Executive Director; The Libra Foundation

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Location San Francisco, CA

Reports to Family Board of Directors/Family Office Director

Our Client Founded in 2002, The Libra Foundation is a family foundation that has been based in Chicago, and is now moving its headquarters to San Francisco. The Libra Foundation is governed by a six-member family Board and has assets of approximately $205 million; over time, the Foundation will have a small (two to three person) staff. Over the past 14 years, The Libra Foundation has done significant grantmaking in progressive causes and movements, with a multi-generational family being closely involved with the Foundation, setting its strategy and interacting with many of the Foundation’s grantee partners. The Libra Foundation funds social and economic justice organizations that integrate human rights into their work, supporting national organizations and local and regional groups on matters of national significance. T

The Libra Foundation is particularly interested in the following areas:

  • Women’s rights, with an emphasis on reproductive rights and the elevation of women’s rights as human rights
  • Environmental justice, with a focus on human rights, promoting social justice, and mitigating the impacts of climate change
  • Social justice and drug policy reform, with an emphasis on:
    • Government accountability, specifically addressing detention standards, secret criminal proceedings and illegal monitoring, and the concentration of executive branch authority
    • Field-building to support the development of a global human rights movement through the application of a human rights framework to advance specific policy goals, education and training
    • Fair application of the law in order to support due process, immigration and economic justice
    • Drug policy reform efforts promoting legalization and decriminalization and medical research; efforts to reduce racial disparities in arrests and incarceration (including alternatives to incarceration); and U.S. foreign policy reform as it pertains to drug policy

The Foundation is entering a new chapter in its evolution; while the family remains very engaged in the work of the Foundation (and in this era, is ever more committed), the move of the Foundation to San Francisco marks the beginning of “Libra 2.0”. The Foundation will heighten its support of advocacy and civic engagement efforts, and seeks an Executive Director to guide the Foundation’s practice in response to current political challenges, leveraging the family’s philanthropic portfolio to highest advantage and deepest impact at this most needed moment.

Position Responsibilities The new Executive Director will play a variety of roles. The Executive Director will lead the grantmaking, convening and other activities of the Foundation as it evolves, serving as its chief spokesperson and ambassador. Initially, it will be important that the new Executive Director develop a collaborative and productive relationship with the Board and select and lead a small staff. Early on, the new Executive Director will assist the family in refining the Foundation’s mission, vision and strategy. The new Executive Director will help the family integrate the voices of grantees and other community partners into “Libra 2.0”. The Foundation also has a strong interest in mission-related investing, a body of work in which the Executive Director will have an interest and be involved on a regular basis.

Because The Libra Foundation’s family trustees are philanthropic through the Foundation and other vehicles, the Executive Director will use the knowledge of that giving to lead the staff in leveraging those activities in the pursuit of the Foundation’s goals. That said, The Libra Foundation’s Executive Director will be expected – and encouraged to be a social justice advocate in her or his own right. Specifically, the Executive Director’s responsibilities will include:


  • Providing leadership, information, and support that enhance the governance of The Libra Foundation
  • Hiring, leading and mentoring staff to ensure that the Foundation’s programs advance the organization’s mission and vision and achieve the desired impact set out in its strategic priorities
  • Establishing and maintaining positive relationships with an active Board of Directors, grantee partners and other funders, to effectively leverage and promote the Foundation’s reach and impact
  • Cultivating new relationships and strengthening existing ones with the Foundation’s key community stakeholders, including other private funders, public-sector leaders, nonprofit and foundation leaders, private sector partners and other opinion leaders; this function will be particularly important to position the Foundation in participating and leading funding collaboratives
  • Serving as an ambassador on behalf of The Libra Foundation in social justice philanthropy through representing the Foundation in private and public venues
  • Driving thought leadership perspectives and dissemination strategies to present clearly the work of the Foundation and its grantees to funders, other partners in the work and the community at large in contemporary ways Strategic Development and Management
  • Designing and leading processes for the family to refine its mission, vision and strategy, particularly at this critical political moment
  • Ensuring that the Foundation creates a flexible framework for giving, advocacy and other programmatic activities that can nimbly respond to changes in the external environment
  • Continually identifying opportunities for mission-related investing that advances the family’s broader agenda in field- and movement-building
  • Balancing creative and visionary thinking with operationally measurable and quantifiable implementation of The Libra Foundation’s strategy


  • Identifying field needs and developing appropriate foundation grantmaking priorities; working with the Board and staff to develop and implement the Foundation’s grantmaking and the family’s philanthropy
  • Collaborating with investment team on new funding approaches, including mission-related investing, social equity investing, and co-funding, among others
  • Lead the administration of the Foundation’s Spring and Fall grant cycles, directing the work of the staff with grantee partners to connect with the Board’s priorities Organizational and Financial Management
  • Ensuring the effective action of the Board in governing and overseeing Board affairs, working closely with the family members on all aspects of their collective and individual philanthropy
  • Advising, counseling and directing staff activities; ensuring staff team operates at a high professional level
  • Assiduously and intentionally ensuring that Libra 2.0 staff is a diverse one, representing a range of backgrounds, life experiences, skills and viewpoints; in short, a work environment that values integrity, transparency, equity and inclusion
  • Working with the family office, ensuring that The Libra Foundation sustains the highest level of effectiveness and efficiency through its people as well as through internal controls, budgeting and finance; in addition, ensuring that the annual audit is accurately prepared on an appropriate schedule and there are no significant management findings

Profile of the Successful Candidate The Libra Foundation seeks an entrepreneurial, effective social justice advocate and leader who is steeped in systemic change, strategic advocacy, organizational management and development, communication and consensus-building. The new Executive Director could come from a variety of leadership backgrounds; the successful candidate will have a demonstrable commitment to social justice, with experience in other fields, such as working in the public, private or philanthropic sectors. More specifically, The Libra Foundation seeks a seasoned professional who has:

  • Leadership experience in the foundation, nonprofit, public or private sector
  • Demonstrated success in working with boards and other private and public funders
  • Deep concern for underserved communities and a disposition to help build their leadership capacity and resilience
  • Knowledge of nonprofit infrastructure and policy environment
  • Understanding of the role and nuances of philanthropy in closely supporting grantee partners
  • Successful experience in grantmaking program development and board relations
  • Demonstrated ability to develop an efficient and effective organizational infrastructure
  • A communicative and collaborative approach, evidenced through strong written and oral skills as well as strong listening skills
  • An inclusive, consensus-building leadership style both in and out of the public spotlight that inspires others
  • Solid experience in quantifying and measuring the performance of organizations
  • A track record of effective and judicious deployment of financial resources
  • Strong integrity and a commitment to professional excellence, combined with values that wear well over the long term

Start Timeframe We seek to have someone in place by Spring 2017.

Compensation The Libra Foundation offers a competitive salary, commensurate with experience, along with an appropriate benefits package.

To Apply All applications are held in strict confidence. Please submit your credentials and a letter of interest via email to The 360 Group at: [email protected] Applications should be directed to the attention of Vincent Robinson, Managing Partner. No calls, please. To be considered, The 360 Group must receive applications no later than 5:00pm Pacific time on Thursday, March 9th, 2017.