Lowcountry, South Carolina Program Director

Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation
South Carolina, United States
$125,000.00 - $140,000.00
Closing date
Oct 14, 2022

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Position Type
Programs, Grant Administration, Grant Making, Government Relations and Advocacy, Other Programs, Program Administration and Management, Administrative, Arts Administration, Other Administrative
Advocacy, Arts, Environment
Employment Type
Full Time
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The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation is excited to share the following position announcement initiating our search for a Lowcountry Program Director. Please feel free to share this widely within your networks and recommend any potential candidates who may come to mind.

We have retained Marcia Festen, a Chicago-based search consultant, to help us fill this position. She can be reached at Marcia@Festen.net or 773-251-4001, and all applications or formal inquiries can be submitted to jobs@gddf.org. While the position will remain open until filled, our goal is to make a selection by later in the fall.

The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation (“GDDF”) is a 70-year-old family foundation with offices in Chicago and Charleston, SC. Our mission is to sustain and build resilient, vital, engaged, and equitable communities in the Chicago metro region and coastal South Carolina through grantmaking programs in the following areas: Artistic Vitality, Land Conservation, and Regionally-focused Collections.

GDDF has developed a proactive, multifaceted approach to supporting grantees. Beyond grantmaking, the
Foundation provides technical assistance programs, financial assistance vehicles, grantee convenings,
communications support and engages in other forms of mission advocacy. GDDF strives to build deep
partnerships with grantees, and we are committed to ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of
our work. GDDF is a recognized philanthropic leader in its two regions and has been rated by its grantees
through the Center for Effective Philanthropy as one of the highest impact foundations in the United States.

The GDDF endowment is over $200 million, and we award approximately $7 million in grants to a portfolio of nearly 300 organizations each year. Funding is divided almost equally between land conservation grants and arts and collections grants. In addition, other mission-advancing activities are conducted by staff, through consultants, and in partnership with other funders. In all its work, the Foundation places an emphasis on program strategy and impact.

GDDF is governed by a diverse, 15-member Board of Directors. Historically and currently, the majority of the Board are not family members. Board members are selected to provide a diversity of thought and representation and specific expertise in the three giving areas and our two regions. The Board has six operating committees; each has a dedicated staff liaison. Additional information on the Foundation can be found on our website: www.gddf.org.

THE POSITION: Lowcountry, South Carolina Program Director
The Foundation seeks a dynamic and thoughtful leader to direct its work across 11 counties in coastal South
Carolina. The Program Director serves in a senior leadership role and works collaboratively with other staff to
integrate the Foundation’s Lowcountry work with its other efforts. The successful candidate will possess a strong combination of critical thinking, interpersonal, communications, and program management skills. This is a fulltime position based in Charleston and reporting to the Executive Director in Chicago. Extensive travel within South Carolina, to Chicago, and elsewhere is required.


  • With the Executive Director and other staff, develop and refine grantmaking and complementary strategies to advance the Foundation’s goals.
  • Seek out and respond to opportunities for grantmaking, partnerships, and other program investments; explore potential new approaches to expand the Foundation’s reach and impact. Ensure that all funding and related efforts advance the Foundation’s mission.
  • Evaluate and recommend action on funding requests; frequently meet with grantees and prospective grantees. Collaborate with Chicago staff on all grant recommendations across both regions.
  • Manage, support, and evaluate the work of project consultants; assure a continuing two-way flow of information between consultants and Foundation staff.
  • Share information, explore opportunities for collaboration, and develop joint initiatives with other foundations and non-grantee stakeholders. Participate in and, where appropriate, lead joint efforts and partnerships.
  • Work cooperatively with other staff to support all facets of the Foundation’s operations, including working
    closely with the Chicago-based program team and Director of Finance and Operations.
  • Advance the mission of the Foundation beyond grantmaking through various forms of engagement with grantees and broadly with diverse constituencies and by deploying communications and other mission-related advocacy tools. Integrate strategies and goals related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion into all facets of work.
  • Serve as the Foundation’s ambassador across the Lowcountry region, including with public officials, media representatives, and other community leaders.

The successful candidate will be entrepreneurial, creative, flexible, and intellectually curious. S/he will have excellent judgment, a strong appreciation for the contexts in which the Foundation advances its mission, a broad set of interests and experience, and a keen sense of the importance of the Foundation’s mission. Professional experience or personal background in South Carolina or the Southeast is a strong plus. In particular, the Foundation is looking for a candidate with the following skills and attributes:

  • Demonstrated keen interest in the Foundation’s mission areas, with successful leadership experience in a related field. A deep appreciation of the ways in which natural area stewardship, artistic expression, and cultural vitality are critical to healthy, vibrant, and prosperous communities.
  • A minimum of 10 years relevant professional experience; a successful track record of working both independently and as part of an interdisciplinary team, and in project management. Experience in the not-for-profit or public sector is strongly preferred.
  • Evidence of ability to engage with diverse constituencies.
  • Strong strategic thinking, planning, networking and partnership-building skills; the capacity to imagine and give life to new ways of fostering the progress the Foundation envisions.
  • Excellent communication, evaluation, and analytic skills; proven ability to work with technical and financial
    information, including managing budgets. Effectiveness as a convener, collaborator and communicator.
  • Advanced degree in a relevant field preferred.

Compensation and Benefits:
Salary range: $125,000-$140,000. We also offer an excellent benefits package that includes health and life insurance, vision and dental programs, and a generous 403(b) plan.

To Apply:
The position will remain open until filled, with candidates to be selected for interviews by mid-fall 2022. To ensure timely consideration, please send your cover letter and résumé to: jobs@gddf.org.

The cover letter should address the following topics:

  1. Why are you interested in advancing the mission and work of GDDF in the Lowcountry of South Carolina?
  2. How would you build on prior professional experiences in taking on this opportunity?
  3. Identify a leadership role you took on and describe what impact it had.

We are unable to respond to applicants personally and have enlisted a consultant, Marcia Festen, to manage our search. Please direct questions to her at jobs@gddf.org.
GDDF is an equal opportunity employer and actively works to create an equitable environment for all members of its community. The Foundation is committed to building a team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and skills. It is committed to providing employees, interns, grantees and partners with an environment free of discrimination and harassment.

GDDF employs individuals based on individual qualifications and job requirements without regard to that individual’s race, sex, age, religion or belief, color, national origin, ethnic origin, physical, mental or sensory disability, medical history or genetic information, family or parental status, past or present military status, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, HIV status, housing status, or any other non-merit factor. Equal Employment Opportunity applies to all personnel actions such as recruiting, hiring, compensation, benefits, promotions, training, transfer, termination, and opportunities for training.
Applicants with Disabilities: Reasonable accommodation will be made so that all qualified applicants may participate in the process and be considered for employment. Please advise in writing at the time of application.

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