The Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF), Michigan’s leading resource for philanthropy in the state, seeks nominations and applications for the position of President and CEO. This exceptional opportunity to lead the region’s largest philanthropic association will require an inspirational leader who can drive CMF’s vision, steward and strengthen its membership, guide strategic operations, build upon its extensive educational offerings, and ensure the organization’s continued sustainability and success.
CMF brings together a diverse, talented, and well-networked community of philanthropists who, through individual and collective efforts, are leveraging their collective voice to grow the impact of Michigan philanthropy. Its membership includes independent, family, community, corporate, and private foundations, as well as public charities, corporate giving programs, and individual philanthropists. CMF serves an incredibly robust and diverse network of philanthropy leaders in Michigan, representing organizations working in both rural and urban populations, and tackling issues such as land conservation, community development, the arts, education, health, economic development, racial justice, and everything in between. As a recognized leader and convener in the philanthropic sector, CMF reflects the values and evolving needs of its members by advocating at the state and federal level for effective policy, strengthening key partnerships with state legislators, promoting best practices, and providing meaningful learning and networking opportunities to support the work of CMF’s diverse group of members.
Building on the strong leadership that CMF has enjoyed since its founding in 1975, including that of outgoing President & CEO Rob Collier, the new CEO will strategically lead the organization as it enters a new phase of work, providing ongoing leadership and value to its members as they face the challenges and opportunities in a rapidly evolving philanthropic sector. This CEO will bring a track record of success in convening and engaging a diverse group of stakeholders; a strong learning orientation; knowledge and vision for the role that philanthropy can play in the development of effective public policy; and the ability to identify and create opportunity for the field, with recognition and anticipation of where the field is headed, while maintaining and preserving the leadership CMF has established in the sector. The CEO will support members as they engage a new generation of philanthropists, incorporate new technology, adapt communication approaches, and work to advance equity and impact through continued efforts in diversity and inclusion.
The successful candidate will be well versed in all aspects relevant to the management of a high functioning and prestigious membership organization, supporting a broad portfolio of programs, preferably within philanthropy. Specifically, s/he will be a seasoned administrator who will work closely with staff, the Board of Trustees, members and other stakeholders in the philanthropic, public, private and nonprofit sector. S/he will be a savvy manager with the ability to effectively oversee a highly committed staff across the state. The incoming President and CEO will have the opportunity to lead a well-positioned and fiscally healthy organization to the next level, strengthening its internal capacity and external profile in the philanthropic community.
CMF is being assisted in this search by Katherine E. Jacobs, Ph.D. and Nureen Das of the national search firm, NPAG. Additional information about nominations and applications can be found at the end of this document.
The Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF) was founded in 1975 and was the second regional association of grant makers established in the United States. Born out of the opportunity to influence relevant state and federal tax policy following the historic tax hearings of 1969, CMF has continued to lead the sector, both in Michigan and the nation, in advancing the potential impact of its philanthropic partners.
Since its founding, CMF has been a strong advocate and leader for the philanthropic sector in both Lansing and Washington, DC. In the 1990s, the organization helped establish the first state-legislated charitable tax credit for gifts to community foundation endowments and facilitated the creation of a network of community foundations covering all 83 counties in the state. Simultaneously, CMF led an effort to build capacity in the next generation of philanthropists by supporting the development of endowed youth funds, overseen by committees of high school students, in each of these community foundations. Building on this initial work, and with the support of partners like Learning to Give, CMF has become a national and international resource for philanthropic organizations who are seeking to grow the influence and potential impact of youth in philanthropy.
This success has helped to build and advance a strong culture of public-private partnerships within Michigan, resulting in more than 25 initiatives and collaborations. With a strong legacy of success in leading the sector both regionally and nationally, the organization is well positioned to continue to convene, guide, and represent Michigan’s philanthropic community as they seek to deepen and expand their impact.
While membership dues have historically been the primary source of revenue for CMF, the Board of Trustees, in collaboration with leadership, have successfully created more than 13 designated endowments funds, valued at more than $20 million, which provide more than a million dollars a year in financial support. CMF was the second regional association of grantmakers in the nation to develop the application of best practices as a condition of membership. The organization has a long history of building strategic partnerships with leading organizations in the sector to build a continued knowledge base, including BoardSource on governance, Mission Investors Exchange on finance and impact investing, and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations on grantmaking. Reflecting its commitment to innovation, CMF has directed several entrepreneurial ventures, co-creating two philanthropic software packages, serving as the incubator for the Michigan Nonprofit Association, and working with Governor John Engler in establishing the Michigan Community Service Commission.
Headquartered in Grand Haven, CMF also has offices in Detroit and Grand Rapids, in addition to the Governor’s Office of the Foundation Liaison in Lansing. Though advocacy and partnerships have been vital to CMF’s annual plan of work, promoting best practices and learning and networking experiences within CMF’s diverse membership of independent, family, corporate, private, and community foundations, along with corporate giving programs and individual philanthropists, has been equally important. A recent survey of members indicated that the three most valued services provided by CMF include: learning opportunities, networking and advocacy.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FACING THE CEO AND PRESIDENT
The President and CEO will capitalize on CMF’s successful 43-year history, shepherding the organization through this transition while championing its goals and objectives for the future. Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the President and CEO will provide the skilled and vibrant leadership necessary to drive the mission and strategy of CMF, grow its programs, and enhance its influence in the field of Philanthropy. The President and CEO will engage in the following opportunities and challenges in the first 12-18 months of his/her tenure.
Collaborate with the Board of Trustees to articulate and implement a vision for the future
The President and CEO will work closely with the Board of Trustees in guiding CMF into its next phase of leadership in the sector. S/he will actively engage and serve as a thought partner and facilitator to the board in advancing the organization’s mission and strategically aligning resources to effectively provide increased value to CMF’s members as they wrestle with emerging challenges and opportunities in the field. The President and CEO will capitalize on the dedication and energy of a committed and highly skilled board, partnering with a high degree of transparency and trust to define and advance CMF’s strategic and operational priorities, initiatives, and programs.
Deepen, strengthen, and diversify membership through relationship building and leadership in areas of new and existing need in the sector
The President and CEO will affirm and protect the value of membership to existing partners while proactively seeking new members and building relationships with potential new partners across the state of Michigan. This includes developing new streams and entry points for membership; increasing retention rates among existing members; and evaluating member benefits and adjusting these as appropriate. S/he will engage members to authentically listen and respond to emerging needs and opportunities within the philanthropic community in relevant and timely ways, including opportunities related to youth engagement, equity and diversity efforts, and inclusive decision-making structures. The President and CEO will work with staff to plan, join, and host engaging events that continue to elevate the voices of its members and their work. In partnership with the staff and Membership Committee, the President and CEO will lead the organization’s efforts to not only serve member needs, but also anticipate and respond to the evolving needs of Michigan’s philanthropic sector.
Maintain and strengthen relationships with external partners, both regionally and nationally
As chief spokesperson, the President and CEO will expertly navigate, negotiate and maintain meaningful relationships with a diverse network of stakeholders, working to build the strength of Michigan’s philanthropic community while also providing leadership to partners at the national level. Specifically, s/he will develop opportunities to expand the organization’s profile through broad and diverse engagement with members, advocacy organizations, prospective members, corporate and nonprofit partners, public officials, policymakers, the media, and the public-at-large. Seeking opportunities to identify where CMF can be most impactful, the President and CEO will identify opportunities with partners in supporting shared goals. With CMF’s longstanding and successful track record in supporting public-private partnerships and aligning philanthropic forces in the region, s/he will leverage key learning opportunities to convey best practices from Michigan to additional regions and states, while also identifying valuable learning experiences from national partners that can support the work of members back home in Michigan.
Establish and grow coalitions and key partnerships in advancing CMF’s policy agenda
The President and CEO will effectively represent CMF’s mission and advocacy goals at the state and federal level, articulating key messaging, building bridges to diverse constituencies, and reflecting the shared goals of its members. S/he will work to drive a meaningful advocacy agenda that reflects a keen ability to keep abreast of emerging issues that have significant impact for the sector, both regionally and nationally. S/he will work closely with foundations across the state to identify opportunities to align and leverage learning, supporting effective policy making in Michigan that deepens the impact of its philanthropic partners.
Deepen engagement and connection with the next generation of Michigan’s philanthropic community
In addition to strengthening existing partnerships, the new President and CEO will lead CMF in deepening engagement with the next generation of Michigan’s philanthropists, reflecting on the priorities and needs of an increasingly diverse (in terms of race/ethnicity, geography, age, politics, and more) community. S/he will lead the organization in effectively adapting approaches for engagement, incorporating new technology, and working to advance the dialogue around equity through continued efforts, both internally and externally, in diversity and inclusion. The President and CEO will continue to elevate the role of youth voice in the sector, building upon the next generation’s renewed energy and vision for the future of philanthropy.
Identify and advance areas for innovation in learning and engagement
The President and CEO will identify areas for innovation to support and build the capacity of its members, reflecting a willingness to take risks to deepen impact. Building upon the organization’s recent initiatives and programs, s/he will continue to leverage learning or priorities and needs from the field to continually inform and adapt CMF’s programming and policy priorities. In supporting and advancing the sophistication of CMF’s collection of programing and services, the new President and CEO will identify relevant trends and cultural shifts in areas such as technology and data management, enabling the organization to nimbly respond to the emerging needs of its members.
Build and manage a strong and diverse team while overseeing the organization’s operational and fiscal health
The President and CEO will be a natural mentor and coach, building a culture in which team members feel valued, recognize pathways for growth, and are rewarded, retained, and developed as individual contributors. S/he will work with the senior leadership team to evaluate and align staff resources with the strategic needs of CMF, embedding practices that advance equity within the organization, and supporting the leadership development of staff. The President and CEO will also oversee preparation of budgets, forecasts and quarterly statements for dissemination to the Board. Working closely with the senior leadership team, s/he will guide the staff in operationalizing CMF’s vision into a set of program-specific roadmaps that collectively establish a framework for impact across program development, systems and operations, staffing and personnel development, and other operational areas. The President and CEO will establish strong communication practices with the Board, regularly reporting on successes, critical needs, and the overall health of the organization.
Candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Applications including a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, your resume (in Word format) and where you learned of the position should be submitted to: CMF@nonprofitprofessionals.com.
Council of Michigan Foundations recognizes the incredible benefits of a diverse and inclusive team and is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
NPAG is an executive search and consulting firm dedicated to serving the mission-driven community. We partner with global mission-driven clients to deliver highly-tailored, innovative, and strategic senior and executive-level search services. www.nonprofitprofessionals.com
QUALIFICATIONS OF THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
The President and CEO will be a dynamic and entrepreneurial leader who will build on CMF's strengths, while also identifying opportunities for membership growth, increased financial stability, and expanded impact in the sector. The successful candidate will possess the vision and drive to lead the organization, along with the collaborative skills to leverage the considerable resources of CMF and its members to expand impact. While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes and experiences:
A minimum of five to ten years’ experience in a leadership position in a membership organization, philanthropy or nonprofit; An advanced degree in business, nonprofit management or a related field is preferred.
Keen understanding of current trends in philanthropy with a demonstrated learning orientation to the work and ability to adapt and innovate; Familiarity with the structure and function of membership organizations.
Demonstrated success in convening and engaging a diverse group of stakeholders, furthering efforts to build inclusive dialogue that advances equity and honors a range of perspectives and viewpoints within the sector.
Proven track record in executing a strategic plan and moving from concept to implementation.
An illustrated understanding of sound board governance, gained from direct experience working with professional boards or through active board involvement; Maturity and wisdom to engage and leverage a board’s diverse knowledge and expertise to hone the organization’s strategic direction.
Exceptional written and verbal communication and interpersonal skills with a high emotional IQ; Ability to understand, translate and adapt content for a variety of audiences.
A management style that embodies respect, transparency, teamwork and accountability; Flexibility, humility and a sense of humor with the ability to share credit and spotlight others’ contributions.
Exceptional personal initiative and follow-through required to meet aggressive goals, including supporting and motivating staff and volunteers in attaining those goals; A commitment to the professional development of staff at every level within the organization.
Unquestionable ethics, honesty and integrity in professional, business and personal dealings with a positive “can do” attitude; Ability to provide calm, approachable leadership and direction under all circumstances.
Internal Number: CMF-CEO
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