Concord, North Carolina

Executive Director, The Cannon Foundation

The Organization


Established in 1943, The Cannon Foundation is a private, charitable foundation that continues the philanthropic legacy and donor intent of Charles A. Cannon. Mr. Cannon had a head for business and a heart for the people of North Carolina.  He served as President and CEO of Cannon Mills Company for more than fifty years and demonstrated his unwavering commitment to the state by funding capital and infrastructure projects for healthcare, higher education and community nonprofit organizations. In 2019, the Foundation provided 169 grants for a total of $10,691,500.

The Foundation is part of the Cannon Charitable Interests along with the Charles A. Cannon Charitable Trusts and the Mariam and Robert Hayes Charitable Trust.

Position Overview

The Leadership Opportunity

The Cannon Foundation, one of North Carolina’s premiere statewide grant-making foundations, seeks a thoughtful, proven professional with an innate understanding and appreciation for North Carolina’s citizens, resources, and cultural heritage, demonstrated philanthropic leadership, and management abilities.

The next Executive Director will possess the following:

1.      Exceptional interpersonal skills.

2.      The capacity to  work with people from wide-ranging backgrounds.

3.      Communication and consensus building skills to assess and respond to the needs of the Board, staff, the community, and stakeholders.

4.      Focus on the long-term objectives of the Foundation while balancing strategic and tactical responsibilities.

5.      The ability to represent the Foundation with vital constituencies in North Carolina and a unique focus on capital funding initiatives in education, healthcare and human services.

Major Responsibilities

The Executive Director reports to the Board Of Directors and has primary responsibilities for the following areas:

1.      Provides leadership, direction, and management of the Cannon Foundation’s operations and administrative coordination with the Charles A. Cannon Charitable Trust and the Mariam & Robert Hayes Charitable Trusts.

2.      Employs, manages, supervises, and evaluates all staff members; mentors and leverages the strengths of the staff to position them for growth while maintaining a team culture; and oversees the staff with a focus on programs, policies and grant making procedures.

3.      Ensures the strategic development and implementation of the Foundation’s mission, bringing clarity, vision, values, and exceptional stewardship to enhance grantmaking.

4.      Coordinates the development, implementation, and assessment of the philanthropic giving strategies and evaluation framework for board review to achieve targeted, result-oriented outcomes.

5.      Identifies and monitors trends and emerging philanthropic and community issues, to develop recommendations, and set priorities that inform the Board.

6.      Works closely with the Board of Directors to support a strong model of governance, and engages the board on issues related to strategy, values, reputation, communications, community impact, and collaborations.

7.      Develops and maintains strong, positive working relationships and networks with partners, professional advisors, philanthropic and grantee organizations.

8.      Has a clear understanding of the implicit power dynamics inherent between foundations and grantees and the ability to create meaningful, balanced relationships and collaborations based on common values.

9.      Serves as the chief spokesperson for the Foundation and a voice of the organization.

 Hiring Requirements and Attributes

  • Passion, vision, inspiration, and enthusiasm for preserving the legacy and donor intent of Charles A. Cannon and the mission of the Foundation.
  • Creative leadership and the ability to work closely with the Board of Directors to develop an agenda that addresses short- and long-term goals relevant to the Foundation’s defined mission.
  • Significant senior-level or executive experience in philanthropy, foundations, or nonprofits, with at least 10 years of professional leadership experience.
  • An understanding of North Carolina’s complex landscape.
  • A calm and effective nonpartisan relationship builder with various constituencies including the Board, the staff, higher education and healthcare professionals, and other foundations to support the goals and direction of the Foundation.
  • An extensive track record of management, operations, fiscal affairs; a working knowledge of budgets, finances, strategic planning, and tax issues; and a knowledge of information technology systems.
  • Exceptional and intelligent listening skills with the ability to think broadly, critically, strategically, and conceptually with an understanding of public policy issues and strategic developments.
  • A mature perspective on wealth and experience working with people of wealth.
  • Appreciation of the staff’s skills and talents, willing to serve as a role model to ensure that staff and Board of Directors meet high ethical standards of conduct and fiduciary duty.
  • Sense of humor with humility, unquestionable integrity, and moral character.
  • Residence in Cabarrus County, NC.

Compensation: $250,000 range, that is commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits included.

How To Apply


Armstrong McGuire & Associates, based in Raleigh, NC is conducting this search. To apply, click on the link to The Cannon Foundation position profile at   You will see instructions for uploading your cover letter, resume and professional references. Finalists will be asked to provide a writing sample.  In case of any technical problems, contact Review of candidates will begin immediately and continue through the application deadline of May 31, 2020.


The Cannon Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer. 

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