Chief Executive Officer - David Rockefeller Fund

David Rockefeller Fund
New York, United States
Competitive Salary
Closing date
May 25, 2022

View more

Position Type
Executive, Programs, Grant Making
Arts, Environment, Other Fields, Philanthropic Advisors
Employment Type
Full Time
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The David Rockefeller Fund invests in catalytic ideas, people, efforts, and institutions working strategically toward ecological regeneration, justice system transformation and art for social impact.


The David Rockefeller Fund seeks a strategic and entrepreneurial Chief Executive Officer to help define the next chapter in its development, and lead the Fund’s work to greater impact. Beyond the traditional grantmaking role, however, the position also offers a special opportunity to truly partner with a dedicated Board, Staff, and Donor Family deeply intent on unpacking and reconciling some of the more challenging issues facing today’s philanthropic field. The CEO should bring a thoughtful willingness to:

  • Examine the socioeconomic systems that have traditionally provided the underpinnings of formal philanthropy (including intergenerational wealth);
  • Explore how issues of power and equity overlap with philanthropic practice; and

  • Be active in seeking to define and build new models for more just and inclusive philanthropy.

    Such exploration is already reflected in some of the Fund’s more progressive, participatory grantmaking initiatives. The organization also routinely supports advocacy, policy work, and grassroots organizing – funding activity often avoided by philanthropic entities.
    However, the Fund now seeks a leader who will boldly and strategically push the work further – evolving the vision, programs, and even board structure, into an organization even better prepared to embody its values and to meet this critical societal moment.

    The Fund’s current $65 million endowment generates roughly $4 million in annual grantmaking funds. Reporting to the Fund’s Board, and leading a current staff of two full-time professionals, and occasional consultants, the CEO should skillfully seek to employ the full range of the Funds resources (financial and nonfinancial) in service to the Fund’s ambitious mission and goals.

During the first year, the CEO should:

  • Work to thoroughly understand the Fund – its mission and values, stakeholders, history, culture, programs, operations, partners, and potential; Develop a keen and nuanced understanding of the multigenerational family dynamics;

  • Develop a solid and close-working partnership with the new Board Chair; together begin to define and support each other’s vision for the Fund’s future;

  • Gain the confidence of the Fund’s Board, staff and, as appropriate, extended family members, forging relationships of trust and cooperation that continue to bring forth their best efforts and talents; Become a trusted source of information, advice and inspiration;

  • In close partnership with the Board Chair, develop and lead the Fund through a comprehensive strategic planning process, engaging the full complement of the Fund’s stakeholders to clearly define the Fund’s future direction;

  • Engage with current Fund grantees, ensuring that even as the Fund engages in future planning that existing responsibilities are met;

  • As appropriate, become a thought partner to other Rockefeller family philanthropies.
KEY RESPONSIBILITIES    It is further expected that the Chief Executive Officer will:   Visioning, Planning & Fund Leadership
  • Evolve the Fund’s vision and distinct identity; Continue to critically assess the Fund’s intersecting programs ensuring they remain focused, relevant, impactful, and mission- aligned;

  • Both internally and externally, serve as an innovative thought-partner, strategically seeking to deploy the Fund’s resources to maximum impact;

  • Along with staff, plan and implement all grant making and grantee support activities and ensure regular program evaluation, reflection and improvement as needed;

  • Identify and conduct due diligence on potential grantees; learn new areas in-depth; make well-reasoned, written recommendations to the Board for grant funding across all program areas;

  • Enhance the Fund’s institutional partnerships to further the Fund’s work;

  • Continue to work with third-party donors and select non-profit boards to leverage the Fund’s grants/investments and drive substantial additional philanthropic resources into the Fund’s program priorities and mission-aligned impact areas;

  • Evolve special Fund initiatives, including, for example, those that advance innovative “participatory grantmaking” like the David Kaiser Justice Transformation Docket, and the Justice Program’s Canary Impact Fund initiative;

  • Coordinate with trustees and staff on the distribution, and as appropriate, development of: Donor-advised fund contributions; the Richard Rockefeller Climate Change Initiatives; and the Growald Family Fund-DR Fund Climate Change grants. Explore possibilities for other substantial contributions to programs and to the endowment;

Organizational Development & Management

  • Lead a highly-skilled professional team, providing meaningful opportunities for staff development and growth; Support the successful integration of the annual Justice Fellows;

  • Advance an organizational culture, grounded in diversity, equity, and inclusion that supports the agency and productivity of all staff;

  • Manage all programmatic, financial, administrative and operational activities of the Fund. Ensure appropriate capacity, optimal efficiency, and that sound financial structures, budgeting practices and reporting systems are in place, and in alignment with the Fund’s vision and goals;

  • Supervise the COO in maintaining the highest standards of “best practice” for all operations of the Fund, including: compliance with annual legal and regulatory requirements of the foundation for IRS and NY State tax filings; IRS-required grant distributions, annual independent audit and preparation of financial statements, and other filings related to insurance, labor and benefits. Meet quarterly with auditors and tax preparers;

  • Manage outside consultant and contractual relationships including but not limited to audit, legal and organizational development work;

  • Coordinate with investment managers and work with the Investment Committee Chair to support the Fund’s long-term investment strategy to support net zero target setting and climate solutions investing;
Communications & External Relations

  • Ensure the ongoing development of a clear and powerful narrative that communicates the Fund’s values, mission and goals;
  • Continue the Fund’s role as a primary and collaborative member of the larger philanthropic community; advance high standards of effective practice for family foundations;

  • Share impact investing and other “added value” strategies with peers, the philanthropic field, and the public;

  • Serve as a visible thought-leader and spokesperson on issues central to the Fund;

Board Engagement and Family Partnership
  • Build and nurture good relationships with all Board members (which includes multiple- generation family and non-family members) marked by care, open communication, and responsiveness;

  • As appropriate, help to identify and cultivate new trustees whose perspectives, talents, interests and commitment will further the Fund’s mission and impact;

  • Plan and facilitate a wide range of Board convenings, including, but not limited to: semi- annual Board meetings, Executive and Audit Committee meetings; quarterly Investment Committee meetings; Nominating Committee meetings, as needed, and Board retreats;

  • Prepare grant dockets. Ensure that Board members have sufficient materials and information on which to make informed decisions and learn, as needed, about new program initiatives;

  • Prepare in-depth and informative materials for all Board and, as needed, Committee meetings;

  • Report regularly to the Board on all relevant and emergent matters;

  • As appropriate, serve as a trusted advisor and partner to the Donor family members.



Ideally, the CEO should have:

  • Critical intersectional thinking on the issue areas relevant to the Fund’s work;

  • Working knowledge of the nonprofit sector; Philanthropic experience is considered a plus;

  • Leadership experience with an entity known for quality and excellence; with commensurate operational, fiscal, and human resource responsibilities;

  • Solid project management experience, with the ability to set priorities, frame and nimbly adapt systems, manage deadlines and evaluate outcomes;

  • Experience successfully designing and executing strategic planning processes;

  • An ability to facilitate dialogues that cover a wide range of ideas, ambitions, and perhaps disparate opinions. Skilled at getting to the heart of, and comfortable holding the complexity of, difficult issues without giving in to oversimplification;

  • Political savvy, with the ability to work effectively with, and gain the respect and support of, stakeholders from a wide array of backgrounds and perspectives; current networks and credibility with a range of leaders, thinkers and advocates in relevant fields;

  • Presence to serve as an effective spokesperson and ambassador for the Fund, with strong oral and written communication skills; and

  • A successful track record as an advocate for mission-driven causes.



The David Rockefeller Fund seeks to address the root causes of problems, and is guided by core principles that include, among other things: respect, flexibility, risk-taking, and self- examination. To learn more about the David Rockefeller Fund, please visit




To apply, please forward a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, and your resume, in confidence, to:

Sandi Haynes
Executive Search Consultant

The David Rockefeller Fund is based in New York City, but is open to discussions regarding geographic requirements, as appropriate.

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