Managing Director + Head of Programs at A Better Chicago

ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION:

A Better Chicago is a venture philanthropy fund devoted to dramatically improving educational opportunities for low-income students. The organization invests in a select portfolio of high performing nonprofits that are putting low-income students on a path toward high school and college success.

Current challenge and A Better Chicago’s solution:

Despite decades of reform efforts, only 14% of Chicago Public School students are graduating from college by the age of 25.

In response, A Better Chicago is harnessing best practices from the private sector to find, fund and scale a portfolio of high-performing nonprofit organizations that puts low-income students on a path to high school and college success. Through a combination of funding and management support, A Better Chicago is providing Chicago’s most effective nonprofits with the financial and intellectual capital to thrive. 

Key elements of A Better Chicago’s model include:

  • Rigorous due diligence: A Better Chicago carefully screens organizations and only funds those that have strong leadership, a compelling program model and a demonstrated commitment to outcomes measurement
  • Add value: It takes more than just money. A Better Chicago provides assistance in areas like strategic planning, executive search and leadership development—all of which are critical to building strong organizations and achieving meaningful outcomes
  • Results: A Better Chicago’s team works tirelessly so that every dollar raised has the maximum possible impact. The organization openly shares its performance because it believes in accountability. It's part of how A Better Chicago is transforming philanthropy
  • 100% impact: A Better Chicago’s board of directors and leadership council cover all of the organization's operating expenses, so 100% of donations are invested in high-performing organizations

Since launching in 2010, A Better Chicago has:

  • Raised $17 million to invest in Chicago’s most effective education nonprofits
  • Built a founding board, leadership council and staff
  • Reviewed 450+ organizations and built a portfolio of 12 high-performing organizations
  • Developed partnerships with leading professional services firms to help its grantees tackle their most pressing strategic and operational challenges

Looking forward:

In 2015, A Better Chicago launched a bold plan to transform educational opportunities for low-income students. By 2025 it will:

  • Double its portfolio from 12 to approximately 25 grantees
  • Invest significant financial and intellectual capital in our grantees to help them increase their service capacity by a combined 80,000 students
  • Achieve a 60% college graduation rate for its portfolio, compared to Chicago Public Schools’ current rate of 14%

For more information, please visit: www.abetterchicago.org

ABOUT THE POSITION:

The Managing Director + Head of Programs (“MDP”) will be responsible for developing and implementing A Better Chicago’s program strategy that will dramatically improve educational opportunities for low-income students. A leader in Chicago’s education field, the MDP will leverage her/his unique role to champion innovative strategies to improve student outcomes, strengthen and scale a portfolio of best-in-class organizations, and raise the bar for impact in the nonprofit sector. Additionally, as a member of the management team, the MDP will provide leadership on key organizational decisions.

Specific responsibilities include:

o Organizational planning and leadership

  • Collaborate with the organization’s management team and board to define the organization’s vision and long-range plan; lead development of the program strategy
  • Translate program strategy into annual operational plans and budgets; manage execution, accountability, and internal communications within the programs team
  • Build, manage, and mentor a team of program professionals, including four direct reports plus interns
  • Support expansion of A Better Chicago’s impact by working closely with the marketing and development teams; ensure they have the information needed to establish and maintain strong relationships with donors and partners
  • Represent A Better Chicago at conferences, events and other meetings as needed

o Relationship building and stakeholder engagement

  • Build strong working relationships with key external stakeholders (e.g., Chicago Public Schools, the Mayor’s office and philanthropic leaders) to advance program objectives
  • Engage with the board of directors and leadership council to ensure they possess an accurate understanding of A Better Chicago’s work and are equipped to make informed investment decisions
  • Lead the program committee of the board to solicit input on program strategy and investments; engage them in critical grantee meetings, as appropriate
  • Build the field by engaging in relevant collaborative efforts and informing other funders’ investment decisions, as appropriate

o Portfolio management

  • Establish policies and best practices to guide A Better Chicago’s portfolio management efforts
  • Directly manage 2-4 grantee relationships; earn and maintain the respect of grantee leadership teams; serve as active board observer for grantees
  • Support and advise portfolio directors in managing their relationships with grantees
  • Assess the portfolio’s performance on an ongoing basis, enabling and promoting an internal culture of learning, continuous improvement, and the drive to capitalize on emerging opportunities 

CANDIDATE REQUIREMENTS:

The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications:

  • Passion for A Better Chicago’s mission and core values
  • 10+ years of experience in the private, nonprofit, or public sector with a strong track record of achievement, including 5+ years in a leadership role
  • Strong understanding of the public education sector
  • Thought leadership: ability to be the principal architect for ABC’s program strategy; exceptional strategic thinking and analytical skills; sound judgement
  • Entrepreneurial leadership: ability to proactively mobilize internal and external resources around a compelling vision
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Outstanding people manager who can build, mentor and inspire a capable team
  • Excellent interpersonal skills; ability to build strong relationships and work with individuals at all levels
  • Bachelor's degree required; Master’s degree preferred

COMPENSATION: Salary and benefits will be competitive and commensurate with experience.

LOCATION: Chicago, IL

QUALIFIED INDIVIDUALS, PLEASE APPLY:

http://www.on-ramps.com/jobs/1047

A Better Chicago is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes candidates from diverse backgrounds.