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Executive Director, Private Foundation
Dunham Fund in Aurora, Illinois
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Date Posted 01/08/2018
Philanthropy-Senior/Executive Management
Employment Type Fulltime
Application Deadline Open until filled





Executive Director


Job Posting



Position:           Executive Director, Private Foundation

Organization:     Dunham Fund

Location:          Aurora, Illinois

Date Posted:


The mission of the Dunham Fund is to honor the legacy of John C. Dunham, Aurora area businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist.  In that spirit, the Fund supports organizations that work to make the world a safer and more comfortable place for mankind to live and prosper, giving special consideration to Aurora area organizations engaged in providing education and to organizations engaged in assisting individuals to attain heights they may not have attained without the benefit of such assistance. 


The Dunham Fund, established in 2006 upon the death of John C. Dunham, is a private foundation with assets of over $100 million and governed by a seven-member Board of Advisors.  Since our inception, our grantmaking has included grants and program related investments that have exceeded $35 million to more than 130 nonprofit organizations.


Our Executive Director will be retiring in the spring 2018.  The Executive Director is responsible for directing the overall program, staff and administrative activities of the foundation, working closely with the Board of Advisors and Trustee to execute the Fund’s vision and strategies. He or she will be accountable for the effective use of the financial and human resources of the organization, developing and overseeing a one million operational budget.


To succeed in this position, candidates must possess a Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 5 years’ experience in foundation or executive management.  An advanced degree is preferred.  An entrepreneurial spirit will be welcome!


We offer a competitive compensation package.


The job description is attached.


Candidates can send resumes and two professional letters of recommendation to: hsambucetti@dunhamfund.org



Duties and Responsibilities:


Program (50% of Time):

The Executive Director is responsible for overseeing all aspects of programming for the Dunham Fund, including:

  • Working with the Board to establish the Foundation’s general grantmaking focus and priorities.
  • Reviewing of grant applications and response to letters of inquiry. Advisors will be expected to refer requests for support and oral inquiries to the Executive Director.
  • Overseeing the preparation of Board of Advisors meeting agendas, minutes and grant proposal reviews and other matters requiring Board action.
  • Overseeing the preparation and presentation of special initiatives and reports to be considered for Board action.
  • Overseeing the conduct of public policy research related to community issues and future grant action.
  • Meeting with prospective applicants and discussing Foundation policies.
  • Conducting grant reviews and make recommendations for Board action.


Staff (20% of Time):

  • Managing the Foundation’s staff on a day-to-day basis, delegating responsibilities.
  • Hiring, performance evaluation, discipline and termination of employees.
  • Recommending staff salary increases for review and approval by the board.
  • Recommending modification to and implementing Board-approved personnel policies and practices.


Relations with Counsel (5% of Time):

  • Conferring with the Foundation Counsel on programs, projects and other matters requiring legal assistance.


Relations with Trustee (15% of Time):

  • Communicating with Trustee representatives regarding payments of all bills and grants to include

forwarding invoices, grant applications, and Board of Advisor meeting minutes in support of grant      payments.

  • Monitoring the work of the Foundation’s Investment Advisors and making certain that their reports are presented to the trustees semi-annually.


Public Relations (10% of Time):

  • Representing the Foundation at important public events and overseeing all formal communications with the media.
  • Coordinating social media, website maintenance and all media outlets for the communications.







The Dunham Fund is managed by a seven-member Board of Advisors most of whom were personally selected by John Dunham to fulfill his vision for the private foundation.  The board members are actively engaged in the management of the Dunham Fund consistent with the operation of most family foundations.  The Board of Advisors meet monthly and in collaboration with the Executive Director periodically refine the grantmaking priorities which the Executive Director is charged with carrying out.


The Executive Director of the Dunham Fund is responsible for directing the overall program, staff and administrative activities of the foundation. The E.D. should excel in the areas of Internal and External Leadership and Organizational Management.


Internal Leadership:

The Executive Director of the Dunham Fund (hereinafter referred to as the Fund) in collaboration with the Board of Advisors provides the vision, direction, inspiration and motivation necessary to ensure the Fund’s success in four areas:


  1. Mission Stewardship


Promote the Fund’s mission, effectively communicating and implementing it internally and externally


  1. Values and Ethical Standards Management


Responsibilities to the Board are, but not limited to:

  • In consultation with the Fund’s attorney and Board Chairman, assurance that Board activities are within the bounds of the Fund’s Trust Agreement, By-Laws and Policies.


  1. Identity Management


Responsibilities to the Board are, but not limited to:

  • Understanding of the history and documents that created the Fund and their relationship to the present-day realities of the Fund’s service area.
  • Periodic review and update of the current organization imperatives, priorities and initiatives.
  • With consultation, creation of a Dunham Fund “brand” and marketing strategy, including website development and electronic grant application process.
  • Oversight of the creation, preparation and distribution of the Fund’s Annual Report.
  • Representation of the Fund to reporters and media.
  • Service on the Board or Committees of local, regional and national associations of foundations.
  • Encouragement of improvement of philanthropic practices and accountability through public speaking and participation in meetings.
  • Participation in community activities.


  1. Board Relations

Responsibilities to the board are, but not limited to:

  • Assessment and utilization of board member skills and areas of expertise.
  • Implementation board strategic initiatives.
  • Arrangement of Board meetings including agenda and board material preparation in consultation with the Board Chairman.
  • Preparation of the draft of minutes of Board meetings with submission to the Board Secretary for final review and signature.
  • Communication to Board between meetings.
  • Implementation of Board directives.
  • Development and presentation of operational budget for Board approval.


Organizational Management:


The Executive Director of the Fund makes decisions that result in efficient and effective foundation functioning in five areas:


  1. Financial Management

Works with the board and staff to insure the alignment of financial policies and procedures with the Fund’s mission
Responsibilities to the Board are, but not limited to:

  • Oversight of operational budget.
  • In consultation with Board and Fund Trustee, determination that the Fund’s investment management and financial administration strategies are aligned with the Fund’s mission.
  • Financial management of the day-to-day operations of the foundation.
  • Scheduling of semi-annual Fund financial and investment management reports to the Board of Advisors.
  • Assurance that materials are prepared for the accountant and that the accountants report and tax returns are presented to the Board for review.


  1. Grantmaking Management


Implement grantmaking management strategies and systems that are effective and aligned with the Fund’s mission.
Responsibilities to the Board are, but not limited to:

  • Periodic review and update of scholarship and grantmaking applications,            materials, and procedures.           
  • Correspondence with all who make grant inquiries and applications to the Fund.
  • Site visits to grant applicants.
  • Preliminary review of grant letters of inquiry and applications, eliminating those not meeting Fund mission and grant criteria.  Presentation and ED Executive Summary of compliant grant requests facilitating Board action on invitations to apply and selection of grant recipients.
  • Preparation of all grant award letters assuring compliance with federal law and Board requirements.  Preparation of formal letters to the Fund trustee to release grant funding.
  • Grant monitoring and results evaluation.
  • Identification of opportunities to assist grantees in ways other than financial.
  • Identification of opportunities to work with other grant makers.


  1. Legal Issues Management

Communicate with foundation legal counsel legal matters relating the operations of the Fund.

Responsibilities to the Board are, but not limited to:

  • Monitoring of Fund compliance with regulatory bodies and relevant state and federal laws and regulations governing private foundations.


  1. Staff Management

Ensures that staff are properly selected, supported and guided for their professional development,
Responsibilities to the Board are, but not limited to:

  • Request for and active participation in an annual Executive Director’s performance review.
  • Hiring of staff and training and oversight of staff performance. Recommendations to the Board for additional staffing.  Periodic assessment of Fund office space and facilities.
  • Provision of educational opportunities for continued staff development.


Organizational Management (Continued):


  1. Accountability and Evaluation Management

Establish accountability standards and metrics that track the Fund’s effectiveness and impact.


External Leadership

The Executive Director of the Fund contributes to the dialogue, vision and direction of the pertinent global, national or local communities in four areas:


  1. Visionary Leadership:
    Contributes to the vision and leadership of the field of philanthropy and communicates this vision.
  2. Partnership Management:
    Works collaboratively with other private and public funders and grantees for greater social impact.
  3. Education and Public Engagement:
    Helps shape the agenda and decision making of government and other external stakeholders.
  4. Issue-Area Visionary Leadership:
    Contributes to the vision and leadership in the foundation’s focus areas and communicates this vision.

      For all four areas of External Leadership, responsibilities to the Board are, but not limited to:

  • Dunham Fund Membership at Forefront and use of its resources.
  • Research of other private foundations’ “best practices”.
  • Knowledge of current legislation affecting private foundations.
  • Maintenance of collaborative activities with the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley and other local funders.
  • Development of a local presence through community board, committee, and service club memberships, public speaking etc.
  • Advocating with national, regional and local regulatory and legislative bodies to promote policies that provide for the most effective operations and meaningful outcomes for private foundations.


Educational and Professional Competencies:

Bachelor’s Degree with at least 5 years experience in foundation or executive management.  Advanced degree preferred.  An entrepreneurial spirit is welcome!

*Please mention FoundationCareers to employers when applying for this job*
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