The Nathan Cummings Foundation (NCF) is a multigenerational family foundation, rooted in the Jewish tradition of social justice and committed to creating a more just, vibrant, sustainable and democratic society. Located in New York City, NCF has assets of approximately $450 million and an annual budget of about $25 million. NCF has given away more than $425 million in the past 25 years and has earned a strong track record as a leader and innovator in the philanthropic community.
As a family foundation, the Board of Trustees is actively engaged in the affairs of the Foundation. Under the leadership of Sharon Alpert, the first female, and fourth president, the foundation is aligning its strategy, culture, and technology in building teams for its next successful chapter. In a work environment where people of diverse religions, races, ages, genders, sexual orientation and backgrounds collaborate, the foundation encourages creative thinking and individual growth.
NCF focuses on finding solutions to the two most challenging problems of our time – the climate crisis and growing inequality – and aims to transform the systems and mindsets that hinder progress toward a more sustainable and equitable future for all people, particularly women and people of color. The Foundation invests in four focus areas that together advance its vision of a healthy planet and a healthy democracy: (i) Inclusive Clean Economy, (ii) Racial and Economic Justice, (iii) Voice, Creativity & Culture and (iv) Corporate and Political Accountability.
Known for tackling difficult issues that require moving hearts and minds, NCF takes risks on the unexpected, such as its fellowship that grants visionaries up to $150,000 to turn an inspired and potentially radical idea into a world-changing reality. NCF has a long history of aligning investments with values through shareholder activism and is exploring how it expands the tools it uses to direct NCF’s investment dollars for greater impact. While NCF’s work is primarily concentrated in the United States, it supports efforts addressing inequality in Israel and looks globally to make a strategic difference.
The Foundation is pleased to announce a job opportunity for a Chief of Staff/Board Liaison (COS/BL) in the President’s office. Continuing its goal to build and strengthen its teams, NCF is organizing to maximize the value of an engaged board and staff that work effectively together to achieve its mission. Much of what NCF wants to achieve with its integrated framework requires a level of planning and coordination that allows people to work collaboratively and increases the foundation’s impact. This is a newly created full-time position that builds on previous internal experience in the President’s office and with Board relations.
The COS/BL works closely with the President to increase organizational integration and effectiveness, helping things run smoothly across programs, departments, board committees, and working groups. The COS/BL will function as the primary contact person for the Board and associated committees. This critical role also supports the Senior Management Team and the Board in the implementation of the Foundation’s strategic plans and in strengthening governance oversight and participation across a deeply engaged multi-generational board of family members and independent trustees.
The role requires a highly trustworthy, resourceful individual with strong emotional intelligence, self-motivation, and a way of thinking that challenges and supports opportunity for our vision. Tact, diplomacy, and persistence are essential qualities in executing various dimensions of the role. While this position calls for a willingness to play an active, behind-the-scenes role, it should not be categorized as an administrative role; the position is a highly strategic and facilitative one that requires both focus and flexibility to move and inspire people with innovative ideas. This is an exciting opportunity for an early to mid-career change maker with a passion for social justice and a desire to support innovative philanthropy.
This position reports to the President and supervises the President’s Executive Assistant.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Support a culture of collaboration and engagement with Trustees and Associates and across the staff
- Assist with onboarding new Board Members; support good governance based on the Foundation’s By-Laws and best practices; make recommendations to President and Board for changes to meet evolving priorities
- Maintain institution records, organize meetings, take minutes and keep track of organizational deadlines
- Support board committees and working groups as a strategic thinker and project manager; responsible for meeting design and implementation
- Organize special trips and board retreats/events; coordinate consultants for board related matters
- Ensure that Foundation’s Board meeting objectives are clear, the President and Board are well prepared, and action items are completed in a timely manner
- Support research on best practices in philanthropy, including multi-generational family foundations
Coordination/Orchestration of Projects or Commitments
- Help the President develop, manage, and track an organizational capacity plan for strategic direction, assembling various dashboards and analyses, and coordinating the foundation-wide goals process
- Work on strategic initiatives with senior team to codify quarterly planning and to operationalize long-term vision for improved coordination across all departments;
- Manage time to build the trust and confidence of the senior team to achieve actionable results and to build strong and sustainable relationships
- Ensure alignment among stakeholders and help problem-solve and create engagement, cooperation, and hospitality around cross-program and special projects
- Operate with a clear understanding of the breadth of projects within the President’s purview; present timely work-in-progress updates and/or action items
- Process grantmaking related to proposed Presidential grants and monitor related inquiries
- Supervise the Executive Assistant, building a strong team in the president’s office
- Draft internal memos on behalf of the President, write up external meeting reports
- Produce correspondence relating to President’s multifaceted internal and external work
- Support the flow of field learning to and from the President’s office across the organization
- Represent the President’s perspective internally and externally
- Serve as a point of contact between top management, employees and other stakeholders
- Engage in root cause analysis without prompting from the President on issues and opportunities that could impact the Foundation executive agenda
- Make recommendations through tactful and discrete engagement with the relevant parties
- Obtain an up close and personal understanding of leadership and decision-making related to philanthropy, public policy, and the non-profit and private sectors
- Become aware of issues from an integrative, executive leadership perspective
- Have access to formal developmental opportunities internally and externally
- Highly developed communications skills (written/verbal) and interpersonal savvy
- Results/action-oriented; project management and strong strategic and analytical skills
- Capable of working with tact across the organization with staff regardless of their position
- Unquestionable personal code of ethics, integrity, diversity and trust
- Quick learner, able to successfully navigate within varying degrees of ambiguity in a fast-paced environment