Chicago, IL

Chief Operating Officer, The Joyce Foundation

The Organization

The Joyce Foundation (Joyce) is a private, nonpartisan philanthropy that invests in public policies and strategies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region. Joyce supports policy research, development, and advocacy in six program areas: Culture, Democracy, Education & Economic Mobility, Environment, Gun Violence Prevention & Justice Reform, and Journalism. The Foundation focuses its grant making primarily in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin, while also exploring promising, evidence-informed policy solutions nationally and at the federal level.

Position Overview

Joyce seeks nominations and applications for the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer (COO). After a recent review of finance, operations, and governance functions, this new position was created to bring together essential functions/teams into one unit. This new position will be responsible for leading this integration for greater synergies and efficiencies.

Reporting to the President and working in close partnership with the Chief Investment Officer and other members of the senior leadership team, the COO will build and steward strong, integrated systems and practices in support of the Foundation’s mission. This person will be a strategic thinker and proven implementer in bringing about organizational, technical, and service enhancements, and leading change across organizations. The COO will lead and work closely with a dedicated team responsible for finance, grants management, technology and information management, facilities, and talent and culture to continually strengthen the Foundation’s internal systems for impact, agility, and sound stewardship. The COO will also serve as Secretary to the Board of Directors, performing delegated fiduciary responsibilities on behalf of the Board. Past experience working inside philanthropic institutions and collaborating with internal and external stakeholders are crucial along with the ability to inspire and manage high-performing teams. Along with the executive management team, the COO will help to advance the Foundation’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, reflecting Joyce’s core values in all aspects of the Foundation’s work.


Ensuring the effective functioning of Finance, Grants Management, Technology and Information Management, Facilities, and Talent and Culture, the COO can expect to engage in the following responsibilities:

Operationalize and Optimize Strategy Implementation Across the Organization

  • Bring a sophisticated understanding with an organization-wide leadership lens on where/how to maximize efficiencies and strengthen systems across the organization.
  • Assess enterprise-wide risks and set parameters for risk mitigation; identify financial, operational, and compliance gaps and fill those gaps with best-in-class practices from the philanthropic sector, combined with Joyce’s internal wisdom, to support mission achievement.
  • Establish and consistently communicate organizational priorities as part of Joyce’s executive management team and ensure alignment and cross-cutting integration of ideas, problem solving, and execution of work.
  • Provide insights and leadership to the ongoing improvement of organizational systems, structures, policies, and talent to enable the highest level of programmatic quality and effectiveness.

Integrate and Strengthen Financial, Operational and Compliance Functions

  • Ensure that efficient systems, processes, and practices are in place to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Foundation’s mission; develop plans for high-quality, cost-effective maintenance, development and implementation of services, systems, and tools to support effective grant making, legal and policy compliance, and overall organizational effectiveness of the Foundation.
  • Lead, in partnership with the Controller, all aspects of financial oversight including planning and budgeting, accounting, audit, corporate filing, and compliance. Provide financial systems and tools for generating real-time forecasts, supporting sound business decisions, providing philanthropic support, and building capacity to review programs from a budgeting perspective.
  • Maintain subject matter expertise of, advise, and ensure foundation-wide compliance on a broad range of corporate, employee, regulatory, and compliance matters; promote training, processes, procedures, and controls to mitigate compliance risk as needed.
  • Provide for operational policies that align with organizational values, reflect best practices, and guide consistent practices, spanning vendor management, talent management, and other organizational functions.
  • Oversee the integration and functioning of Finance, Facilities, Grants Management, Technology and Information Management, Talent and Culture, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives.
  • Provide general contractual oversight and coordinate external legal counsel and support as required to address the Foundation’s needs.
  • Participate in all Board meetings and serve as Secretary to the Board, performing delegated fiduciary responsibilities on behalf of the Board.

Steward Culture and Ongoing Organizational Development

  • Model through own leadership and support a culture in which all team members feel valued and recognized as vital to advancing the Foundation’s mission and goals and are encouraged to grow professionally.
  • In partnership with the President and executive management team, take a highly visible leadership role to offer an inclusive approach to contributing to a trusting and collegial organizational culture.
  • Establish short- and long-term goals, develop strategies and plans, and facilitate change management activities to ensure organizational alignment with Joyce’s strategic direction.
  • Develop programs and practices to support individuals and teams, manage work allocation, provide performance feedback and professional development, and support positive team dynamics.
  • Display the skills, sensitivity, and personal confidence to tap into the power that each member of the team brings to the mission.


The ideal candidate will be deeply committed to Joyce’s mission and understand the critical role that philanthropy plays in advancing social change. While no one person will embody all the qualities enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

  • A minimum of 10 years of strategic leadership and career growth in finance, operational and compliance functions at a similarly complex philanthropic organization.
  • Demonstrated track record of delivering quality services, organizational improvements, and excellence in strategic, organizational, and budget management along with outstanding stewardship of financial, physical, and human resources.
  • Demonstrated body of work that reflects a commitment to organizational excellence and efficiency, servant leadership, management of collaboration and effective teamwork, and promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Clear strategic and operational vision and exceptional skill in synthesizing information and translating vision into action steps for the long and short term.
  • Demonstrated resourcefulness in setting priorities, navigating change management, and proposing new ways of achieving desired outcomes with inclusive approaches to planning, problem solving, and decision making.
  • Combined experience, maturity level, and flexibility to interact with a broad set of stakeholders, including the Board of Directors, executive management, and staff across the organization.
  • Exceptional oral and written communication skills including the demonstrated ability to research, synthesize, and analyze information, compose documents, and present data in a clear and concise manner to appropriate personnel, including top management, program staff, and Board of Directors.
  • Highly developed facilitation, coaching, and engagement skills; comfort with managing diverse group dynamics and leading toward common desired outcomes.
  • Highly developed emotional intelligence and demonstrated ability to use interpersonal skills and political acumen in respectful, collaborative, and diplomatic ways.
  • A strong, intuitive communicator, skillful at managing through influence; demonstrated ability to connect and inspire across stakeholder groups.
  • Passion for the mission-driven sector and the role philanthropy can have in addressing some of society’s most challenging problems.
  • Experience with nonprofits, foundations, and working directly with a private foundation Board of Directors a plus.

How To Apply

More information about The Joyce Foundation may be found at:

This search is being conducted with assistance from Linh Nguyen and Emily Wexler of NPAG. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s website.

The Joyce Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and proudly values diversity. We encourage candidates of all backgrounds to apply.

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