About the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation ("Foundation") is an organization in transformation. Five years ago, the Foundation set a course to achieve its vision of a more equitable New Jersey. Given the devastating events of the last two years, it has accelerated this commitment and further refined its vision and strategic direction to center racial equity and justice, where people of all races and communities have equal access to opportunities and can thrive and achieve their full potential.
The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation has a long history of cultivating vibrant ecosystems and resourcing efforts to promote the wellbeing of people across New Jersey. In its grantmaking, the Foundation prioritizes networks, movements, organizations, and leaders closest to the harms and solutions to inequity and injustice and who have been historically excluded from investment and opportunity. In doing so, it is shifting wealth, power, and other critical resources to changemakers on the frontlines of communities and movements in ways that enable them to accelerate, deepen, and advance their work on their terms.
Foundation Board and Staff are energized by the progress the organization is making in investing in emergent and historically under-resourced communities, namely communities of color:
- In 2021, the Foundation launched the first round of Imagine a New Way grants to organizations advocating for just systems and tackling barriers to equity in New Jersey.
- In January 2022, the Foundation introduced its inaugural Momentum Fund cohort–ten organizations selected by a panel of community leaders employing diverse strategies to address root causes of structural racism across the state. The Momentum Fund provides cohort members with three years of flexible funding to support them as they explore new approaches and self-determine the best course forward in their work.
This is a critical time at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation as it works to transform its grantmaking, partnerships, and internal operations to center racial equity and justice and ensure that these values and capabilities are central to all that it is and all that it does. This is a "build moment" for the Foundation. As such, it is seeking entrepreneurial team members who are excited about opportunities to create and who are energized by working in deeply collaborative ways, actively learning, building new relationships, and leveraging and amplifying community expertise and solutions.
For more information on the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, please visit the organization's website. The Strategic Direction and President's Messages include additional details about the Foundation's transformation.
The Communications Director (Director) is a unique opportunity to leverage the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation's platform and influence to lift up community voices, strengthen the Foundation's engagement with the community, and in doing so, help advance the movement of philanthropic organizations centering racial equity, justice and community power.
Drawing on the legacy of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the strength of its vision for the future, the Director will be responsible for communicating the Foundation's brand, partnerships, and its approach to engaging with and resourcing its grantees. The Director will also play a key role in positioning the Foundation as a leading partner to nonprofit organizations, community leaders, and new and existing grantees working to address root causes of inequity and injustice throughout New Jersey, with an eye towards achieving racial justice in the state and nationally.
As an integral member of the Foundation's team, the Director will establish, craft, and sculpt its communications and engagement strategy. This work will be multi-pronged, encompassing effective planning, integration, and collaboration across the Foundation's team to execute its internal and external strategies and initiatives. Externally, the Director will guide the organization in establishing a cohesive narrative and community engagement approach that firmly positions its legacy and impact across new and existing stakeholders. Internally, the Director will lead the development of strong communications and engagement guidelines, tools, and training to support the team.
The Director's key responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Developing and implementing an integrated communications and engagement strategy for the Foundation that helps its audiences understand the vision and strategic direction and to engage with the Foundation on learning and action.
- Providing strategic leadership and planning for communications initiatives related to the organization's programs and initiatives.
- In close partnership with the CEO and VP of Programs, deepening the Foundation's reputation as a leading philanthropic organization at the forefront of prioritizing community voice and solutions around racial justice issues and to identify and create opportunities to engage members of the non-profit and philanthropic communities to advance this work.
- Aligning with the CEO and Senior Leadership Team to coordinate communications strategies and activities, ensuring that messaging is consistent across all constituents, including partner organizations and media.
- In close partnership with the CEO and leadership team, propose and coordinate communications strategies, tools, and practices that facilitate effective messaging, communication, information sharing, and employee engagement to help advance the organization's overall mission and vision of social change.
- Engaging and coordinating with grantee partners to amplify their work and voice and to leverage learnings from the field.
- Integrating all aspects of the Foundation's external public relations and engagement activity, maximizing opportunities, coordinating with local and national media outlets, pitching stories, and ensuring consistency of content, timing, and quality of strategic messaging.
- Guiding and managing appropriate tone and voice to deliver consistent messaging across all channels.
- Ensuring achievement of high quality and editorial standards that reflect the quality, integrity, and values of the Foundation.
- Drafting and editing a wide range of written communications to support and promote the Foundation's messaging, initiatives, and audiences, including publications, reports, press releases, articles, presentations, e-blasts, website content, social media posts, and scripts/talking points.
- Identifying communication opportunities, emerging issues, and pursuing innovative approaches to advancing the mission and vision, including engaging in external relations with allied and peer institutions.
- Building out and maintaining the Foundation's new website and brand.
- Enhancing the organization's social media presence and engagement activity across all platforms and channels.
- Developing and managing crisis communications strategies and activities.
- Engaging and overseeing outsourced work of communications firms and vendors (graphic design, photography, video).
- Developing updates for the Board of Trustees and critical community connections, as appropriate.
- In close partnership with the leadership team, leading the planning and execution of activities related to the Foundation's 50th Anniversary in 2024.
- Overseeing the budget for the organization's communications functions.
The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation values a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The Foundation employs qualified people without regard to: race; color; ethnicity; religion; creed; sex; national origin; age; ancestry; disability; sexual orientation; pregnancy or breastfeeding; veteran or military status; marital status; civil union or domestic partnership status; citizenship; genetic information; gender identity or expression; status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking; or any other characteristic protected under federal or state law.
While it is understood that no one candidate will bring every desired skill, characteristic, and experience, the following offers a reflection of the ideal candidate profile.
The Communications Director (Director) will be an experienced and creative communications leader who believes in the power of narrative and understands how to advance social change by creating highly effective, integrated communication strategies. A natural storyteller, this leader will have a proven ability to translate and promote the Foundation's initiatives and transformation across a broad spectrum of channels and platforms. The Director will exercise a deep understanding of how to leverage content and storytelling to influence and engage, spark partnership, and share learnings during a time of change and transformation. They will then leverage that environment to move others to action. Additionally, the ideal candidate will be a leader with extensive expertise in editorial storytelling.
Execution and Innovation
The Director will have the ability to effectively balance being a strategic leader and tactician to build and execute the Foundation's communications strategy in partnership with internal and external partners. Further, the Director will bring expertise in strategic communications and engage others to drive impact and cohesion. This leader will have a proven ability to achieve goals and create new opportunities for impact, including by leveraging the entire organization's power, talents, and support. As a result, the Director will have a track record of setting priorities and executing them, carrying out long-range goals, and addressing immediate needs. A strong problem solver and adaptable learner, the Director will have the ability to step into new or complex situations and immediately add value. Moreover, the Director will bring a thoughtful, nuanced lens to the Foundation's communications and outreach to assure resonance with a wide range of communities and audiences.
Relationship Building and Influence
The Director will be an engaging leader who can serve as a compelling ambassador for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation across various audiences. Driven by the opportunity to help steer the organization's external voice, visibility, presence, and external engagement during a time of significant change, the Director will, in partnership with the leadership team, shape the communications strategy to build and sustain relationships at multiple levels with various external constituencies, including peer foundations, grantee partners, and community leaders. Key to success in the role, the Director will understand and respect the importance of community power and will be adept at positioning the Foundation as a community partner and supporter. This leader must bring a high degree of cultural competency and an ability to engage effectively, build relationships, and have credibility with individuals from all backgrounds, lived experiences, and philosophies, always keeping the Foundation's values of equity and justice at the center of all interactions.
Passion for the Mission
The Director will have a demonstrated passion and personal commitment to the Foundation's vision of a more just and equitable New Jersey and removing the barriers created by structural racism. This person will be passionate about working alongside the Foundation staff and community leaders and partners to help shift the trajectory of New Jersey's under-resourced communities of color. They will understand the importance of meeting this transformative moment and, in their role, will establish a clear and cohesive communications strategy that is grounded in the values of racial equity and justice. Moreover, the Director will be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics, and values, someone who can be trusted without reservation.
Compensation & Benefits
The Communications Director position has a salary range of $125,000-$145,000, commensurate with experience.
The Foundation recognizes the myriad benefits of flexible work arrangements and is actively building and supporting a hybrid work environment. This includes primarily remote work, with regular commuting to the Foundation's office in Morristown, New Jersey, or other locations within the state.
The Foundation also offers a complete benefits package that includes, but is not limited to, full medical and dental insurance, generous retirement contributions, paid medical and parental leave programs, professional development, cell phone reimbursement, and 20 days of vacation for full-time employees.
Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Molly Brennan and Chartise Clark of Koya Partners are leading this search. To express interest in this role please submit your materials here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email NonprofitSearchOps@divsearch.com. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.
About Koya Partners
Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.
For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.