March 17, 2021 – LGBTQ-focused executive search firm McCormack+Kristel has been enlisted to find a new executive director for the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice (Astraea) in New York City. Astraea works exclusively to advance LGBTQI human rights around the globe. The charitable foundation supports grantee partners in the U.S and internationally who challenge oppression and seed change. Interim executive director Sandy Nathan has been leading the non-profit organization since 2019. “This is a time of transition and stabilization for this 40-plus year-old organization,” said McCormack+Kristel. “This is an exceptional opportunity for a leader to lay the foundation and build the infrastructure for what Astraea will be in its next decades, shaping the organization to meet this moment and beyond. The new leader will inherit a financially stable, mission-driven organization with a strong culture that is living its feminist social justice values.”
Astraea’s new executive director will be expected to build on the organization’s history to create a nimble, thriving and resilient organization that effectively and efficiently shifts power to LGBTQI people, said the search firm. In collaboration with board, staff, and key partners, the leader’s responsibilities will involve strategy, vision and leadership; organizational development; fundraising and fiscal stewardship; and communications and outreach. With staff, board, grantees, advisors and peers, the new executive director will be charged with developing and implementing a strategic plan that defines Astraea’s role in the global ecosystem of feminist funds and movements. In collaboration with regional and feminist funds, the individual will also be expected to enhance Astraea’s role in building LGBTQI movements and the philanthropic infrastructure.
The leader must also ensure that Astraea’s organizational structure supports the recent expansion of grantmaking and programs, while centering staff and reinforcing an anti-oppression frame, said McCormack+Kristel. The executive director will also be expected to advance racial, gender, disability and economic justice throughout the organization’s culture, structures, policies, and operations; dedicate resources and expertise to build a robust human resources department; and oversee the updating and integration of technology systems adequate to meet the needs of globally distributed organization. Enthusiastically leading and actively engaging in Astraea’s diverse fundraising efforts will also be critical.
The successful candidate must have a deep commitment to Astraea’s mission and values and to advancing gender, racial, disability, and economic justice, said McCormack+Kristel. The individual should have: executive or senior leadership experience, including experience managing remote teams; experience with non-profit organizational development, with proven success in building strong and effective teams and scaling operational infrastructure to support a growing organization; and strategic fundraising experience that includes cultivating individual and institutional donor relationships, and soliciting major gifts.
Prior experience working with a non-profit board and a demonstrable understanding of board development, governance and decision-making is also required. Candidates should have financial acumen to develop, track and manage a $14 million budget that includes restricted government contracts, foreign funds, complex investments, and fiscal sponsorships. Demonstrated experience leading the creation and implementation of strategic plans is also required, as are strong communications skills including the ability to effectively convey Astraea’s radical vision in accessible ways.
In response to public health guidelines concerning COVID-19, Astraea’s staff is currently working remotely. Ideally, when restrictions are lifted and congregant workplaces are deemed safe, the new executive director will work on-site in the foundation’s New York office; the board, however, is open to considering U.S.-based remote candidates. If selected, an executive director living outside of the New York metropolitan area will be expected to spend one week per month on-site in the New York office.
Established in 1977, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is one of the first women’s funds in the world and the only solely dedicated to LBTQI rights globally. As a LBTQI women’s fund, Astraea uniquely fuels groups at the nexus of feminist and LBTQI movements. Since its inception, the non-profit has granted over $49 million via more than 5,000 grants to over 2,000 grantee partners in 120 countries and nearly all 50 states in the U.S. Astraea’s mission is advanced by more than 30 staff in the U.S. and around the world. The organization has a budget of $14 million and a 13-person board of directors.
Veteran Search Consultants
McCormack+Kristel was started in 1993 as McCormack & Associates with the mission of recruiting senior leadership for the many research, advocacy and human services organizations growing exponentially in response to AIDS pandemic. Diversity recruiting has long been on the firm’s agenda.
With the advent of effective treatments for HIV/AIDS, and the diminishing needs of many of these organizations, the firm broadened its client base into areas like social justice; healthcare; women’s issues; higher education; gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender; civil rights; and more.
Four years ago, founding partner Joseph A. McCormack formed a new business partnership with Michelle Kristel, a former non-profit executive and an associate with the firm since 2013. The firm has offices in New York City and Palm Springs, CA. McCormack+Kristel clients have included the ACLU, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, TransForm, Planned Parenthood, SAGE and the Tides Foundation, among others.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media