Deerfield Associates has been retained by Ethical Culture Fieldston School, located in New York City, to conduct a national search for a
Chief Philanthropy Officer.
Ethical Culture Fieldston School
Since its founding in 1878, the Ethical Culture Fieldston School (ECFS) has been a beacon of progressive education in the United States. Known as one of New York City’s most progressive independent schools, ECFS emphasizes academic excellence, intellectual curiosity, ethics, and community service. The School educates approximately 1,700 students in Pre-K through 12th Grade on two historic campuses in Manhattan and the Bronx, totaling 407,000 square feet with 16 buildings. There are approximately 11,000 alumni. The annual operating budget for the institution is approximately $100 million and the endowment currently stands at $110 million.
Founded as The Workingman’s School by humanist Felix Adler, ECFS remains committed to his vision. The core of the educational program is the study and practice of ethics, where students explore and think critically about what they are learning in order to question and evaluate their own actions, choices, and decisions, as well as those of other individuals and communities. Progressive education at ECFS focuses on the whole child, ensuring that education is responsive, relevant, experiential, and playful. ECFS inspires a diverse and joyful community of passionate learners, critical thinkers, and ethical individuals who aim to make the world more humane and just. At ECFS, we don’t teach students what to think and what to question — but how to think and how to question.
Heavily influenced as well by the ideas of John Dewey and other pioneers of experiential education in the late 19th century, ECFS is notable for its democratic approach to teaching and learning. Relationships among faculty, parents, and students are open and strong, and the School is renowned for its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The School boasts the largest financial aid budget of any independent school in New York City. www.ecfs.org
The focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at ECFS creates an environment in which students can truly thrive — and one that prepares them to actively and thoughtfully engage with the world around them. DEI is central to ECFS’s mission of teaching all children to approach the world with empathy, compassion, and understanding.
This opportunity is available immediately and will be filled upon the completion of a comprehensive search. An ideal start date would be on or before July 1, 2023.
The new Chief Philanthropy Officer at Ethical Culture Fieldston School will join a superb community with many strengths. The primary goal of the new hire is to ensure that the School becomes even stronger, and this means engaging the alumni and parents and raising funds to increase the size of the endowment so that ECFS can meet its mission to provide an exceptional day-school education to students from every background, regardless of their family’s financial means. The Ethical Culture Fieldston School leadership is confident that the challenge can be met.
The new Chief Philanthropy Officer will enter an Advancement Office that is poised for the “next level.” There is considerable experience among the 12 full-time team members. The Chief Philanthropy Officer at Ethical Culture Fieldston School leads an experienced and dedicated staff which includes Alumni Relations, Major Gifts, Annual Giving, Parent Relations, Planned Giving, Stewardship, and Database Management and Research.
The office is making investments in technology use to enhance record keeping, data mining, and communication. This is a highly professional, hardworking office with good morale. One of the next major challenges includes cultivating, securing and closing increased levels of significant major and principal gifts.
The leadership team of the school is experienced and strong. The Head of School, Joe Algrant was appointed in 2021. The Advancement Office is managed by the experienced and talented Kyle Wilkie-Glass, Associate Head of School, who has been with ECFS since 2016 in several senior leadership positions. The School’s leaders are committed, energetic, and effective educators who remain engaged with the students and school culture.
Over the past several decades, ECFS has developed a successful fundraising program that has enabled the School to significantly build its endowment and add major capital improvements to the campus. The Annual Fund has supported the School’s balanced budget and in Fiscal Year 2021 contributed $4.8 million.
Notwithstanding the School’s fundraising successes, the most significant challenge facing ECFS today is to continue to secure funds for endowment as well as a selection of additional targeted capital projects. To achieve this goal, the new advancement leader will spearhead a robust capital funding program. In the prior campaign, which was completed in 2020 ECFS raised $65 million dollars. For the upcoming capital campaign, existing donors and a new generation of prospects, some only recently identified, must be carefully cultivated.
Ethical Culture Fieldston School offers a dynamic and supportive work environment, competitive salaries, and a generous benefits package including a retirement plan, paid vacations, and medical insurance. Ethical Culture Fieldston School is an Equal Opportunity Employer. A full employee benefits guide is available here.
The target hiring salary range for this position is $275,000. – $325,000.
All ECFS employees must have full COVID-19 vaccination status according to the ECFS Mandatory Employee Vaccination Policy. New hires will provide proof of vaccination during the onboarding process. Employees requesting a medical or religious exemption to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement should communicate their request to Human Resources at that time.
To explore this superb career opportunity on a highly confidential basis please send a resume, letter of interest, and list of 4 references including contact information (who will only be contacted if mutual interest is established) to: