Deputy Director - Human Services Program (TKF)

Executive Summary

The Kresge Foundation - a national foundation dedicated to creating opportunity for low income people in America’s cities through grant making and social investment - is seeking applications and nominations for the position of Deputy Director, Human Services Program.  Kresge supports the advancement of human services to accelerate social and economic mobility for people who are vulnerable in America’s cities through three key strategies: supporting innovative and multisectoral policy solutions in the Human Services field, fostering the next generation of human service organizations, and building place-based opportunity ecosystems to drive the development of a sustainable network of supports and services anchored by human service organizations. 

The Deputy Director, Human Services will work in partnership with the Managing Director for the Health and Human Services Programs to lead the development and implementation of the program strategy and identify and facilitate collaboration across Kresge’s five other Program areas which include Arts & Culture, Education, Community Development in Detroit, Health, and the Environment.  The Deputy Director, Human Services will also seek out opportunities for expanding collaboration with the Social Investment Practice, the American Cities Practice and the Housing Work Group.  S/he will support the Managing Director to ensure high performance across the Human Services team, directly manage program staff, develop and track the program budget, oversee grant making processes, and serve as a strategic contributor in designing and implementing systems to realize established goals and seamless operations of the program.  In 2015, the Foundation awarded $35.4 million in grants through the Health and Human Services Programs with a significant portion in collaborative grantmaking with other institutions, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies throughout the United States.        

The Deputy Director will work with leaders both within and outside of the Kresge Foundation as a co-learner to develop programs and systems that realize established programmatic goals.  S/he will additionally identify areas for extending impact, develop and maintain key partnerships in the field, evaluate grant inquires, monitor awarded grants and facilitate learning and evaluation processes. 

The successful candidate will leverage experience and insight gained from leadership in the broader Human Services field, will demonstrate skill in working effectively in a multi-disciplinary environment, will be an outstanding relationship builder with a deep appreciation for the challenges of impoverished communities in America, and will possess exceptional management skills to guide and mentor a professional team.  S/he will have a minimum 7-10 years of senior leadership responsibility and a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field; a master’s degree or terminal degree is preferred.

The Kresge Foundation has retained the assistance of Katherine Jacobs and Mira Kline of the Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group (NPAG) in this effort. Instructions on how to submit nominations and applications can be found at the end of this document.

About The Kresge Foundation

The Kresge Foundation is a $3.5 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and community development in Detroit.  In 2006, the Foundation embarked on a multiyear transition to redefine its approach toward meeting the needs of the 21st century.  The result which is in full operation now, is a strategic philanthropy that views issues in their entirety, responds to needs through measured risk, while employing an array of grantmaking and social investing tools to help expand opportunities for low-income people living in cities.  Since its founding, the Kresge Foundation has been dedicated to improving life circumstances for low-income, vulnerable and underserved adults and children. More than 80 percent of the U.S. population lives in and around cities and so working within cities allows the Foundation the greatest potential to assist the largest groups of people experiencing hardship and poverty.  The Kresge Foundation is committed to scaling innovative, collaborative, cross-sector and multidisciplinary approaches to address today’s greatest social challenges facing urban underserved communities. 

In 2014, the Board of Trustees approved 408 awards totaling $242.5 million. That included a $100 million award to the Foundation for Detroit’s Future, a fund created to soften the impact of the city’s bankruptcy on pensioners and safeguard cultural assets at the Detroit Institute of Arts. A total of $138.1 million was paid out to grantees over the course of the year. In addition, the Social Investment Practice made commitments totaling $20.4 million in 2014. For more information, visit

The Human Services Strategic Framework

The human services field has long been a critical component of Kresge’s work as it serves an essential touchpoint in the lives of underserved populations and a pathway through which individuals can ascend poverty.  One successful example of Kresge investments in in the human services field has included support to organizations like Roca, which offers evidence-based, high-impact interventions to help disengaged and disenfranchised young people move out of poverty and away from violence.   The Foundation has also partnered with the Corporation for Supportive Housing to launch and operationalize a 10-year pilot program that incentivizes affordable housing developers to use housing as a platform for delivering human services to low-income residents.  The Kresge Foundation maintains a steadfast commitment to expanding opportunities in low-income, urban communities to ensure the health and wellbeing of residents across the country.  In response to shifts across the human services field, the Human Services Program seeks collaborative investments with external partners and other Kresge programs to elevate and advance responses to the most pressing needs facing communities. 

In 2016, the Human Services Program launched a review and revisioning of Kresge’s grantmaking and success in this area.  Emerging from that review is a refreshed vision for programming that is deeply committed to helping the human services sector solve the economic dilemma of an increased need for services and decreased resources available for services.  Integral to that solution will be programming that explores models for a more effective relationship between health and human service sectors.  Also important for that progress will be support for more effective dialogue among community leaders, policy makers, commercial businesses, and healthcare providers about how human services organizations can continue to be instrumental and effective in elevating the social determinants of health in communities through healthy housing, quality education, and access to healthy food.  The Human Services portfolio has three key strategies for carrying forward its work.  They include: 

  1. Advancing innovative, multi-sectoral policy solutions
  2. Fostering community-based responses through support to the next generation of human service organizations
  3. Building place-based opportunity ecosystems that support the Kresge Foundation’s urban opportunity lens

The program is uniquely positioned with a focus on advancement and innovation in the national human services landscape to accelerate social and economic mobility for people who are the most vulnerable in America’s cities. 

The Deputy Director, Human Services

The Deputy Director will have the extraordinary opportunity to contribute to the development and execution of the Foundation’s Human Services Program strategy in partnership with the Managing Director of the Health and Human Services Programs.  The ideal candidate will bring to the Foundation strong understanding of the current challenges and opportunities facing urban and low-income communities. S/he will also have experience working at the intersection of health and human services, community development, community engagement, policy, and systems change.  S/he will expand upon and implement the Program’s strategic framework and identify and cultivate opportunities for the Human Services Program to have greater cross-sector collaboration and integration.  S/he will bring leadership, wisdom, and humility to the task of guiding the strategic direction of the Human Services Program and managing a large portfolio of grants, partners and programming consistent with the program’s strategic framework. This is a full-time position reporting to the Managing Director of the Health and Human Services Programs and located in Troy, Michigan, a metropolitan Detroit community.

Challenges and Opportunities

Responsibilities for the Deputy Director will include:

Working in close partnership with senior leadership and program staff to expand upon and implement the strategic direction for the Human Services portfolio.  Specifically, the Deputy Director will:

  • Articulate and build programming around the Foundation’s newly revised human services strategy and Kresge’s unique national role in advancing human services to accelerate social and economic mobility for people who are vulnerable in America’s cities
  • Identify and assess outcomes and evaluation criteria for grants within the Human Services Program, ensure accountability for high performance across the team, oversee the program budget, lead and contribute to learning and evaluation processes
  • Engage senior leadership and other staff in program development

Leading and developing the Human Services Program team and extending impact of the program goals. Specifically, the Deputy Director will:

  • Directly supervise a team of 2 professional staff, hire and train staff, and direct team workflow
  • Identify and pursue opportunities for collaboration across Kresge program teams in expanding opportunities in low income urban settings
  • Develop and assess program initiatives
  • With the Managing Director, ensure grantmaking targets are attained

Positioning the Kresge Foundation as a leader in the national conversation around efforts to advance human services to positively impact social and economic wellbeing for people who are vulnerable in America’s cities.  Specifically the Deputy Director will:

  • Identify and initiate PRI and innovative capital tools to achieve program objectives 
  • Be a thought leader in the discussion about health and human services and sectors that intersect and impact the field   
  • Serve as a recognized expert on issues of importance in human services-related fields offering technical assistance and organizing and speaking at relevant convenings
  • Document and disseminate knowledge about promising practices and innovative ways to support the work, build partnerships, and implement initiatives
  • Leverage consultants for additional research and to enhance and disseminate learning and program outcomes

Managing and stewarding relationships with grantees and identifying new opportunities for partnership.  Specifically the Deputy Director will:

  • Oversee a portfolio of grants through clear and consistent communications and high quality interactions with potential and existing grantees
  • Identify and cultivate relationships with partner organizations, potential partners, external coalitions, and grantees to drive programming that contributes to the Human Services Program’s desired impact
  • Build opportunities for greater multi-sectoral collaboration and integration
  • Represent the Human Services Program externally among community partners, grantees, the media and other critical stakeholder audiences

Qualities of the Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate for this position will have many of the following desired qualities and attributes:

Professional Experience & Education

  • Demonstrated leadership skills and 7-10 years of professional experience working in a field relevant to human services
  • Familiarity with private sector and public partners engaged in the human services sector and demonstrated success leading cross-sector efforts
  • Ability to master a diverse and demanding workload and to manage projects successfully
  • Experience leading or working in partnership with organizations that have actively contributed to identifying methods for financing urban revitalization or other strategic use of capital in achieving objectives  
  • Proven management skills including the ability to directly supervise and develop a highly skilled professional staff
  • Experience working effectively in a variety of professional settings with diverse groups of people who may have divergent interests
  • Prior program and project management experience is essential.
  • Bachelor’s Degree required, Master’s Degree or terminal degree is preferred

Personal Attributes

  • A demonstrated passion and interest in advancing the human services field in order to accelerate social and economic mobility for people who are vulnerable in America’s cities
  • Experience collaborating with organizations and individuals that are visionary and contributing to transformational changes within the field
    • The personal balance and confidence necessary to maintain a learning posture while still contributing as a leader in the national dialogue about the evolution of the human services field
    • The willingness, wisdom, and initiative necessary to further grow an impactful national Human Services Program
    • Demonstrated experience in building consensus and facilitating cross-sector adoption or understanding of an idea or program

Nominations and Applications


All nominations and applications which include a cover letter, resume, salary history, and source of knowledge of the position should be directed to [email protected]

The Kresge Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women and LGBT applicants.

The Kresge Foundation offers a competitive total compensation package including health, employer paid dental and vision, basic life insurance, short- and long-term disability, generous paid time off, and an attractive 401k plan with employer match and a 10% employer contribution.  Kresge also provides breakfast, lunch, and snacks daily for a minimal charge, robust professional development opportunities and tuition reimbursement.  Kresge promotes and supports a healthy and green work environment and encourages intellectual curiosity as we embrace and live out our values of creativity, respect, opportunity, partnership, and stewardship.

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