Development & Communications Director

Prison University Project | San Rafael, California


The mission of the Prison University Project is to provide excellent higher education to people at San Quentin State Prison; to support increased access to higher education for incarcerated people; and to stimulate public awareness about higher education access and criminal justice.

The Prison University Project has emerged as a national leader in providing quality higher education opportunities to incarcerated people. Today, with unprecedented social, political and philanthropic interest, we play a central role in new efforts to expand access to higher education within California’s prison system and nationwide, while continuing to enhance our programs at San Quentin. In recognition of our impact and our leadership in supporting educational opportunities for the incarcerated, the organization was awarded the 2015 National Humanities Medal by President Obama.

Job Summary

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Development & Communications Director is responsible for growing the philanthropic base required to successfully implement our mission. The Development & Communications Director will develop and manage a strategy to sustain and increase the organization’s annual operating funds from individuals, foundations, corporations, and other funding partners. They are also responsible for supervising the Grants Officer and Development Associate (when position is filled).

Reports To

Executive Director


Fundraising (70%)

  • Create and manage a multi-year strategic fundraising plan.
  • Create and execute annual fundraising plan, including donor cultivation and stewardship, annual fund/direct appeals, development events, and planned giving.
  • Oversee submission of all funding proposals, applications, and reports, and supervise the work of the Grants Officer on such projects.
  • Support and work closely with the Executive Director, Board of Directors, and Board Fundraising Committee in cultivation, solicitation and recognition of major individual and institutional donors.
  • Manage and oversee the organization’s revenue status; work closely with the finance and operations staff, as well as financial management consultant.
  • Work with the program staff to coordinate site visits for potential and existing donors.
  • Maintain and oversee all philanthropic databases, including donation portals (Classy) and donor moves-management systems (Salesforce).

Communications (15%)

  • Oversee production of communications materials, including Annual Report, Newsletter, holiday cards, and general marketing materials.
  • Support Executive Director in public relations and media outreach, and in hiring and supervision of communications consultants as needed.
  • Develop communications materials, events, and other opportunities that raise the public profile of the organization.
  • Serve as a spokesperson for the organization.
  • Oversee maintenance of website and visual brand, working with consultants as needed.

Operations (15%)

  • Serve as a member of the Executive Team, which is the senior management team and decision-making body of the organization.
  • Work with Program staff and consultants to ensure full, accurate data collection and reporting necessary to support programs, communications and evaluation work.
  • Work with Executive Director, Operations Staff, and Finance Consultant to develop organization budget.
  • Create and manage annual Development budget.
  • Present regular development reports to the Board of Directors at Board and Fund Development Committee meetings.


Key Success Factors:

  • Significant professional experience in fundraising
  • Significant experience working with foundation, corporate and individual donors; track record of cultivating major donors at the five-figure+, ideally six-figure+ level
  • Outstanding verbal and written communication skills, with consistent attention to detail, clarity, and organization
  • Capacity to work effectively, diplomatically, and sensitively with a wide range of constituents, partners, and stakeholders
  • Strong staff management skills and experience
  • Expert knowledge of current and evolving trends and best practices in philanthropy
  • Strong time management and multitasking skills
  • A passionate commitment to the mission of the Prison University Project
  • Astute financial management skills
  • Competence with Windows-based computers with expertise in Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.
  • Experience with fundraising and finance software; knowledge of Salesforce a plus
  • Bachelor’s degree; advanced degree desirable
  • Available to work some nights and weekends as required by the position
  • A valid California driver's license, and a safe driving record
  • Position requires lifting up to 15 pounds for ¼ of the time.


PUP provides a competitive base salary plus benefits, including health, dental, and vision insurance. Vacation and holiday pay. Employees may also participate in a retirement plan.

How to Apply

Please submit your resume and cover letter to with “Development & Communications Director” in the subject line. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

Prison University Project