Mathematical Sciences Research Institute

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Major Gifts Officer

Posted: December 2016


The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) is one of the world’s preeminent centers for collaborative research. A Board of Trustees, composed of accomplished business and academic leaders, currently including both a Nobel Prize winner and a Breakthrough Prize winner, oversees the Institute’s strategy, and assures its operational and financial welfare. A committee of ten renowned mathematical scientists governs the Institute’s scientific program providing a vision of the field that is perpetually renewed.

MSRI has been advancing knowledge through advanced mathematical research since 1982, and has enjoyed the continuous core support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) throughout that time. The Institute hosts some 1700 mathematicians each year, for stays of up to one academic year. The intense research-level activity serves researchers from the postdoctoral stage through the most renowned and senior professors. In addition, the Institute has programs for graduate students, programs in mathematics education, and an array of programs to help the general public experience the pleasures, as well as the importance, of mathematics.

Though MSRI is an independent 501(c)3 corporation, MSRI's Director is also a Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, which donates 100% of his time to the running of the Institute. MSRI takes advantage of its close proximity to the University and to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and also collaborates nationally with organizations such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  The Institute’s prize-winning, purpose-designed forty-eight-thousand-foot building enjoys spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay.

MSRI has become a model for institutes around the world, and its reputation is such that mathematicians from far and wide make it a professional priority to participate in the Institute’s programs. A sense of the activity and physical plant of MSRI can be had through the short video at http://vimeo.com/65172787 .

 Nearly half of the Institute’s $9.3M annual budget now comes from individual donors, foundations, corporations and academic institutions. MSRI successfully completed a $12M capital campaign in 2006 to add a new wing to the building, and a $15M Endowment campaign in 2013.  The endowment is currently $21M. 

Position Overview

The Major Gifts Officer (MGO) works closely with the MSRI Director, the Board of Trustees, and the Director of Development, ­to secure funds for the organization by stewarding a group of high net worth donors and by identifying and cultivating new major gift prospects. The ideal candidate will be someone who enjoys helping donors fulfill their passions and interests through their giving to MSRI.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities­­

  • Manage a portfolio of 50 – 75 high net worth donors and prospects
  • Staff, and work closely with the Director and Board of Trustees to help manage key relationships with MSRI’s major donors and prospects
  • Create individual solicitation and stewardship strategies based on donor's history of giving
  • Develop and execute a cultivation plan for each prospect in his/her portfolio
  • Develop individualized proposals matching the donor’s passion with the needs of the Institute
  • Develop and implement a stewardship program for major donors; adhere to the highest ethical standards; reflect optimistic and positive attitude, and convey sensitivity to needs of the donors.
  • Perform other major donor activities as may be required


The MGO will be an innovative individual with a track record of successfully building long-term donor relationships and closing gifts in five to seven-figure ranges.

  • A Bachelor's Degree is required; Master’s Degree preferred
  • At least three years of experience in major gift fundraising, preferably in a higher education environment, with a proven track record in cultivating and soliciting donations in the five/seven-figure ranges
  • Experience in developing, implementing, and evaluating cultivation and solicitation strategies for high-net worth individual donors
  • Demonstrated experience working with leadership volunteers
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication, and organizational skills
  • Demonstrated capacity to initiate new relationships and to understand the needs and interests of major gift donors
  • Enthusiasm for the mission of MSRI as a premier international research center, and a resource for math education and the public understanding of mathematics
  • Experience with Raiser's Edge donor database software or similar; knowledge of RENXT a plus.
  • Demonstrated familiarity with prospect research tools
  • Willingness to travel 

This is a full-time, exempt position with a competitive benefits package.

Salary $80,000 - $110,000 Annually 

Applying for this position: 

Please submit, in MS Word or Adobe Acrobat file format, the following 3 items of information addressed to Personnel by email to personnel-hr@msri.org. Only complete applications will be considered.

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Three business references