Chicago, IL

Foundation President and CEO, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

The Organization

The Opportunity
The ELCA Foundation President and CEO
Location: Chicago, IL
Reporting Relationship: The Board of Trustees of the ELCA Foundation

The ELCA Foundation, with $1 billion in assets under management, is a mission-critical separately incorporated ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) that offers, promotes, administers, and oversees endowment, deferred giving, life income, and similar planned giving programs for individual donors, congregations, synods, the churchwide organization, and related institutions and agencies in support of ELCA ministries.

The Foundation’s Board of Trustees seek an experienced and inspirational leader to implement its ambitious strategic vision to grow a culture of intentional generosity and financial stewardship among the 3,000,000 members of the ELCA. By enhancing gifting capacity and professionally stewarding resources in collaboration with all the expressions of the Church, the Foundation seeks to substantially increase its assets under management over the next five years in order to support and sustain ELCA ministries.

There are four key priorities to be addressed in enabling this vision: 1) stabilizing and strengthening organizational infrastructure to deliver best in class services to the current client base and prepare the Foundation for future growth; 2) align investment asset management strategies to support growth and meet client demands; 3) determine the optimal fund raising structure to maximize opportunities for increasing assets under management, with the core planned giving services; and 4) work collaboratively within the broader ELCA community to strengthen the awareness of and confidence in the Foundation as the preferred partner for managing individual, congregational and partner assets.

The ideal candidate will understand the privileged position of the Foundation within the broader Lutheran community as the multiple expressions of the ELCA work to support the faith communities of 3,000,000 members. The candidate will work collaboratively with the ELCA, its Conference of Bishops and all its separately incorporated ministries. The candidate should have the skill and experience to think and act wholistically across lines of individual responsibility as the work of the Foundation impacts the work of the church, congregations, synods, agencies, and institutions. The ELCA executes annual fundraising for specific mission critical works and campaigns, separate from the Foundation. The Foundation and ELCA work closely together on resource development, and share information services, and other administrative resources. A willingness to acknowledge and embrace a matrix organizational relationship and work within and across ministries will be essential.

The ELCA Foundation
The ELCA Foundation (Foundation) offers opportunities for congregations and institutions of the ELCA to invest in its Ministry Growth Fund, and provides for the accounting, administration and financial reporting of assets and activities. The Foundation is governed by a 15-member Board of Trustees with separate committees for Investments, Audit, Marketing & Development, Finance and Governance.

  • The Foundation’s vision is to achieve a thriving ministry that develops a culture of intentional generosity and financial stewardship to expand the work of the ELCA.
  • The Foundation’s mission is: To support and sustain ELCA ministries by enhancing gifting capacity and stewarding resources.

In alignment with this mission, the Foundation raises long term assets, oversees its investments, manages, and stewards these funds according to the purposes of its stakeholders: investors, synods and congregations. The ELCA Foundation does not independently distribute grants to charitable or mission-based causes; it acts as a fiduciary to ensure that the distribution of income is directed to its designated purpose.

The ELCA Foundation President and CEO is responsible for enabling a seamless execution of the Foundation’s responsibilities under Chapter 17.60 of ELCA’s Constitution and By-Laws and related Continuing Resolution. The President/CEO is responsible for establishing an efficient and effective Foundation infrastructure; hiring and managing staff; overseeing the investment, management and reporting of assets entrusted to the Foundation’s care; ensuring compliance with local, state, and federal regulatory requirements; and growing assets under management to advance the ELCA mission. The President/CEO is also responsible for continuing and facilitating the interface, discussions, and updates to the Churchwide Organization to ensure the Foundation’s alignment with the missions and vision of the ELCA, including regular and ongoing communication with the Bishop of the ELCA., who serves as a member of the Foundation Board of Trustees.

The Foundation is one of three (3) separately incorporated entities of the ELCA, created to fulfill specific financial missions of the Church. The others are the Mission Investment Fund (MIF) [], which provides loan capital to congregations for physical asset development), and Portico Benefit Services [], which manages the health and pension benefit programs of the ELCA (and provides asset management services for a portion of the Foundation’s investments).

Position Overview

Key Responsibilities

  • Provide inspired leadership of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and staff within the Foundation and as part of the larger ELCA team.
  • Lead the Foundation team of 25 gift planning professionals, and approximately 25 other supporting professionals based in Chicago, across the United States to manage close to $1 Billion in assets.
  • Work with the Board of Trustees to develop and ensure practices and processes embody the Foundation’s vision, mission, and values, as well as implementation and further development of the Foundation’s long-term strategic plan
  • Demonstrated understanding of and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion of those that are newer, younger, and more diverse.
  • Work with the Board of Trustees to establish operating and budget plans that advance strategy, allocate capital to the Foundation’s priorities, and protect the Foundation’s assets.
  • Develop, model, and nurture a culture reflecting the Foundation’s values and standards of excellence that promote great performance and positive morale.
  • Oversee finance, investment, stewardship and planned and major giving functions operations –to ensure strategic outcomes, and fiscal requirements and responsibilities.
  • Set, implement, and oversee fiduciary standards of excellence in the investment and care of assets entrusted to the Foundation.
  • Oversee adherence to legal guidelines and in-house policies to maintain the foundation’s legal obligations and business ethics, as a separately incorporated ministry of the ELCA.
  • Provide leadership and direction to the Foundation’s marketing and business development, customer services, financial accounting, and internal control activities.
  • Provide semi-annual reports to Board of Trustees on the Foundation’s operations, growth, and progress to goals on strategic objectives.
  • Build, develop and coach a strong, high-performing executive team, ensuring succession and leadership of the Foundation.
  • Build alliances and partnerships with other organizations both within and outside of ELCA that will enhance the quality of the Foundation’s work, vision, and mission.
  • Serve as the primary spokesperson for the Foundation.
  • Execute such other responsibilities as set by the Board of Trustees

Experience and Professional Qualifications

  • Minimum of eight years of progressively responsible experience relevant to the responsibilities of the position.
  • Bachelor’s degree: Master’s in a relevant discipline is a plus, as are other accreditations.
  • At least seven years’ experience and proven success in a senior leadership position.
  • Strong Christian faith and active membership in or association with a Church that is in communion with the ELCA; ELCA membership is preferred.

Additional Skills, Experiences, and Attributes Desired

  • An entrepreneurial mindset, with outstanding organizational and leadership skills.
  • Financial asset management and investment background, with strong knowledge of product and services creation, implementation, and revenue management.
  • Experience in business development, fundraising, fund development, major gifts or gift planning.
  • Experience in operations management, including marketing communications, publications, and data analytics.
  • Proven experience in developing and implementing strategies and achieving/exceeding goals, especially in matrixed organizational structures.
  • Understanding of financial management and budgeting, including profit and loss, balance sheet, and cash flow management.
  • Executive presence, with the ability to inspire confidence and create trust.
  • Demonstrated critical/strategic thinking skills and effective decision-making.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills with internal and external constituencies, including strong public speaking skills.
  • Strong team orientation.
  • Influence, consensus, and relationship building among executives, partners, and the workforce.
  • Ability to work under pressure, plan personal workload effectively, and delegate.
  • Experience with fiduciary board governance; and
  • Discernment and discretion concerning confidential matters

How To Apply

To Apply
The ELCA Foundation invites all nominations and applications for the position of President & CEO. Please send your resume to

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