Reporting to the Chicago Public Library Foundation (CPLF) Board of Directors, the Executive Director articulates a clear and compelling vision of the Foundation’s potential to shape lives in the City of Chicago through supporting key programs of Chicago Public Library (CPL). The position interacts with CPL leadership, CPLF staff and the general public in representing CPLF. The Executive Director defines, communicates, implements and champions a strategy that brings our vision to life. Our strategies target specific, aggressive financial outcomes and are designed to make a significant and lasting contribution to the viability and growth of CPL through funding gained from corporate, foundation, individual, government, endowments and other sources. Accountability to results is critical for the Executive Director’s success. The Executive Director must establish and expand productive, sustained relationships with existing and prospective high-potential donors across the funding community. Further, creating, overseeing, and maintaining budgets, strategies and a climate of fiscal accountability that support the Foundation and Library’s success is paramount. Planning and developing creative, meaningful campaigns that increase public awareness of CPL programs and opportunities to support the Library will be ongoing. The Executive Director serves as primary representative of the Foundation to the philanthropic, civic and business communities, and Chicago Public Library.
In collaboration with CPL leadership, define, communicate and lead achievement of a comprehensive fundraising strategy that targets specific, aggressive financial and philanthropic goals. Ability to create accountability at all levels of the organization is critical to achieve this goal.
Create and implement initiatives and events, that retain existing donors and increase their current giving levels while generating new donors across entire funding community (e.g., individuals, corporations, foundations, endowments, etc.).
Steward, maintain and expand the Foundation’s relationships with donors and prospective donors. Ensure timely and accurate donor reports, as well as acknowledgement and recognition.
Knowledgeably represent and inspire donor confidence in Library programs to donors, prospective donors, the public and other CPL and CPLF partners.
Develop and maintain a strong working relationship with CPL staff and Commissioner, and CPL Board.
Serve as an ex-officio member of the Foundation Board of Directors, advising and engaging the Board in governance, fiscal and development matters.
Plan and develop creative, meaningful events and campaigns that increase support for and access to high priority, innovative Library services.
Recruit, develop and mentor staff to create a high-performing team characterized by strong accountability to results, outstanding productivity and quality outcomes, as well as collaboration, creative problem-solving, mutual trust and open, honest communication.
Provide clear, consistent and ongoing direction to staff on individual and group objectives, goals, timelines, and expected outcomes/deliverables. Consistently appraise staff performance against goals, establish clear accountability, and define development/remedial plans where necessary.
Plan and execute a vision to achieve aggressive fundraising and public awareness goals for the Carl Sandburg Literary Dinner in collaboration with CPL. Supervise contract events team and vendors.
Lead Foundation’s Finance, Development and Administrative functions to assure outstanding donor and fiscal accountability. Evaluate and recommend vendors and consultants to carry out key functions and activities. Seek counsel as required on legal and regulatory issues to ensure ethical operations.
Regularly meet with Board of Directors, participate/attend community events and meetings, advocating for the Foundation and the Library in business, civic, philanthropic, and social activities.
Perform substantial work outside normal weekday hours, including travel, as needed to execute with excellence and complete time-critical projects.
Communicate honestly and straightforwardly with all Foundation, Library leadership staff and board members, maintaining productive professional relationships. Encourage others’ input and engage regularly in healthy discussion and debate. Acknowledge concerns and challenges as they arise and engage others in developing answers and solutions. Follow up promptly and effectively on all questions, issues and suggestions. Act with the poise, self-confidence, proactivity and professionalism of the Executive Director.
Other duties as assigned
Develop effective strategies, long- and near-term plans.
Think critically and apply best-practice leadership, management and negotiation skills to solve real-world challenges.
Make compelling public appearances and speeches/presentations to funders and key stakeholders. Projects a highly energetic and engaging persona while being thoroughly knowledgeable about the CPLF supported programs.
Actively engaged in the Chicago leadership, corporate, civic and philanthropic communities.
Extensive experience in all aspects of fundraising, volunteer motivation and management; staff management and empowerment, financial oversight and creative problem solving.
Possess the ability to inspire confidence in the Foundation and the Library. Possess outstanding communications skills and persuasive abilities in writing and speaking.
Make thoughtful and timely decisions; demonstrate self-confidence and political savvy to gain buy-in from Board, staff, funders and CPL; identify when consensus is/ is not required or productive.
Establish clear and agreed to roles and responsibilities with CPL and CPLF staff; hold self and staff accountable to outcomes.
Lead successful financial, HR and programming initiatives that build organizational effectiveness and maximize the Foundation growth.
Embraces collaboration and team work with a strong focus on measurable results.
Effectively participate in and help resolve team conflicts. Welcome differing points of view. Encourage and lead healthy discussions and debate. Act in and clearly establish Executive Director’s role as ultimate decision-maker.
Provide staff with latitude to work independently as appropriate; provide all contributors with information and direction needed to support strategic goals. Know where to draw boundaries. Maintain regular and meaningful communication with each staff member and with the staff as a group to review progress against goals, upcoming initiatives, personal concerns, development needs, etc.
Entrepreneurial mindset, creative problem solving, and a sense of humor required to thrive in a fun, fast-paced environment.
Bachelor degree required, master’s degree preferred. Ten to fifteen years of successful and proven leadership experience in multiple not-for-profit management, development and fundraising roles.
Please no phone calls, visits or emails. Submit applications and questions to email@example.com.
About Chicago Public Library Foundation
Established in 1986 as an independent, nonprofit organization, the Chicago Public Library Foundation (CPLF) is dedicated to enriching the collections, programs, and technology initiatives of the Library.