Posted On: 2018-12-21
Closing On: 2019-01-31
Location: Toronto
Employment Type: Full-Time
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Job Description


JDRF is seeking an experienced and collaborative leader, with demonstrated major gifts and campaign success, to be our first National Director, Major Gifts. The National Director will provide strategic leadership in the planning and execution of our growing major gift fundraising program, as well as manage their own donor pipeline.   

Based in our National Office in Toronto, and reporting to the Vice President, Philanthropy and Corporate Partnerships, the National Director, Major Gifts will be responsible for the areas of major gifts, planned giving, and foundations.  In this new role the Director will lead an experienced team of seven staff located across Canada. 

As our most senior major gifts fundraiser and subject-matter expert, the Director will work to complete the major gift component of our groundbreaking, $55 million In Our Lifetime campaign, and plot the future success for our next campaign projects.  The Director will work collaboratively with the Senior Management Team to achieve JDRF’s mission of accelerating life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications.

This is an exciting opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of more than 300,000 Canadians living with type 1 diabetes (T1D).  A values-driven organization, JDRF is continuing to grow and evolve our fundraising programs and successes.  With exceptional leadership and growing expertise across the country we are excited for our future.  As a JDRF employee, you will join a global leader in the search for an end to T1D. At JDRF, we realize that a cure is not just a destination but a journey. Our goal is to progressively remove the impact of T1D from people’s lives. JDRF is the world’s largest charitable supporter of T1D research working towards treating, preventing and eventually curing T1D.

The National Director will be based in our Toronto office at the junction of the 401 and 404, with some strategic travel across the country.



Since insulin was discovered in Canada in 1921, Canada has played an important role in diabetes research.  Founded over 40 years ago by families of children living with insulin-dependent type 1 diabetes (T1D), JDRF Canada is one of seven international affiliates of JDRF that funds ground-breaking T1D research in Canada and around the globe.

Today JDRF is the leading global organization funding T1D research in 18 countries.  As the central registry and gatekeeper of the world’s T1D projects, JDRF tracks who is doing the best research and where, ensuring research teams are networked to reduce duplication of efforts and better access to advancements. The goal of JDRF research is to improve the lives of all people affected by T1D by accelerating progress on the most promising opportunities for curing, better treating, and preventing T1D.  JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners who share this goal.

Since its founding in 1970 (1974 in Canada), JDRF has awarded more than $2 billion (U.S.) to diabetes research and is the largest charitable supporter of T1D research.  JDRF has funded, in whole or in part, the research projects of scientists involved in nearly every major scientific breakthrough in T1D research to-date.  We also recognize that we help those living with T1D today to live healthier, easier, and safer lives until we arrive at the end of that path.  JDRF will not rest until type 1 diabetes is fully conquered.


For more information on JDRF, please visit:


What makes JDRF unique?

  1. The leading national charitable funder of diabetes research in Canada.
  • In 2016, JDRF funded the most diabetes research in Canada by a national diabetes charity.
  1. Funding nearly every major scientific breakthrough in type 1 diabetes research worldwide.
  • Since 1974, JDRF has funded, in whole or in part, every major scientific breakthrough in type 1 diabetes research.
  1. JDRF is an international organization with global reach.
  • JDRF has affiliates in the US, Canada, Australia, Israel, Denmark, Netherlands, and the UK. With this international reach, JDRF has the ability to fund the best type 1 diabetes research happening around the globe, regardless of institution.  JDRF contributes $75M annually in type 1 diabetes research in 18 countries.
  1. Our ability to bring partners together.
  • We strategically partner with academia, foundations, industry, and government to accelerate the translation of novel discoveries in the lab through commercial development, regulatory approval and reimbursement, and ultimately clinician and patient adoption.
  1. Base of volunteers across the country.
  • Approximately 7,500 volunteers across Canada help drive JDRF’s mission.
  1. Impact on diabetes.
  • Breakthrough in research will help type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.


JDRF’s Research Goals 

JDRF’s research is committed to improving the lives of every person with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and to curing this disease.  JDRF’s research goals are realized by the projects being supported in three basic areas:

  • Cure therapies: Restoring a person’s insulin-producing capability and halting or reversing the body’s misguided immune attack on the pancreas;
  • Treatment therapies: Developing new devices and therapies that transform the way people with T1D treat the disease today in order to help them live healthier lives now and in the future; and
  • Preventive therapy research: Keeping future generations from getting T1D or stopping the disease process before it damages the pancreas.


These therapeutic areas are a bold step in our promise to move the diabetes research landscape towards a cure as soon as possible.  It is based on the progress and success of research over the past four decades in uncovering the most promising pathways to a cure.


Recent examples of JDRF funded research initiatives that have dramatically improved the quality of life and health of people living with type 1 diabetes include:

  • The first test to measure long-term blood sugar levels.
  • Genetically engineered insulin.
  • Drugs to prevent diabetic arteriosclerosis.
  • Human islet transplantation.
  • An FDA-approved computer model of diabetes to reduce the need for animal testing.
  • Breakthrough work in cell replacement therapies.


About T1D

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin.  Unlike type 2 diabetes, T1D is not linked to being overweight, lack of exercise, or other lifestyle factors.  It is not preventable and its cause is unknown.  It can affect anyone, at any age, at any time.

People with T1D must take insulin via syringe or insulin pump in required doses in order to control glucose levels in their blood.  This continuous glucose monitoring involves testing their blood sugar by pricking their finger(s) six or more times a day.

Despite this constant attention, people with T1D still run the risk of dangerously high-blood sugar levels, which can lead to complications, or dangerously low blood sugar levels, which can result in a coma.  Diabetes is the leading cause of amputations, blindness, kidney and heart disease, and other debilitating conditions.

While insulin injections or infusion allow a person with T1D to stay alive, they do not cure the disease, nor prevent long-term complications.

Nationally, the average incidence rate in Canada has been growing at an estimated 5.1% per year – higher than the global average.  Over 300,000 Canadians may have T1D.  Although most people are diagnosed as children, it is not just a child’s disease, and in fact, 25% of people with T1D are diagnosed as adults.  86,000 children worldwide develop T1D each year.  85% of people living with T1D are adults.  Total health care costs resulting from diabetes in Canada are expected to increase to over $16.9 billion annually by 2020. 


From the words of Kenadie

“When I was first diagnosed – just before starting second grade – I was at the theatre with my Mom and had to go to the bathroom many times.  My Mom has T1D and after using her blood glucose tester on me, it showed that I likely had the disease as well.  I later went to the doctor and it was confirmed.  I was scared at the beginning, but I felt better after my Mom and the doctors at the diabetes clinic taught me how to manage my diabetes.”

“T1D is hard to live with, but I would tell people with it to never give up.  You have a difficult disease, but you can get through it if you take care of yourself each day.”



JDRF was created – and is still led – by people with a personal connection to T1D. Today, volunteers at JDRF’s dozens of locations worldwide remain the driving force behind our activities.  That gives us an unrelenting passion and commitment to work to remove the impact of T1D from people’s lives.

JDRF Canada raises funds through major gifts, planned giving, special events, corporate partnerships, and annual giving.  


In Our Lifetime Major Gifts Campaign

In 2015, JDRF Canada launched a $55 million fundraising campaign to accelerate T1D research.  Entitled In Our Lifetime, the campaign will advance the pace of research so that a cure can be found in our lifetime. 

The campaign is driven by the collective efforts of committed donors and volunteers across Canada who are dedicated to significantly increasing JDRF’s major giving program and supporting a world without T1D.

From 2015-2020, JDRF’s campaign will fund:

  • $20 million to fund the best T1D research globally.

JDRF Canada will continue to fund the best research opportunities globally, as well as right here in Canada including:Developing a biological cure for T1D and restoring insulin independence; improving current type 1 diabetes treatment and care for people living with T1D and its complications; funding JDRF’s Canadian Clinical Trial Network & Research Expansion to explore ways to prevent, delay, and reverse the progression of T1D.

  • $30 million to expand JDRF’s Canadian Clinical Trial Network & Research providing Canadians greater access to the latest in clinical trials and treatment options.

This will enable Canada to play an even greater role in T1D research, bringing greater access to leading-edge treatments and clinical trials to more communities right across Canada. It will also increase capacity for diabetes research in Canada, giving us stronger global recognition, greater international competitiveness, and make Canada more attractive to the best researchers and practitioners.

  • $5 million to expand the development and training of the best and brightest researchers and scientists, right here in Canada.

Canada has a severe shortage of pediatric endocrinologists and ophthalmologists specializing in diabetes-related complications. Expansion of academic development and training through Research Fellowships, New Investigator Grants and Innovation Awards will encourage new researchers and physicians to explore careers in T1D care and research.



A significant portion of funds raised by JDRF Canada is raised through the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes and the JDRF Revolution Ride to Defeat Diabetes, both large national peer-to-peer events.  The JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes joins together 40,000 walkers in over 70 communities across Canada.  The JDRF Revolution Ride to Defeat Diabetes hosts 11,500 participants in 19 cities across the country and consists of a high-energy team-based spinning event. JDRF also hosts 10 gala events across the country.  

For more information, please visit:


CIHR & JDRF Partnership

On April 10, 2017, The Government of Canada, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and JDRF Canada announced the $30M Partnership to Defeat Diabetes to support innovative clinical trials in type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Both CIHR and JDRF have committed $15M to the Partnership.  The JDRF/CIHR Partnership to Defeat Diabetes supports JDRF’s globally-renowned research strategy and leverages both CIHR’s and JDRF’s expertise to improve the lives of people with T1D.



  • Creative and strategic thinking, energetic, and goal oriented.
  • Ability to work in a team environment, executing a strategic plan nationally while working collaboratively in achieving goals with staff and colleagues regionally.
  • Ability to lead and influence staff and volunteer teams and create a culture of accountability.
  • Ability to diagnose opportunities and propose solutions that meet the overall Foundation’s needs.
  • Attention to detail, while also having the ability to see the “big picture”.
  • Self-motivated, personable, and service-oriented.
  • Strong presentation, communication, and relationship building skills.
  • Ability to work within a tight timeline and prioritize in a fast paced dynamic environment.
  • Ability to sell ideas and concepts.



  • Significant progressive experience in major gift fundraising and campaign development.
  • Demonstrated leadership excellence in a similar not-for-profit environment.
  • Successful experience in developing and executing long-term plans while leveraging immediate opportunities and managing short-term objectives.
  • An understanding of data analysis and analytics.
  • The capacity to build and manage a donor pipeline.
  • Ability to articulate the mission and goals of JDRF both verbally and in all forms of written communication.
  • Experience leading a team of staff, specifically a remote team, and supporting senior volunteers.
  • Strong strategic and operational skills, with the ability to work together with staff and volunteers to achieve success.
  • The ability to collaborate effectively with internal and external stakeholders, with proven interpersonal savvy and a keen sense of diplomacy.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills to manage key relationships with donors, staff, and volunteers.
  • Resourceful and well organized; able to manage competing priorities, complex situations and deadlines
  • Proven ability to influence with integrity and to work independently.
  • Proficient computer skills in Microsoft office; experience with CRM.
  • Understanding of type 1 diabetes or auto immune conditions and the process of peer-reviewed research is an asset.
  • Please note that the successful incumbent will be required to travel to meet with donors, volunteers and stakeholders as needed (approx. 30%), and sometimes outside regular business hours.
  • A valid driver’s license and access to a personal vehicle is required.
  • A Bachelor's degree or equivalent; CFRE is an asset.



  • Oversee and lead the development JDRF’s Major Gifts program and fundraising campaigns that enhance and support the strategic direction of JDRF.
  • Provide leadership to the Major Gifts team, including strategic management, budgeting, performance measurement and cultivation of a strong department.
  • Support the achievement of the In our Lifetime Campaign goals and provide leadership for JDRF volunteer Campaign Cabinets nationally.
  • Build and manage their own donor pipeline for the purposes of cultivation, solicitation and stewardship.
  • Promote a culture that is donor-centric, where requests from internal and external stakeholders are responded to with a high degree of urgency, professionalism and accuracy.
  • Apply and demonstrate best practices in major gift fundraising, execute national stewardship and move management plans to identify, cultivate, and successfully solicit qualified prospects.
  • Enhance our database analytics efforts; develop tools and indicators to enhance identification of prospects with ability and links to JDRF.
  • Identify, recruit, develop and support senior volunteers and committees.
  • Identify, recruit and provide leadership, direction and coaching to seven direct reports. Ensure these staff provide support as needed to other members of the JDRF team.
  • Collaborate with regional staff in support of major gift, campaign and related stewardship activities.
  • Lead the development of an annual business plan and budget in concert with other members of the JDRF team that are in alignment with the Foundation’s strategic plan.
  • Regularly report on progress of business plan achievement and variances.
  • Collaborate with JDRF team members and senior staff to meet goals.
  • Work collaboratively and effectively as a member of the Senior Management Team.



  • Direct responsibility for meeting the Major Gift goals as part of the annual business plan and the In Our Lifetime Campaign.
  • Lead, coach and manage the Major Gifts team nationally.
  • Work outside of the office in order to meet with prospective donors and volunteers, including travel across Canada.
  • High level of involvement, collaboration and communication with staff, donors and volunteers across Canada.
  • Must effectively manage all relationships to ensure a positive impact to JDRF’s bottom line and community reputation.



KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) has been engaged to lead the search for this leadership role.  For more information, please contact Christoph Clodius or Ellie Rusonik via email at

To formally apply, please send a resume and letter of interest to the email address listed above by January 31, 2019.  All enquiries will be kept in strict confidence.

JDRF is an equal opportunity employer committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment.A request for accommodation will be considered throughout the hiring process.