Organization: The George Gund Foundation

Location: Cleveland, OH

Express Interest!

About the George Gund Foundation:

The George Gund Foundation is one of the leading Foundations in the Midwest and is looked to as a national leader on how a foundation can help shape the landscape of a city. The Foundation is known for its strategic partnerships with organizations in Cleveland and its interdisciplinary approach to strengthening community. Established in 1952, the Foundation’s primarily urban focus extends to the illumination of public policies and support of nonprofit advocacy on important issues at the local, state and national levels.

The history of the Foundation reflects a deep commitment to the Greater Cleveland community that was the home of its founder, George Gund. The Foundation’s philanthropic stewardship of the region derives not just from its history, but also from a belief that Cleveland can continue to develop original responses to urban issues and from a hope that collaborations across boundaries can create a crucible of innovation in all fields of endeavor. Moreover, the urban emphasis of the Foundation’s work stems from a belief that thriving cities are one of the nation’s best hopes for addressing essential problems. This focus is especially vital in an era of diminished government involvement in urban issues, intensifying globalization and heightened awareness of the central role of regions.

Over the years, the Foundation’s program objectives and emphases have been modified to meet the changing opportunities and problems of our society, but the Foundation’s basic goal of advancing human welfare remains constant. Today, the Foundation makes grants in the areas of the arts, economic development and community revitalization, education, environment and human services. Due to the increasingly complex interrelatedness of these issues, the Foundation’s work has become ever more interdisciplinary in its approach.

The Foundation is located in Cleveland, Ohio, which has experienced a revitalization in recent years due to economic development and a growing cultural community. Cleveland is home to the nation’s 2nd largest performing arts center, one of the top five orchestras in the nation and one of the world’s leading art museums. In recent years, Cleveland has become a premiere destination for artists and is being recognized nationally for its vibrant arts and cultural landscape.

The Foundation has over $530 million dollars in assets, an annual grantmaking budget around $27 million and a staff of 12. The Foundation’s 8-member Board of Trustees is comprised of Gund family members as well as independent trustees from the Cleveland community.

For more information on the George Gund Foundation, please visit:

The Opportunity:

The Senior Program Officer for the Arts leads the Foundation’s Arts grantmaking and is a key leader in Cleveland, helping to advance the local thriving arts and cultural community. The Senior Program Officer will be regarded as a convener and trusted advisor and will partner with other organizations and government entities to shape the arts and cultural landscape well beyond the scope of the Foundation’s grantmaking.

The Foundation’s Arts grantmaking portfolio is upwards of $2.5 million a year and distributes about 60 grants annually. The Arts program focuses on supporting the wide range of arts organizations in Cleveland, from the largest cultural institutions to grass roots local organizations. The Foundation’s support for the Arts stems from its deep commitment to using the arts as a vehicle to strengthen community and it takes pride in the wide range of organizations it supports, acknowledging that art and culture in many different forms can have tremendous impact.

In addition, the Senior Program officer oversees the philanthropic services grants portfolio and manages the Foundation’s communications activities. The Foundation makes approximately $400,000 in grants per year to philanthropic services organizations, including affinity groups, organizations that strengthen organized philanthropy, groups that provide technical assistance to the nonprofit sector and organizations that promote philanthropy.

The Foundation engages in limited communications work because resources are devoted to grantees and their capacity, including their efforts to communicate with their constituencies. Communication duties of the Senior Program Officer for the Arts have been to oversee the production of the Foundation’s online annual report, oversee the management of the Foundation’s website and to write and manage the distribution of electronic news releases, numbering approximately six annually.

Candidate Profile:

The Senior Program Officer will be a key member of the Foundation’s senior leadership team. S/he will be a high-energy, self-motivated individual who is deeply invested in strengthening communities, with a strong interest in arts and culture. S/he will be a natural collaborator who will have the skills to be a leader in the foundation and arts communities in Cleveland and beyond.

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

Passion for the Mission: The Senior Program Officer will have a true passion for the mission of the Foundation and a commitment to strengthening the Greater Cleveland community. Working in close collaboration with the staff and Board, s/he will help achieve the greatest possible impact through the Foundation’s grantmaking and will work tirelessly to support the arts and cultural landscape in the region. With a broad understanding of how the arts can be used as a vehicle to strengthen communities, s/he will continue to support the Foundation’s broad interests in the arts and implement creative and strategic grantmaking to ensure its success. S/he will inspire and motivate others and exhibit a wide-ranging curiosity and interest in the lives of older industrial cities, particularly Cleveland.

Cultural Fit: The Senior Program Officer will have a seriousness of purpose and a deep appreciation for the Foundation’s work. S/he will be joining a strong, healthy team, with a dedicated Board, and will embrace and contribute to the Foundation’s collegial culture. The Senior Program Officer will have a deep appreciation for the role of the Foundation and will actively seek partnerships for the betterment of the community, avoiding bureaucratic hurdles to achieve shared missions. S/he will have humility, a strong sense of humor and will work well with others.

Relationship Builder and Collaborator: The Senior Program Officer must be able to build and sustain excellent relationships both internally with the Board of Trustees and Foundation staff, as well as key community members and other stakeholders. The Senior Program Officer will be a demonstrated team player and will be a key leader in Cleveland and in the national foundation community. S/he will be seen as trusted advisor to grantees and other organizations, working to support arts and culture in Cleveland and beyond. It is imperative that s/he is able to treat others with respect and always stay true to the values of the Foundation. Moreover the ideal candidate is an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.

Critical Thinking and an Orientation Towards Arts and Culture: The Senior Program Officer will have a deep understanding of the key issues in arts and culture. S/he will have a demonstrated ability to navigate these issues diplomatically and an understanding of the policy-making process and the political dynamics of cities. The Senior Program Officer will have strong analytic skills and will have the ability to think creatively and collaboratively about the broad goals of the Foundation, while remaining focused on details and follow-through.

Communication: The Senior Program Officer will be an exceptional communicator. S/he will have superior written and verbal communication skills, including the ability to write clearly and succinctly under time pressure and to make well-organized, strong verbal presentations. The Senior Program Officer will have an ability to listen to others and learn from their best ideas and exhibit an intellectual curiosity, approachability and openness to input from all levels of staff. S/he will be able to work independently and as a team member in a collegial atmosphere where differing viewpoints and give-and-take are expected and encouraged.

A Bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree is preferred. Experience as a grantmaker would be a plus, but is not required.


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 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