Organization: Family Foundation

Location: Chicago, IL

Express Interest

About the Family Foundation:

An entrepreneurial family that has supported organizations providing services to underprivileged children and families as well as other notable causes is starting a Family Foundation (“Foundation”).

Taking an investment approach, the Foundation will seek to focus on funding organizations with strong governance and a sustainable model with the goal of adding lasting, measurable value and impact.

The Foundation takes on the following fundamental approach:

  • Investing in a sustainable and innovative model that can scale over time with revenue sources beyond the Foundation;
  • Pursuing opportunities that have measurable impact with supporting data and metrics; and
  • Supporting organizations that demonstrate strong leadership, Board governance and business practices.

The Executive Director will lead this Foundation from business offices in Chicago, Illinois with anticipated frequent travel to Phoenix, Arizona.

The Opportunity:

We are seeking the first Executive Director to effectively lead the Foundation in this inaugural period.  The Executive Director will partner with the family to design and implement a plan for the Foundation with the goal to maximize the Foundation’s measurable impact.

The responsibilities of the Executive Director will include:

Working in close partnership with two generations of family members to develop the strategic direction of the Foundation:

  • Partnering with the family to create the Foundation’s vision and mission and to develop a strategic and investment approach to funding organizations;
  • Ensuring the execution of efforts to achieve the family’s strategies, goals and objectives; and
  • Encouraging and developing the family’s ideas while also offering new ideas for consideration.

Leading and managing the Foundation:

  • Overseeing day-to-day activities, including all investment efforts;
  • Developing and managing the internal infrastructure necessary to support the increased level of giving anticipated in this next chapter;
  • Overseeing improvements of systems and processes, including the reviewing the investment opportunities and process;
  • Ensuring that the appropriate research and analysis are conducted, overseeing quality control and outcome evaluation;
  • Communicating effectively with the family and other constituents;
  • Developing and deepening relationships with the organizations that the Foundation funds; and
  • Representing the Foundation and the family with discretion, continual communication and a commitment to confidentiality.

Candidate Profile:

The successful candidate could come from a variety of backgrounds. Experience in the private sector is highly desirable.  S/he will have a track record with success in the following areas:

  • A business-minded approach to management of projects with a focus on tangible, measurable results;
  • Entrepreneurial spirt with a passion for building an operation from scratch;
  • Use of rigorous data-driven and financial and operational metrics to support decision making; and
  • A strong understanding of the nonprofit and philanthropic sector.

Strategic and Tactical Leadership

The ideal leader will be skilled at working in close partnerships with the family to develop and set the strategic direction of an entity.  S/he will have a curious, investigative intellect and a consultative approach that will enable family members to identify and develop their philanthropic aspirations and develop a strategy to support them.  In doing so, s/he will encourage the family’s own ideas while also bringing new and innovative ideas for consideration.  A self-starter, this leader will exercise good judgment and effectively bring creative new approaches forward that will enable the family to achieve greater impact with its philanthropy.

Results Orientation

The family is driven by a desire to make significant impact in areas of great importance to them.  To succeed in the role, the Executive Director will be passionate about the foundation’s mission, have a strong results orientation and be detail-oriented.  S/he will be analytical and objective, with the ability to ask and answer tough questions and push back on assumptions.  S/he will be skilled at putting processes in place that support the right level of collaboration and communication between the Foundation and its investments and between the Executive Director and the family.  The Executive Director must be adept at using analytics and metrics to assess performance of the opportunities against agreed upon objectives. S/he will be focused on continuous improvement and adaptable in making adjustments in approach as necessary.

Collaboration, Partnership Building and Leading Through Influence

The successful candidate will inspire trust and confidence with a range of stakeholders.  It is critical that the successful candidate have the capacity to establish a strong connection with the family and work in the service of their philanthropic goals. S/he will have the judgment to know when to consult the family and when to take the lead. At the same time, s/he will have the ability to build strong working relationships with the organizations that the Foundation invests in and other stakeholders.  The ability to be autonomous, agile, organized, entrepreneurial, resilient and innovative will be critical in establishing strong working relationships in furtherance of the family’s mission.


Koya Leadership Partners, a national retained executive search firm that works with nonprofit clients, has been exclusively retained for this search. To make recommendations on candidates or express interest in the opportunity, please email Alison P. Ranney and Anny K. Chou 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