Martha Schall ’80, associate vice president for development and director of medical development at the Yale School of Medicine, has announced plans to depart the University next month.

Schall will leave to become vice president of the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Foundation, a Hartford-based organization devoted to raising money for the state’s only freestanding independent pediatric hospital. Described by coworkers as “a devoted Yalie,” Schall, the former director of the Yale Alumni Fund, has served the University for 19 years. Although she has only been at the Medical School for three years, Medical School Dean Robert Alpern and others said Schall made a substantial impact during the relatively short time she has coordinated fundraising efforts there.

Schall said she was not looking to leave Yale, but the CCMC Foundation was an attractive option.

“It’s one of the few other places I have passion for,” Schall said. “They’ve taken great care of my son over the years, and they need philanthropy. It was an opportunity I really couldn’t resist.”

Though Schall has maintained a low profile over the years, Alpern said her work has been indispensable.

“She’s a very talented fundraiser,” he said. “She was really committed to Yale University and, over recent years, to the Yale School of Medicine. Things did improve a lot since Martha moved over to the Medical School.”

Vice President for Development Inge Reichenbach said Schall’s departure will be a loss for the University, but fundraising efforts at the School of Medicine should not suffer with Schall’s system in place.

“She, together with Dean Alpern, has really laid the groundwork to develop a comprehensive and successful fundraising program,” Reichenbach said. “The professionalism of that program has been one of Martha’s greatest accomplishments.”

Though Schall said progress has been made in Medical School development, she said Yale’s professional schools can still do more to take advantage of a largely untapped resource: private funding sources unaffiliated with the University but who have a specific interest in a particular school. Peer institutions, Schall said, have made more of an effort to cozy up to what she called “geographically proximate friends.”

The School of Medicine receives hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants, as well as some state and local ones, but Schall said private fundraising from individuals, corporations and foundations is still important. In 2004, the school raised approximately $13.9 million in gifts, but Schall said most of that money was devoted to specific projects rather than needed discretionary funds.

“We need additional resources,” she said. “It’s a complementary source of funding. Medical schools need endowments for facilities and special programs, usually from private individuals.”

Cultivating donations and gifts to the University has been the focus of Schall’s professional life since she joined the Development Office just six years after earning her undergraduate degree. She worked in the major gifts office before becoming director of development for the University’s environmental programs. A stint heading up major gifts development on the East Coast was followed by a term as director of the Yale Alumni Fund. Immediately before heading to the Medical School in 2002, Schall served as Yale’s director of individual giving.

Reichenbach said the search for Schall’s successor will begin immediately, but she did not know how long it would last. The priority, she said, is to find someone to fill the position as soon as possible.