Chief Executive Officer
The Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation (“Farash Foundation,” “Foundation” or “organization”) is a private charitable foundation established in 1988 by Max and Marian Farash. The Foundation is dedicated to the civic and religious communities of its founders who believed in the importance of education and knew the power of entrepreneurial creativity. It strives to make long-term and meaningful contributions in Monroe and Ontario Counties and in Israel. The Foundation serves primarily as a grantmaking organization, with half of its grants supporting Jewish Life, and the other half supporting secular activities in the greater Rochester area. The Foundation places its highest priority on endeavors designed to transform the lives of individuals and the work of organizations. Since its transition to a professionally staffed organization in 2010, the Foundation has invested more than $90 million in grants and program support, and its assets total more than $300 million.
The Foundation has come a long way since inception, gathering data and insight from communities served, establishing grantmaking policies and processes, creating strategic priorities, and hiring a dedicated professional staff. Staff and trustees are proud of the Foundation’s culture of continuous learning, best evidenced by the organization’s strategic shift in emphasis from responsive grantmaking to collaboration with community partners and funders on ideas, initiatives and programs that hold the most promise for transformational change. The Foundation’s strategic priorities include:
- Lifelong Learning, with goals to collaborate on initiatives that improve the quality of K-12 urban education.
- Dynamic Jewish Life, with goals to partner with the community to ensure that Rochester is an engaging, sustainable community for Jewish families. Investments in transformational opportunities in Israel will also be considered.
- Expansion of Economic Opportunity by supporting entrepreneurship as a driver of social justice.
- Responsive Grantmaking in support of arts and culture, community collaborations and emerging issues.
The next stage of the Foundation’s evolution includes the utilization of a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens across all internal and external work. While the Foundation focuses more tightly on the initiatives its trustees believe will have the greatest impact, it also makes investments in smaller initiatives with big promise.
THE OPPORTUNITY – transform the lives of individuals and the work of organizations.
The new CEO will work with a highly engaged staff of nine to achieve the organization’s vision to be “stewards of change, working with our partners to create a vital community in which all people can lead their best lives.” The CEO will lead the charge by convening community partners, funders, grantees and thought leaders with synergistic strategic priorities to:
- gather collective wisdom, insight, and data;
- identify the complex, inter-woven root causes behind chronic community issues;
- and take action on the ideas and initiatives with the potential for the largest impact.
The successful candidate will be equally energized to collaborate on ideas initiated by other funders and community partners.
The next CEO has a strong platform to build upon at the Foundation, as recent survey results show that grantees value the Foundation for its professionalism, responsiveness, and commitment to the community. As one funder put it, “when the Farash Foundation is behind an idea, it’s like having the ‘gold seal of approval’ because they do their homework.” The next CEO will enjoy working with colleagues who consider working at the Foundation to be a privilege, knowing that their efforts have the potential to make a real difference in the lives of those served. “We are a family” is the comment most often shared by staff members when asked about the work culture within the Farash organization.
In addition to strategic leadership of the Foundation, the CEO serves as the CEO of the Foundation’s real estate management LLC which owns the headquarters location at 255 East Avenue. Responsibilities include keeping the building leased to 100% occupancy and providing oversight of the third-party property management contract. The CEO also serves as the CEO of the Impact Fund, a separate LLC that provides loans to high-impact entrepreneurial endeavors within supported communities.
The Board of Trustees recognizes that the attitude, work style and actions of the selected CEO will directly impact the ability of the Foundation to function at an optimal level. As a result, the Farash Foundation is seeking a CEO who can readily share examples of how they have leveraged the following traits to drive success in prior leadership roles:
Active Listener – The selected CEO will have a naturally inquisitive nature, respecting the expertise, experience and ideas of individuals and organizations in the communities served. Approaches to problem-solving will be built upon collaborative efforts with community partners, funders, grantees, subject-matter experts, and constituents, absent of pre-conceived notions. The next leader will continuously scan the local, national, and global landscape for best practices that should be adapted, adopted, and shared in communities served.
Strategic Leader – Working in concert with the Board of Trustees and staff, the CEO will develop and execute multi-year strategic plans that convert Max and Marian Farash’s vision for the Foundation into reality. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to employ original thinking to solve complex social problems, directing the Foundation’s resources towards the ideas, initiatives and programs that best achieve the objectives of the strategic plan.
Chief Storyteller – The CEO will strengthen the Foundation’s identity in the community by providing clear, consistent messaging of the Foundation’s purpose, goals, successes and struggles. He/She will provide subject matter expertise on the impact of the Foundation’s efforts on shared goals in the community. The successful candidate will also be skilled at persuasion, defined here as the ability to open another person’s eyes to possibilities that haven’t been considered before.
Entrepreneurial Problem-solver – Although normally driven by a fact-based data-centric approach to decision-making, the CEO will be comfortable teaming with staff to take calculated risks, recognizing that positive paradigm shifts are often born from decisions made with incomplete or imperfect data.
Convener and Collaborator – The CEO recognizes that there are no simple solutions to chronic, inter-related community challenges. The organization’s leader will be naturally inclined to gather and leverage the talent of outside experts, organizations, and funders to maximize impact from ideas and initiatives. Seeking credit is not part of the DNA of the selected leader.
Manager and Motivator - The CEO will manage an annual budget of approximately $3M and team with the trustees on oversight of the Foundation’s investment portfolio, preserving the Foundation’s resources for the benefit of future generations. The successful candidate will team with staff to stay on the cutting edge of technology changes and shifts in philanthropy trends, making the Farash Foundation among the easiest foundations to work with in the country.
GOALS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
In addition to the required traits listed above, the CEO will:
- Within six months, meet with community leaders and relevant staff of organizations within the Foundation’s strategic focus areas as step one towards developing transparent, trusting relationships.
- Work with staff and the Board of Trustees to complete the most recent strategic plan and develop supporting operational plans that achieve intended results within prescribed timeframes. Maintain a continuous feedback loop with the Board, recommending timely adjustments to the plan as needed.
- Identify and regularly consult with experts and peers in philanthropy to identify and operationalize best practices.
- Develop a plan for measuring the Foundation’s outcomes and obtaining regular feedback from the community and grantees on the transparency and impact of the Foundation’s actions.
- Support the Board of Trustee’s efforts to develop exemplary board governance practices, including succession planning.
- Team with the Director of Grants and Programs to develop multi-modal communication plans that reflect the Foundation’s goals of clarity and transparency with the community.
- Continuously scan the region for synergistic partnership opportunities that could accelerate or multiply the impact of the Foundation’s positive impact in the community. Proactively participate in community organizations and initiatives that focus in the strategic priority areas of the Foundation.
- Leverage the talents of Board of Trustee members to assist in community outreach and relationship development.
- Team with staff to create new procedures and processes that improve the speed, efficiency transparency and/or effectiveness of the Farash Foundation’s endeavors.
The successful candidate will possess the following:
- A Baccalaureate Degree in a relevant area of study is required; an advanced degree is a plus.
- A minimum of eight years of senior management experience, including staff and budget management, ideally within a philanthropic or nonprofit organization.
- Experience conceiving and launching entrepreneurial programs and/or businesses.
- Familiarity with the community leaders and organizations within the Foundation’s strategic focus areas in Monroe and Ontario County is highly desirable.
- A deep familiarity with Jewish life and values and the capacity to serve as a thought leader who can contribute substantially to the betterment of the Jewish community, as well as a strong understanding of and appreciation for the Foundation’s commitment to its secular priorities of education, arts and culture, and entrepreneurship.
- A track record for developing and successfully executing strategic plans that achieve desired outcomes.
- Proven experience with building and influencing collaborations between organizations that achieve desired results.
- A comfort level delivering dynamic presentations, and experience delivering difficult messages without harming relationships when called upon to do so.
- An ability to interpret data and develop action plans based on results.
- A reputation for driving a culture of humility, authenticity, and transparency.
- Unquestioned professional and personal integrity.
Who should apply?
This role should be of particular interest to experienced leaders who have a strong desire to make a sustainable positive impact in the community. If you have a track record for leveraging your natural curiosity and resourcefulness to create novel sustainable solutions to chronic problems, this role is worthy of your consideration.