Reengaging Proven Leaders as Interim Directors


  Create ways for leaders who’ve retired or left the field to continue to share their expertise


  Screen, train and refer former nonprofit leaders for interim executive director positions


  $20,000 over two years at startup


  A cadre of experienced interim directors that has served more than 20 Chicago-area nonprofits and is expanding to serve more


  The Field Foundation of Illinois, Executive Service Corps of Chicago

Why Invest in Reengagement?

“We’ve seen lots of instances of founder’s syndrome, meaning no succession plans, or situations where nonprofits with long track records close because a transition yielded the wrong person as executive director. If we want effective nonprofits, we need to help them develop a really solid infrastructure. We need to make some room to think about what makes for a healthy and sustainable organization.”

— Kim Van Horn, Field Foundation


Download the REENGAGEMENT case study (728k).

Almarie Wagner had almost 40 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector by the time she retired in 2007. Fifteen of those years were at the executive level of the American Heart Association. While she was looking forward to a slightly slower pace, she didn’t want to disengage completely. Luckily, that same year the Executive Service Corps of Chicago (ESC) began its Interim Executive Director Program.

“Some of the Heart Association volunteers encouraged me to get involved,” she says. “It seemed like a natural fit, since I didn’t want anything full-time or long-term. There were no other programs like this—still aren’t.”