Executive Director, Fund for Academic Renewal

American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) - Washington, DC

The Fund for Academic Renewal (FAR) is a program of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) that provides free programmatic and legal advisory services concerning higher education philanthropy. FAR helps donors craft targeted and transformative gifts that advance academic quality; foster a culture of academic freedom and intellectual diversity on college campuses; and preserve donor vision and values. FAR accomplishes this through helping donors to structure gift agreements that protect donor intent, overseeing Special Purpose Funds, and cultivating an extensive faculty network.

The Executive Director reports to the President of ACTA and supervises the Program Manager for FAR.

The Executive Director will:

  • Assist higher education donors in articulating their philanthropic goals and identifying opportunities to support or create programs and institutes that realize those goals.
  • Educate donors in structuring gift agreements through collaboration with their counsel and FAR’s legal advisor.
  • Identify opportunities to advance academic excellence and academic freedom through targeted philanthropy by cultivating relationships with faculty and program administrators.
  • Convene faculty and collegiate leaders for Oases of Excellence Faculty Conferences.
  • Expand the FAR network of higher education donors and those who advise them (including wealth managers, accountants, attorneys, and philanthropic advisors), through in-person meetings, salon events, conference appearances, and media exposure.
  • Monitor the implementation of FAR grant agreements and evaluate their results.
  • Serve as a resource for higher education donors with donor intent concerns.
  • Collaborate with ACTA’s Senior Vice President to ensure that all FAR finances are properly documented and reported.

The Executive Director should expect to spend his or her time in the following ways:

  • 50% assisting donor clients and outreach to high net worth individuals and their advisors.
  • 20% working with faculty.
  • 15% overseeing Special Purpose Funds.
  • 15% participating in general ACTA activities.

Additionally, the position will require approximately 10-15% travel.


The Executive Director should possess 10 years of experience in higher education and/or relevant nonprofit work. A graduate degree is preferred. The ideal candidate should have:

  • Extensive knowledge of higher education programming.
  • Familiarity with higher education grantmaking processes, with a particular awareness of how various types of grants may be crafted to attain donor objectives.
  • Experience in fundraising.
  • A vision for transforming higher education through targeted philanthropy.


Please submit a cover letter, brief (500-word) writing sample, and resume or curriculum vitae to Nick Barden at info@goacta.org.

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