Network Leader

Application deadline: April 29, 2016

Location: Chicago, IL

Status: Full-time, exempt

Start date: Spring/Summer 2016

About the Foundation

Grand Victoria Foundation, with offices in Chicago and Elgin, is a private foundation that annually awards upwards of $7M in grants and other support. Since our founding 20 years ago, we have invested our resources to help progress happen in communities, regions and the state to accomplish system-wide change in early childhood care and education, employment, and land and water conservation. Grand Victoria Foundation focuses on four key elements that create the right conditions for change: high-functioning systems, strong public policies, engaged communities, and effective organizations. As a foundation we seek to be inclusive, collaborative, and flexible. We believe that the best work is based on strong relationships and open sharing of ideas with our grantees and partners.

Among our many activities, the Foundation is engaged in four networks that we helped organize to promote change in early education, land and water conservation and human services. Each is unified around a common purpose and is acting collectively.

The Role

The Foundation’s work is based on an enterprising approach to philanthropy, and the plan is to push this idea even further. The Network Leader will work closely with the Foundation’s senior management to identify new ideas; and appropriately direct the Foundation’s resources to plan, test, and scale innovations. This work will involve thoughtful inquiry and investigation; relationship building; understanding and application of network models; and creative approaches to documenting, sharing, and disseminating learning to achieve appropriate scale. The Network Leader also will help the Foundation continue to foster existing networks that support meaningful change for communities and people in Illinois. 


  • Amplify the Foundation’s contributions by building networks that spur innovative solutions to issues of importance to the Foundation and the communities we serve
  • Establish, cultivate, and manage relationships with key people and organizations in order to help the Foundation achieve our mission
  • Research and identify new strategies and partnerships, and take meaningful leadership in deploying resources toward these efforts
  • Assess the financial health and other relevant capacities of organizations
  • Represent the Foundation externally and serve as a positive and trustworthy steward of the Foundation’s relationships and resources
  • Provide support and thought partnership in framing the way the Foundation engages in its philanthropic work

In addition to the responsibilities listed above, the Network Leader must be able to thrive in the organization’s current work norms, which include:

  • Open portfolio: Working across issue areas to avoid silos, and actively seeking knowledge from different disciplines and sectors to gain a deeper understanding of complex issues
  • Innovation: Identifying new and cutting-edge opportunities, strategies and approaches to philanthropy
  • Ideas and inquiry: Asking and answering questions from peers and colleagues within and outside of the Foundation. Generating ideas, then testing those ideas to establish original methods and viewpoints in the Foundation’s priority areas
  • Comfort with ambiguity: Possessing the confidence and flexibility to successfully work in an environment where experimentation is welcomed

The Network Leader must be comfortable with taking a long-range, multi-year approach to facilitating networks and understanding all of the different players, resources and influences that affect the Foundation’s areas of interest.


The Network Leader must be able to:  

  • Understand how systems intersect and influence one another, and identify strategic points of intervention within a system to solve complex challenges
  • Leverage relationships to build networks that will help address challenges important to the Foundation
  • Find creative solutions and opportunities that are grounded in cross-disciplinary research and best practices
  • Collaborate with others to solve problems
  • Connect others to people, ideas, and resources
  • Speak and write exceptionally well, which includes an ability to research, synthesize and analyze information
  • Manage up and across the Foundation to effectively engage colleagues and to keep important initiatives and programs moving forward
  • Prioritize work to ensure the important things are completed first
  • Move abstract concepts into concrete action


The Foundation welcomes applicants from many disciplines who have had success as generalists. Applicants do not need previous philanthropy experience, or expertise in early education, land and water conservation or employment. People in creative fields are encouraged to apply.

Additional qualifications and experiences are provided below:

  • A belief in the Foundation’s mission and vision
  • A belief in the power of networks to solve complex challenges
  • Bachelor’s degree is required; graduate degree preferred
  • Minimum seven years of progressively responsible work experience, including experience leading a program or initiative; knowledge or expertise in organizational development is a plus
  • Track record of facilitating productive collaborations among multiple parties, and designing and leading meetings to build consensus on problems and their solutions
  • Experience and success formulating and implementing new ideas
  • Understanding of how productive networks function
  • Must have strong experience with Microsoft Office applications and databases

Travel: A valid driver’s license is needed, and occasional evening work and local and overnight travel is expected.

Compensation and benefits: Salary is competitive and based on qualifications. The benefits package includes health, dental, and life insurance. A 401K plan is available with employer-paid matching contribution, generous paid vacation and holidays, and professional development resources.

How to apply: Please apply using the following link: No phone calls please.

The Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and actively invites a diversity of candidates regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, or religion.

KLB Consulting: Grand Victoria Foundation has retained KLB Consulting to lead its Network Leader search. KLB Consulting is an executive search consultancy that helps find highly qualified leaders for nonprofit organizations.