Organization: Johnson Family Foundation

Location: Flexible Location, U.S.

Express Interest

About Johnson Family Foundation:

The Johnson Family Foundation (JFF) was founded in 1990 by Thomas Phillips and Jane Moore Johnson in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Currently, JFF is based in New York City and represents family members throughout the country. Driven by philanthropic values, JFF actively engages the second and third generations of the family as trustees. Since its inception, JFF has awarded more than $46M in grants to organizations nationwide.

JFF supports the development of healthy, vibrant, and just communities where individuals, families, and the next generation of leaders will thrive. JFF reflects the distinct, but interconnected interests and passions of the Johnson family members who are engaged in philanthropic strategies that aim to improve the health of our environment, promote equality and social progress, and support education and youth.

JFF’s grantmaking is both place-based and national in scope. Family members advance their individual and collective philanthropic missions with a range of grantmaking and investment strategies, from community and movement-building to education and entrepreneurship.

The Opportunity:

JFF seeks an Executive Director to develop, implement, and monitor the progress of the Foundation’s grantmaking strategies, with a focus on the key funding areas that are important to JFF. These include: social justice, LGBT rights, conservation, and entrepreneurship.

This role allows some flexibility and may be performed either full-time or, depending on the skill and experience of the Executive Director, in four days per week. Given the geographic disbursement of the Board of Trustees, the physical location of the Executive Director is subject to negotiation.

The Executive Director of JFF will be responsible for:

  • Collaborating with family members to ensure their philanthropic initiatives are impactful, innovative, and successful.
  • Integrating the individual initiatives into a coherent frame of Johnson family values and mission that evidence the family legacy and develop family members as philanthropic leaders. Central to this work is engaging family members across generations and stewarding new members to become engaged and enthusiastic trustees.
  • Acting as a thought leader in JFF funding sectors, particularly around LGBT rights, social justice issues, and other areas of funding interest to trustees. Such roles will include but will not be limited to spearheading initiatives, attending conferences, and serving on boards.
  • Refining and communicating a dynamic vision for JFF’s present and future, including next-generation philanthropic engagement.
  • Overseeing all aspects of JFF’s back-office operations, including working with a range of collaborators and vendors. Tasks have in the past included coordinating meeting logistics, and compiling materials for board members.
  • Fulfilling necessary administrative tasks as needed to head a lean Foundation.

Candidate Profile:

The ideal Executive Director candidate will possess the following:

  • Deep, credible expertise in social justice and/or LGBT issues with some exposure to/experience with conservation and entrepreneurship.
  • Exceptional interpersonal and communications skills. These will include an ability to foster relationships with individual family members grounded in respect for differences while integrating these differences into a family voice that reflects the integrity of the Johnson family philanthropic legacy.
  • Excellent facilitation and leadership skills. These will leverage individual motivations and interests and implement them into a cohesive strategy with common family goals.
  • Leadership skills, particularly the ability to lead by influence, collaboration, and consensus-building rather than authority.
  • Mentoring and management skills, specifically the ability to empower emerging leaders on staff and in JFF’s respective giving areas.
  • Organizational skills that include capacity to plan, implement, and oversee multiple, simultaneous projects and initiatives.
  • Strong financial skills and ability to manage budgets for individual grants and the organization, as well as to serve on the Investment Committee. An understanding of basic investment strategies and the financial services industry will be a plus.
  • Knowledge of compliance regulations for grantmaking organizations.
  • Willingness to assume a wide range of roles, from program officer to meeting organizer to spokesperson at a conference or on a board.
  • Create and participate in family activities that support the family’s philanthropic legacy, build inter-family connections, and deepen the meaning of the family’s philanthropic work.
  • Effectiveness in a virtual environment where individuals and activities are geographically dispersed.

In addition to the skills listed above, the ideal candidate will offer the following personal attributes and characteristics:

  • Trustworthiness and a high sensitivity to the discretion demanded in working with families of wealth and philanthropic status. Central to this trustworthiness is an understanding of and respect for confidentiality.
  • A high level of emotional intelligence, including the ability to adapt approach and style to a wide range of stakeholder needs and preferences.
  • Personable, curious, and down-to-earth; a constant learner and teacher who is eager to gain and share knowledge while simultaneously sparking the interests and advancement of all JFF stakeholders.
  • A desire to engage with a wide range of people, organizations, and issues.
  • Comfort in and the discipline for working remotely.
  • Capacity for building relationships with colleagues and stakeholders from a distance.
  • Ability to travel domestically as needed.


Molly Brennan and Melissa Madzel of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search.

Interested and qualified candidates may submit your materials here.

All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Johnson Family Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations, institutions of higher education 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, visit