Jobs / Director of Development, College of Nursing

Director of Development, College of Nursing



Founded in 1909, Samuel Merritt University has grown from a nursing diploma program into a college and most recently into a comprehensive health sciences university. Today, SMU is home to more than 2,100 students from around the United States and the world. Our students comprise a passionate, committed and active community of aspiring health science professionals who are the future of healthcare in California and beyond.

With an aggressive Strategic Growth Initiative in place, the development of new academic programs underway, and a strong commitment to community service and health equity, SMU is taking a leadership position in health sciences education in California and beyond.

SMU is second largest educator of nurses in California and the largest provider of physical and occupational therapists, physician assistants, and podiatric physicians in Northern California. The University is proud to reflect the communities it serves by recruiting students with a variety of ethnic, cultural, and economic backgrounds.

At SMU, students receive personalized instruction and gain hands-on clinical experience early in their programs. Early clinical exposure, in our view, is key to training students in the technical skills and sound reasoning needed to provide care and prepare them to transform the experience of care in diverse communities.

Samuel Merritt University was recently recognized by Forbes Magazine as #1 In the country for average starting salary of its graduates, ranking ahead of schools such as MIT and Stanford. SMU was also named the best college in California for preparing students to land a job by career research website Zippia. And most recently, Samuel Merritt University’s College of Nursing was ranked No. 2 in the country and its Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program ranked No. 1 in California, according to college rankings website College Factual.

With a dynamic president in who just finished her third year and a bold vision and plan for the future, Samuel Merritt University is an institution that enjoys great momentum. Robust enrollment and a strong finances and endowment make Samuel Merritt University a great “sell” for fundraising professionals joining this vibrant and growing Advancement team.

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The Director of Development (DOD) is responsible for fundraising strategy and its implementation for the College of Nursing. This position works directly with the deans, directors, and specific faculty to develop fundraising priorities and goals, and leads philanthropic revenue generation.


Reporting to the Vice President of University Advancement and Communications, the Director of Development (DoD) will be responsible for all fundraising activities and initiatives for the College of Nursing.

The candidate will have a demonstrated track record of performance and productivity as a major gift officer of high integrity. This individual will be mission and values-driven, engaging, entrepreneurial, and highly motivated with superb fundraising, interpersonal, and organizational skills. The DoD’s ability to work effectively as a team member, manage multiple priorities, and meet short and long-term deadlines under pressure will be essential, along with their ability to convey the needs of the College of Nursing to donors and recognize opportunities when the passion of donors intersects with institutional priorities.


  • Work closely with the College of Nursing Dean and faculty to develop and articulate the fund raising priorities that align with the College and the University overall.
  • Develop a plan for building a major gifts portfolio of 75-120 donors and prospects, with focus on alumni and friends of the University, including identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.
  • Engage current and potential donors with the goal of increasing financial support.
  • Acquire and maintain a working knowledge and awareness of SMU’s programs.
  • Arrange and complete 75-100 one-on-one donor meetings per year to cultivate and steward donors and prospects.
  • Solicit gifts independently and collaboratively with staff and/or volunteers.
  • Prepare customized collateral /solicitations for individual donors and prospects.
  • Conduct research and prepare briefings for university leadership and volunteers involved in donor and prospect meetings.
  • Use Raiser’s Edge NXT database to document moves management system.
  • Work with deans and faculty to gain full understanding of the university’s programs and special projects.
  • Collaborate with colleagues in annual giving, database/research, corporations/foundations, and planned giving to achieve the macro objectives of University Advancement
  • Assume responsibility for meeting annual revenue targets.


  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Five years of relevant experience in prospect/donor relationship management as well as major gift fundraising productivity
  • Demonstrated proficiency and experience in managing relationships with high-level prospects to secure major gifts
  • Experience with the concepts of moves management as well as a mastery of the fundamentals of major-gifts fundraising
  • A basic understanding of planned-giving concepts and an ability to navigate internal processes and structures to the  advancement of relationships with donors
  • Superior written and verbal communication, interpersonal, and relationship-building skills
  • Creative problem-solving skills and the ability to initiate and collaborate with others, at all levels.
  • Demonstrated ability to work interdependently and independently in a collaborative environment is vital
  • Experience utilizing fundraising database programs (experience with Raiser’s Edge NXT highly preferred) and other basic  software (Microsoft Office and Google Suite)
  • Dedication to and passion for healthcare, health equity and the mission of Samuel Merritt University
  • All employees of Samuel Merritt University are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.


The salary range for this position is $130,000-150,000 plus excellent benefits.

To demonstrate our commitment to equity and equal pay for all, Cook Silverman Search will continue to post salary ranges on all of its job descriptions. The practice of not posting salaries perpetuates the gender wagegap and discriminates against people of color by causing individuals to negotiate from a disadvantaged starting point.


To apply for this position, or for additional information on the opportunity, please send a copy of your resume with a cover letter to Victoria Silverman at All applications and inquiries will receive a response and be kept strictly  confidential.

Samuel Merritt University is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


Samuel Merritt University’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is expressed through its mission statement, “to educate students to become highly skilled and compassionate healthcare professionals who positively transform the experience of care in diverse communities.” In light of the demographics of our local communities and the vital role a diverse healthcare workforce plays in reducing healthcare disparities, the University has identified diversity as a strategic imperative. Diversity is a core strategy embedded in the ongoing work of the institution at all levels.


Cook Silverman
Victoria Silverman
Oakland, CA