Organization: Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund

Location: Chicago, IL

Express Interest

About The Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund:

The Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund (DMSF) is committed to igniting potential and enriching lives. DMSF provides young, talented students with educational opportunities that enable them to lead extraordinary lives.

DMSF gives high school scholarship assistance and educational support to Chicago students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Since its founding 28 years ago, more than 2,400 Daniel Murphy scholarships have been awarded.

DMSF creates a three-way partnership between college preparatory high schools, the students and families of bright but economically disadvantaged young people from Chicago and DMSF. Through these partnerships, DMSF Scholars receive the opportunity to attend high performing high schools, participate in extracurricular activities, benefit from honors and accelerated high school classes and take advantage of DMSF’s educational support services and programs.

DMSF was founded in 1989 by two sons of Daniel Murphy and a handful of their friends with the goal of enriching the lives of Chicago youth by providing them with educational opportunities they would otherwise be unable to access. The program was launched in 1990 with 4 Scholars. Today, there are more than 440 DMSF Scholars in high school.

With the strategic goal to have 500 Scholars in high school by the year 2020, DMSF receives between 800 and 1,000 applications per year. The Scholars attend 40 different parochial and independent day schools in the Chicago area, as well as 35 boarding schools located from coast to coast. A list of DMSF partner schools can be found here.

In addition to scholarships to college preparatory high schools, DMSF offers additional academic programming and enrichment opportunities to its Scholars. Programs include the Freshmen Summer Bridge Program, where newly admitted Scholars are taught language, study and time management skills, one-on-one mentoring, 5 different affinity groups, tutoring, available in a group setting at the DMSF office and one-on-one, the Caddie Program, which provides summer jobs to Scholars and has the opportunity to lead to college scholarships through the Evans Scholarship Foundation and College Counseling, which is available all 4 years of high school. For more information on DMSF programs, click here.

The DMSF office, located in downtown Chicago, includes a tutoring center that is available to all Scholars. The tutoring center not only provides academic support, but is a safe place for students to go and study after school.

With oversight by a 63-member Board of Directors, and governed by a 17-member Executive Committee, DMSF’s FY17 budget is approximately $4.7 million. DMSF has an endowment of over $7M and a staff of 14.

For more information on DMSF, please visit

The Opportunity:

DMSF seeks an innovative Executive Director with the fire to ignite potential and enrich the lives of future Scholars.

As DMSF approaches its 30th anniversary, the next Executive Director of DMSF will provide strategic leadership to guide the organization to further growth and impact in its next chapter. The Executive Director will focus on raising DMSF’s profile in Chicago and beyond, fundraising, program innovations and core mission delivery.

The Executive Director will be a highly visible member of the community, representing DMSF throughout the region and in educational circles. S/he will embody DMSF’s strong commitment to its Scholars and will work tirelessly to promote the organization, accelerating its impact and brand recognition. S/he will attract talent to the organization and will support DMSF’s strong team to reach new pinnacles of success.

Specific responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  1. Representing DMSF to the philanthropic and civic communities and acting as an ‘Ambassador’ in various public and private settings;
  2. Achieving DMSF’s fundraising goals and objectives including:
    • Developing new sources of funding for DMSF;
    • Maintaining strong relationships with DMSF’s current donors;
    • Collaborating with DMSF’s Chief Advancement Officer and senior development team; and
    • Providing oversight of DMSF’s fundraising events.
  3. Working with DMSF leadership and the Board of Directors to develop and implement a strategic plan for the organization;
  4. Developing strategic relationships with other educational-based organizations and improving relationships with the organizations that partner with DMSF;
  5. Providing day-to-day leadership and management of the organization that mirrors the adopted mission and core values of the organization;
  6. Motivating and leading a high-performing management team; recruiting, retaining and enhancing a diversified and skilled staff; providing mentoring, coaching and professional development;
  7. Making sure all DMSF programs are being run effectively to ensure the success of the Scholars; and
  8. Representing DMSF before the education community, including DMSF’s partnership high schools, colleges and universities and organizations which provide financial aid to DMSF alumni.

Candidate Profile:

The Executive Director will be passionate about DMSF’s students and fulfilling its mission. S/he will have the character, confidence and personality to effectively engage with a broad range of constituents while expanding DMSF’s reach and access throughout the Chicago region and beyond.

The ideal candidate will have the following personal and professional competencies and characteristics:

An ‘Ambassador’ for Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund

The Executive Director will be a high-energy, charismatic leader who will serve as an ‘Ambassador’ for DMSF. S/he will have an executive and mission-driven presence and will be able to effectively articulate and convey DMSF’s mission and priorities to a range of constituents including donors, partner schools, students, parents, Board of Directors and staff. The Executive Director will have an inspirational approach to building collaboration and buy-in and generating support for the organization. S/he will be able to work effectively with diverse populations and will be credible in the education community. As the external voice of the organization, s/he will possess excellent oral and written communication skills and must be a confident public speaker.

Results Driven and Enthusiastic Fundraiser

The Executive Director will be a demonstrated or emergent leader in the field of development. S/he will embrace DMSF’s unique history and will have an entrepreneurial approach to expanding and deepening new and existing donor support and revenue streams. S/he will have a strong orientation towards data and analysis and an ability to use metrics to drive development decisions and achieve strategic objectives.

A Strategic Leader

The Executive Director will be a strategic, yet hands-on leader, who will work with the Board and staff to build out the plan to achieve DMSF’s vision for continued impact and growth. S/he will offer creative, yet practical, ideas to continue to enhance the DMSF student experience and will develop innovative solutions to program needs. S/he will not be afraid to take risks in support of the mission, ensuring DMSF stays at the cutting edge of the industry. The Executive Director will have strong financial, operational and human resources experiences to make sure DMSF remains productive and efficient. S/he will have a successful track record in staff management, development and Board relations. The Executive Director will take great pride in leading the team and will be committed to mentoring and developing the strong staff.

A Passion for the Mission

The Executive Director will have a passion for education and enhancing the lives of economically disadvantaged students. S/he is motivated by the goal of expanding DMSF’s brand and reach. It is imperative that s/he leads by example and embody DMSF’s values to “Ignite Potential, Enrich Lives”. S/he will be a source of support to Scholars and will believe in their strength, grit and the ‘fire in the belly’ DMSF Scholars poses. The Executive Director will be an inspirational and team-focused leader of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.


Koya Leadership Partners has been exclusively retained for this search. To make recommendations or express interest in this role please email Alexandra N. Corvin and Alison P. Ranney at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations. 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