Organization: IFF

Location: Chicago, IL

Express Interest

About IFF:

IFF is a mission-driven lender, real estate consultant, and developer that helps communities thrive by creating opportunities for low-income communities and people with disabilities. Key to our success has been a deep sense of purpose, a broad perspective, and a relentless focus on achieving positive results. Social return can coincide with financial return.

Across the Midwest, we help clients from every sector, including human service agencies, health centers, schools, housing developers, and grocery stores. Our staff of nearly 100 professionals works from our Chicago headquarters, and we also serve the Midwest from six regional offices: Indianapolis, IN; Detroit, MI; Minneapolis, MN; St. Louis, MO; Columbus, OH; and Milwaukee, WI.

IFF is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. We are the largest nonprofit CDFI in the Midwest and one of only a few nationally to earn the AERIS five-star, triple-A, policy-plus rating. Since 1988, we have made more than $700 million in loans, leveraged $2.3 billion in community investments, and grown our total managed assets to $606 million.

The Opportunity:

The Research Department at IFF improves the lives of low-income and disabled persons by providing data and analytics to inform strategic investment by IFF and our government, foundation and nonprofit partners. The Department produces actionable insights and direction through Big Data analytics; high-impact research reports; spatial analysis and ongoing analytics. Working with top level elected officials, non-profit executives, foundations decision-makers and sector leaders, the Department brings together diverse stakeholders and creates a single vision, mission and strategic direction based on data and analytics.

Reporting to the President of the Social Impact Accelerator Group and a member of the senior leadership team, the Vice President of Research and Evaluation will provide broad executive level oversight of the research and evaluation programs. The ideal candidate will produce data that informs decision-making and guides strategy to achieve IFF’s aspirational mission and vision. S/he will nurture a data culture and reflective action through mission-driven research. S/he will oversee applied research that uses mixed-method social science and data science methods to assess need, understand complex social problems and provide practical data-informed solutions. S/he will screen projects for alignment with IFF goals and ensure that the work remains rigorous, and yet practical and pragmatic to inform strategy, public policy and resource allocation.  The Vice President for Research and Evaluation will also supervise research staff and other staff as needed, including selection, recruitment, job assignment, coaching, staff development and training.

In addition, the Vice President of Research and Evaluation will be responsible for developing research proposals, and supporting fundraising and financial planning for the research function at IFF. S/he will administer internal data and evaluation processes of IFF programs to promote learning and document the impact of IFF’s work for internal and external communication. All activities are undertaken in deep and meaningful collaboration with other departments.

This is a full-time position located in Chicago, Illinois.  For more information about IFF please visit


The Vice President for Research and Evaluation will be responsible for the following:

Grow research consulting business

  • Innovate in response to marketplace: develop research consulting products that inform and guide social impact investments into social service sectors and comprehensive community development.
  • Prepare and manage annual budget for research department. Manage projects and staff time to meet established utilization rate and financial sustainability goals.
  • Develop client outreach strategy to maintain pipeline of contracted and grant supported research projects. Grow research network through meetings, presentations and marketing. Coordinate with regional staff, EDs and SVPs/VPs in selling research products.
  • Coordinate with Resource Development Department to identify funders and raise philanthropic dollars for research projects.
  • Evaluate internal tools for potential commercialization and work to bring those tools to market.

Oversee research team and portfolio

  • Maintain IFF research brand: ensure all studies and research products maintain IFF’s high standard of rigor, integrity and intellectual independence, while being pragmatic and actionable with practical recommendations based in best practice.
  • Develop project proposals and budgets. Negotiate contracts. Manage grants and funder relationships. Collaborate in funder report preparation, as necessary.
  • Support, inspire and guide staff in the implementation of research projects.

Nurture data culture at IFF

  • Supervise cross-departmental data management and data analysis team. Ensure high levels of data integrity, accessibility and integration.
  • Collaborate with IFF staff on the development of internal dashboards to track financial and non-financial data to drive and continuously reassess IFF transformative strategies.
  • Connect IFF data and external data to provide strategic insight into markets, sectors and impact.

Design and oversee program evaluation and impact measurement strategy

  • Design metrics to measure IFF social impact in consultation with the Executive Management Team.
  • Design methodologies, policies and procedures to capture lessons learned, build institutional knowledge and inform broader initiative. Work with other lines of business to implement.
  • Collaborate with other departments to design and implement program evaluation of major IFF initiatives.

Strengthen IFF’s position as a thought leader in key markets and sectors

  • Prepare and deliver public presentations to disseminate research findings for research projects.
  • Produce white papers to communicate insights gleaned from IFF initiatives for internal audience.
  • Identify opportunities to showcase insights relevant to external audience, and facilitate dissemination or publication of publish findings.
  • Collaborate with Corporate Communications and Public Affairs (CCPA) to develop public communication plans for research studies, public-facing tools and relevant lessons learned.


The ideal candidate for this position will possess many, if not all, of the following professional qualifications, competencies and personal qualities:

  • Passion for the mission of IFF and a belief in the power of research and subsequent action to help change communities.
  • Demonstrated ability to execute complex research, to think strategically and to manage multiple projects concurrently while managing staff, external relationships and meeting deadlines.
  • Leadership experience with a demonstrated ability to inspire and empower teams.
  • Fundraising, consulting business planning and financial planning experience a plus.
  • Experience with and knowledge of the nonprofit sector required along with a demonstrated commitment to community engagement and an ability to democratize data for a wide range of stakeholders
  • Multi-industry knowledge in the field of community development, education, human, government funding, real estate development, health care and affordable housing and banking and finance a significant plus.
  • Minimum of five years of work experience in research or a combination of research and academia, with emphasis on demographic and statistical research and writing, public policy, presentation and communication skills.
  • PhD in Planning, Community Development, Public Policy, or a related field is required.


IFF has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. To apply, please submit a compelling letter of interest and resume to Erin Reedy here.

IFF values equity, diversity and inclusion as part of its mission to strengthen nonprofits and the communities they serve.  IFF is an equal opportunity employer.

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, educational institutions, 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