About Valhalla Charitable Foundation/Fox Hollow Ventures
Fox Hollow Ventures LLC (“Fox Hollow”) is the family office for Scott Cook (co-founder of Intuit) and Signe Ostby (collectively, the “Principals”). Fox Hollow supports the Principals’ philanthropic endeavors through the Valhalla Charitable Foundation (“VCF”).
Valhalla Charitable Foundation invests in and supports innovative organizations having impact in three areas: education (with an emphasis on early childhood development in the U.S.), environmental innovation, and medical research. Valhalla also funds bold ideas through a partnership with The Audacious Project. Through VCF and on a personal basis, they make grants to nonprofit organizations (90% of their giving) as well as equity investments in for-profit social impact organizations (10% of their giving).
VCF assesses grant/investment decisions against six guideposts: an innovative solution meeting an important unmet need, demonstrated impact on learning and life outcomes proven through rigorous evaluation, potential for meaningful scale, sound business model and financials, exceptional leadership, and the opportunity to play a catalytic role in the organization’s trajectory. A key differentiator is the high level of rigor VCF employs in its approach to grantmaking.
Valhalla Charitable Foundation also partners closely with The Bridgespan Group; Bridgespan supports VCF by sourcing new grantees, supporting due diligence on new opportunities, and exploring new interest areas.
Sample grantees/investments include UPSTART (Waterford Institute), Centering Healthcare Institute, Wildflower Schools, ParentPowered, ThinkCERCA, BetterLesson, UCSF for research on Multiple Sclerosis and the Sandler Fellows Program, the Whitehead Institute Fellows, Environmental Defense Fund, One Acre Fund, and Living Goods + Last Mile Health.
With the Principals’ commitment to The Giving Pledge, Valhalla Charitable Foundation is at an exciting inflection point as the Principals seek to scale the impact of their giving. Building on the success of VCF’s past philanthropic endeavors, the Director will work in close partnership with the Executive Director, Valhalla colleagues, and the Principals to ensure that VCF’s philanthropic vision is being realized effectively through focused, strategic grantmaking and portfolio supports.
Reporting to the Executive Director, this Director will be an integral member of Valhalla’s grantmaking team, which formulates grant-making goals, strategies, and protocols; develops specific grant recommendations; supports and coaches grantees to accelerate their impact, and monitors grantee impact and progress. This is a unique opportunity for a consultative leader who excels at organizational development to help high-potential portfolio organizations achieve greater impact with support beyond grantmaking.
Key Functional Responsibilities
Success for this new role will be realized in the following key areas:
Coaching of high potential portfolio organizations: The Director will lead the relationship with a subset of high potential portfolio organizations to supercharge their impact and scale. As part of this, the Director will serve as a coach and mentor to the leaders of these organizations and identify and deeply understand where an organization is on track versus where it may be facing challenges and risks. The Director will facilitate the involvement of the Principals, other members of the Valhalla team, and resources in Valhalla’s network in targeted support of these organizations, as appropriate.
Harvesting learning from each grantee and across the portfolio: The Director will glean and distill learning from the grantees individually and collectively, then effectively and efficiently share the learnings with the Valhalla team and with the Principals. The close connections with portfolio organizations will also enable the gathering of real-time data for portfolio monitoring. Further, the Director will synthesize key trends and insights from the sectors in which the Principals are investing to inform their philanthropic strategy and sourcing of new opportunities. To stay apprised of key sector trends, the Director will attend conferences and engage with other funders and investors, nonprofit and government leaders, and social entrepreneurs.
Supporting diligence in new investment opportunities and developing reinvestment recommendations: The Director will support diligence in new investment opportunities. In addition, as grants mature or new rounds of funding are raised for the portfolio organizations on which the Director has been the lead relationship point, the Director will conduct due diligence and present a point of view on whether to reinvest, the appropriate grant amount and structure, and the key risks and leap of faith assumptions associated with an investment recommendation.
The Director will also serve as the team’s lead in portfolio measurement and evaluation. This will include further developing and leading Valhalla’s quarterly portfolio review process and review meeting, in addition to further developing Valhalla’s annual portfolio performance review and ‘dashboard’.
Primary Issue Areas of Focus
While the Director will have the opportunity to learn about and support all of the Foundation’s issue areas, their primary emphasis will be in the Early Childhood and Audacious Project portfolios.
Early Childhood: Valhalla considers early childhood to be its primary focus area. It is the primary growth area for the Foundation and the area where Valhalla supports organizations most intensively. The Director will own relationships with and advise leaders of Early Childhood grantees and will support additional sourcing and due diligence in this area. Grantees include: scalable programs proven to dramatically improve the social-emotional, cognitive, and health outcomes that matter for Kindergarten readiness; research efforts that identify and illuminate what moves the needle on Kindergarten readiness; and field-building efforts to develop the infrastructure, tools, and resources to support the entire ecosystem of early childhood efforts.
The Audacious Project: Launched and housed at TED, Audacious is a unique partnership between some of the most respected organizations in philanthropy and the public. The Audacious Project aims to: (1) encourage the world’s greatest change-agents to dream bigger than ever before, (2) shape their best ideas into viable multi-year plans, and (3) present those ideas in a compelling way to potential supporters. Valhalla is an active supporter of TED in further developing and refining The Audacious Project and has made several sizable commitments to Audacious grantees. Grantees include Last Mile Health and Living Goods, One Acre Fund, Thorn, and Educate Girls. Valhalla will continue to evaluate prospective investments through Audacious each year and add to the portfolio through this channel. The Director will support engagement with TED, with other Audacious donors, and with Audacious grantees.
The Director will also help evaluate a handful of K-12 organizations with standout potential for impact and scale in their domain and occasionally support additional sourcing and diligence in this area.
The Director will be an experienced professional with strategic leadership and coaching skills; skilled communication; robust analytical skills; and sound judgment. The Director will also have a demonstrated passion for accelerating impact in the social sector; be an avid learner; thrive in a small, entrepreneurial, and collegial environment; and excel at both developing a high-level strategy and executing on the strategy in a hands-on and detailed manner.
More specifically, the ideal candidate will have the following competencies and personal characteristics:
Strategic Leadership and Coaching Skills:
- Track record of influencing leaders (without direct authority) to agree and execute on activities /actions/decisions that deliver outstanding results
- Actively listens to and works in partnership with leaders/organizations to identify their needs and solutions to hurdles they face
- Balances inquiry and advocacy; has a point of view but listens to and values the views of others
- Strong interpersonal skills and ardent ability to articulately present Valhalla’s priorities to a range of constituents in a manner that energizes and inspires
- Listens intently, thinks clearly, and responds effectively to a variety of inquiries and challenges
- Uses accessible language to communicate
- Able to clearly synthesize input and recommendations
- Excellent writer; puts together strong assessments and recommendations in writing – with appropriate rationale to support recommendations
Robust Analytical Skills and Sound Judgment:
- Able to analyze impact data, scale data, and financial data and research reports to derive important insights. Able to name strengths, weaknesses, and leap of faith assumptions associated with a grant-making opportunity and to make sound recommendations
- Successful grant-making track record, looking at impact, scale, financial sustainability, leadership/team strength, and other key success factors
- Earnest love of and commitment to learning
- Collegial and team-oriented working style
- Highly productive and a “doer”
- Demonstrated passion for social impact and social change
- High integrity
In addition, it will be beneficial if the Director has an understanding of early childhood development and experience in early childhood or a related field (e.g., K-12 education, child health).
Valhalla Charitable Foundation / Fox Hollow Ventures has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Michelle Bonoan and Medelene Beasley here.
Fox Hollow Ventures is an equal opportunity employer and encourages all qualified applicants regardless of the applicant’s race, color, religion, gender identify, age, or sexual orientation.
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 www.koyapartners.com.