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Development & Fundraising Associate

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Job Details
Job Order Number
Company Name
Job Site Location
Tucson, AZ 85719
Job Description

The National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) as an immediate opening for a Development & Fundraising Associate to join the Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) Visitor Center team to support efforts to strengthen our financial base and diversify our sources of revenue. This position will strategically seek out new partners, philanthropic investors, and corporate sponsors, and elevate our profile throughout Arizona and beyond.

The ideal candidate is an outgoing, results-oriented development professional who will assist with the creation of a truly unique astronomy outreach and education facility at the KPNO.

We are developing an exciting new astronomy outreach center within an iconic solar observatory—the towering McMath-Pierce solar observatory—which will be truly unique in the world and will have international reach. Being developed as a new integral component of the KPNO Visitor Center program, and with major support ($4.5M) from the National Science Foundation (NSF), our Windows on the Universe Center for Astronomy Outreach will consist of one of the world’s largest solar observatories, several interactive exhibit galleries, and two astronomy visualization systems: Science On a Sphere (SOS) and a digital planetarium. The vision is that we will become a unique clearinghouse of visual astronomy products generated at other major NSF-funded astronomy facilities in New Mexico, Hawaii, Louisiana, Washington, Chile, Antarctica, as well as Kitt Peak. Our team will process astronomical images and create “data sets” capable of being displayed in any museum equipped with either SOS or the planetarium, about 260 informal science education facilities around the world. We really will have international reach!

The renovated areas within the McMath-Pierce will represent nearly a fivefold increase over current Visitor Center space. This additional space will enable the development of an impressive array of new public and school programs for Kitt Peak visitors. We anticipate more than doubling current attendance levels within only a few years. This new global perspective and storyline will make our program an international leader in astronomy outreach and informal science education, engaging audiences around the world. As an integral team member, you will have an important role in shaping the direction of our greatly expanded visitor program.

Your efforts will enable additional enhancements to what is already planned for Windows on the Universe project, improve its long-term sustainability, and improve the array of program and exhibits offerings by the Kitt Peak Visitor program. Although the Visitor Center team has had some recent notable successes in securing major donations, you will be creating a powerful development program from the foundation up.

You will partner with the Visitor Center Manager to plan and implement an array of development activities and events, write grant proposals, and secure sponsorship support. You will energize the existing Visitor Center membership program, working with existing donors and identifying prospective donors, lead development solicitations, and organize creative fundraising engagement events. You will write and submit results-generating grants and funding proposals. You will assure that required reports and other communications are delivered to each funding or sponsoring agency, foundation, or corporation.

You will reach out to astronomy-interested prospects across Arizona and the USA in the development of partnerships that further strengthen the Visitor Center’s mission and the creation of Windows on the Universe. The initial primary focus on the development of additional mechanisms of support for the Windows on the Universe project. As an integral team member, you will have an important role in shaping the direction of our greatly expanded visitor program and developing a long-term strategic plan.

The Kitt Peak Visitor Center has been conducting daytime tours and educational programs since 1964. It began offering exciting nighttime stargazing programs in fall 1996 and has been expanding its menu of programs and increasing its capacity ever since. Learn more about the Visitor Center and our Windows on the Universe project at

The primary office for this position is located at the NOAO Headquarters building at 950 N. Cherry Avenue in Tucson, Arizona. Some work will occur at KPNO where the McMath-Pierce solar observatory and the Visitor Center are located, approximately 56 miles west of Tucson. Transportation will be provided.

Essential Functions:

  • Research grant, gift, and sponsorship opportunities.
  • Cultivate personal relationships with prospective donors, foundation staff, and sponsors with the goal of securing financial or in-kind support.
  • Prepare successful grant or sponsorship requests or proposals. Shepherd such proposals through the acceptance process and monitor their consideration status with the prospective foundation, corporation, or agency. Promptly respond to requests for additional information.
  • Create and send notes, updates, photographs, or other materials to donors in order to assure continued engagement.
  • Prepare periodic or final reports, as required by grant maker or donor.
  • Plan and conduct appropriate “special events” to introduce potential stakeholders to the observatory, the visitor program, and the Windows on the Universe project.
  • Work with our team members to develop memorable visitor experiences, especially those for supporting stakeholders. Energetically network to expand base of contacts for potential cultivation and solicitation.
  • Establish and operate an annual giving campaign to provide revenue for operations, special improvements, new programs, and exhibits.
  • Remain up to date on recent developments in philanthropy, IRS rules governing planned giving, and deductibility.
  • Establish a planned giving program to support Visitor Program initiatives, including Windows on the Universe.
  • Reliably and punctually reports to all assigned shifts. Dependability and highly reliable attendance is essential in this position.
  • Consistently adheres to all NOAO and Kitt Peak policies and procedures
  • Performs other safety and security functions during shifts at Kitt Peak, as required of all staff.
  • Work well with, and employs open and tactful communication and cooperation with, all team members.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Please name any attachments with the following format: LastnameDocname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to

We will not consider applicants who only upload a resume to this solicitation.

Preference will be given to qualified internal candidates.

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a consortium of 40+ US institutions and four international affiliates that operates world-class astronomical observatories. AURA’s role is to establish, nurture, and promote public observatories and facilities that advance innovative astronomical research. AURA is responsible for managing the operations of the Gemini Observatory, the National Optical Astronomical Observatory, the National Solar Observatory, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and the construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation and NASA.

AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more at

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA and all of the centers, do not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws. The statements below as well as the requests for self-identification are required pursuant to these regulations. We encourage your participation in meeting these federal reporting requirements which are included for protection and to assist us in our record keeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.

Preference granted to qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O’odham reservation.

Veterans, disabled individuals or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process should request assistance at

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