June 25, 2019 – Executive recruitment firm Bridge Partners has been enlisted to find the next president and chief executive officer for the Denver Foundation, Colorado’s largest community foundation. Partners Janet Albert and Larry Griffin are leading the assignment.
The Denver Foundation hopes to have a new leader in place this summer. The group’s previous leader, Christine Marquez-Hudson, abruptly stepped down last summer. Former board chair and trustee Virginia Bayless was tapped to serve as interim president.
Bridge Partners, which is based in New York City, has been working closely with the non-profit’s search committee, composed of current and former members of the board of trustees and a staff member representative, to conduct a broad search.
“Our goal is to select the very best candidate to lead and honor the historical work of the Denver Foundation, while advancing systems, processes and programs that will help us to better serve communities, donors, team members, and partners,” said trustee Nita Mosby Tyler, co-chair of the executive search committee.
“Our national search will model important components of racial equity,” said trustee Betsy Mangone, co-chair of the search committee. “As a first step, we intentionally selected a search firm rooted in diversity and inclusion. Bridge Partners will help us shape a process that will be representative of all of our stakeholder groups, and examine a slate of diverse candidates as we make this important decision.”
The Denver Foundation and Bridge Partners have conducted focus groups with a range of community stakeholders across sectors, including leaders of non-profit organizations, professional advisors, philanthropists, and government leaders. Feedback from these focus groups have informed the leadership profile for prospective candidates and a job description for the incoming president and CEO.
The president and CEO is accountable for leading the organization in pursuit of its mission, including executive leadership of the foundation, its grant-making, investments and initiatives, stewardship of its current and future donors, and ensuring its financial health and sustainability, said Bridge Partners. The CEO works closely with the board of trustees and the foundation’s 52 staff members.
Priorities of the position include: updating and implementing the core vision to inspire staff, board, donors and the community, including development of a new strategic plan; convening and collaborating with all community constituents to achieve impactful solutions to problems facing the most vulnerable in the Metro Denver region; continuing a strong focus on diversity, inclusiveness and racial equity within the foundation, and in the community while bringing new voices to the table; and diversifying and growing the donor base, working closely with current donors and growing unrestricted assets.
Candidates should have a minimum of 10 years of senior executive management experience, said Bridge Partners. Also required is executive and strategic leadership experience in a community foundation, other grant-making foundation or large/complex nonprofits. Private sector prospects should be service-oriented and have experience sitting on boards and volunteering in their communities.
Other qualifications include: experience as a fundraiser with a track record of building innovative and lasting partnerships and growing diverse donor bases from a variety of sources; familiarity with the latest thinking on community foundation structure, purpose, financial model and trends; experience in, or deep understanding of, investment management and complex financial administration; and experience working in a community setting and being responsive to community needs.
Why Recruiters Center On Fundraising Skills
Organizations nationwide are under pressure to find leaders who can act as de facto chief fundraisers – and recruiters are in lock step to find talent to satisfy the demand. These leaders need to be strategic thinkers who can motivate the stakeholders whose philanthropy pulls everything together.
A graduate degree in administration or business administration, graduate degree, or other post-graduate work is preferred. Relevant work experience may be substituted for undergraduate and graduate degrees.
With more than $800 million in total assets, including an endowment of $125 million and a 94-year history, the Denver Foundation is one of the largest and most experienced community foundations in the Rocky Mountain region. It provides services for seven counties in Metro Denver. The foundation serves three roles: working with community leaders to address the core challenges facing the region; stewarding its endowment to meet current and future needs for Metro Denver; and managing charitable funds on behalf of individuals, families and businesses.
Bridge Partners, founded in 2003, is a minority-owned business that has a focus on diversity, inclusion and equity. Bridge Partners conducts searches for for-profit companies and non-profit organizations both nationally and internationally. Based in New York, with offices in Washington, D.C., and Boston, the firm’s clients include GE, TIAA-CREF, Colgate, YMCA, Novartis, Starbucks, Habitat for Humanity and the Federal Reserve System.
Ms. Albert leads Bridge Partners’ U.S. non-profit practice and works on senior-level search assignments for foundations, government and non-profit organizations, across all functions, including executive directors/CEOs and their leadership teams. Her clients range from private, community and family foundations, to economic development organizations, to both large national and local non-profits. Ms. Albert has been in executive search for over 20 years.
Mr. Griffin, a co-founder of the firm, partners with clients on leadership assignments within the private, federal/public and nonprofit sectors. He has been in executive search for nearly 30 years and has recruited diverse leaders across multiple functions from CEO/executive directors/presidents, to functional heads including chief financial officer, chief marketing officer, chief information officer, chief strategy officer and their teams.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media