Organization: Marguerite Casey Foundation

Location: Seattle, WA

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About Marguerite Casey Foundation

Marguerite Casey Foundation (the Foundation) invests in cornerstone organizations that work across issues, regions, race and ethnicities to support a movement of poor and low-income families advocating on their own behalf for a fair and equitable society. The Foundation believes that everyone should have an equal voice in the policies that directly impact their lives. Marguerite Casey Foundation provides multiyear general support grants to organizations that work to build grassroots leadership, challenge the status quo, and believes that polices not people are to blame for poverty.

Change is possible. Marguerite Casey Foundation believes that the true experts on poverty are those low-income families who live the experience every day. For fifteen years, Marguerite Casey Foundation has been working to build a movement of working families, supporting low-income families by investing in infrastructure and ideas and funding issue education, activism, and advocacy.

The Foundation provides long-term general-support grants to grassroots groups in the 13 states with the highest concentration of family poverty in the United States as well as national organizations. In 2013, foundation-supported grantees educated more than 5.9 million families about the policy issues that most affect their lives; mobilized over 600,000 people to participate in public actions, events and meetings; led policy campaigns with wins in areas such as education, jobs and wages, criminal justice, housing and immigration reform; and developed more than 50,000 core leaders in communities across the country.

In 2008, the Foundation, in partnership with its grantees, launched Equal Voice for America’s Families. The year-long campaign brought together more than 30,000 families and approximately 250 community organizations to lay the foundation for a multi-issue national family platform that addressed the needs of families across the country. In September 2014, the Foundation seeded and launched Equal Voice Action, an independent organization that seeks to elevate the voices of poor and low-income families through activism and action.

This year Marguerite Casey Foundation launched the #DayofEquity campaign by asking the question “What would a day of equity look like to you?” The Foundation’s objective is to flip the narrative of inequality to that of equity and create a shared vision of a more just and equitable world.

Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Marguerite Casey Foundation makes grants in 13 states and supports approximately 200 organizations around the country as an independent, private grant-making foundation. Over the past 15 years, the Foundation has made nearly 1,500 grants totaling close to $334 million.

Luz A. Vega-Marquis, President & CEO

Luz Vega-Marquis is President and CEO of Marguerite Casey Foundation, where she oversees the Foundation’s $700 million endowment and $35 million annual grantmaking budget. Ms. Vega-Marquis has positioned the Foundation as a leader in movement building by shaping its grantmaking and communication strategies to support a nationwide movement of poor and low-income families.

Prior to being named president in 2001, Ms. Vega-Marquis served as executive director of the Community Technology Foundation of California (CTFC), where she was instrumental in developing the strategic framework of CTFC’s grants program as well as energizing the CTFC vision of bringing information technology to underserved communities throughout California. She served four years as vice president and chief operating officer at the National Economic Development and Law Center, an organization committed to providing technical, law and business expertise to low-income communities nationwide; and 17 years at The James Irvine Foundation, where she served as director of the grants programs and senior program officer in charge of the northern California office.

Ms. Vega-Marquis is the founder of Hispanics in Philanthropy and currently serves on the boards of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, Philanthropy Northwest and The Workers Lab. Past board service includes Independent Sector, The California Wellness Foundation, Council on Foundations, Katalysis Foundation, Northern California Grantmakers and the Women’s Foundation of California. Ms. Vega-Marquis received a Bachelor of Arts degree in modern languages from the University of San Francisco and earned a Master of Arts degree in Latin American studies from Stanford University.

Position Summary

Reporting to the President and CEO as a member of the Foundation’s leadership team, the Director of Grantmaking and Evaluation oversees the Foundation’s grantmaking and evaluation activities. This Director will be responsible for providing organizational leadership to the Grantmaking and Evaluation team; and assisting the President and CEO in formulating grant-making goals, strategies, and protocols. S/he will oversee grant evaluation and reporting processes; and ensure that communication of messages to the grantees is integrated with and in alignment with the Foundation’s communications strategy and overall organizational strategy. This Director will also work with the President and CEO and the grantmaking team to develop grant recommendations.

In addition, the Director will support the President and CEO, Board of Directors and the leadership team in defining and implementing grantee approaches in support of the Equal Voice framework. Business travel may account for as much as 30% of the time for this role.

Key Responsibilities

Program Oversight, Design and Measurement

  • Ensure high quality execution of the Foundation’s grant-making process and program across the regions it supports. Responsible for implementing, refining and recommending grant-making goals, strategies, and protocols. Ensure that the Foundation’s grants program is in compliance with the Board-approved policies and guidelines and it supports the objective of being an innovator in the philanthropy sector.
  • Based upon the Foundation’s strategy and growth initiatives, direct the Program Officers to evaluate current and potential grantees to determine organizational fit, assess financial health and viability, whether their work matches the mission and values of the Foundation and advances the Equal Voice Framework, monitor their progress toward goals and objectives outlined in each grant proposal, and responsible for overall effective management of grantees and regional portfolios.
  • Ensure strategic alignment of overall grant portfolio and examines regional analyses to draw connections and make recommendations to increase effectiveness of grant-making program. Conducts site visits to each region to assess the success of networks and/or grantees in aligning with the Equal Voice framework.
  • Oversee ongoing evaluation of program data to address and analyze program effectiveness and challenges, through of evaluation tools such as grantee surveys, grant impact assessments, grant reporting, and close out reports, improve performance and drive grant-making success.

Leadership and Management

  • Able to objectively recognize opportunities and recommend solutions that increases the overall effectiveness and encourages continuous improvement of the Foundation across all business areas as a member of the leadership team.
  • Lead, direct, manage and provide oversight of the Grantmaking & Evaluation team members’ performance and provide coaching and guidance as well as on-the-job learning and professional development.
  • Externally recognized and visible representative of the Foundation in the philanthropic field.

Partnership Building and Thought Leadership

  • Represent the Foundation regionally and nationally by speaking at and attending conferences and meetings, maintaining a strong network of funder, community, and public sector contacts throughout each region, facilitate networking among grantees and between grantees and other community organizations.
  • Oversee the Program Team’s contribution of written articles and reports, and support the development of Foundation publications, Board Books, and communications / public relations initiatives. Drives strong collaboration of messaging to increase awareness and visibility of the Foundation grant-making across sector.
  • Encouraged to foster and generate new ideas and innovation supporting the needs of the foundation.

Core Competencies

The Director of Grantmaking and Evaluation will be an experienced and effectual leader with a strategic, analytical mindset and an inspirational and entrepreneurial spirit. Building on the success of the past, s/he will work in close partnership with the CEO and the Board to ensure their vision for the Foundation is being realized effectively through focused, strategic grantmaking. S/he will contribute ideas and thoughtfully collaborate with senior leadership to fulfill the Foundation’s objectives and bring about greater impact.

The ideal candidate will have least 10 years of relevant work experience, with five of those in a senior leadership role, preferably in a private foundation or philanthropic organization. This Director will have a proven track record in philanthropic giving, including developing and implementing evaluation frameworks; setting strategic objectives and priorities; building a strong development infrastructure; and managing a team to achieve strong results. S/he will have a thorough comprehension of the various components of a grantmaking organization and will understand how this role influences the organization at every level – from the grantee organizations to the Foundation’s Board. With a high level of emotional intelligence, this professional will consistently strive to elevate the mission and the Foundation’s efforts.

Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree. The ideal candidate will have the following competencies and personal characteristics:

Passion for the Mission: The Director of Grantmaking and Evaluation will embrace and have a true passion for the mission of Marguerite Casey Foundation and a commitment to Foundation’s areas of focus. Driven by the Foundation’s goals, s/he will have the character and dexterity to innovate and lead the grantmaking and evaluation functions of the Foundation, working closely alongside a strong leadership team to position Marguerite Casey Foundation to achieve the greatest possible impact for continued and future success. S/he will embody the values of the Foundation and will inspire and motivate others.

Strategic Organizational Leadership:  The Director of Grantmaking and Evaluation will be strategic thinker with the vision, capacity, and experience to understand and balance a complex array of needs. S/he will be an intuitive planner with a demonstrated ability to set priorities, develop and implement clear, action-oriented thoughtful strategies, and assess risks in a timely manner while keeping the best interests of the Foundation and its impact in focus. S/he will have robust analytic skills and the ability to think creatively and collaboratively about Marguerite Casey’s broad philanthropic goals, while continuing to actively solicit feedback.

S/he will have humility and agility, and will be able to navigate the Foundation’s multiple priorities, knowing when to change direction and focus and able to make practical, data-driven decisions in a timely, thoughtful way. S/he will have the strength of character to work effectively with other strong leaders at the Foundation in positive partnership and will be seen as an expert in this area. A superior project manager with clear, well-supported ideas, the Director of Grantmaking and Evaluation will express his or her opinions thoughtfully and with poise, helping to guide various Foundation stakeholders to consensus.

Skilled Manager and Team Player: The Director of Grantmaking and Evaluation will be a decisive, results-oriented leader with a collegial, team-oriented working style. S/he will have a proven record of visible and effective management and the demonstrated ability to build, nurture and retain a strong team of professionals that is focused on impact, excellence, accountability and efficiency. This individual will also be a fervent motivator able to inspire a shared vision, quality performance and strong morale. S/he will empower and cultivate staff through active and effective communication, feedback and delegation, and promote intra- and interdepartmental teamwork and collaboration while maintaining a leadership style that is fluid and open, and nimble in adjusting to emerging needs or shifting priorities.

Relationship Building and Collaboration: With an approachable, yet direct style, the Director will be a natural relationship-builder with an innate ability to shape and sustain excellent relationships. Both within the Foundation and with varied external constituencies, s/he will continually be an excellent advocate for the Foundation, its strategic priorities and mission. The Director will form a strong bond with the leadership at the Foundation, including the Board and President and CEO, and will be able to remain firm and steady in delicate situations and in high-level strategic discussions. An excellent, attentive listener, s/he will naturally earn trust. Moreover, the ideal candidate is an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values and is someone who can be trusted without reservation.

Persuasive Communicator: The Director of Grantmaking and Evaluation will be a dynamic, exceptional communicator with strong interpersonal skills and an ardent ability to articulately present the Foundation’s priorities to a range of constituents in a manner that energizes and inspires. This individual will have an inherent ability to listen intently, think clearly and respond effectively to a variety of inquiries and challenges. Using accessible language to communicate strategy, information and process, s/he will be able to synthesize input, make decisions, and share information to a broad group of constituencies in order to build consensus for action with a clearly articulated vision. S/he will deeply understand the nuances of creating and delivering compelling and meaningful communications such as proposals, reports, and updates. The Director will produce effective and persuasive presentations on topics of importance to senior leadership, staff, board members, external partners and stakeholders with complete transparency and accuracy.


The Marguerite Casey Foundation has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. This search is being led by Michelle Bonoan and Eboni Gates. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here or email Michelle and Eboni at the following:

Michelle R.S. Bonoan, Managing Director,

Eboni S. Gates, Director,

Marguerite Casey Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital-consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit