The Vatican Observatory, whose staff is comprised of a dozen Jesuit and diocesan priests and brothers, is one of the oldest active astronomical observatories in the world, with its roots going back to 1582 and the Gregorian reform of the calendar. The Vatican Observatory Foundation was established in 1987 in Tucson, Arizona to support the scientific research of the Vatican Observatory and engage the public in the knowledge derived from that research. The Development Director is responsible for ensuring that the necessary maintenance programs and upgrades of the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope, used for much of that research, are funded along with a robust Faith and Science outreach program.

Job Description

Under the direction of the Vatican Observatory Foundation (VOF) Board of Directors, the Development Director will have direct administrative and operational responsibility for the Vatican Observatory Foundation’s development program. The Development Director will report to and be supervised by the President  of the Foundation or such other person the President may designate.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Develop a strategic plan and manage the implementation of the corresponding fundraising strategies.
  • Focus on relationship development and cultivation of a portfolio of mid-level and major donors and oversee the portfolio management for the President.
  • Support and engage the Board of Trustees and Observatory staff members in key development activities.
  • Lead and coordinate major and planned gift solicitations with key Board members.
  • Conduct personal engagement contacts with top donors and mid-level donors through personal visits, phone calls, emails, and teleconferencing.
  • Cultivate major donors to perpetuate their engagement through transformational giving, including future capital and planned gifts.
  • Maintain records of all donor information, contacts and visits.
  • Ensure all donors receive appropriate, consistent recognition, and an accounting of the impact of their gift.
  • Utilize available resources to link major gift prospects and their gift capacity.
  • Develop a working relationship with Vatican Observatory scientists and include them in cultivation efforts as often as possible.
  • Work with the Board of Trustees and the Vatican Observatory Research Group (VORG) to build a case for support to maintain and upgrade the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope/Lennon Telescope and other science and educational projects as needed and create narratives for fundable projects.
  • Research and supervise the preparation of grant proposals and ensure all grant requirements are fulfilled in a timely manner.
  • Prepare reports and projections on fundraising programs and progress toward goals and specific outcomes, with regular reporting to the Board.
  • Manage a small administrative team and collaborate with the office of the Treasurer.
  • Collaborate with VOF community outreach activities to enhance the Observatory’s and the Foundation’s visibility.
  • Represent the VOF to the public as needed.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited institution.
  • A minimum of three years of successful fundraising, institutional development, entrepreneurial or management/supervisory experience, or a combination of these relevant to the position.
  • Excellent written and verbal interpersonal communication skills.
  • Ability and willingness to travel extensively, at times internationally, and work weekends and evenings when necessary.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Belief in and commitment to the mission of the Vatican Observatory and the Vatican Observatory Foundation, and the ability to represent the VOF in the community.
  • Familiarity with the Catholic Church and the network of Jesuit Institutions.
  • Willingness and ability to serve as an active external fundraising leader focused on the strategic engagement and cultivation of current and future prospects.
  • Proven record of personally cultivating, closing, administering, and stewarding significant major gifts from individuals, corporations, and foundations.
  • Proven record of providing strategic direction resulting in a marked improvement in revenue growth.
  • Strong organizational and time management skills and the corresponding analytical skills needed to establish strategic fundraising goals and report on results.
  • High capacity to inspire cooperation and to work well with others.
  • High level of integrity, energy, initiative, and creativity.
  • Experience with fundraising software and CRM databases.
  • Advanced degree or professional fundraising certification (CFRE, ACFRE).

Compensation commensurate with experience

The Vatican Observatory Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization and an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices. In order to build the strongest organization possible the VOF actively seeks a diverse applicant pool and strongly encourages individuals from diverse backgrounds to apply.

Please provide a current resume and contact information to Katie Bannan Steinke at [email protected]


Contact information:


[email protected]


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