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Perimeter Institute

Director, Strategic Philanthropy

Posted On: February 13, 2023
Closing On: March 6, 2023

Location: Waterloo, ON
Employment Type: fulltime
Level: senior
Salary Range: $115,000 to $125,000

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Director, Strategic Philanthropy

The Opportunity

Perimeter Institute is growing its Advancement team by adding another Director, Strategic Philanthropy position.  The focus of this role is to advance the mission of the organization by working directly with donors at the 6-figure level and above.  The activities supported by this position will enable Perimeter to recruit the best scientific minds, expand our graduate programs, and our education outreach.

A fearless self-starter who embraces accountability for their portfolio, the Director will bring well-honed major gift fundraising skills and experience to this role. This is an opportunity for someone who loves to identify creative and strategic approaches for potential supporters, to engage directly in donor qualification and cultivation, and to coordinate and directly engage in solicitation and stewardship of donors.

While a science degree is not a requirement for this role, a deep curiosity and passion for learning are essential. The successful candidate will be excited to learn about Perimeter’s programs, initiatives, and people, and will become a knowledgeable champion for the organization.

Reporting to the Lead, Strategic Philanthropy, the Director, Strategic Philanthropy will be a focused, organized, and independent professional. The Director will also enjoy and value the opportunity to work collaboratively with the Advancement team, and with Perimeter’s senior leadership, faculty, leadership volunteers, and partners.

In joining this culturally strong, entrepreneurial organization of global significance, the Director is committed to working effectively with diverse collaborators from volunteers to scientists to leverage their knowledge and skills in generating high-impact gifts.

About Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

Founded in 1999, Perimeter Institute began as a bold idea to strategically invest in foundational physics, which is at the root of new technologies and new scientific knowledge. The vision was radical, yet simple: build an environment to foster breakthroughs that will transform our future, while sharing the power of science with the world.

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 is a major centre for theoretical physics research, attracting a diverse community of resident and visiting scientists from around the world. Driven by curiosity, they forge new ideas about space, time, matter, and the ultimate nature of our universe, seeking to unlock its most profound secrets.

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.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Perimeter Institute

Perimeter is a unique institution, with a culture characterized by intellectual fearlessness and excellence. Yet we can do better.

Significant imbalances persist in physics. We’re here to make breakthroughs in our understanding of the universe – and breakthroughs are made by thinking in new ways. We can’t afford to leave any great thinkers, or any great ideas, behind.

–Robert Myers, Director and BMO Financial Group Isaac Newton Chair

Achieving Perimeter Institute’s mission requires the members of its community to create a culture of curiosity, collaboration, and innovation, with the courage to tackle exceptionally difficult challenges. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), which includes accessibility, are integral to creating and sustaining such a culture.  Yet imbalances persist, both in physics generally and here at Perimeter. Diversity declines along the academic career path in many STEM fields; the decline is especially pronounced in physics.

Through Perimeter Institute’s inaugural Strategic EDI Plan, we affirm our commitment to the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion. Building on the solid foundations we have already established, outlining strategic objectives, associated activities, and measures by which we can gauge progress.

The Mission of Perimeter Institute’s EDI Plan is to empower a Perimeter community in which everyone can contribute fully to our work and culture, to our scientific advances, and to the future of physics by making EDI a shared commitment and responsibility.

Overarching Goals

  • Build a culture where everyone can contribute fully to Perimeter Institute’s mission
  • Promote shared responsibility for EDI across the whole Perimeter Institute community
  • Support the development of a diverse pipeline of future physicists
  • Set an example that inspires change within the broader physics community

We expect that achieving these goals will enhance Perimeter Institute’s culture overall, helping us attract and retain outstanding researchers, students, and staff from a wide range of backgrounds and increasing career satisfaction. This, in turn, will enhance Perimeter Institute’s research, training, and outreach. We hope that our successes and lessons learned inspire wider positive change in the international research community.

For more information visit: Strategic Plan for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

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. An ever-growing group of public and private supporters has helped make Perimeter Institute what it is today: an independent, world-leading centre for fundamental research, scientific training, and educational outreach.

The Advancement 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.

At present, our primary philanthropic priority is attracting and retaining the brightest minds in the world.  We have a matching program to encourage philanthropic support of Chairs for Faculty, and Early Career researchers.  Additional philanthropy priorities include support of EDI initiatives, with a key focus on gender equity, as well as Educational Outreach programs.

In 2022, Perimeter Institute celebrated the most successful fundraising year in it’s history, with over $26M in new donations and pledges.

Additional Information

Perimeter Institute

Who we Are

Perimeter Institute Funding

Annual Reports & Audits

Donate to the Perimeter Institute

People at the Perimeter Institute



Perimeter Institute on YouTube

Video: Step Inside the Perimeter

Video: 2022 at the Perimeter Institute


Key Duties & Responsibilities

Major Duties and Responsibilities (Target – 80%)

  • Actively manage a portfolio of prospects and donors (individuals, corporations and foundations) to qualify, cultivate and solicit gifts at the 6-, 7-, and 8-figure level
  • Personally conduct discovery meetings, cultivation visits, solicitation calls and stewardship activities.
  • Identify major donors in collaboration with the Prospect Researcher, develop acquisition, solicitation, retention and cultivation strategies for high-net-worth donors and partnership agreements with corporations and foundations.
  • Develop a prospect pipeline and prospect strategies for all potential donors, following organizational standards and definitions.
  • Oversee proposal development for prospective donors and partners including individual, corporate and foundation donors.
  • Coordinate with the Senior Manager, Donor Relations in the design, development and implementation of tailored stewardship and recognition plans for assigned donors.
  • Support the Lead, Strategic Philanthropy in other fundraising initiatives, as required.
  • Ensure accuracy in keeping the CRM up to date on your activities, opportunities and prospect strategies.
  • Work independently with minimal administrative support within a team environment where people proactively engaged with one other for strategy discussions, ideas, and feedback.

Operation & Advancement Team Coordination (Target – 20%)

  • Participate in and contribute to Advancement team meetings, including solicitation strategy sessions for key prospects and internal planning efforts.
  • In coordination with other key Perimeter leaders, act as a passionate ambassador for Perimeter with external constituents. Work proactively, openly and productively with members of the senior leadership team, faculty, leadership volunteers and partners.
  • Work in collaboration with, and support of, the Lead, Strategic Philanthropy on strategy, planning, prospect development and implementation of activities with leadership volunteers.
  • Work proactively, openly, and productively with members of the Advancement team, senior leadership, faculty, leadership volunteers, fundraising volunteers, and partners.
    • We operate with a culture of “shared consciousness” where we are each responsible for plugging ourselves into the team and the organization, and where we have individual autonomy and accountability to move forward towards achieving personal and team goals.
  • Ensure transparency and information sharing, while building connections with other teams and departments – promoting a “shared consciousness”.

General Responsibilities

  • Contribute to wellbeing of Perimeter Institute – supporting colleagues, contributing to annual planning, and living Perimeter Institute’s Community Shared values.
  • Provide motivating and inspirational interactions with Perimeter Institute for current and potential donors and audiences.
  • Keep current on Perimeter’s programs and faculty/research/student initiatives by proactively communicating and engaging with colleagues.
  • Be fully knowledgeable on key activities and be an inspiring champion for the organization.
  • Consistently work to expand knowledge and look at ways to promote creative thoughts, ideas, and new paradigms for giving and investing in Perimeter.
  • Assist in building the culture of philanthropy at Perimeter Institute.

Qualifications & Competencies

Education and Experience

  • 8+ years related fundraising experience with a solid background in foundational professional fundraising skills such as research, proposal writing, special events, major gifts, donor stewardship.
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination of training and experience. Graduate degree and/or CFRE, considered an asset. You need not be a science graduate!

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Required

  • Demonstrated ability to identify, qualify, cultivate, solicit and steward major gift donors
  • Displays creativity, ingenuity, and tenacity in developing strategic approaches for prospects
  • Comfortable in an environment comprised of a unique mix of entrepreneurs, scientists and educators.
  • Ability to connect high-level institutional priorities to practical and efficient day-to-day objectives.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communications skills.
  • Skillful at managing multiple, and sometimes competing priorities within a complex institutional environment.
  • Sophisticated and diplomatic lead contact for donors and leadership volunteers with the ability to raise funds from varied sources.
  • Able to work independently while also working as a member of the Perimeter Advancement team.
  • Excellent computer skills including MS Office applications, especially Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Ability to input and extract information from a CRM for donor prospecting and tracking is required.

For More Information 

Perimeter Institute is working with KCI Search + Talent to recruit candidates for this important position. For more information about this opportunity, please contact Tara George, Partner / Lead, Search + Talent or Jill Anderson, Senior Consultant by email at All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence.

To view full position brief, please visit

To apply for this opportunity, please send a resume and letter of interest to the email address listed above by March 6, 2023, at latest. Note that we will be reviewing candidate submissions as they arrive, and Perimeter Institute may choose to move forward with interviews earlier than March 6.

Perimeter Institute is committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from racialized persons, women, Indigenous/Aboriginal People of North America, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2S+ persons, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

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.

Location: Perimeter Institute is located in Waterloo, Ontario, and staff are currently working within a hybrid model. This position has an expectation to be in the office on average two to three days per week, and/or as required by project responsibilities. Travel to see donors is also required, primarily in the GTA and across Ontario. For this reason, a valid driver’s license and access to a reliable vehicle is necessary.

Compensation: The salary range for this position is $115,000 to $125,000 per annum. A comprehensive suite of benefits is also provided, including a pension match up to 7.5%.