Portfolio Director, Education

The Meyer Memorial Trust (MMT) – originally called the Fred G. Meyer Charitable Trust – was founded in 1982 by Fred Meyer, who started the chain of Pacific Northwest-based retail stores that bears his name. Having left instructions in his will to establish the charitable trust, he bequeathed it nearly two million shares of stock in Fred Meyer Inc., and gave the Trust no prescriptive constraints. Instead, he allowed the Trustees to establish broad frameworks that would be responsive to the region he so loved. Today, his values – to innovate, take risks, embrace diversity, adapt to changing circumstances, contribute to economic development/parity and to develop the power of the mind – continue to create and inform the culture of the Trust, influencing its activities and role that it plays in the region. Today, with assets of approximately $785 million, it is still among the largest foundations in the nation. The Trust’s mission is to work with and invest in organizations, communities, ideas and efforts that contribute to a flourishing and equitable Oregon. 

With a staff of 29 and a board of five Trustees, the work of the Trust is focused on strengthening the region, using a mix of strategic, proactive and responsive investments, including grantmaking, loans and initiatives, commissioning research, supporting policy advocacy and championing a range of community and nonprofit engagement strategies. Since 1982, the Trust has awarded funds to more than 3,100 separate organizations that address a wide variety of needs in many different focus areas: arts and culture, conservation and environment, education, health care, human services, public affairs, and social benefit. In fiscal year 2014, the Trust awarded the largest number and total amount of awards in its history: 515 new grants and program related investments to local nonprofit organizations totaling $46.3 million. 

It is an exciting time at the Trust. After an intensive self-discovery process that has served to reinforce its commitment to equity and diversity, staff and Trustees have refined the role of the Trust and its future in the region. The Trust is shifting its programmatic approach and as it grows, the Trust looking to add new members to the team who can help shape its future work. These new people will add richness to this evolving, forward-thinking organization that plays such a critical role in the social improvement sphere.

Learn more about Meyer Memorial Trust at http://www.mmt.org!

Position Responsibilities

The Portfolio Director, Education will contribute creative, dynamic, and forward-thinking leadership to, and is responsible for, the success of the Trust’s Strong and Equitable Education portfolio. This position is part of a new team of MMT Portfolio Directors, as well as a new portfolio team who will work with senior leadership and trustees to shape and steward the Trust’s work over the coming years.

The Strong and Equitable Education Portfolio will focus on disparities in the education system in Oregon, working within the context of early childhood, public K-12, higher education, and workforce training, and will identify and advocate for policy approaches and solutions to promote equity in both opportunities and outcomes. The Education portfolio will also engage the nonprofit voice in education, especially around advocacy for communities in which disparities are most pronounced. 

The Portfolio Director reports to the Director of Programs and leads the work of the education portfolio team. The position’s core responsibilities include collaborating with senior leadership to set the portfolio strategic direction; developing and executing strategy and work plans; engaging at education policy tables; overseeing portfolio assessment; providing field leadership; and inspiring partnerships, collaborations, and co-funding relationships. The Portfolio Director also prepares and manages the portfolio’s grant making and administrative budgets, and is responsible for team operations and the performance management of direct reports. The position is responsible for cultivating successful collaborations across the Trust’s portfolios and leveraging connections and skills from throughout the organization to strengthen both the portfolio and the Trust. As the leader of the Strong and Equitable Education team (which will include a Program Officer and a Program Associate) the position will be responsible for managing professionals at various stages in their professional development and careers. In all facets of responsibility, the Portfolio Director ensures that the Trust’s key values of equity, collaboration, innovation, responsiveness, humbleness, and transparency are upheld. 

Specifically, the Portfolio Director, Education will:

• Develop and implement a strategic and well-balanced portfolio that incorporates the full range of MMT’s resources – grant funding, PRIs, capacity building and technical assistance expertise, influence, communications, investments, and relationships – and addresses disparities in the Oregon education landscape

• Oversee and, as appropriate, directly engage in portfolio activities (e.g. policy work, grant making, PRIs, partnerships, research, trainings, convenings)

• Continually survey the local, regional, and national landscape to identify emerging innovations, policy opportunities, and trends, furthering partnerships in the portfolio’s areas of focus and in philanthropy

• Lead the development of new initiatives and approaches that address emerging needs, leverage opportunities, and reflect best and emerging promising practices, ensuring the agility and responsiveness of the portfolio

• Partner with the Director of Programs and external consultants to develop portfolio success indicators and ensure related systems are in place to track and assess progress toward strategic portfolio goals

• Maintain a strong external presence in the local/state community, as well as participating in relevant local, regional and national affinity groups, as appropriate

• Develop and maintain strategic relationships with policy makers, nonprofit leaders, public and private stakeholders, and funders; serve as a facilitator, convener, and connector to further the portfolio’s strategic goals

• Cultivate and support a strong and active portfolio management committee comprised of trustees and senior Trust leadership to provide strategic guidance and oversight of the portfolio and leverage committee insights and influence

• Lead, manage and motivate the Education team members, as well as work closely with other portfolio leaders on professional development and team building

• Prepare and manage the portfolio’s annual strategic work plans, and grant making and administrative budgets

Profile of the Successful Candidate

MMT seeks a senior leader who is open-minded and inquisitive in nature, analytical in approach, and committed to and knowledgeable about education policy and equity, with a deep understanding of the application of policy solutions to disparities, in both opportunities and outcomes, throughout the education system. The successful candidate will be creative and entrepreneurial, combining a facilitative leadership style with the ability to deliver and execute on innovative ideas and solutions that serve the goals of the portfolio and the entire organization. MMT seeks a professional with superb leadership, strategy, and execution skills, demonstrating an appreciation for ambiguity combined with a problem-solving instinct and a willingness to explore new ideas. The successful candidate will have a strong work ethic and a collaborative approach, with high personal and professional standards of transparency and accountability.

The successful candidate will offer a personal interest in and commitment to working in an inclusive environment that places a high value on equity. MMT promotes a positive workplace culture of collaboration, innovation and respect in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment. Through its commitment to equity and inclusion, the Meyer Trust knows well that professional strength can be derived from many experiences, and accordingly encourages candidates from a variety of backgrounds. 

More specifically, MMT seeks a professional who reflects the following:

• Significant and distinguished work experience (8+ years) in fields relevant to education policy focused on equitable opportunity and outcomes and the position responsibilities

• A demonstrated understanding of Oregon’s public education arena across the education continuum, including education-related policies, delivery systems, stakeholders, and strategies, and an understanding of how education interacts with other systems

• Deep understanding of the disparities in education opportunities and outcomes, disparate impacts of education policies, contributing factors, and key systemic opportunities to cultivate equitable outcomes

• Working knowledge of best, promising, and emerging practices and innovations in the field of education nationally, particularly regarding education equity

• Demonstrated ability to translate concept into action, with a proven record of success in developing and implementing innovative strategies and solutions with the engagement of others

• A breadth of work experience across a variety of organizations and/or sectors • Experience with technical assistance, facilitation, convening, and/or grantmaking

• Demonstrated experience and creativity in operationalizing equity and inclusion on a systemic basis

• Exceptional team collaborative leadership and facilitative management skills with an understanding of the difference between leadership and management – and the ability to exercise both

• A demonstrated willingness to reiterate a strategy and approach, with the ability to course correct as necessary

• Demonstrated ability to integrate knowledge and learning, and the capacity to effectively use research and evaluation

• Demonstrated experience working effectively with a broad range of stakeholders to address complex policy, systems change, or service delivery challenges – especially those related to equity, community change, social justice, and vibrant, inclusive communities

• A willingness to challenge conventional thinking coupled with the ability to collaborate effectively and encourage dialogue

• Outstanding written and oral communication skills, interpersonal awareness, and excellent listening skills; a communication style that reflects clarity, authenticity, transparency, and approachability

• Capacity to see connections and leverage partnerships and opportunities with the Trust’s investments, finance, communications, and operations functions to further portfolio goals

• Ability to travel on an as-needed basis

Start Timeframe

We seek to have the successful candidate in place in fall 2015.

Compensation

This position offers competitive compensation and excellent benefits.

To Apply All applications are held in strict confidence. Please submit your credentials and a letter of interest via email to The 360 Group at: MMTPDE@the360group.us Applications should be directed to the attention of Vincent Robinson, Managing Partner. No calls, please. To be considered, The 360 Group must receive applications no later than 5:00pm Pacific time on Monday, September 14th, 2015.

At The 360 Group, we know that a richly diverse mix of professionals makes organizations more effective. As such, we make demographic and experiential diversity a hallmark of all our work, including search engagements.