Executive Director

Hiring Organization: 
Family Foundation
City and State: 
New York, NY


DRG Search is partnering with a new foundation (the "Foundation") in a search for an inaugural Executive Director (ED). The mission of the Foundation is to strengthen the impact that global citizenship can have on improving the lives of future generations through engaged, informed and innovative philanthropy.

Established in 2019, the Foundation will focus on strengthening the nonprofit community's capacity through grantmaking in support of programmatic and operating capital needs in five broad program areas: Children and Family Life, Social Justice and Inclusion, Health and Culture, Environmental Conservation and the Jewish Community. The Foundation is also focused on re-shaping the impact of next-generation philanthropists by re-imagining their approach to philanthropy. A commitment to a rigorous, thoughtful, data-driven responsible and creative grants process is the hallmark of the Foundation.

This Foundation has been created to build a thoughtful, leading Foundation with a deep philosophical commitment to partnership, effective systems, in-depth research and its values while remaining flexible and nimble in order to be responsive and maximize impact.


The inaugural ED will be the professional leader of the Foundation, and work in close partnership with the Founders. The ED will hold the responsibility for building and implementing the day-to­ day operations of the Foundation, as well as shaping the future of the Foundation by animating the vision and values of the Founders. The ED will be the primary face of the Foundation and an important conduit of information about the status and effectiveness of the Foundation's nonprofit partners; an expert in smart and thoughtful philanthropic practice; and someone who has a shared sense of values with the Founders. By participation, facilitation and engagement in discussions of content issues relevant to the Foundation's program areas, the ED will assess and respond to opportunities to provide funding to strengthen nonprofit partners, all in keeping with the Foundation's mission, values and priorities.

The inaugural ED must be able to cultivate, build, and maintain strong and authentic relationships with a wide range of partners, including nonprofit executives, institution  leaders  and  other funders. A data-driven and strategic sense of philanthropy, a willingness to  learn from partners and to inspire creative solutions are integral to success. This ED must have excellent communication skills, including public speaking, written communications, and knowledge of public relations, social and traditional media skills. Visibility of the Foundation while safeguarding the privacy of the Founders is paramount and core to the grantmaking process.

Additionally, the ED will lead, inspire and support the Founders in their philanthropic work; communicating so that each of the Founders is heard, valued and fully up to date in all of the Foundation's work. The ED will demonstrate an ability to communicate their point of view on all issues candidly with the Founders, while simultaneously able to honor the Founders' vision.

Unassailable integrity, deep commitment to the vision and values of the Founders and a good sense of humor are essential.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Design and manage the day-to-day operations of the Foundation,  including  overseeing grant administration and operations; and developing and  maintaining  compliance  policies as well as legal and contractual obligations;
  • Effectively communicate the Foundation's mission, vision and program priorities to nonprofit partners, potential funding partners and the public at large;
  • Create and maintain strong relationships with nonprofit organizations  in  order  to understand the needs in each of the priority areas of giving;
  • Maintain a high level of knowledge on issues and regulation applicable to charitable giving (accounting, legal, investment, etc.);
  • Build a thoughtful and streamlined grantmaking process: evaluation of Letters of  Intent, Grant Applications and in depth due diligence, including interviews, site visits, review of budgets and financial information, preparation of summaries and recommendations to the Founders;
  • Monitor grantee performance by reviewing and summarizing grantee reports, maintaining positive relationships with grantees, following up with grantees as needed to obtain necessary information, providing technical assistance, and engaging in problem-solving. Work with grantees to ensure compliance with grant agreements and successful program implementation;
  • Oversee evaluation of funded programs;
  • Provide technical assistance to grant-seekers, including guidance in fundraising, planning, organizational development, program design and volunteer leadership development.

Philanthropic Leadership

  • Work with the Founders to engage them in grantmaking and social impact models; for example, invite their participation in conferences and convenings to help build their expertise in their core philanthropic areas.
  • Research and keep abreast of issues, trends, exemplary programs and best practices in the Foundation's major program areas;
  • Build the Foundation's capacity to develop programs to strengthen and  support  the nonprofit and public sectors;
  • Communicate with nonprofit agencies, public and private funders and the public about the Foundation's grantmaking priorities, guidelines, and proposal review process.


  • Significant experience with a grantmaking Foundation and/or broad experience leading a well- respected nonprofit;
  • Prior experience with family philanthropy or similar experience;
  • Experience as the face of an organization; well-developed interpersonal skills; superb oral and written communication skills; able to listen and present ideas clearly and persuasively;
  • Ability to accurately assess nonprofit leadership, operational, and financial capacity and perform other due diligence required;
  • Strong financial and organizational management experience; knowledge of financial instruments, rules, regulations and standards for Family Foundations;
  • Evidence of developing and implementing strategy- a strategic thinker, planner and executor with an operating style that encourages cooperation;
  • A history of strong collaboration; someone who actively seeks strategic partnerships;
  • Excellent analytical ability, including the ability to summarize complex issues concisely and to develop clear, cogent recommendations;
  • Ability to manage and track multiple projects and activities to successful conclusion;
  • Has sound judgment, tact, humility, and discretion required to work effectively with all Foundation stakeholders, including the Founders, other funders, thought-leaders, grant applicants, grantees, and program beneficiaries;
  • Emotionally mature with a good sense of humor, someone who is at ease in many places and with all people; able to interact with diverse communities with grace and confidence;
  • Extremely proactive approach to work; solutions-oriented with attention to detail;
  • Capable of working alone and willing to do the high-profile work along with the day-to-day tasks that must get done;
  • Successful manager who will be able to build an effective team over time;
  • A good listener and strategist; comfortable receiving input from many sources and able to bring others together, building consensus and creating cohesive and well-supported plans;
  • Inspires trust, creativity and unity;
  • Strong work ethic coupled with an enthusiastic and optimistic approach to one's work.
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