Vice President of People, Culture and Equity

Vice President of People, Culture and Equity

The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation

Morristown, NJ   |   September 8, 2020

Company Overview

The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation is a private foundation based in Morristown, New Jersey. Established in 1974, the Foundation supports arts, education, environment, informed communities, and poetry to connect communities and influence social change to achieve an equitable New Jersey. Over the course of over 45 years, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation has distributed almost $500 million to nonprofits and currently has more than $300 million in assets. It has nurtured leaders, ideas, and institutions that use creative problem-solving to promote a sustainable future. The Foundation has a staff of 15 and is led by Tanuja Dehne, who joined the Foundation as its first woman of color President and CEO in 2019.

The Foundation’s focus is New Jersey, carrying out its work in program areas that have evolved over time in response to social, economic, and cultural trends and realities. Its program areas today are arts, education, environment, informed communities, and poetry, in addition to a technical assistance initiative that builds grantee capacity.  The Foundation partners with and supports the nonprofit sector, comprised of valued and trusted influencers for sustainable change, with a commitment to elevating the voices and power of communities most affected by systemic marginalization and exclusion from investment and opportunities.

In June 2018, the Foundation adopted a new strategic plan with a revised vision, mission, values, and an explicit equity commitment to guide the Foundation’s strategic direction. The Foundation, organization-wide, believes that equity requires aligning resources to address historical, institutional, and structural impediments so that New Jerseyans of all races and communities have what is needed to realize a quality life. By centering its work in equity, the Foundation is bringing its deep knowledge of New Jersey and programming perspectives to address equity issues in the State, ever mindful that championing equity is not a new strategy or trend. While there is much more to deeply understand, the collective work and learning of the board and staff over the last four years has positioned the Foundation to take a public, unified, and explicit stand to becoming an anti-racist organization and to reimagine the role of philanthropy in New Jersey.

“The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation stands for racial justice, social change, and equity.  We condemn violence, racism, white supremacy and oppression in all forms.”

                                                                                    Tanuja Dehne, President and CEO

While most organizations are appropriately reshaping 2020 plans due to the public health crisis and growing racial awakening, the Foundation is embracing this opportunity to reimagine its role and manifest the intentionality of its commitment.

The Strategic Plan, President’s Blog (since September 2019), and Commitment to Anti-Racism provide additional details about the Foundation’s new direction and priorities.

The values that guide the Dodge Foundation are:

  • Collaboration: Internal and external collaboration leads to the best ideas and solutions.
  • Equity: Diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential to resilient organizations and communities.
  • Learning: Curiosity, listening, and risk-taking are key to creativity and innovation.
  • Respect: Empathy, respect, humility, accessibility, and transparency are the foundation of successful relationships.
  • Stewardship: Effective stewardship of our resources ensures a long-term commitment to New Jersey.

Our approach:  “All of our work over the last four years, the discomfort, the thoughtfully laid groundwork and our COVID-19 Strategy has led us to this moment to be able to take an actionable stand to becoming actively anti-racist – to actively oppose racism in word and deed.  These are bold words, a declaration of intent and commitment.  Now we must live up to it.  We know that our work continues with reflection and shared understanding of our power and what anti-racism means to us individually and collectively, and we know that this work will take time.  We approach this next phase of our journey with compassion, curiosity, humility and determination.”

                                                                                    Tanuja Dehne, President and CEO

Opportunities and Challenges

Embarking in a new direction:  The Dodge Foundation will prioritize its support to organizations engaged in addressing issues that are critical to its new mission.  Leading transformational change while also respecting the relationships that have been built and sustained over time will require careful consideration. It will be necessary to encourage alignment and buy-in to a new direction by creating a thoughtful and rational argument for change that is fully embraced and understood by staff, trustees, grantees (new and existing), and other stakeholders.

Realigning the organization: Imagining a new future and new way of operating is necessary to realize the Foundation’s commitment to anti-racism and centering in equity.   It is envisioned that a core leadership team will help achieve the Foundation’s commitment and operate in a more agile, transparent, inclusive and cohesive manner to achieve measurable and more comprehensive equitable outcomes.  This leadership team will be comprised of the President and Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Financial Officer and two newly created positions: Vice President of People, Culture and Equity and the Vice President of Programs.

Centering in Equity: Equity is a core value at Dodge and the Foundation believes that an equitable New Jersey is only possible when their systems and institutions are free from oppression and reflective of an investment in Black, Indigenous, and people of color regardless of their gender, sexuality, religious, and cultural identities.  The Foundation has made considerable progress over the last four years in centering its work in equity, increasing individual and collective intercultural competency, committing to investing a majority of its resources to support people and communities of color, developing equity-focused theories of change, and getting to the point where becoming actively anti-racist is the next logical phase of the Foundation’s equity journey.

Dodge created an Equity Framework as a tool to help deepen and facilitate conversations with grantees on how well their work is achieving overall equity and how well that work furthers the equity goals of the Foundation. It serves as a decision-making aid in the grantmaking process and makes the Foundation’s approach more transparent to its partners.  The framework places a value on directing resources to organizations serving New Jersey’s most under-resourced and under-represented nonprofits and communities. As a practical tool, the framework connects the dots between the attitudes and actions that are critical to equity and change. Areas of focus include internal elements, such as leadership and staff diversity, equity goals, and equity mindset.  External elements include place strategy, community outcomes, and systems impact. The Foundation has begun sharing the Equity Framework with various key stakeholders, including grantees and funding partners.

Achieving broader impact: Dodge has been in transition over the last four years.  Throughout this time, most of the Foundation’s grantees have continued to receive funding under existing guidelines. Creating holistic impact in its many forms, as the Foundation centers its work in equity, means centering all of the work in equity, including internal operations, policies and procedures, communications, financial management, and grantmaking. Recognizing that doing things differently means the Foundation will need to keep evolving. It is expected that changes will take place over time and different funding decisions may impact the Foundation’s current and past longtime funding relationships.  The Foundation will not make any decisions lightly as it takes steps to align the majority of the Foundation’s resources to address historical, institutional, and structural impediments to achieving equitable outcomes and making the greatest positive impact.

Role Summary

A newly created position reporting to the President and Chief Executive Officer, the Vice President of People, Culture and Equity (Vice President) will join Dodge to provide the leadership and vision to enliven a culture of equity at the Dodge Foundation. In collaboration with the leadership team, the Vice President will ensure that organizational structures and grantmaking decisions are fully reflective of and inspired by an equity lens and embody strategic objectives. The Vice President will guide the implementation of an overarching diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) vision and ensure continuous learning within the Foundation’s organizational culture and practices, as well as engagement with community and external stakeholders.

The Vice President’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Serves as an active member of the Senior Leadership Team
  • Acts as a close advisor and thought partner to the President and CEO
  • Sets the strategic vision for the Foundation’s DEI efforts in all of the Foundation’s internal operations and external engagement
  • Infuses knowledge and best practices related to racial equity and other forms of disparity across the Foundation in all programming, communications, staff development and hiring/retention, internal culture-building, and business operations that works to eliminate system organizational marginalization and promotes inclusion and anti-racist practices
  • Establishes equitable policies and procedures from human resources to supply chain
  • Develops equitable talent recruitment, retention and development, performance evaluation and culture building programming and processes
  • Designs, develops and implements an enduring talent pipeline program or fellowship for the Foundation
  • Develops and executes an internal equity learning agenda, teambuilding and culture-building activities
  • Oversees internal and external strategic communications and engagement
Qualifications and Experience

While no candidate will meet every qualification, ideal candidates will meet the following criteria:

  • A demonstrated understanding of intersecting identities that include, but are not limited to, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age, race, ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic status
  • Deep, authentic knowledge with formal training in racial justice and equity and experience applying racial equity practices to organizational development and programs
  • Experience working with senior leaders and staff in driving a people strategy that aligns with the needs and culture of an organization
  • Functional knowledge of core areas of human resources including talent development, recruiting, organizational development, change management and organizational planning
  • Deep experience in conflict literacy and creating safe spaces where one can bring and share their best and authentic selves
  • Proven leadership in planning, implementing, and evaluating diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives aligned with organizational mission and proven ability to inspire and nurture a climate of inclusiveness
  • Experience as a collaborative leader with the ability to drive simultaneous, complex projects to measurable success
  • Deep passion for and commitment to honest and candid conversations and self-reflection about race, racial justice, privilege, social class and power dynamics, especially in the philanthropic context
  • Exceptional communication and conflict-resolution skills with experience navigating politically charged situations to resolve problems, build consensus, and reconcile competing interests
  • Demonstrated experience as a communicator comfortable in dialogue with a broad range of individuals at all levels of understanding of multicultural inclusion, non-discrimination, and anti-racism
  • Outstanding verbal and written communication skills, including confidence and comfort with communication (oral and written) for a variety of audiences
  • Ability to provide leadership in the face of challenges or changing priorities and guide a team accustomed to longstanding norms that are being significantly changed
  • Proven expertise and at least six years of leadership experience developing and achieving strategic DEI goals
  • Experience and familiarity working with organizations in transformation and demonstrated ability to lead and manage major organizational change initiatives with tact, empathy, and alignment with the vision and values of the Foundation
  • Prior experience preferably in a foundation, nonprofit organization, educational institution, governmental entity, or other complex organization
  • Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree preferred (Open to consideration of robust and relevant work experience)
Personal Characteristics and Values
  • Deep passion for and strong commitment to the vision and values of the Dodge Foundation
  • Transparent and collaborative leadership style with Board, staff, grantees and other stakeholders
  • Committed to leading with humility, empathy, and accessibility while demonstrating full alignment with the Foundation’s new mission; served as a leader in helping Foundation staff adjust to new opportunities and change
  • A creative thinker who encourages others to explore new ideas and perspectives and to adopt new approaches while implementing a shared vision
  • Deep passion for and commitment to honest and candid conversations and self-reflection about race, racial justice, privilege, and social class
  • Exceptional communication and conflict-resolution skills with experience navigating politically charged situations to resolve problems, build consensus, and reconcile competing interests
  • Ability to cultivate and sustain trust with colleagues, community partners, and stakeholders
  • Extremely high capacity to manage one’s own emotions and to identify the emotions of others in order to support staff, with the ability to facilitate challenging and courageous conversations about race/racism and other topics
  • Energetic leadership with high ethical standards, and a commitment to bringing the best out in oneself and others, honesty, and integrity
  • Evidence of sound judgment and the ability to understand nuance
  • The interpersonal strengths of an open-minded, curious, strategic, and creative thinker and active listener who can mediate diverse opinions to address shared needs
  • Strong relationship builder with the ability to find common ground, build consensus and strengthen collaboration among diverse stakeholders
  • Conflict literacy and ability to receive critical feedback with compassion, curiosity and humility

For the Vice President of People, Culture and Equity position, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation anticipates an annual base starting salary of at least $160,000.  The Foundation is committed to supporting their staff with a competitive benefits package which presently includes 20 days of paid time-off plus holidays, professional development stipend, medical and dental coverage for staff and their families, and participation in a retirement savings plan, among other benefits.  All benefits are subject to modification by the Foundation at any time.  At the time of posting, consistent with the Executive Order in place in the State of New Jersey, all staff is encouraged to work remotely.  Policies regarding ongoing remote work options are under development.

The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Commitment To Equal Opportunity Employment

We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. We employ qualified people without regard to: race; color; religion; sex; national origin; age; ancestry; disability; sexual orientation; pregnancy or breastfeeding; veteran or military status; marital status; civil union or domestic partnership status; arrest record; citizenship; credit history; genetic information; gender identity or expression; status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking; or any other characteristic protected under federal or state law.

Search Team

Diversified Search and Koya Leadership Partners have been retained to assist in this search process.  Applications, nominations and further inquiries should be directed to [email protected].

Euris E. Belle
Managing Director
Diversified Search
(404) 942-6307 Office
(404) 983-3009 Cell
[email protected]
Melissa Madzel
Managing Director
Koya Leadership Partners
(914) 205-7770
[email protected]
Denielle Pemberton-Heard
Managing Director and General Counsel
Diversified Search
(202) 567-6971 Office
(301) 928-8071 Cell
[email protected]
Jayne Traurig
Executive Assistant
Diversified Search
(404) 942-6306 Office
(404) 358-5054 Cell
[email protected]
About Diversified Search Group

The Diversified Search Group and Koya Leadership Partners are dedicated to recruiting inspiring, transformational leaders of every background who build culture, foster innovation, and deliver both social impact and financial performance. The Diversified Search Group is a multi-practice retained executive search firm with access to unique networks of connectors and candidates beyond traditional candidate sources. Founded by a woman almost five decades ago for the express purpose of placing women and underrepresented candidates in leadership roles, the Diversified Search Group has grown to include our founding firm Diversified Search and the combined firms of Koya Leadership Partners (Non-Profit/Mission Focused), Storbeck Search & Associates (K-12/Higher Ed), Grant Cooper (Health Care), and BioQuest (Life Sciences), to harness the collective resources and industry expertise of our partners and create a new model in executive search. Our combined experiences in leading significant searches for foundations, educational institutions and a wide range of mission-driven organizations allows us to leverage deep and broad industry knowledge and expertise. The Diversified Search Group and Koya Leadership Partners are dedicated to recruiting inspiring, transformational leaders of every background who build culture, foster innovation, and deliver both social impact and financial performance.