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Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives

United Negro College Fund
District of Columbia, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Dec 28, 2022

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Position Type
Advocacy, Education, For-Profit Companies
Employment Type
Full Time

Since their founding in 1944, The United Negro College Fund was built on the belief that there is strength in numbers – that HBCUs ought to make a joint effort to appeal for funds – as well as the belief that education was crucial to black mobility. At the start, UNCF served 27 member colleges and universities, totaling 12,000 students.

UNCF has seen remarkable growth since its founding. In 1948, about 15,000 students had graduated from UNCF-member institutions. By 1972, that number was up to 120,000. It was in this year that UNCF coined its iconic “A mind is a terrible thing to waste” motto, which later became one of the most famous advertising slogans in history.  In the ‘70s and ‘80s, UNCF made an important step by incorporating scholarships into its organizational mission. Prior to this, UNCF exclusively funded institutions.

As of today, UNCF has been able to raise more than $5 billion and help more than 500,000 students not just attend college, but thrive, graduate, and become leaders. They do this in three ways: By awarding more than 12,000 student scholarships, worth more than $100 million, each year. By providing financial support to 37 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). And by serving as the nation’s leading advocate for the importance of minority education and community engagement.

Position Summary

The inaugural Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives (SVPSI) will be a direct report to the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the United Negro College Fund, Inc. (UNCF). S/he will help drive the execution of key priorities outlined in the 2020—2025 strategic plan, lead the creation of the next strategic plan, and identify areas where UNCF can seize and capitalize on choice partnerships, investments, and capacity building opportunities. At the behest of senior leadership, s/he will spearhead internal initiatives aimed at strengthening operations.

The SVPSI will partner closely with the COO and the President and CEO to advance UNCF’s most urgent causes by wisely marshaling human and capital resources to deliver measurable, timely, cost-effective results. In so doing, they will also be trusted to ensure that UNCF complies with all federal, state, funding, city regulations, certifications, and licensing requirements to protect the organizations non-profit status. 

This leader will be an important liaison between senior leadership and staff as well as UNCF and its global partners. They will work collaboratively—internally across departments and externally with partners of the organization. To do so effectively, the selected candidate will be a demonstrably strong champion of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in particular, and higher education in general.

Key Credentials and Personal Qualities

  • A strong affinity toward and a firm commitment to HBCUs as well as an understanding of the special responsibility required to maintain and advance them; an enthusiasm for articulating their important histories, championing their significance, and advocating for their future, in an increasingly diverse society;
  • Proven experience in operational functions and significant finance, audit and compliance experience;
  • A record of imaginative and verifiable success that will inspire and earn the confidence of all internal and external constituents and the proven capacity to weave a compelling and authentic narrative of previous leadership and accomplishments;
  • The capacity to represent UNCF compellingly, locally, nationally, and internationally, with partners of all orientations and interests;
  • A record of strategic financial planning, intelligent budgeting, development of achievable business plans and analyses, generation of innovative revenue streams, and prudent expense control;
  • A demonstrated capacity and ability to navigate complex organizational environments. A proven track record of creative and energetic problem solving with demonstrated sophistication and a propensity for innovation in advancing operations and infrastructure;
  • Capable of inspiring and leading by example amidst smart, high achieving colleagues who often juggle competing priorities and demands;
  • The capacity to think strategically, with others, in a manner that transcends any vexing concerns of the moment;
  • Prodigious in output, indefatigable in attention to detail, and consistent in delivering timely work of tremendous quality;
  • Proven managerial ability in a complex organizational setting, including the effective management of fiscal, human, and physical resources;
  • A liveliness of intellect and comfort operating in a fast-paced environment; a record of innovation, creativity, and invention achieved by working collaboratively with others;
  • An ability to write and communicate effectively, for a variety of audiences, in person, print, and on social media;
  • Resilience and stamina for the tasks at hand, a bias for action and high tolerance for change, personal grace in dealing with a broad spectrum of personalities, a positive outlook and a good sense of humor;
  • An open and engaging communication style with a keen sense for active listening and solution seeking;
  • Highest standards of integrity and ethics, even under, and especially in, challenging circumstances;
  • Earned distinction in academia, industry, or the civic and government sectors;
  • Advanced degree in business administration, legal, finance, management, or related area;
  • And 15+ years of leadership experience.

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