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 this 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.
The Dodge Foundation seeks a visionary Vice President of Programs (Vice President) to serve as a critical leader at the Foundation during a period of organizational, programmatic, and culture change, providing oversight and management of all programmatic activities and ensuring alignment with Foundation goals and values. Reporting to the President and Chief Executive Officer, the Vice President is a new leadership position created to lead the Foundation’s grantmaking activities as it transforms its program priorities to focus on equity, anti-racism, and justice. The Vice President will infuse the Equity Framework in programmatic activities to ensure alignment with Foundation goals and values. While most grantees operate in the State of New Jersey and are focused on issues and concerns specific to the State, the Vice President will be well-versed in issues of equity, justice, advocacy and organizing more broadly.
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
- Under the advisement of the Board of Directors and in partnership with the President and CEO, Chief Financial Officer, and Vice President of People, Culture and Equity align program activities and priorities in accordance with the Foundation’s vision of an equitable New Jersey and commitment to anti-racism
- Develop and implement new initiatives that more closely reflect the Foundation’s mission and new funding priorities, with attention to opportunities that go beyond grantmaking to expand the Foundation’s reach and impact towards equitable outcomes
- Identify priorities, gaps, and trends in program areas and make recommendations accordingly
- Identify and cultivate new relationships and networks that closely align with the Foundation’s desire to deepen the impact of the Foundation’s programmatic work
- Lead the Program Staff by providing guidance, support, mentorship, and direct supervision of program directors, officers and associates; create opportunities for team members’ leadership and professional development and ensure that program team members are supported, valued, appreciated, and motivated to produce high-quality work
- Work with Program Staff to set priorities including new program areas and determine what current work and grantees will need to be respectfully transitioned from the portfolio
- Attract, develop, coach, and retain high-performance team members, ensuring they can elevate their level of responsibility, program priorities, and performance
- Lead annual planning and budgeting for programs and projects and contribute to annual organizational planning and budgeting; work closely with the CFO to budget and monitor programmatic operations to ensure sound fiscal and system management
- Imagine and create new and different ways to share power and decision-making
- Design, develop and implement methodologies for measurement and evaluation towards measurable and additional equitable outcomes
Qualifications and Experience
While no candidate will meet every qualification, ideal candidates will meet the following criteria:
- At least seven years’ experience with progressively more responsibility planning and leading multiple mission-driven programs in a philanthropic setting, with a preference for expertise in social justice grantmaking
- Minimum of five years’ experience managing staff from diverse backgrounds, with strong experience in supporting staff development
- Track record of effectively building strategic alliances and partnerships on behalf of an organization
- Demonstrated experience in creative program design and implementation overseeing programs that successfully engage diverse communities with a strong understanding of best practices related to equity, anti-racism, community organizing, movement building and justice issues
- Deep authentic knowledge of and experience working in the New Jersey philanthropic community is highly preferable
- 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
- Solid analytical, strategic thinking and problem-solving skills; ability to innovate, with capacity to create or seize opportunities to improve program effectiveness and organizational outcomes
- 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
- Experience as a collaborative leader with the ability to drive simultaneous, complex projects to measurable success
- Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree preferred (Open to consideration of robust and relevant work experience)
Personal Characteristics and Values
- Deep passion for and a strong commitment to the vision and values of the Dodge Foundation
- Transparent and collaborative leadership style with Board, staff, grantees, and other stakeholders
- Displays sensitivity to how changing priorities will impact longstanding grantees and the Foundation staff who have nurtured these relationships over several years
- Committed to leading with humility, empathy, and accessibility while demonstrating full alignment with the Foundation’s vision and commitment to anti-racism; serves 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, 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
- Ability to cultivate and sustain trust with colleagues, community partners, and stakeholders
- Energetic leadership with high ethical standards and a commitment to bringing the best out in oneself and others, honesty, and integrity
- 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 find common ground, build consensus and strengthen collaboration among diverse stakeholders
- Conflict literacy and ability to receive critical feedback with compassion, curiosity and humility
- Determination, drive, and results-driven mindset
For the Vice President of Programs 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.
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].
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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.