ABOUT THE FOUNDATION
After selling a division of Generac Power Systems in 1998, the Kerns established The Kern Family Foundation, a grant making organization dedicated to ensuring that the rising generation has access to the opportunities that made their success possible.
In keeping with their vision, the Foundation enriches American lives by promoting the value of work, developing the formation of good character, increasing educational achievement – particularly in science, technology, engineering and math – and instilling an entrepreneurial mindset, especially in undergraduate engineering students.
The Foundation intentionally focuses on systemic change, rather than charity, by funding broad impact, long-term programs.
ABOUT THE OPENING
The Kern Family Foundation seeks a Senior Program Director (SDP) for its Faith, Work, and Economics Program.
The Faith, Work, and Economics Program promotes the idea that productive work within a free economy is critical to human flourishing as it allows the most people to lead meaningful, satisfying, and sustainable lives. The Program identifies, recommends, and actively stewards investments in organizations that help people connect their faith or beliefs system with their work and their understanding of the broader economy. The Program has a unique opportunity to build upon past impact and expand the work into new areas. The SDP will play a pivotal role in guiding the program to achieve that impact.
The Senior Program Director (SDP) plays several important roles and possesses some key characteristics. S/he first serves as an ambassador of the Kern family, representing the ethos of the Kern family both within and outside the Foundation. S/he is a steward of the Kern family’s generosity and legacy. The SDP plays the role of servant leader, working closely with the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and, at times, the Foundation’s benefactors and board to discern donor intent and conceptualize, design, and advance strategies and partnerships that help achieve the Kern family’s mission and vision. The SDP also serves as translator and communicator, clearly communicating the Foundation’s mission and inspiring people and organizations to be a part of that mission. S/he is a relationship builder, recognizing that the best results come not from transactional relationships but from partnership. The SDP is an evaluator, assessing the alignment of potential partner organizations and, once an investment has been made, evaluating a project’s progress and success.
The SDP is first and foremost a person of strong character, who demonstrates a high level of integrity and accountability. S/he has an entrepreneurial mindset and can recognize new ways to build upon the Foundation’s past work. Together with the SLT, the SDP will help nurture and develop the program team, providing direction, management, and an environment that helps team members reach their potential. S/he has the humility to place the family’s mission and vision first. The SDP is organized and data-driven, striving to define impact with objective measurements. The SDP is team-oriented and network-minded, recognizing that the greatest achievements are often due to the work and input of more than one person or organization. Finally, the SDP is passionate about the Foundation’s animating ideas and the opportunities to make significant, systemic change.
- Maintaining broad, up-to-date knowledge and understanding of trends and issues in areas relevant to Program goals
- Maintaining a strong command of grants under management
- Identifying and developing program areas within the focus of the Foundation’s strategic plan, tailoring them to fill gaps in services offered
- Building and leading a team of individuals to effectively carry out the Foundation’s mission, implement the Program strategy, and managing daily Program operations
- Identifying potential partnerships and investment opportunities, developing the most promising into sound investments
- Conducting site visits, and providing technical assistance to support applicants and grantees and to more effectively develop grant partners
- Monitoring grants to establish that they continue to support the Foundation’s priorities, are on time, and within budget; providing feedback to grantees to encourage maximum achievement of project goals
- Providing the SLT and the Board with timely status reports on projects
- Establishing policies and procedures to efficiently manage the program
- Developing annually, and in consultation with Foundation leadership, a grants and expenses budget for the Program, and presenting it to the Board for approval
- Providing leadership, coaching and feedback to Program staff, supporting their work in the areas of pursing investment opportunities and managing current grants
- Developing Foundation activities to foster the expansion of collaborative networks of grantees and other allied organizations
- Representing the Foundation at gatherings of potential or actual grantees for the purpose of communicating good will or serving as an informed representative of the philanthropic community
QUALIFICATIONS, SKILLS, AND CHARACTERISTICS
In addition to the characteristics mentioned above, the SDP will demonstrate the following:
- 10 years of experience with responsibility in areas such as team management, project development or program management, idea development, strategic planning, creating and managing budgets
- Intellectual capacity and rigor to synthesize information and ideas and recognize opportunity contained in them, paired with a track record of acting to seize opportunity
- Outstanding communication skills, both written and oral, including the energy and charisma to articulate a compelling vision and galvanize stakeholders
- Ability to balance day-to-day operations with strategic planning
- Ability to lead a team of individuals, prioritizing the work and organizing the team activities to leverage current and future investments
- Ability to identify the overlapping aspects of an organization’s diverse work to identify points of synergy and reinforcement
- Gravitas and credibility to leverage his/her own networks to serve Foundation goals
- Flexibility to respond to changing situations, shifting priorities and new opportunities
- Strong judgment in navigating relationships and complex decisions
- Collaborative style that fosters synergistic, cross functional cooperation and collegiality
- Ability to learn quickly, be flexible, and take an optimistic approach to work
- Ability to travel approximately 25% of the time
- Experience developing and applying tools and methods to evaluate program success
- Financial acumen
- Minimum of a Bachelor’s degree
This role is based in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Remote arrangements will not be considered.
Qualified candidates should submit the following application materials in one PDF with your name in the file:
- Cover letter explaining your salary requirements and why you are interested in the position/The Kern Family Foundation’s mission
Please include “Senior Program Director, Kern – Your Name” in the subject line of your email.
Materials should be emailed in one PDF document to Claire Dixon, executive director of Talent Market, who is assisting with the search: firstname.lastname@example.org.
While we thank all applicants in advance for their interest in this position, we are only able to contact those to whom we can offer an interview. No phone calls, please.
Talent Market is a nonprofit entity dedicated to promoting liberty by helping free-market nonprofits identify talent for critical roles. We provide free consulting and recruiting services to free-market think tanks, policy organizations, research centers, and capacity-building institutions dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government and free enterprise.