Job Board
The Gairdner Foundation

Director, Campaign & Major Gifts

Posted On: December 20, 2023
Closing On: February 1, 2024

Location: Toronto, ON
Employment Type: fulltime
Level: beginner
Salary Range: $140,000 - $180,000


As the Gairdner Foundation prepares to launch a comprehensive five-year campaign, they are seeking an energetic and skilled Director, Campaign & Major Gifts to take the lead in the planning and implementation of the project. This historic endeavour will celebrate excellence, convene leaders, promote science literacy, and advance talent development efforts across a wide range of audiences of future scientists.

Reporting to the President and Scientific Director, the new Director will help establish and support a volunteer Campaign Cabinet, implement annual and long-range plans to cultivate, solicit and steward major gift donors, and through this work, help raise the profile of the Gairdner Awards and the importance of science to the future of Canada and the world.

As an experienced, strategic relationship builder and connector who has worked on major gift campaigns, the Director will expertly support campaign volunteers and organizational leaders in their fundraising efforts, while managing a portfolio of major gifts donors themselves. The Director will join a small and high-performing team of six at the Gairdner Foundation and will be a proactive team player who enthusiastically takes initiative to get the work done in an environment where everyone ‘rolls up their sleeves’ to support one another.

While a background in science is not a requirement for this role, appreciation, and curiosity for the work of the Gairdner Foundation are essential.


The Gairdner Foundation was established in 1957 with the main goal of recognizing and rewarding international excellence in fundamental research that impacts human health. Annually, eight awards are given: five Canada Gairdner International Awards for biomedical research; one John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award, specifically for impact on global health issues; and two Canada Gairdner Momentum Awards, recognizing mid-career Canadian investigators.

The Gairdner Foundation believes in coming together to openly discuss science to better engage the public, understand the problems we face, and work together to find solutions. Since its founding, a number of outreach events and programs have been developed with the goal of inspiring the next generation of scientific innovators and fostering an informed society. By engaging in outreach programs across Canada, The Gairdner Foundation acts as a convener with the public, policymakers, and other stakeholders on the impact of science on our everyday lives.

The foundation of the Canada Gairdner Awards program is the recognition of the highest standards of scientific excellence globally. In this pursuit, we recognize the importance of having a comprehensive and diverse field of candidates who are evaluated and selected on the quality and impact of their research. We proactively seek to ensure equity, diversity and inclusion within our nomination pool and invite the community to join us in this effort by nominating outstanding scientists of diverse backgrounds, including groups underrepresented in scientific awards and in the research community at large.

A large part of our core mission is inspiring current and future generations through programming made for, and tailored to, empowering individuals from all backgrounds and abilities to engage with science and be equipped with the tools they need to be informed citizens. Scientific excellence and impact require diversity of thought, opinion, knowledge, and life experiences. Therefore, through our programming, we strive to create a space where the full potential of the scientific community is realized and thrives.

Our Mission

The mission of the Gairdner Foundation is to celebrate, inform and inspire scientific excellence around the globe.

Our Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility (EDIA)

The Gairdner Foundation is strongly committed to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility (EDIA). Through this commitment, Gairdner is able to advance its mission of celebrating and inspiring the world’s best in scientific excellence, as meaningful inclusion does not detract from merit and innovation, but rather promotes them.

Our commitment to EDIA extends beyond our Awards and outreach programs and begins internally with the people behind Gairdner, the driving forces of our mission. We value and aim to foster a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming environment within our workplace, Board of Directors, and committees.

  • Oversee the planning, implementation, management, and evaluation of the five-year campaign plan while advancing the major gift program.
  • Work collaboratively with the Campaign Cabinet, Board members, volunteers, donors, the President & Scientific Director, and the Foundation team to realize the ambitious fundraising goal.
  • Identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward a personal portfolio of donors and prospects, managing a portfolio of approximately 100-125, and meet or exceed personal fundraising goals.
  • Lead transformational gift strategies at the $1M+ level, working with senior leadership and volunteers to close gifts.
  • Work with a team of Campaign Cabinet volunteers and the Board of Directors to support them with prospect identification, prospect qualification and strategy, and donor cultivation and solicitation, serving as the lead staff person supporting the Campaign Cabinet and other assigned campaign volunteers.
  • Develop the prospect pipeline and maintain and manage a full portfolio of donors across Canada.
  • Monitor and evaluate campaign and major gift activities to ensure that financial goals are met.
  • Energize, motivate, and inspire everyone involved in helping to meet the campaign goal.
  • Strategically promote Gift and Estate Planning opportunities to major donor prospects who have the capacity to make a planned gift or a blended gift.
  • Establish a donor/donation information management system to effectively enter, track and retrieve donation information, including annual, major, and planned gifts and multi-year pledges.
  • Develop Campaign processes and administrative support structures and manage the day-to-day operations of the campaign and major gifts program with minimal administrative support.
  • Prepare campaign communications, including proposals, gift agreements and stewardship materials.
  • Develop and implement donor and partner recognition and stewardship strategies for the campaign.
  • Commit to ongoing professional development through reading current literature, attending professional meetings, participating in professional associations, and developing working relationships with professionals at other institutions. Collect comparative data and program information for the purposes of evaluation, benchmarking, and as a source of new ideas.
  • A strong interest in the mission of the Gairdner Foundation to celebrate, inform and inspire scientific excellence around the globe.
  • Progressive fundraising experience with a specific focus on soliciting major gifts (at the five to seven-figure level and above) including complex gifts using a variety of giving vehicles.
  • A proven track record as an exceptional fundraiser, preferably with campaign experience.
  • Demonstrated experience working with volunteers to drive fundraising strategies and close gifts.
  • A bachelor’s degree or higher, plus a minimum of seven years in the advancement field.
  • Strong understanding of the Canadian philanthropic landscape.
  • A proven track record as a collaborative leader.
  • Demonstrated ability to think at a high level about the priorities of the organization.
  • The ability to think strategically and work proactively, managing competing priorities.
  • Experience working with or within a senior management team.
  • Excellent donor and volunteer relations abilities and experience, with a keen sense of diplomacy.
  • Superior written and verbal communication skills.
  • Continuous learner with the ability to work and research independently.
  • Ability to act with integrity, professionalism, and confidentiality.
  • Strong computer skills, including Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) and Canva.
  • Willingness to work outside of regular business hours from time to time.

KCI Search + Talent has been retained to conduct this search on behalf of the Gairdner Foundation. For more information about this opportunity, please contact Jill Anderson at KCI Search + Talent by email at

Please send a resume and letter of interest to the email address above and note that the deadline for submission is February 1, 2024. All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence.

The Gairdner Foundation is strongly committed to equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility and encourages applications from people of diverse backgrounds and underrepresented groups. Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process. If you require any accommodations, please notify the Search Consultant.

The salary range for this position is $140,000 – $180,000 and includes a full range of benefits, including an RRSP matching program. In addition, the Gairdner Foundation offers a hybrid work environment with the flexibility to work from a home office three days a week and the expectation that team members will work in the office, located at MaRS Centre, Heritage Building, 101 College Street, Toronto, two days per week.

To view the full position brief, visit