CEO Search

Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation

The Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation is seeking a brave, justice-minded leader to be our new Chief Executive Officer. Please share this announcement with people who align with our mission, vision and values. 

ABOUT THE MARY REYNOLDS BABCOCK FOUNDATION 

The Babcock Foundation’s mission is to help move people and places out of poverty and achieve greater social and economic justice. We believe in democracy, opportunity and the power of partnerships, and we follow the lead of local experts who know what their communities need to thrive.

We partner with organizations and networks working to alleviate poverty and increase social and economic justice in 11 Southern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.  

The Foundation aims to center racial equity and power building in all our work, from grantmaking to investments, communications and more. We support collaborative, multi-strategy, place-based work focused on democracy and civic engagement, economic opportunity, and supportive policies and institutions. 

We believe sustained, general-support grants are critical to helping organizations remain nimble and effective. In addition to grantmaking, we make strategic investments aligned with our mission and values. 

Established in 1953 with a $12 million bequest from Mary Reynolds Babcock, in its early days the Foundation supported historically black colleges and universities, grassroots advocacy groups, voter education and government accountability efforts – a unique legacy for Southern family philanthropy. 

The values that guided the Foundation almost 70 years ago – fairness, democracy, equity and opportunity – continue to be our North Star today, while our understanding of how to follow and pursue them continues to evolve, as has our vision of a Southern future.

The organization has a $19 million annual operating budget, with assets of over $200 million. Our growing staff currently includes 12 talented members, with a projected increase to 20 in 2022. Babcock’s active board of 13 directors includes Babcock family members, grantee partners and leaders from all over the region in which Babcock operates.

Over the past three years, the Foundation has averaged $15.7 million in grants per year. We project making $14.3 million for 2022 and are planning to increase grantmaking in subsequent years. 

THE OPPORTUNITY

The Babcock Foundation is seeking a transformative and inclusive leader with the experience, ability and optimism to grow and implement our vision for change in the region and within the larger philanthropic sector. 

We seek a CEO who shares our vision, values and priorities, and will commit to the Foundation’s current strategic path and direction. The new CEO will be adept at balancing vision, strategy and implementation, and will be comfortable working in a family foundation setting, with a desire to lead in that area. 

The Foundation seeks candidates with deep knowledge of the South and an understanding of the varied cultures and contexts of the region. Black, Indigenous, Latinx, AAPI and other people of color are encouraged to apply, as are LGBTQ+, gender nonconforming and nonbinary people, and people with disabilities.

The new CEO will be a values-driven leader with a demonstrated commitment to advancing racial, economic and gender justice in the philanthropic sector, who centers humanity in the work and can respond nimbly and flexibly to the duals need to move at the speed of trust and to respond to the urgency of the times. 

The new leader will be an encouraging and collaborative manager who inspires and leads internally and externally to build collective investment in our mission and impact and increase MRBF's profile and influence in the national funding ecosystem. 

The new CEO will have the enthusiasm and ability to lead across programs, operations, and in regional and broader philanthropic arenas in collaboration with a committed and engaged staff and board, and with our grantees and other partners throughout the South.  

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

Reporting to the board of directors, the Chief Executive Officer is responsible for managing the overall operations of the Foundation including: organizational leadership and management, and field leadership.  

The CEO will bring leadership experience to carry, or be poised to grow into, the following key responsibilities:

  • Serve as an effective spokesperson for the Foundation, representing MRBF programs, policies and vision for change to our grantee and philanthropic partners, and the general public.

  • Provide strong leadership, partnership and communication, in collaboration with board leadership, to ensure directors and committees are effectively engaged to advance the organization’s mission. Design learning opportunities for directors and staff in conjunction with key board committees. In partnership with the board president, provide directors with sufficient information to make sound policy, programmatic and financial decisions as well as to assure compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.

  • Serve as a model for transparent organizational culture where ethical policies are understood and lived out by board and staff.

  • Maintain an inclusive, supportive and collaborative culture that draws in, retains and inspires a diverse staff, including supervision of the management team of three direct reports. Guide staff to develop and implement program, grantmaking and value-added strategies aligned with MRBF values, mission and goals.

  • Ensure all staff are properly selected, managed and have access to professional development.

  • Develop the annual budget and lead financial oversight in collaboration with the management team and board treasurer, including regular updates to the board. With senior staff, implement financial policies and systems in compliance with legal and financial standards. Oversee compliance of all state and federal laws and regulations.

  • In consultation with the Investment Committee, develop investment policies.

  • In consultation with the Administration and Personnel Committee, ensure financial management systems are aligned with the Foundation’s values and mission and meet legal and financial standards.

  • Monitor the external environment related to the Foundation’s mission and recommend adaptations.

  • Develop partnerships with other private and public funders and nonprofit organizations to advance the Foundation’s mission and goals and contribute to new approaches and increased impact in fields related to MRBF’s mission.

  • Play a leadership role in philanthropy, on the regional and national level. Leverage Babcock’s capital and relationships to advance the field, and increase grantmaking in the region. 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

While we understand no candidate will embody every skill or quality, the successful candidate will demonstrate many of the qualifications and attributes listed below.

  • Connections to and love of the South, including place-based connection from lived experience, and an understanding of the varied cultures and contexts of the region. Residence in one of the 11 states in which the Foundation operates strongly preferred. The successful candidate will be willing to relocate to the region. 

  • Experience, knowledge, and analysis of power building in the region

  • Demonstrated alignment with MRBF’s mission, vision and values

  • A demonstrated commitment to racial equity, with policy and/or practical experience at the intersection of race and poverty. Strong analysis and experience in power building to advance racial equity preferred.

  • Significant nonprofit organizational experience, preferably including significant philanthropic experience. Knowledge of philanthropic affinity groups.

  • Comfort working in a family foundation setting and desire to lead in that area.

  • Comfort with, and enthusiasm for, working with all types of people, from the grassroots to the board room as well as with intergenerational leaders. Bravery and a willingness to try things other foundations aren’t doing.

  • Understanding of and commitment to program-related impact investing.

  • Ability to represent the Foundation's values externally as well as internally, and to communicate transparently with the field.

  • Ability to communicate transparently with staff and board and, when necessary, to translate between the two.

  • Management experience with an orientation toward leadership development, including experience managing a diverse staff team, with demonstrated ability to manage remote teams. 

  • A track record that exemplifies a collaborative leadership style, strong problem solving and facilitation skills, and an ability to bring groups together to think through conflict.

THE TEAM

The CEO will report to an engaged board of directors that currently numbers 13 people including family members, regional leaders and grantee partners. The CEO will lead a growing staff team including a management team with three direct reports. 

TRAVEL & LOCATION

MRBF now operates as a completely remote workplace, with co-working spaces available to staff in all locations. Candidates can be located anywhere in our 11-state footprint in the Southeastern U.S. but must be able to travel by plane regionally and nationally.

In the first year to 18 months, we anticipate the need for the new CEO to travel extensively to meet with grantees and other partners, as well as participate in regional and national gatherings.

COMPENSATION & BENEFITS 

$275,000-$285,000 commensurate with experience. 

The Foundation works to foster a supportive environment where all staff an thrive. Our team pays careful attention to organizational culture, devoting time for reflection and relationship building. The office closes for two weeks each year for our hardworking team to recharge without using vacation days. We offer generous benefits, including retirement contributions, health, and dental coverage, and we allow staff to work from anywhere in our 11-state Southeastern United States footprint.  

The Foundation provides access to remote office space and reimbursement for home office expenses for all staff.

COMMITMENT TO EQUITY 

The Babcock Foundation is committed to providing equal employment opportunities for all employees and applicants and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, whistleblower status, or any other category protected by state or federal law. We strongly encourage people with traditionally marginalized identities to apply. 

We strive to eliminate structural racism in all our work and within our organization. Toward this commitment we seek to:

  • Develop an organizational culture grounded in authenticity and empathy, that nurtures the efficacy and wellbeing of all staff, particularly staff of color.

  • Enhance our ongoing learning about white supremacy and the challenges of structural racism, and sharpen our board and staff members’ racial equity competencies.

  • Develop a strong race-forward intersectional lens to understand how discrimination against other aspects of one’s identity can inhibit opportunity, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, geography and ability.

  • Build a staff and board that reflect the demographics of our diverse region, with people of color in leadership roles.

  • Regularly review our policies, staffing structure and operations to align them with best practices.

TO APPLY OR REFER CANDIDATES 

Strategies for Social Change® LLC (SSC) is conducting the MRBF search and leadership transition process. SSC is a woman of color owned and led capacity building and leadership development practice dedicated to working with social justice organizations. Referrals to potential candidates or other inquiries may be directed to ceosearch@mrbf.org

MRBF is committed to the full inclusion of all qualified individuals. As part of this commitment, we will ensure that persons with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations. If reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in the job application or interview process, please contact ceosearch@mrbf.org upon submitting your application.

Applications will be held in confidence and should be submitted electronically as a single PDF with the following components:

1. A cover letter that addresses the following questions: 

  • Why are you interested in working with MRBF?
  • How are your past accomplishments relevant to this position?
  • What skills and attributes do you believe you would bring to the position of CEO?

2. A resume
3. Three references from a past supervisor, past supervisee and third professional contact with email addresses and phone numbers. References will not be contacted until the finalist stage and candidates will have an opportunity to notify references in advance.

Please submit your application as a single PDF to ceosearch@mrbf.org. Applications will be accepted until February 28, 2022. Selected applicants will be contacted for interviews with the Leadership Transition Committee, which will take place virtually due to COVID-19. No phone inquiries, please.