Background: Earlier this year, after an extensive and rigorous national search for an Executive Director, the board and staff of Thousand Currents took great joy in announcing that Solomé Lemma, (our previous Deputy Director), emerged as our top choice for the position.
Solomé’s transition to Executive Director presents an opportunity for the development of a newly-configured senior management position: Director of Grassroots Partnerships. We share here our vision for the position and the profile of the leader we are seeking to help us continue to build an even stronger, more interconnected, and better-resourced ecosystem of grassroots partners in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and to bring their wisdom to bear in cultivating a just, equitable, and inclusive philanthropic sector that centers on local solutions and reimagines wealth, well-being, and giving.
About Thousand Currents: Thousand Currents is a public foundation that promotes grassroots solutions addressing the interdependent issues of food sovereignty, alternative economies, and climate justice in the Global South. Rooted in love, imagination, and joy, our work is inspired by our vision of a world in which self-determined and connected communities share and uphold the abundance of life. We pursue that vision through:
Grassroots partnerships: Thousand Currents builds deep partnerships with visionary leaders and organizations in the Global South. Over the past 30 years, we have funded, connected, and humbly learned from over 750 grassroots initiatives led by women, youth, and Indigenous Peoples in over 35 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. We rely on those most impacted by food, economic, and climate injustice - to identify and respond to their own communities’ priorities. This means honoring their leadership, local knowledge and models, their transformative solutions to global challenges, and offering long-term flexible grants that have no strings or conditions attached and no arbitrary time frames.
Alongside this funding, we strengthen our grassroots partners by working with them to scale their successes, build their capacity and leadership, and by linking them to broader social change movements at the regional, national, and global level.
Philanthropic partnerships: Thousand Currents uses its position and influence to amplify the voice and wisdom of our partners, and to bridge emerging approaches and learning from the Global South with philanthropic models and practices from the Global North. We offer training to donors, foundations, affinity groups and other change-makers, including through our week-long Academy, and we create or support innovative models of investing, and collaborative funds all rooted in new models of partnership that dismantle unequal structures and center on collective liberation and well- being.
The foundational values that guide and inform our approach are courage, creativity, experimentation, humility, and interdependence. These are not just words to us. Our values are deeply embedded in our organizational DNA. They are at the core of our 2018-2020 Strategy and are put into practice in relationships with our grassroots partners, with each other, with our supporters, and with those systems we work to transform. And we seek out every opportunity for fun, joy, and connection along the way.
Through sustained and significant growth in recent years, we now have a budget of just under 5 million and a leader-full team of 20 staff, fellows, and artists-in-residence based across the U.S. and internationally, including in offices in Oakland and New York, as well as an engaged board. For more on our recent work and partner profiles, visit our 2018 Annual Report.
Position Profile and Purpose: We are excited to engage a deeply skilled and highly collaborative senior leader to serve as our Director of Grassroots Partnerships (DGP) and to join our senior team in shaping the work of Thousand Currents into the future. The DGP will manage five direct reports including three Regional Directors, our Grants Manager and our Director of Communications. The integration of these two areas is exciting and is aligned with our vision of ensuring our messaging and storytelling is informed by and amplifies the wisdom and learning of our grassroots partners in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
The successful candidate will bring to this role their significant skills as a seasoned leader, manager, and connector, grounded in direct experience working with communities and grassroots leaders in the Global South. Their deep commitment to our mission will be demonstrated through previous work within progressive social change organizations, foundations and/or movements. They will be motivated by the prospect of supporting and partnering with an exceptional staff, honoring Thousand Currents’ spirit, and relationships while leading and serving with wisdom, grace, and skill, towards even greater impact. As an organizational leader, they will take on whatever is needed – hands-on as well as cerebral – and will be ready to adapt and be creative as we evolve. Key areas of focus include:
Promote organization-wide leadership, sustainability, and excellence: As a member of the Senior Management Team:
- Serve alongside the Executive Director (ED), the Director of Philanthropic Partnerships (DPP), and our Director of Finance to ensure Thousand Currents’ overall operational and financial health and excellence while supporting the successful implementation and achievement of our 2018 - 2020 goals and
- Contribute to setting the parameters for each year’s budget and allocation of resources, working with direct reports to identify and manage opportunities and risks that could have an organization-wide
- Help identify opportunities for improvement and innovation to longstanding practices - documenting and sharing what we do well.
- Represent Thousand Currents externally to stakeholders and supporters, building deep connections and cultivating new program initiatives with global, regional, and local alliances at the intersection of food sovereignty, climate justice, and economic development.
- Support the ED and DPP to identify, solicit, and secure new sources of funding in line with organizational and program strategies, and ensure fundraising and communications teams receive consistent, high quality information about Asia, Africa, and Latin America programs to be able to share with donors and external audiences.
- Alongside all TC staff, participate fully in organization-wide learning, cross-team partnership, and efficiency in an environment where every member takes care of their own basic administrative needs.
Lead and oversee our grassroots partnerships and communications programs: The DGP will oversee 5 direct reports including three Regional Program Directors (Asia, Africa, and Latin America), the Director of Communications, and the Grants Manager. The DGP will:
- Lead and guide Thousand Currents’ grantmaking strategy. Deepen and grow our grantmaking program by increasing grants and partnerships, evaluating and strengthening grantmaking systems and practices, and supporting the leadership of our programs and communications staff.
- Recruit, supervise, and provide professional development opportunities to staff to support them in doing their best work individually and together; inspire creativity and cohesion while leading and accompanying the team’s learning processes.
- Lead the planning, coordination, and integration of the work of programs and communications teams including ensuring their alignment with Thousand Currents values and strategy.
- Guide and lead budget development and monitoring with direct reports.
- Guide and deepen our work with grassroots partners by building upon the respectful, strong, long-term relationships we have cultivated - charting a course towards expanded partnerships, and an enhanced role in convening.
- Work collaboratively with Regional Program Directors to develop a plan to strengthen and scale our partners’ successes, and linkages to broader social change movements at the regional, national, and global level.
- Work with the Communications Director to explore new and innovative communications platforms and strategies for sharing the work of Thousand Currents and our partners including the incorporation of Storytelling as an essential component and strategy.
- Support the Communications Director to ensure alignment, consistency, and quality of all Thousand Currents communications and public relations strategies, with hands-on support as needed.
- Support the Grants Manager to ensure grantmaking processes and partner information management systems are regularly evaluated and improvements implemented where needed to increase efficiency for Thousand Currents staff and our partners.
- Elevate the knowledge and wisdom of our grassroots partners working with regional program staff and our talented communications team to develop and implement campaigns and storytelling initiatives that center the strategies and voices of our partners.
- Engage the Thousand Currents board by liaising with board committees to share updates, solicit their input, and create opportunities for appropriate and meaningful interaction with programs and partners.
Ideal experience, qualifications, and attributes: Our ideal candidate will bring as many of the following areas of experience, skill, knowledge and attributes as possible. The must-haves include:
- Demonstrated alignment with Thousand Currents mission and values including a strong racial, gender, class, social and/or environmental justice lens.
- At least 5 years’ senior level management experience in a non-profit organization or foundation with a progressive social justice lens.
- International experience working with community initiatives in Africa, Asia, and/or Latin America, including working in partnership with and elevating grassroots leadership (indigenous communities, women, youth, and/or gender nonconforming communities for example).
- Proven and successful track record in program and personnel management including overseeing multiple programs and initiatives; grants management; budget development and oversight; team building; staff supervision, training, evaluation, and development; and tracking and stewardship of resources.
- Proven ability to make difficult operational and personnel decisions informed by sound process with grace, maturity, and diplomacy.
- Proven ability to lead and align collaborative, cross-functional teams and to support and inspire the leadership capacity of a multi-generational, multi-ethnic, international team.
We are looking for candidates who also bring:
- An educational background, personal experience and/or knowledge of one or more of the organization’s priority areas: food sovereignty, climate justice, alternative economies, and indigenous women- and youth-led solutions.
- Background in leading or overseeing Communications or Marketing functions strongly preferred.
- Outstanding analytical skills, strategic thinker, w/ strong aptitude for making decisions using sound process and the ability to get things done.
- Strong facilitation and convening skills, and exceptional written and verbal communication skills.
- Grounded and flexible with a high degree of integrity, transparency, and collaborative ability.
- Appreciation for and/or practice related to creative arts, mind-body work, theater or dance and/or willingness to participate in their application to deepen and enhance our work and relationships.
Compensation, benefits, location: This is a full-time, exempt, salaried position. Exact salary will be determined upon hiring, in the range of $90,000 to $110,000. Benefits include 100% employer paid health insurance premiums, partner/child coverage, a health reimbursement arrangement, sick and vacation leave, flexible holidays, and internal systems that engender a culture of mutual accountability to personal ecology, transparency, open communication, and opportunities for professional, personal, and leadership development.
While the Director of Grassroots Partnerships will ideally be located in Oakland or New York, we will consider applicants from anywhere in the United States. In addition, consideration will be given on a case-by-case basis to qualified applicants who reside and will continue to reside outside of the United States. The DGP must have the capacity and willingness to travel both nationally and globally to interface with team members, funders, and partners, with travel being anticipated to be on average 30% of time. Maintenance of a valid passport is required.
How to apply: Our search is being supported by Cory Pohley of Bandwidth Consulting who will confirm receipt of applications and keep candidates updated on the process. Applicants must submit a substantive and thoughtful cover letter describing their interest in the position and making the case for the relevance of their experience to the key areas of focus.
The cover letter can be submitted together with a current resume to: [email protected] “Director of Grassroots Partnerships” should be entered in the subject line. Applications will be received through February 13th, 2019 - early applications are encouraged. The position will remain open until filled.
Equal opportunity: Thousand Currents is an equal opportunity employer. We encourage and seek applications from women, people of color, and bilingual and bicultural individuals, as well as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. Applicants shall not be discriminated against because of race, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, age, disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, color, marital status, or medical condition including acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and AIDS-related conditions.