National Director of Development, Children’s Literacy Initiative

Posted by Children's Literacy Initiative on October 23, 2017

Award-winning, national nonprofit Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI) seeks a National Director of Development to help build the systems, processes and partnerships that will financially support the organization’s national expansion efforts. The National Director reports to the CEO, serves on the organization’s leadership team, and will manage, support and coach a team of 5 development professionals based in Philadelphia, Houston, Denver and Chicago. CLI currently has a presence in 234 schools in Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, Denver, Broward County, and Elizabeth and Passaic counties in New Jersey.


Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI) envisions a nation where every child has the power of literacy and the opportunity for a lifetime of success. Their goal is to close the gap in literacy achievement between disadvantaged children and their more affluent peers. CLI believes that early reading = lifelong success, and that there is no stronger lever for improving student outcomes than giving teachers high impact instructional strategies.

CLI provides educators with training and coaching in the most effective practices for early literacy instruction for prekindergarten through third grade. CLI also develops workshops and institutes that build teachers’ understanding of literacy and the art and science of teaching children how to read and write.

One of its most significant accomplishments is raising expectations for what young students from high-poverty neighborhoods are capable of achieving, and countering the myth that children from disadvantaged households have too many obstacles to overcome the reach the literacy levels of their more privileged peers. A few examples below show that their results speak for themselves:

  • This year, CLI won the 2017 David M. Rubenstein Prize, the top honor in the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program for the organization making outstanding and measurable contributions in increasing literacy levels across the country.
  • CLI’s effectiveness in early childhood literacy resulted in twice receiving the U.S. Department of Education Investing in Innovation (i3) award; and,
  • Results from a 3-year American Institutes for Research study of CLI’s i3 project in four cities showed significantly higher standardized early reading test results than students who were not exposed to CLI, as well as CLI having a significant positive impact on the quality of teachers’ literacy instruction in both kindergarten and first-grade classrooms.
  • Thanks to the success of its early childhood literacy programming, CLI has experienced rapid financial growth, tripling revenue from fiscal years 2014 to 2018.


The National Director of Development will join CLI at a time of rapid financial growth and expansion, and will help lead the effort to secure the partnerships and funding necessary for national expansion. S/He will also be charged with the management and oversight of a $26M budget, and building a best in class development operation that allows for sustainable and diverse private funding and maintenance and oversight of federal revenue, which comprises 25% of the overall budget.

An overview of the National Director’s core duties and responsibilities are provided below:


  • Serve as a leader within and outside of the organization; builds relationships and partnerships that helps CLI achieve its financial goals
  • Create opportunities internally to share information about the development team’s initiatives, priorities, projects and impact, and gets buy-in from teams to move the work forward


  • Hire, coach, support, train, and retain team of high performing development staff
  • Build best-in-class development operations that allow for greater efficiency and productivity, and fosters best practices that can be shared and replicated in the regions

Fundraising and external relations

  • Alongside CEO, serve as CLI’s lead fundraiser; generate significant multi year, renewable and sustainable funding sources.
  • Develop and execute strategy to achieve 100% of CLI’s funding goals annually; partner with the CEO to develop a comprehensive long-term vision for CLI’s development work.
  • Diversify CLI’s revenue sources, with a focus on corporate, foundation and individual giving, as well as growing multi-year and six and seven-figure gifts
  • Manage and oversee federal funding process, which includes grant applications and reporting
  • Build a stewardship culture aimed at cultivating deeper ties and forging larger partnerships with CLI supporters
  • Work with the Board of Directors to leverage their networks, relationships and ideas to generate large-scale partnerships and opportunities in existing and new regions
  • In partnership with development staff, help build advisory councils in each region that will support local efforts to raise awareness and funds for CLI’s programming

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