Baton Rouge, LA

President & Chief Executive Officer, Baton Rouge Area Foundation

The Organization

By any assessment, Baton Rouge Area Foundation is an extraordinary institution. Led since 1988 by CEO John Davies, Baton Rouge Area Foundation has long been a force for progress in South Louisiana.

The Foundation is known throughout the region and beyond as a truly consequential resource. It enjoys a long-standing reputation for unparalleled vision and relentless execution, leveraging philanthropic resources in creative collaboration with others to achieve extraordinary results on behalf of the communities it serves.

During the incumbent CEO’s 33-year tenure, the Foundation’s assets have grown from $5 million to over $700 million. During the same period, the Foundation distributed over $550 million in grants. While financial numbers are just one measure of a community foundation’s relevance, these numbers are indicative of the singular difference Baton Rouge Area Foundation, its donors and its partners have made in pursuit of civic good.

BRAF is the largest community foundation in Louisiana and one of the largest in the country. It hosts some 600 donor funds and a diversified portfolio of investments in real estate, stocks and bonds, and Louisiana-based venture capital funds. Most of BRAF’s real estate is held in the Wilbur Marvin Foundation, a supporting nonprofit, and managed by Commercial Properties Realty Trust. Altogether, nine supporting organizations are included in BRAF’s consolidated financial reports.

Baton Rouge Area Foundation has a well-earned reputation for leadership and impact in South Louisiana. Much of that reputation is embodied in the incumbent CEO, John Davies, widely regarded as a singular leader and a true visionary. Davies himself would be the first to note that none of BRAF’s successes of the past decades have been accomplished by one person or one organization alone, as collaboration is at the center of everything BRAF does. Even so, the reality is that no one in the service area has worked with anyone else as CEO of BRAF, an anchor institution, and a successful CEO transition is widely seen as critical to the region’s future.

Position Overview

The leader invited to become BRAF’s next CEO will have the mandate to build on its exceptional reputation and significant resources, leveraging its full range of assets—human, reputational and financial—in resolute pursuit of a better region for all.

The first order of business for the next CEO, therefore, is to model a smooth succession, embracing BRAF’s rich history and considerable momentum while discerning the path from past successes to an equally ambitious future.

Among the next CEO’s key priorities will be a nuanced version of the following:

  • Embrace the unmet challenges of South Louisiana and, in consultation with staff, board, donors, partners and community stakeholders, develop a cogent strategy that leverages and enhances BRAF’s reputation for bold vision, tenacious execution and sustainable impact;
  • Deepen BRAF’s relationships with emerging philanthropists, emerging leaders, and emerging constituencies while embracing the long-term stakeholders who have made BRAF’s prior successes possible;
  • Marshal the energy of a diverse and inclusive organization to deliver a rich and operationally excellent experience for donors, grantees and community partners;
  • Challenge BRAF’s staff and donors, both current and potential, to ensure a stable, sustainable and aspirational future for all South Louisiana; and
  • Ensure that BRAF’s own house is in order, that staff have the resources, infrastructure and opportunities for professional development consistent with the strategy for impact in the larger community.

BRAF’s search committee is open to a variety of career paths. A record of genuinely impactful leadership across communities, organizations and sectors will be of particular interest, as will a contender’s creativity in addressing intractable issues. The committee will be interested in a prospect’s philanthropic experience, but foundation leadership experience is not itself a primary priority for consideration.

Competence: The Baton Rouge Area Foundation expects to appoint a CEO who is…

  • An accomplished executive with a rare blend of confidence and humility, a servant leader who knows when to take charge and when to take counsel.
  • Ambitious for the community
  • A highly creative problem-solver and connector, with the record to match
  • A leader equipped by professional involvement or lived experience to engage fully in issues of race and equity
  • Accustomed to leading in an environment of high expectations
    Multitalented and politically astute
  • An organizationally savvy entrepreneur adept at building relationships and teams; a natural collaborator
  • Intellectually alert and financially savvy, a passionate, persistent champion with superior listening skills
  • A leader who respects the power of proximity
  • A nurturing, accessible and empowering leader who supports staff development and donor engagement with equal fervor
  • Able to meet people where they are, even while challenging them to embrace transformation
  • A board-savvy leader, quick to engage, learn from, lead and challenge a board drawn from many quarters
  • Technologically current, ensuring staff have the tools and the infrastructure needed to achieve ambitious goals
  • An inviting champion for the mission, someone with a knack for attracting the financial and human resources to support bold goals; a leader adroit at expanding relationships with current and potential donors and attentive to staff development.

How To Apply

Learn more about this position in the Leadership Profile here:

For potential consideration or to suggest a prospect, please email or call Sam Pettway, Crystal Stephens, Patti Kish or Lysondra Somerville at 404-BoardWalk (404-262-7392).

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