Organization: Crown Family Philanthropies

Location: Chicago, IL

Express Interest!

About Crown Family Philanthropies and the Environment Portfolio: 

Crown Family Philanthropies, also known as CFP, is the philanthropic vehicle for a variety of Crown family grantmaking activities. Henry Crown, along with his brothers, started a building materials company called Material Service Corporation in 1919. In 1947, the Crown Family allocated a portion of the profits from the business to create a foundation that would allow them to give back to the country and communities that provided them with opportunities to prosper. In 2009, after more than 60 years of family philanthropy under the Arie and Ida Crown Memorial name, CFP was developed to support an array of family grantmaking practices. Today the legacy lives on through the philanthropic work continued by the descendants of the first generation.

CFP invests in arts and culture, civic affairs, education, health, human services, environment and Jewish causes predominately in the Chicago area. There are more than 40 active family members across three generations.

The CFP model is based on a social contract of engagement, trust, and collective participation of family members to address aspirations for social change. All proposals are reviewed by CFP program staff, who make recommendations to their respective program Committees. Each Committee makes recommendations to the Board, which ultimately approves or declines the recommendations.

Through the Environment Committee, CFP supports efforts to value, preserve and restore natural ecosystems, including air, land, and water, which are essential to the well-being of humanity and life on earth. The Environment Committee believes that intensifying environmental challenges demand immediate and creative strategies to address them. CFP’s grantmaking portfolio builds on the family’s long-standing commitment to the vitality of the Midwest’s human and natural communities and has expanded that commitment to other regions both in the U.S. and abroad.

CFP launched a series of strategies aimed at shifting the Midwest region’s reliance from coal to investments in renewable energy. CFP’s water portfolio emphasizes the restoration and protection of watersheds that serve critical needs for wildlife and people. CFP’s environment work also has a focus on threats that have been exacerbated by a changing climate.

Recognizing that local and global communities are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, CFP funds projects that:

  • Employ science-based approaches in innovative ways;
  • Harness the power of collaboration; and
  • Deliver measurable, on-the-ground results.

Goals for CFP’s Environment portfolio include:

  • Climate Change & Clean Energy: Advancing the U.S. Midwest as a leader in identifying and implementing long‐term sustainable energy solutions, reducing pollution from energy generation, and addressing land-use driven greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Water: Reducing pollution, restoring and protecting natural areas and systems, safeguarding drinking water, and supporting replicable, scalable, and sustainable demonstration projects.
  • Communities in Transition: Assisting Midwest communities to overcome the burdens of closed coal plants and other brownfields with planning and development.

CFP funds science-based, collaborative, on-the-ground projects that can be implemented at a scale that will provide for a lasting impact in the Midwest, the West, and internationally.

For more information on Crown Family Philanthropies, please visit

The Opportunity:

The Environmental Program Officer or Director is a key member of CFP’s senior management team and is the lead staff liaison to the Environment Committee.

Specifically, s/he will drive CFP’s environment grantmaking efforts, including:

  • Developing strategies, goals, and objectives with the Committee’s guidance and direction to advance the Committee’s priorities for the environment;
  • Serving as the Foundation’s content area expert and representing CFP in environmental arenas;
  • Identifying, establishing, and cultivating partnerships to fund and operationalize Committee strategies;
  • Developing metrics for clusters of related grants and working with grantees to build evaluation indicators into both grants and portfolios;
  • Informing Committee members of scientific, economic, and social impacts of key environmental issues through engagement with leading experts in the field and circulating relevant information;
  • Planning and managing Committee meetings and supporting the Committee chair;
  • Researching and presenting environmental grants;
  • Effectively managing and mentoring the Environment Program Analyst; and
  • Advising family members making personal gifts related to environmental issues.

In addition to a close partnership with the Committee, the Environmental Program Lead will be regarded as a convener and trusted advisor, partnering with other organizations and governmental entities to help shape the environmental landscape well beyond the scope of the Foundation’s grantmaking.

Candidate Profile:

The Environmental Program Lead will be a focused, self-motivated individual who is deeply invested in environmental issues and partnering closely with the Crown Family to develop and advance CFP’s strategic priorities. S/he will be a natural collaborator who will have the skills to be a leader within CFP as well as the broad environmental arena.

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

Subject Matter Expertise: The Environmental Program Lead will have a deep understanding of environmental issues and will be a leader in environmental arenas. S/he will be a strong partner to the Committee as it defines and advances its strategic priorities regarding the environment. S/he will have an understanding of the policy-making process and political dynamics and a demonstrated ability to navigate issues diplomatically. A focus on the Midwest and the Great Lakes region would be desirable, but is not required. Experience as a grantmaker would also be a plus, but is not required.

Relationship Building and Collaborating: The Environmental Program Lead must be able to build and sustain excellent relationships internally with the Crown Family, Board of Directors, and staff, as well as with external stakeholders. A natural collaborator, s/he will be a demonstrated team player and will be seen as trusted advisor to grantees and partner organizations. S/he will successfully develop partnerships outside CFP to advance the Committee’s strategic priorities.

Leading Through Influence: The Environmental Program Lead will have a deep appreciation for the nuances of multigenerational family foundations and philanthropy. S/he will possess strong interpersonal skills and be able to articulate and convey CFP’s Environment priorities to a range of constituents. S/he will have humility and agility, and will be able to navigate the Environment Committee’s multiple priorities, knowing when to change direction and focus. S/he will be seen as an expert and will express his or her opinions thoughtfully, helping to guide the Committee to consensus. S/he will have strength of character to work effectively with other strong leaders in positive partnership.

Critical Thinking and Intellectual Curiosity: The Environmental Program Lead will exhibit intellectual curiosity, be approachable and open to input. S/he will have strong analytic skills and the ability to think creatively and collaboratively about CFP’s broad goals, while remaining focused on details and follow-through. S/he will have experience developing and implementing evaluation frameworks and an ability to help set strategic objectives and balance multiple priorities. S/he will have superior research and evaluation skills and will be seen as the eyes and ears on the ground for the Committee, sharing relevant research and findings. S/he will have excellent communication skills, including the ability to write clearly and succinctly under time pressure and to make well-organized, strong verbal presentations.

Integrity and Trust: The Environmental Program Lead will have a deep appreciation for CFP’s work, the Crown Family, and its commitment to philanthropy. S/he will embody and stay true to the values of CFP. S/he will inspire and motivate others. The ideal candidate is an individual of integrity and ethics.

A Bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree in a related field is preferred.

The final title for the position will be determined on the skills and qualifications of the individual candidate.


Alison P. Ranney and Alexandra N. Corvin of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here or email Alison and Alex directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

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