fund will provide grants to organizations that provide reentry housing services for individuals with justice system involvement to prepare returning citizens to live productively on their own, alter previous patterns, and ultimately reduce recidivism. Services include but are not limited to transitional housing, supportive housing, assistance accessing permanent housing, and case management to help coordinate services.

Education - Education Opportunities for Populations Formerly or Currently Incarcerated
Constellation Fund will provide grants to organizations that provide educational opportunities to currently and formerly incarcerated adults. Services may include, but are not limited to, educational programs within correctional institutions, high school equivalency, college-level, or employment credentialing programs for formerly incarcerated adults that ultimately increase participant career opportunities.

This leadership position is focused on building trust and relationships with high-net-worth individuals, including generational wealth, finance sector leaders, executives of large corporations and principal business owners and engaging them to invest in the work of Constellation Fund. Constellation has established relationships with a significant and growing group of sophisticated philanthropic and business leaders in the Twin Cities. The CAO, in collaboration with the CEO, is responsible for creating an effective strategy to build transformational relationships with founders and senior executives from notable finance firms, leading corporations, and families with a legacy of philanthropic investment. Constellation Fund has grown rapidly since its inception with an incredibly dedicated and engaged board of directors and group of pro bono partners.

The CAO reports to the Chief Operating Officer and partners closely with Constellation Fund’s Founder and CEO. The CAO will oversee a team that includes an Advancement Director, Senior Philanthropy Officer and an Engagement Coordinator.

Transformational Philanthropy
  • Identify, cultivate, and solicit prospective transformational donors with a specific focus on securing major gifts from prospects and provide stewardship for assigned donors and secured gifts. Take timely and strategic steps in moving prospects through the major gift cycle of identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.
  • Lead fundraising initiatives working closely with Constellation Fund leadership to define and articulate priorities, identify prospective donors, strategically engage and cultivate prospects and steward past donors.
  • Develop an annual plan of work, including specific fundraising, prospect development, and programmatic goals with an emphasis on achieving established standards and metrics.
  • Builds and maintains a portfolio of transformational gift prospects to ensure that timely steps are taken toward solicitation, closure, and stewardship.
  • Works closely with CEO, COO and board to set appropriate annual goals.

  • Must be a self-starter. Independent work and self-motivation will be key to success.
  • Must have exceptional analytical skills with high attention to technical and nontechnical details.
  • Must have exceptional organization skills, with previous project management experience.
  • Must be a resourceful problem-solver and critical thinker, be proactive in leveraging opportunities, and anticipating and averting problems.
  • Must be good at networking and have good people skills.
  • Must be able to speak and write clearly, effectively, and succinctly, including under time constraints.
  • Must have a high degree of appreciation for the immense challenges facing poverty-fighting organizations and social services work, and respect for the individuals dedicated to those important efforts.

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • 7+ years of advancement and/or sales experience, preferably some in the for-profit world.
  • A minimum of three (3) years’ experience managing multiple advancement staff, including selection, performance management, and coaching.
  • Demonstrated success in qualification, cultivation, solicitation, gift closure, and stewardship of seven-figure or larger gifts.
  • Demonstrated strong organizational and management skills.
  • Superb oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Evidence of the ability to lead cross-functional teams and to work effectively and collaboratively with multiple groups and diverse constituencies.
  • Superb relationship management, interpersonal, and communication (written and spoken) skills.
  • Demonstrated ability for handling multiple, complex projects simultaneously in a fast-paced environment.
  • The ability to occasionally participate in evening and weekend events.

  • Master’s Degree or professional degree preferred.
  • Ten (10) years of advancement experience.
  • Five (5) years’ experience managing multiple advancement staff, including selection, performance management, and coaching.
  • Knowledge of the advancement programs, fundraising, and administration.
  • Demonstrated experience in prospect development and stage management.
  • Ability to maintain a travel schedule, including some evenings and weekends.
  • Proven experience with volunteer board management.

Constellation offers a benefits package that is competitive with industry standards. Salary is commensurate with experience. Salary Range: $160,000 - $185,000.

For more information or to send your credentials, please email Application deadline February 24, 2023. All inquiries will remain confidential.

The Constellation Fund is an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran or disability status. Applicants from underrepresented backgrounds in philanthropy and applicants who identify as low-income are encouraged to apply.