Vice President of Entrepreneurship

Vice President of Entrepreneurship

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Kansas City, MO   |   October 14, 2019

About The Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (“Kauffman Foundation”) is a private, fully endowed foundation established in 1966 by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman. Based in Kansas City, Missouri, the Kauffman Foundation is among the thirty largest foundations in the United States with an asset base of approximately $2.5 billion.

Our mission is to help individuals attain economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success, consistent with the aspirations of our founder, Ewing Marion Kauffman.

For more information on the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, please visit:

The Opportunity

The Vice President of Entrepreneurship is the leader for the Kauffman Foundation’s work in entrepreneurship, which is one of the core areas of the organization’s mission. As such, the Vice President is responsible for leading a team of ~30 associates in the development and implementation of entrepreneurship strategies and programs to meet Foundation goals. The Vice President of Entrepreneurship leads the Foundation’s entire entrepreneurship portfolio – including grantmaking, operating programs, convening, research and policy. S/he will report to the President and CEO and be a member of the Foundation’s senior leadership team. The Vice President of Entrepreneurship works in close partnership with the Senior Director of Entrepreneurship – the Senior Director oversees the day-to-day implementation and execution of the strategy and provides guidance and oversight to the team – and reports directly to the VP of Entrepreneurship.

The Foundation is seeking a Vice President to lead our entrepreneurship strategy and to use data, trends and emerging innovations to scale, refine and evolve the strategy over time. The Vice President of Entrepreneurship is charged with leading the team to achieve the impact called for by the Foundation’s entrepreneurship strategy. The Foundation is not seeking a new entrepreneurship strategy – rather a leader with the vision, strategic thinking and thought leadership to scale and deepen the impact of the Foundation’s current entrepreneurship strategy.

In addition to the responsibilities noted below, the Vice President of Entrepreneurship contributes to the management of the overall Foundation by actively participating on the senior leadership team, engaging in cross-departmental integration and learning, articulating and supporting the overall vision and goals of the Foundation, and participating in organizational planning. This includes regular meetings and presentations to the Board of Trustees.

Candidate Profile

Vision and strategy

  • Articulate a clear, accessible and compelling vision to guide the team in achieving the impact called for by the entrepreneurship strategy – this includes providing high level benchmarks or milestones to guide the team in what the strategy should look like annually to achieve key results.
  • Position the Foundation to anticipate trends, new ideas, innovations and disruptions and to use data, evidence and emerging patterns to shape and evolve the Foundation’s entrepreneurship strategy.
  • Position the Foundation to be intellectually and programmatically agile – to learn from results and use those to inform future directions.
  • Lead the research and development of new strategies and opportunities not yet initiated and network within the national entrepreneurship community.

Team leadership and culture

    • Create and nurture a high performing, high trust team culture where associates achieve ambitious goals.
    • Provide high level leadership of all team functions – budget, staffing, strategy implementation, performance management – and provide guidance and direction to the Senior Director of Entrepreneurship to ensure these functions are carried out effectively.
    • Provide guidance and direction to the Senior Director of Entrepreneurship to ensure tracking and use of key performance measurements to inform program strategy, design, and effectiveness, working in collaboration with the Foundation’s evaluation department.
    • Foster ongoing learning, growth and development.
    • Work in close collaboration with internal departments critical to the entrepreneurship team’s success, including evaluation, communications, finance and grants administration, legal and talent & culture.

Thought leadership

    • Maintain and advance the Foundation as a highly credible, compelling and insightful leader of the entrepreneurship field.
    • Articulate the Foundation’s vision for entrepreneurship – and share insights and lessons learned from the Foundation’s work  – on the national, regional and local stage.
    • Further the department’s and Foundation’s work by continually upgrading content knowledge, contributing to publications and media inquiries, and participating in local and national forums as such opportunities arise.
  • Develop and convene a robust national network – including leaders in philanthropy but also adjacent fields – so that the Foundation’s entrepreneurship strategy is informed by diverse and well-informed perspectives and real-world experiences
  • Position the Foundation as a thought leader in entrepreneurship research & policy – curating and widely disseminating actionable, practical research that informs policy and leads to actions that support thriving national entrepreneurship ecosystems.

Strategic partnerships

    • Develop and nurture local and national strategic partnerships to extend and enhance entrepreneurship and Foundation goals.
  • Develop and maintain a council of high-level entrepreneurs to ensure relevance, adoption and effectiveness of entrepreneurship programs.
  • Develop and nurture new relationships and ideas – take ideas/possible partnerships from an ambiguous state to a relationship/project that adds value in advancing the entrepreneurship strategy.
  • Become a visible and engaged entrepreneurship leader in the Kansas City community.

Katie Bouton and Christy Farrell of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role, please email, or you can submit your materials here.  All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman 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 retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that partners exclusively with mission-driven clients, institutions of higher education and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our clients and ensuring they have the strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit