Mertz Gilmore Foundation (MGF) is a private, independent grantmaking institution that supports and promotes vibrant communities, the performing arts, a sustainable environment, and a people-centered democracy. With assets of approximately $135 million and a staff of ten, MGF makes grants in four program areas: Climate Change Solutions, Democratic Values, New York City Communities, and New York City Dance. MGF strives to center justice and equity in all aspects of our grantmaking, finance, and operations and uses a variety of philanthropic strategies, including annual grantmaking of $10 to 12 million, to: address the climate crisis; build a democracy that works for all; and strengthen civic and cultural institutions in under-resourced and historically marginalized communities in New York City.
Located in a historic brownstone in the Gramercy Park area of New York City, MGF was established as the Mertz Foundation in 1959 with proceeds from Publishers Clearing House, a family business started by Joyce Mertz and her parents, LuEsther and Harold. MGF was later renamed in honor of Joyce and her late husband, Robert W. Gilmore. The institutional values set forth by the Mertz Gilmore family have guided the Foundation throughout its history. The Foundation’s legacy is strong, and future is bright due to our:
● Accomplished grantee partners – grounded in responsive, trust-based relationships with Foundation’s staff – and a culture of listening to those partners, providing funding based on their expressed needs and exploring together what works;
● Veteran Board of Directors with considerable philanthropic and nonprofit knowledge and experience;
● Diverse and peer-respected staff that is talented, caring, and principled;
● Long-term leadership in two of the most pressing issues of our time (climate change funding began in the mid-1980’s and the democracy program in 2012); and
● 50-year history supporting the arts and community empowerment in New York City. To learn more about MGF, please visit our website.
MGF seeks a humble, collaborative, and strategic executive to build on the Foundation’s legacy and push the field forward during an evolutionary time in philanthropy. Reporting to and partnering closely with a committed Board, the President will bring emotional intelligence and energy to managing the Foundation’s vision, strategy, and program development. The President will have overall responsibility for the philanthropic, operational, and financial affairs of the Foundation and serve as an ex-officio board member with voting privileges. This visionary, ethical leader will inspire and empower staff and partners, respecting the past and present while generating exciting ideas for greater impact in the future. The President will also bring deep commitment to the justice and equity framework that MGF seeks to embed throughout all aspects of the Foundation’s internal and external work, including the alignment of financial and programmatic investments.
Partnering closely with the Board and staff, the President will have overall day-to-day accountability for the effective and efficient management of the Foundation’s affairs. The new leader will bring knowledge, commitment, and curiosity to their role in continuing to advance an institutional approach to justice and equity while managing core responsibilities.
Vision & Mission Stewardship
● Provide the creative and strategic vision, direction, inspiration, and motivation necessary to ensure the Foundation’s success and continued advancement of its values, mission, and purpose.
● Collaborate with the Board and staff to ensure that the organization’s values, mission, and purpose are fully embodied in all aspects of the Foundation’s work.
● Working closely with the Board and staff, and with grantee partner input, identify and effectively communicate a compelling, shared vision for the Board, staff, and pertinent external groups, ensuring that the goals of the Foundation’s programs are accurately understood.
● Challenge the Foundation and investment advisors to fully explore how missionaligned investing can result in both careful stewardship of the endowment while intentionally focusing on investments that further the Foundation’s goals. Organizational Leadership
● Asset Management: Ensure endowment management and financial administration strategies and systems are effective, aligned with the Foundation’s mission/values, and implemented with excellence. Manage annual income from two ongoing founding family-related trusts, understanding the interplay of this income with endowment assets. Steward finances with an ethical lens that promotes legal compliance and financial integrity. Maximize use of the MGF’s facilities—its offices, meeting spaces, and incubator space—to enhance the Foundation’s overall mission.
● Programmatic Oversight: Ensure the development of programming, grantmaking, and investment strategies and systems are effective, aligned with the mission/values of the Foundation, and implemented with excellence.
● Innovation and Impact: Ensure standards and systems are in place that track the Foundation’s effectiveness and impact, centered in equitable evaluation principles; including rigor around programmatic innovation and outcomes; and with increased program integration with the endowment for a greater impact platform.
● Organizational Development: Assess organizational needs and support creative solutions to enhance structures, practices, systems, tools, and staffing ensuring role clarity and alignment and the necessary resources to thrive.
● Staff Management: Recruit, lead, mentor, and coach a diverse and autonomous staff ensuring they are supported, entrusted, empowered, recognized, appreciated, and amplified. Foster a community of meaningful collaboration, intellectual curiosity, continuous learning, transparency, and open feedback.
● Equity: Clarify annual and multi-year equity goals and success measures and hold staff and Board accountable for achieving them. Cultivate the language and framing of justice and equity and its essential role in the Foundation’s theory of change and mission committing the necessary resources for continual learning and development.
● Culture: Model and build upon an equity-focused environment centered on MGF’s guiding principles of embracing diversity, transparency, and authentic inclusion in all areas of its work. Actively support a culture of integrity, professionalism, commitment, and humility. Demonstrate and champion the value of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in all actions and decisions, and ensure the adoption of, and adherence to, appropriate values and ethical standards in all foundation business.
● Work with the Board to help ensure proper resources and information for effective governance; support Board members as they individually and collectively fulfill their governance and fiduciary responsibilities; and ensure transparency and regular communication with the Board in all key areas
● Serve as a liaison and foster effective relationships within the Board, between the Board and foundation staff, and with external audiences.
● Engage in contemplative discourse with the Board around emerging trends and exploration of investments in existing and new initiatives cultivating an open, thoughtful, and collaborative partnership. External Affairs
● Serve as the key representative of the Foundation to external constituencies such as peer philanthropic organizations, grantee partners, government entities/elected officials, and the media.
● Leverage existing local, regional, and national connections and build new relationships that may increase philanthropic investments in MGF’s priority areas.
● Empower program staff to cultivate relationships with relevant community organizations and leaders in government, business, and other nonprofits, contributing to thought leadership around philanthropy, equity, and impact.
● Work collaboratively with other private and/or public funders, grantees, and community partners as a thought leader lifting the voices of the Foundation’s community partners and influencing measurable change.
The successful candidate will be a proven senior executive and empathetic people leader with values alignment and a deep commitment to social justice, staff, grantee partners, and under-resourced and historically marginalized communities. The individual will also have experience in and/or passion for grounding organizational culture and grantmaking in equity and serving as a fierce internal and external champion for DEI. Driven by intellectual curiosity and with a steady presence, the individual will bring outcomes-oriented leadership to the advancement of the Foundation’s goals.
Key qualifications for the role follow but we recognize that a compelling candidate might meet some, not all, requirements and invite interested candidates to explain what makes them uniquely well-suited for this leadership role in their cover letters:
● A proven, results-oriented senior executive with 10 or more years in senior leadership roles in relevant sectors such as philanthropy, nonprofit, and/or government.
● Strong people leadership and management skills with a track record of empowering a diverse group of professionals, entrusting and amplifying the work of others including experience with board governance and engagement.
● Values alignment to advance the Foundation’s goals including deep commitment to social justice and being a demonstrated champion and leader in DEI with community driven experience, preferably within economically disadvantaged communities.
● Outstanding communications skills and diplomacy, including the ability to listen to, relate well to, and inspire a wide range of constituencies and people at all levels.
● A history of successful engagement, partnering, and fostering alliance-building among a broad range of constituencies and an ability to work with and effectively inspire innovative thinking among stakeholders and audiences in multiple sectors.
● Experience managing organizational complexity and enhancing an organization’s capacity and impact.
● Knowledge and zeal for one or more focus areas in which the foundation works and/or issues related to democratic values, climate change, and wealth disparities.
● Understanding of power dynamics around philanthropy and grantmaking structures and a fierce champion of community organizing and the essential role of movement building to affect sustainable, progressive change.
● Familiarity and/or interest in understanding and overseeing investment strategies including mission-aligned investing.
● An undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university, or experience in excess of the minimum.
The President will work at the Foundation’s offices at 218 East 18th Street in New York City and must be willing to relocate to the New York City metropolitan area if that is not where they currently reside.
Compensation & Benefits
A competitive compensation and comprehensive benefits package will be offered. Compensation will be equitable and commensurate with experience within an anticipated base salary range of $295,000 to $345,000.
How To Apply
MGF is excited to partner with Walker and Associates Consulting – a national strategic management consulting and executive search firm that has centered diversity, equity, and inclusion in its work meeting the unique needs of foundations and nonprofits for more than 25 years – on this search. To apply, email a cover letter, resume, and list of three references (candidates will be notified in advance of any outreach to your references) to email@example.com on or before 5:00 p.m. ET on April 15, 2022. One combined PDF is preferred. Use the subject line: President.
Questions or Nominations? Contact Jeannine N. Walker, President and CEO, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mertz Gilmore Foundation is an equal opportunity employer. We are actively seeking to build on our diverse and inclusive team with a wide range of backgrounds, perspectives, and skills to support the incredible diversity of grassroots organizing across the country. Leaders of color, people with disabilities, women, LGBTQ+ applicants, and/or leaders from historically marginalized or low-income communities are encouraged to apply.