Executive Director (NSF)

North Star Fund (NSF) is New York City’s community foundation working to create a more just and equitable city. For 37 years, North Star Fund has helped make democracy happen in New York City by building a diverse network of donor activists to support the grassroots leaders that move the City forward. North Star Fund helps these activists organize, gain visibility and influence, and pursue solutions to the greatest problems facing New York City. By raising funds for grassroots activism and distributing grants, North Star Fund puts resources into the hands of those directly impacted by injustice and provides long-term support that helps causes to become social movements.

With the bold goal of ensuring a future for activism in New York City, North Star Fund’s programs, fundraising, and communications efforts are currently organized to achieve three overarching goals:

Funding Victories

From delivering rapid response grants as an issue breaks to providing larger grants to the most impactful coalitions, North Star Fund gets resources in the hands of organizers and communities directly impacted by injustice. We devote half of the funds we raise for grants each year to new and emerging grassroots organizations on the frontlines of social change in their neighborhoods and communities. In recent years, North Star Fund’s Activism’s Future Campaign enables the organization to partner with the leaders, organizations, and coalitions the Fund supports at more steps in the evolution of their work. This includes grants through our Movement Leadership Program, our Power Together coalition grants, and our Innovative Activism grants. In collaboration with other like-minded foundations, we support grantees through technical assistance workshops such as strategic communications and fundraising trainings.

Being a Stronger Voice for Social Justice

North Star Fund has always been a resource for journalists, researchers, and philanthropists looking for the stories of grassroots activists and their impact on the world. In recent years, we have deepened our strategic communications efforts to get out local, social justice stories that are woefully under-reported by mainstream, corporate-owned media. By helping to gather, frame, and put forth a more nuanced and progressive perspective on the issues of the day, North Star Fund changes the conversation on timely issues resulting in coverage in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Daily News, Philanthropy News Digest, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Crain's New York, Huffington Post, and CBS News.

Connecting with and Inspiring More Donor Activism

North Star Fund raises every dollar it grants. In our 2014 fiscal year, NSF granted just over $3.3M in grants to more than 80 grassroots organizations and coalitions. North Star Fund's purpose has always been to practice strategic philanthropy in which donors and activists are engaged as partners in directing resources to advance the grassroots movement for equality, economic justice, and peace. North Star Fund’s growth is supported by generous donors who participate in timely, thought-provoking donor networking events and workshops, which connect them to grassroots work and help match their progressive values with their charitable giving. In the process, donors become an active part of building a New York City in which all people feel welcome and all communities have a voice.

North Star Fund was founded in 1978 in response to New York City’s move to disproportionately shrink services in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color as a result of the municipal fiscal crisis. Seeking a way to help local activists challenge the injustices of these cutbacks, Toby D’Oench, along with Martin Bunzl and 26 other young people of inherited wealth, began forging a new philanthropic model. North Star Fund was born. Influenced by the civil rights, women’s, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender, and anti- war movements, the founders pioneered the activist-led grantmaking model that remains a hallmark of North Star Fund’s approach.

For more information on North Star Fund, please visit northstarfund.org.

T H E  O P P O R T U N I T Y 

North Star Fund seeks a dynamic, seasoned, and committed Executive Director to lead the organization by working in deep collaboration with the Board of Directors, staff, and exceptionally engaged donors to ensure that the foundation is living its values and achieving its goals to advance equality, economic justice, and peace through community organizing and grassroots activism.

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will have primary responsibility for advancing the vision and mission of the organization, managing day-to-day operations and activities, leading fundraising initiatives, serving as the lead spokesperson, and directing and coordinating the work of a professional staff.

This position offers a unique opportunity for the North Star Fund Executive Director to bring his or her energy, vision, and entrepreneurial approach to lead and manage a highly regarded, dynamic organization into its next phase of growth including expanding the Fund’s partnerships into Greater New York.

The Executive Director’s specific responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Organizational Leadership and Management

  • Provide inspirational and motivational leadership for a grassroots activism organization with a diverse range of extraordinarily passionate and committed stakeholders and a highly skilled staff
  • Oversee all long-range organizational planning, project and program development, and strategic planning, in partnership with Board and staff and with input from external stakeholders
  • Ensure the organization’s fiscal health, including overseeing the annual budget of $3M as well as longer- term financial strategies
  • Serve as the primary agent of North Star Fund in interpreting organizational policy, rules, and procedures, and managing sensitive and/or potentially controversial issues
  • Ensure that North Star Fund’s programmatic goals are appropriate, effective, and quantifiable
  • Lead the Deputy Director of Programs and Operations and the Deputy Director of Resources and Strategy in the development and implementation of strategies, policies, and practices that meet the long- and short- term objectives of North Star Fund
  • Strengthen a healthy, collaborative workplace and organizational culture
  • Serve as the primary link between Board and staff in ensuring that each has the support and information necessary to perform its function

Resource Development

  • Create and implement North Star Fund’s fundraising strategy, ensuring a diversified funding base including foundations, individuals, and special events, and charting a course for financial growth
  • Work closely with the Deputy Director of Resources and Strategy, the Development Officer, and the Development Associate on all fundraising initiatives, ensuring that North Star Fund has a robust and strategic fundraising program and systems are in place to effectively support fundraising initiatives
  • Establish and maintain relationships with current and potential donors through a diligent process of identification, cultivation, solicitation, and acknowledgement

Organizing, Advocacy, and Program Leadership

  • Effectively represent North Star Fund’s position and actively further its mission by ensuring its continued influence and relevance as one of the most renowned grassroots organizations in the country
  • Develop and maintain active relationships with other members of the grassroots activism community in order to facilitate sharing of knowledge, strategies for action, and best practices. Undertake joint projects when appropriate
  • Promote, strengthen, and extend North Star Fund’s public presence by serving as a leader in the social justice and grassroots activism movements and effectively representing the organization’s positions, policies, and values

Communications and Relationship Building

  • Act as a visible and engaging spokesperson for North Star Fund by representing and promoting North Star Fund, its grantees, and its partners to key public officials, community members, press, and the public in order to ensure an accurate and positive public presence for the foundation and its mission
  • Drive a comprehensive communications strategy for North Star Fund and its initiatives

C A N D I D A T E  P R O F I L E 

The Executive Director will be a seasoned, collaborative, and communicative leader who understands how to move a diverse range of stakeholders forward through collaboration, communication, inspiration, and motivation.

Successful candidates will also bring a passion for the North Star Fund mission and vision, exceptional management skills, and a deep belief in the power of grassroots movements. Expertise in the grassroots activism movement and connections to related social justice movements in New York City is strongly preferred.

The Executive Director of North Star Fund will possess the following attributes and competencies:

A Passion for the Mission

The Executive Director will have a demonstrated passion for the mission and history of North Star Fund and a commitment to the foundation’s areas of focus. With a high level of emotional intelligence, the new Executive Director will work closely with the Board, donors, and other various stakeholders to ensure their vision for North Star Fund is being implemented effectively and will bring ideas to help achieve the greatest possible impact. S/he will be driven by the chance to impact the future and will embody the values of North Star Fund.

A Leader in Resource Development

The Executive Director will offer a measurable track record of success in fundraising and building strong relationships with current and potential donors. S/he will have demonstrated expertise with raising money from a variety of sources within private philanthropy, including foundations, individual giving, grassroots fundraising, and special events and bring experience and enthusiasm for expanding funding and programmatic partnerships to increase North Star Fund’s impact. The Executive Director will partner with senior leaders across the organization to develop and implement successful fundraising strategies 

Strategic and Visionary Leader

The Executive Director will be an experienced leader with an entrepreneurial and enthusiastic spirit and the background and skills required to work in close collaboration with the Board to chart a course for the next chapter of impact for North Star Fund. The Executive Director will be a proven strategic thinker with the foresight, capacity, and experience to understand and balance complex and distinct constituent needs. S/he will have the ability to diagnose critical areas for attention and develop and implement clear, action-oriented strategies that address challenging problems with thoughtful, effective solutions that engender broad support and position the organization for future success.

Skilled Manager and Team Player

The Executive Director will be a decisive, results-oriented leader with a highly collaborative and inclusive approach to team management. S/he will have a demonstrated ability to build, nurture, and retain a strong team that is focused on impact, excellence, and accountability. The Executive Director will also be a fervent motivator who is able to inspire a shared vision, quality performance, and strong morale. S/he will empower and cultivate staff through active and effective communication, feedback, and delegation, and promote teamwork and collaboration while maintaining a leadership style that is fluid, open, and nimble in adjusting to emerging needs or shifting priorities. The Executive Director will have a sense of humor, humility, and self- awareness. S/he will be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics, and values who can be trusted without reservation and will inspire and motivate others.

Relationship Builder and Collaborator

The Executive Director will be exceptionally skilled at developing, building, and sustaining excellent relationships with a diverse range of partners and supporters, including volunteers, staff members, donors, and community members. S/he will be thoughtful and open, working collaboratively to find efficiencies and opportunities for the benefit of North Star Fund and the communities it is engaged in. This individual will be consultative, promoting open dialogue with team members to identify best practices, synthesize divergent views, and coalesce all constituencies around a shared view or plan. The Executive Director will be proactive in forging dynamic partnerships and coalitions that drive measurable growth. 

External Relations and Communications

The Executive Director will be an effective voice for North Star Fund, helping to guide messaging, communicate about new initiatives and developments to stakeholders, and generally build awareness of the organization’s work. An influential and persuasive communicator, s/he will have an inspired ability to build community using accessible language to explain information, strategy, and processes to individuals with differing levels of familiarity. 

Additional desired skills and experiences include the following:

  • At least eight years of proven, successful experience leading a similarly-sized organization or initiative, including staff, operational, and financial management experience
  • Strong interpersonal skills and experience and sensitivity working effectively with diverse groups of people utilizing cross-cultural competence and a demonstrated commitment to diversity
  • A bachelor's degree is encouraged; experience in a relevant discipline is required

C O M P E N S A T I O N  &  B E N E F I T S

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.


North Star Fund has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Molly Brennan and Eboni S. Gates here.

North Star Fund is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants.

A B O U T  K O Y A  L E A D E R S H I P  P A R T N E R S

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.