Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Advancement & Project Coordinator

About CIFAR:

CIFAR is a Canadian-based global research organization that convenes extraordinary minds to address the most important questions facing science and humanity.

By building long-term, interdisciplinary, global communities of collaboration, we provide the world’s top researchers with an unparalleled environment of trust, transparency and knowledge sharing. Our time-tested model inspires new directions of inquiry, creating a culture of risk-taking, accelerating discovery, and yielding breakthroughs across borders and academic disciplines.

Through knowledge mobilization, we are catalysts for change in industry, government and society.

In 2017, the Government of Canada appointed CIFAR to develop and lead the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy, the world’s first national AI strategy.

Our community of researchers includes more than 400 researchers from 161 institutions in 18 countries. Our fellows, chairs, scholars, and advisors are among the most highly cited researchers in the world. Twenty Nobel Prizes have been awarded to CIFAR-affiliated researchers.

We are generously supported by the governments of Canada, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec, Canadian and international partners, as well as individuals, foundations, and corporations.

Purpose of Position:

This position provides a high level of coordination and administrative support to the Vice President (VP) and the Advancement Team. The Coordinator is responsible for a wide range of operational activities that will manage the major and principal gifts pipeline and assist the team in establishing and advancing relationships with major gift prospects and donors. The candidate must be astute, highly organized and collaborative, with impeccable attention to detail, highly developed project management skills, and the ability to liaise effectively with internal departments, senior volunteers and donors.

As a key member of the Advancement Team, this role is also responsible for coordinating key administrative activities on behalf of the broader team.


Coordinate and track the interactions and activities required for effective prospect and donor management:

  • Diligently record and track actions and next steps in prospect strategy meetings with staff and volunteers and proactively follow up with colleagues to ensure deliverables and deadlines are met

  • Perform preliminary database and internet research to inform and enhance strategy development

  • Draft correspondence and responses to donors on behalf of VP and Directors

  • Prepare briefing notes for prospect and donor meetings, including database and internet research, requesting formal research profiles from prospect researcher and collaborating with colleagues to provide a complete and accurate briefing note

  • Coordinate with colleagues responsible for preparing proposals, presentations, and other materials required for donor and volunteer meetings

  • Manage timelines and track deliverables for donors to ensure that key objectives are met

  • Proactively contribute to the development and implementation of effective and innovative approaches to major gift strategies with donor prospects

  • Work closely with the VP and senior volunteers to support and coordinate prospect and donor cultivation, solicitation and stewardship

  • Diligently and on a timely basis record all actions and relevant information in the database, including meeting notes, events and future tasks/deliverables, on behalf of the VP and Director

Provide administrative support to a high-functioning Advancement Team:

  • Coordinate all aspects of Advancement Committee meetings comprised of Board-level volunteers, including scheduling meetings, drafting meeting materials (agendas, minutes and presentations), posting all meeting materials in advance and other logistics 

  • Process gifts and generate automated receipts in the CRM for the team 

  • Initiate agenda for weekly team meetings, and coordinate ad hoc meetings 

  • Facilitate monthly expense submissions for the team

  • Coordinate activities, travel and meetings, and manage the calendar of the VP and Director to support fundraising activities and anticipate next steps for all stages of the donor cycle

  • Provide occasional coordination and administrative support to the Senior Director

  • Assist with events as required

  • Assist with other projects and perform other duties as assigned

Maintain a deep understanding of CIFAR’s mission, approach and impacts to creatively relay benefits to donors and prospective donors: 

  • Maintain close relationships with Advancement colleagues to be well-informed of donor interests and needs

  • Build relationships and work collaboratively with the Research, Knowledge Mobilization and Communications teams to gain and maintain a thorough understanding of existing and emerging work to convey impact convincingly and appropriately to donors

  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge of CIFAR’s strategic directions, programs, and initiatives to accurately share information with donors

  • Foster productive working relationships across the organization and act as a conduit for information sharing 

  • Stay up-to-date with industry best practices and innovations in all aspects of the donor cycle, and volunteer and donor management


Education/Experience required:

  • University degree or college diploma, or equivalent combination of education and experience

  • 2-3 years in a fundraising environment with a focus on major gift fundraising and experience working with major donors and senior volunteers

  • Experience developing, implementing and coordinating systems and projects as they relate to major giving activities within a fundraising team

Core Professional/Technical Knowledge & Skills required for the position:

  • Collaborative team player focused on contributing to departmental and organizational objectives

  • Excellent interpersonal skills with an ability to interact effectively with high-level donors, volunteers and individuals across the organization

  • Flexible and adaptable with the ability to work under pressure, meet deadlines and handle conflicting priorities with ease

  • Highly detail-oriented and accurate

  • Strong work ethic, professional integrity, initiative-taker

  • Discretion and tact in handling highly-sensitive or confidential information 

  • Passion for science and/or experience working with the scientific community is an asset

  • Excellent project management skills

  • Excellent administrative, analytical and organizational skills

  • Knowledge of the philanthropic community and best practices in major gift fundraising 

  • Demonstrated integrity and a commitment to the AFP Code of Ethical Principles and Standards; CFRE is an asset

  • Highly proficient in Microsoft Office and Google suites of products

  • Comfort with databases as a key tool for building relationships; experience with Salesforce is an asset

Position reports to: This position reports to the VP, Advancement
Term of position: Fulltime, permanent              
Start date: January 2021

Contact:  Please send resume and cover letter in confidence to quoting EA to the VP, Advancement and Project Coordinator” in the Subject Line.  The deadline for submitting your application is December 3, 2020.

To find out more, please visit our website:

One of CIFAR's core cultural values is Diversity - we value diversity and aspire to be inclusive in all aspects of our work.  CIFAR is an equal employment opportunity employer and is strongly committed to removing systemic barriers and biases, and by promoting the practice of inclusivity, so that all individuals have equal access to and benefit from the work we do. We encourage applications from all qualified individuals and encourage women, members of racialized communities, Indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity to confidentially self-identify at time of application.  

ACCESSIBILITY FOR APPLICANTS WITH DISABILITIES - CIFAR is committed to providing accommodations throughout the recruitment and selection process to applicants with disabilities, in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, and the Ontario Human Rights Code. To request a reasonable accommodation, please email and include the term 'Accessibility' in the Subject Line, or call 416-971-4251. Please provide your name, preferred contact method, and a detailed description of the nature of any accommodation that you may require. Please include any materials or processes that may be used to ensure your equal participation.

CIFAR frequently communicates in both official languages and our preference is to hire employees who are fluent in both English and French where possible.  Other languages are also considered an asset. For a French version of the job posting, please visit

We thank you for your interest in working at CIFAR. All applications will be reviewed however, only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted via email.