Position Description

Position Description

SCS Noonan Scholars

(Los Angeles, CA)

Title: Chief Advancement Officer


The mission of SCS Noonan Scholars is to help high-achieving low-income underrepresented students get into and graduate from top colleges equipped to achieve their full career potential and to become the professional, business and civic leaders our country needs. SCS Noonan Scholars envisions a world in which high-achieving students from low-income families have the same opportunities to attend, thrive at and graduate from top colleges as their higher-income peers. To realize this vision, SCS Noonan Scholars employs a holistic, comprehensive, data-driven program to ensure Scholars have the key opportunities they need from their junior year in high school through college graduation and into their first job.


South Central Scholars was first formed in Los Angeles in 2001 and quickly achieved impressive results serving high-achieving low-income students. In 2014, founders Jim and Trisha London decided to replicate the program in Boston under the name Noonan Scholars, as a pilot for further regional, and eventual national, expansion. Having achieved successful outcomes in Boston, the organization now has a national presence as one fully merged organization, SCS Noonan Scholars, serving the top low-income students from across the country with the same refined model they have been using locally in Los Angeles and Boston for years. With staff currently headquartered in Los Angeles and Boston, SCS Noonan Scholars will establish a local presence in Chicago and Cleveland in 2020. 


Nationally, our highest achieving low-income students of color are struggling as they transition from high school to college. These are students who have overcome the challenges of poverty and have excelled through their own grit and resiliency to position themselves to have meaningful careers as leaders in our country’s most prominent businesses and civic institutions. Yet without additional support, that will not happen. 

We know that:

  • Too few low-income students of color are applying to and attending selective colleges. Fewer than one in two attends as selective a college as they could, often graduating with more debt and lower career earning potential. In fact, the vast majority of high-achieving students from low-income families are unaware of the benefits and do not apply to even one selective college.
  • Too few graduate with strong grades in degrees that match their career passion. Most top low-income students who are interested in STEM and other rigorous majors are often not provided with the same level of academic preparation in math, science and writing compared to their better-resourced suburban or private school peers. These students tend to perform poorly in courses that are the gateway classes for STEM and other challenging majors and are prompted to switch to less rigorous majors. As a result, less than one in four low-income students of color who want to major in STEM or other rigorous majors are able to persist and graduate in that major.
  • Too few graduate with meaningful internship experiences and the hard and soft skills they need to be successful in the corporate world. These students are often the first in their families to go to college and do not have the networks their peers have to get the right internships or jobs, or individuals in their community to model the norms and behaviors they will need to thrive and advance when they do enter the workforce.

Given these obstacles, too many of our top students of color graduate from less resourced colleges with poor grades in majors that don’t interest them and are unready for the jobs needed in our economy. We can see this impact in this nation’s tremendous lack of workforce diversity, especially in leadership positions. For example, only 3% of science and engineering positions nationwide are held by African Americans.


SCS Noonan Scholars strives to reverse these trends and transform great potential into reality, helping these talented and motivated individuals of color become the next leaders of our nation’s businesses and civic institutions, and its accomplished doctors, engineers and innovators. The SCS Noonan Scholars two-part, six year-long program provides a continuum of support for students that directly addresses the unique barriers they face to enrolling in and succeeding at selective colleges by providing them with: more informed college admissions advising; additional intensive academic preparation; meaningful professional mentors and experience; and greater access to a network for key internships and jobs; as well as personal, social-emotional and financial support throughout their journey in the program.


The results of the SCS Noonan Scholars program are unprecedented. Specifically,

  • Over 98% of Scholars graduate from college, compared to 49% of Black and Hispanic students who graduate from highly selective schools.
  • Over 65% are able to persist and graduate in STEM majors, compared to less than 25% of similar students.
  • Scholars graduate with great grades (3.3 average GPA compared to less than a 2.9 GPA for similar students), meaningful internship experiences, needed hard and soft career skills, and minimal financial aid obligations (74% of recently admitted college Scholars received a no-loan financial aid package).
  • Not only do Scholars outperform similar low-income students, but they also outperform the general student body of the colleges they attend. Specifically, they are 10% more likely to graduate and 15% more likely to persist in STEM than their more privileged peers in college.
  • Scholars get jobs at top companies and/or pursue advanced degrees from some of the top institutions. Currently, there are Scholars working at companies such as Goldman Sachs, Accenture, Deloitte, Wellington Management, Google and Microsoft, and in PhD and graduate programs at Harvard, Yale, Columbia and others.

For more information about SCS Noonan Scholars, please visit: www.scsnoonan.org.


With a current annual budget of $6.4 million, up from just $2 million four years ago, and serving approximately 600 students per year, SCS Noonan Scholars is projected to raise $7 million in fiscal year 2019/2020. Now in year two of a five-year Strategic Plan with a focus on national expansion, SCS Noonan Scholars is on track to triple the number of Scholars it serves and reach an annual budget of $11 million by 2023. With a combination of new small regional cohorts of Scholars and expanded national outreach, SCS Noonan Scholars has set the strategic goal of raising an additional $35 million over five years to fund this growth; $16 million of which has been raised in the first year.

Reporting to the Boston-based CEO, the Chief Advancement Officer (CAO), located in Los Angeles, will be charged with developing and leading SCS Noonan’s strategy for expanding national philanthropic support and will play a critical role in building the brand and impact of the organization nationally. This is a compelling opportunity for a highly experienced and entrepreneurial leader to build a robust, diversified, best-practices advancement program that will provide the capacity for continued expansion of SCS Noonan’s fundraising and external relations efforts and results.

The CAO will guide SCS Noonan’s national development strategy in partnership with the CEO, Founders and executive team and oversee the strategic alignment of regional and national fundraising efforts. The CAO will grow, manage and support a geographically dispersed and diverse team to include fundraising Executive Directors in Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland and Boston, an Institutional Giving Manager and a Director of Development Operations, with the potential for additional positions based on the evolution of the department’s strategy. The CAO will help design and implement the infrastructure needed to support ambitious fundraising goals and will lead the efforts to expand support from existing donors, and cultivate and engage new individual, foundation and corporate supporters from coast to coast.

In addition, the CAO will strengthen SCS Noonan’s brand and lead integrated communications efforts that support program and revenue goals. This leader will proactively build strong relationships with the Board, donors, alumni and families, community members and other partners and lead outreach to these stakeholders. 

Specific responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Develop and be accountable for a comprehensive, multi-year fundraising plan in partnership with the Founders, CEO, National Board of Trustees and executive leadership team.
  • Be a member of the Senior Leadership team; help shape overall organization culture and policy.
  • Oversee a fundraising portfolio and lead by example in exemplary major gift fundraising, providing expertise in soliciting and cultivating donors at the six- and seven-figure giving levels with the highest degree of professionalism and sophistication.
  • Identify opportunities for increased giving capacity and develop multi-faceted solicitation plans for existing and new prospects and donors.
  • Identify and procure national funding commitments to expand SCS Noonan Scholars to new markets and to fund organizational growth and impact.
  • Lead and drive the identification, initiation and development of strategic partnerships to further SCS Noonan’s mission and cultivate the brand, particularly among potential corporate partners.
  • Develop, mentor, inspire and support a geographically diverse advancement team, working thoughtfully to balance and integrate the culture across the regions. 
  • Manage and lead the advancement team, building team cohesion, monitoring performance, ensuring the team meets ambitious goals, performing annual staff reviews and coordinating professional development.
  • Foster collaboration between the advancement team and other teams at SCS Noonan, including programming and operations, with the goal to build and sustain a successful philanthropic culture.
  • Provide fundraising leadership and support to the CEO, including helping to identify resource cultivation goals and support needs, prospecting donors and leading or participating in asks, as appropriate.
  • Work with Board leadership both nationally and regionally to develop fundraising capacity and strengthen fundraising efforts. Staff the National Board of Trustees and the Development Committee.
  • Oversee all stewardship activities including donor acknowledgement, donor recognition, pledge reminders and donor record accuracy.
  • Provide oversight of all development operations and processes, including annual fund, corporate and foundation grant writing and reporting, and metrics and systems to support major/principal gift identification, cultivation and solicitation.
  • Manage the relationship between SCS Noonan and 1,400 Scholars and Alumni, including managing the coordination of engagement activities and other strategic opportunities both locally and nationwide, overseeing promotion and staff support.


The Chief Advancement Officer will be an entrepreneurial leader and builder with exceptional interpersonal skills and a collaborative, engaging and motivational style. The successful candidate must be an outstanding frontline fundraiser with proven experience building and growing a successful advancement program and maximizing giving results through developing productive relationships with donors, board members, volunteers and staff. The individual must be highly strategic and hands-on, taking initiative to actively deepen existing relationships and forge new ones. Strong communication, listening and follow-up skills are essential. The Chief Advancement Officer must be well organized, focused and have a goal-oriented work style. A high level of integrity, professionalism and creativity is required. The ability to build, think strategically, be resourceful and successfully develop innovative results is required. The successful candidate will articulate a strong commitment to and understanding of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, will possess a high level of cultural competence, effectively incorporating DEI into all aspects of their work, and will work productively across lines of difference. An authentic passion for and unwavering belief in the mission and impact of SCS Noonan Scholars are essential, as is an articulated commitment to helping high-achieving low-income underrepresented students get into and graduate from top colleges equipped to achieve their full career potential.


Leading candidates will be dynamic and forward-thinking individuals with a minimum of ten years of demonstrated high-level leadership success developing and implementing comprehensive development programs, ideally on a national scale. Team management experience is required, and the successful candidate will have a clearly articulated management philosophy which supports high performance and employee retention. A substantial knowledge of best practices in fundraising, especially in major gifts, donor stewardship and prospect management, is essential. The ideal candidate will have experience in all areas of fundraising including major gifts, annual giving, grants and events, as well as a comfort with databases that support fundraising. Exceptional financial, organizational, project management and administrative skills are essential and expected. Nonprofit experience is required, and knowledge of the Los Angeles philanthropic community is a plus. Past experience leading a national development program or raising funds to fuel local and national priorities will be highly valued. The Chief Advancement Officer must be based in Los Angeles and be willing to travel nationally 25-30% of the time.


A Bachelor’s degree is required.


The Chief Advancement Officer is a professional, full-time, exempt position; salary will be competitive and relocation assistance, if needed, is available. SCS Noonan Scholars also provides a comprehensive health benefits and retirement package.

SCS Noonan Scholars provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, national origin, sexual orientation, age, disability, or veteran status.


To apply for this position, visit www.morrisberger.com/searches.php

Morris & Berger
500 North Brand Boulevard, Suite 2150
Glendale, CA 91203-1923

1 (818) 507-1234