Posted On: 2020-02-19
Closing On: 2020-03-17
Location: Toronto or Waterloo, ON
Employment Type: Full-Time
Level: Senior
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Job Description

The Opportunity

Perimeter Institute is one of the world’s leading centers in theoretical physics and is in the midst of institutional growth. The position of Senior Director, Strategic Philanthropy, focused on the GTA, is a unique opportunity to join an experienced, dedicated and creative philanthropic team and play a critical role in the growth of Perimeter during an exciting period for fundamental physics. The activities generated and supported by this position will enable our institution to recruit the best scientific minds, expand our graduate programs and our education outreach. Our ten-year $100M campaign will be successfully completed by 2025 through an extraordinary focus on building relationships with current and potential donors, leadership volunteers and key stakeholders.

Reporting to the Executive Director, Advancement/Sr. Director, Public Engagement, the Senior Director, Strategic Philanthropy will have an intense focus on frontline Principal Gift fundraising. Responsible for building long-term relationships with a portfolio of major donor prospects in the GTA, the Senior Director will also manage the overall pipeline development of the major gifts team.

Playing a central role within a culturally strong, entrepreneurial organization of global significance, the Senior Director values and respects science and appreciates the impact of science on humanity. Collaborative and adaptable with a deep commitment to learning, the Senior Director will have the ability to create a strong personal narrative on Perimeter Institute to support authentic conversations with donors.

With a discerning eye for prospects in the GTA, the ideal candidate will bring an ability to identify relationship building opportunities. The successful candidate will have an entrepreneurial spirit with well-honed major gift fundraising skills and experience. The Senior Director will be polished but also tenacious and undaunted by the exciting opportunities to build Perimeter’s presence and profile in the GTA.


This position could be Toronto-based with regular trips to Perimeter Institute in Waterloo or could be Waterloo-based.


About Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

Founded in 1999, Perimeter Institute has quickly become a major international success story: an innovative, world-leading centre of research, training and outreach in one of the lowest-cost, highest-impact areas of science − fundamental physics. Through visionary public and private support, sustained focus, and careful strategy, Perimeter Institute is now ranked among the top theoretical physics institutes in the world.

Perimeter Institute aims to set a global example in its research, training, and outreach excellence and foster an environment and culture unlike any other, providing fertile ground for cutting-edge research and breakthrough discoveries.

Perimeter is not a place for “business as usual” – they have an impatience and desire to discover, to recognize clearly when conventional approaches are failing, and to open and explore promising new avenues. They constantly challenge themselves to be agile, entrepreneurial, and interdisciplinary, and to look beyond narrow, overspecialized concerns towards the big picture.

Over 160 resident researchers and more than 1,000 visiting scientists a year work to unlock nature’s most profound secrets hidden deep inside the atom and far across the universe. Perimeter Institute is a place where bold ideas flourish. It’s a culture that thrives on collaboration and new perspectives, bringing together great minds in a shared endeavour to achieve breakthroughs that will transform our future.

In June 2017, Perimeter was named the Employee Recommended Workplace Award grand prize winner for the mid-sized category in the not-for-profit/government sector, lauded for its inspiring and family-focused environment. Employees cited the excellent exercise facilities, on-site yoga classes, peer mental health support, kid’s room, and frequent family activities among the reasons they considered Perimeter a great place to work.


Advancement at Perimeter Institute

Perimeter is supported through a public-private partnership – which unites federal and provincial government, individuals, corporations, and foundations in a shared venture to enable scientific breakthroughs, nurture scientific talent, and share scientific discovery with the broader public. The impact of philanthropy at Perimeter is valued and appreciated by the internal and external community alike.

The Advancement department’s team of fundraising professionals plays a vital role in supporting Perimeter by promoting its research agenda to visionary donors who want to support transformative global research. The department’s approach is that of a bespoke boutique, focusing on customized interactions with a select group of prospective donors to form deep, long lasting relationships in order to secure ongoing significant philanthropic support. In 2014, the Institute undertook its first major advancement campaign with a very ambitious target of raising $100 million over ten years and in 2019 surpassed $50 million.

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Key Areas of Responsibilities

  • Passionately communicating the global mission of Perimeter’s work and its distinct institutional culture.
  • Personally managing a portfolio of major gift prospects of $100,000+ in the GTA, including individual, corporate and foundation donors.
  • Providing peer support, guidance and coaching to support achievement of team metrics and goals and to promote best practices across all major gift portfolios.
  • Assisting with customized campaign strategies for major gift prospects.
  • Ensuring appropriate donor recognition, stewardship plans and strategies are identified, negotiated and implemented effectively and consistently in collaboration with the Associate Director of Stewardship and Events.
  • Collaborating with the major gifts team on the prospect and donor pipeline to ensure the most effective prospect clearance and relationship management.
  • Supporting the Executive Director, Advancement/Sr. Director, Public Engagement to strategically engage with major donors and with the recruitment and involvement of Perimeter leadership volunteers for the Leadership Council and Emmy Noether Council.


Qualifications and Competencies

  • Proven personal track record of success in cultivating, successfully soliciting and closing six-to seven-figure major gift donations.
  • Involvement with campaign fundraising at a senior level, and recruiting and engaging senior-level volunteers for major gift fundraising success.
  • Strategically agile, with knowledge of and significant experience in fundraising program development, implementing best practices, and in executing and assessing successful strategies and plans.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills for a high touch donor community.
  • Passion for the educational and/or scientific sectors.
  • Curious about science and its impact on the world.
  • Ability to work remotely while participating collaboratively in a team environment.
  • University degree in a related field is preferred.
  • Exceptional negotiation and mediation skills.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Personal reputation for integrity and the highest ethical standards.
  • Ability to work remotely with flexibility to engage in regular regional travel.

For more Information

KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) has been retained to conduct this search on behalf of Perimeter Institute. For more information about this unique opportunity, interested individuals are invited to contact Tara George, Partner / Lead, Search + Talent or Samantha David, Senior Search Consultant via email at

To view the full Executive Brief, please visit:

Please send resume and letter of interest to the email address listed above by March 17, 2020All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence.


Perimeter Institute is committed to employment equity and diversity in the workplace and welcomes applications from all qualified individuals including women, visible minorities, aboriginal people, persons with disabilities, and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity.