Partner, Philanthropy (Chief Philanthropy Officer)

Are you a social entrepreneur who is passionate about securing the future of local news and our nation’s democracy? Do you thrive in a fast-paced, fluid work environment? Are you willing to take risks, to fail fast and achieve faster? If so, perhaps your place is at the American Journalism Project (AJP).

Position Summary:

The Partner, Philanthropy is a key role at the highest level in a new enterprise that is fast-moving and fluid. With oversight and guidance from and in collaboration with the Board of Directors and other staff, the Partner, Philanthropy will serve as a pivotal early leadership team member and an active participant in making strategic decisions affecting the American Journalism Project (AJP). In partnership with the Managing Director, the Partner, Philanthropy will be responsible for all fundraising and development activities, and will help forge new relationships to build AJP’s visibility, impact, and financial resources.

The Partner, Philanthropy will have primary responsibility for implementing the infrastructure needed to secure a $50 million venture philanthropy fund to accelerate the growth of the first portfolio of 25-35 promising civic news organizations (CNOs) in cities and states across the country and to establish a second fund beginning in 2020-21. In collaboration with the Managing Director and Board, the Partner, Philanthropy will establish and oversee all methods of raising funds to include the solicitation of major gifts, as well as corporate and foundation grants. The Partner, Philanthropy will expand and diversify AJP’s donor base and pipeline and work closely with other team members to secure funding for AJP’s first and follow on funds. In addition, the Partner, Philanthropy will work closely with the Board of Directors and support board members as they take on a more active fundraising role. The Partner, Philanthropy will serve as a primary resource to civic news organizations in AJP’s portfolio as they develop their own sources of local support. As such, the Partner, Philanthropy will provide regular input to the team on the portfolio’s fundraising and revenue generation strategies and execution and suggest specific supports needed to improve.

Position Vital Stats

  • Job Description: Partner, Philanthropy (Chief Philanthropy Officer)
  • Salary: Nonprofit Senior Management Level
  • Hours: Full Time
  • Start Date: Spring/Early Summer
  • Office Base: Flexible
  • Application Close Date: Until filled

Reporting Relationships:

The Partner, Philanthropy will report to the Co-founder and Managing Director, John Thornton.

Principal Opportunities:

A preponderance of data makes the case for the urgency of the American Journalism Project. Without intervention, the number of reporting jobs in local newsrooms will have decreased nearly two-thirds since the beginning of the Great Recession in 2008. The resulting decline in news coverage of state and local government and key issues like education and affordable housing have led to less informed voting, declining political participation, and more fertile territory for public corruption. By joining AJP, the Partner, Philanthropy will help to mobilize a movement to sustain and grow the independent local press that is essential to our democracy.

While the need is great, AJP has already proven itself up to the task. The introduction of this new position comes at a time when the AJP is gaining momentum, having launched in February with $42 million in lead funding commitments, a nationally recognized Board of Directors, and its three exceptional first hires. AJP has already earned the support of visionary philanthropists through its networked approach to fundraising and field-building and the reputation of its founding team. Our supportive ecosystem brings together national, regional, and local philanthropy with thought leaders and civic news organizations, creating important learning opportunities and incentives not just for AJP, but for all investors and contributors. We are excited to find a passionate and experienced fundraiser and community builder to join our team and help us build a new media that is governed and sustained by the public it serves.

Primary Responsibilities:

Fundraising and Development.  The Partner, Philanthropy will

  • work independently to define fundraising goals, and provide the tools, support, and resources to meet them;
  • develop and lead annual and fund-based fundraising plans for individual and institutional donors and prospects;
  • oversee a strategic events program and ensure the success of key fundraising events; and
  • lead and/or participate in major fundraising solicitations.

StewardshipThe Partner, Philanthropy will:

  • establish and oversee systems for gift management, reporting, and stewardship;
  • maintain a portfolio of major donors;
  • prepare senior staff and board for fundraising, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship; and
  • assist with board development and management.

Portfolio SupportThe Partner, Philanthropy will:

  • coach and support senior staff at civic news organizations on strategic and tactical fundraising plans for individual and institutional donors; and
  • participate in the search and hiring process for advancement staff at portfolio CNOs.


The American Journalism Project seeks a Partner, Philanthropy with

  • superior communication skills, both written and oral, and the ability to influence and engage a highly sophisticated pool of donors;
  • demonstrated experience in seeking and securing seven- to eight-figure gifts;
  • tangible experience expanding and cultivating existing donor relationships over time;
  • strong organizational skills with attention to detail;
  • the ability to work both independently without close oversight, but also as a team player who will productively engage with others at varying levels of seniority within and outside AJP;
  • a flexible and adaptable style – a leader who can positively impact both strategic and tactical fundraising initiatives;
  • a high level of energy, a passion for AJP’s mission, and a commitment to high quality local news for every community; and
  • knowledge of and experience in the field of journalism (preferred).

A bachelor’s degree is required for this position as is at least ten years of professional experience in nonprofit organizations with demonstrated success in a development function (managing and forging relationships with multiple donor sources), preferably on a national level. A master’s degree is preferred.


The American Journalism Project believes that every community deserves access to high quality local news.

It is committed to diversity and building an inclusive environment for people of all backgrounds and ages. It is taking steps to meet that commitment. AJP especially encourages members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and people that are differently abled. AJP knows there are great candidates who won’t fit everything described above, or who have important skills that have not been considered. If that’s you, please don’t hesitate to apply and tell us about yourself.


The American Journalism Project offers a competitive salary and comprehensive benefits.


The Partner, Philanthropy may work remotely from any location in the United States. Staff members are currently located in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Austin, Texas. This position requires significant travel.


All applications must be accompanied by a cover letter and résumé. Before submitting your materials, please review them for accuracy. Review of applications will begin immediately, and will continue until the successful candidate has been selected.

To apply for this position, visit:

All inquiries will be held in confidence.