Durham, NC

Executive Director, Laughing Gull Foundation

The Organization

Committed to Justice. Rooted in the South.

Laughing Gull Foundation (LGF) is a progressive family foundation based in Durham, North Carolina. LGF was founded in 2012 and plans to spend out all assets by 2036 in the service of three strategic goals: the advancement in the South of LGBTQ equality, higher education in prison, and climate and environmental justice; the growth of progressive philanthropy in the South; and the sustaining of a vibrant internal learning community. LGF currently grants $4.5 million annually in primarily multi-year, general operating grants, with the aim to reach $6 million a year by 2022 and maintain that pay out level until we complete our work and pass the torch.

To learn more about Laughing Gull Foundation, visit https://www.laughinggull.org.

Position Overview

About the Opportunity

The Board of Directors seeks an Executive Director who is an energetic and empathetic leader to guide and manage the next chapter of LGF’s impact. In our first decade, LGF has laid the groundwork for our contributions to social and environmental justice in the South. We have established a strategic plan, grantmaking strategies, internal policies, values-aligned investing, and a fantastic Staff. We have made over $19 million in grants, developed strong relationships and networks, and created an internal culture that is highly relational and intentional. We are poised to take our work to the next level both internally and externally and are looking for the right person to take us there. LGF’s next ED will work out of our newly built-out offices in downtown Durham, North Carolina. They will be a strong internal manager and external organizer. The successful candidate will utilize their high-level leadership, emotional intelligence, and management skills to lead LGF in advancing justice in the South.

Essential Qualifications    

The successful candidate will be an energetic champion of LGF’s vision and goals, and a high functioning capable leader of Staff and Board. They will possess the following essential qualifications:

Strategic Experience and Leadership

  • Executive-level leadership experience within the nonprofit sector, with a preference towards experience within philanthropy.
  • Extensive knowledge of and/or direct experience granting money. Acute analysis of the philanthropic sector, specifically in the South.
  • Deep knowledge of racial equity and social justice principles and practices, with experience in organizational implementation.

Internal Organizational Leadership

  • Demonstrated ability to provide thought leadership, and to inspire and motivate Staff and Board members.
  • Proven management, planning, administrative, and supervisory skills, particularly with a small team of under 10 Staff members.
  • Experience working with a Board of Directors, and an understanding of the unique qualities of a family foundation.

Financial Leadership

  • Experience developing and monitoring an annual budget of $5+M in operations and grants.
  • Experience overseeing the financial systems of a nonprofit organization.

Programmatic Leadership

  • Successful experience implementing and reviewing programmatic, ideally grantmaking, strategies.
  • High-level skills in, and enjoyment of, building working relationships with a broad range of leaders and organizations.
  • Demonstrated ability to build and engage in collaborative partnerships.

Personal Qualities

  • Lived experience of the issues LGF addresses, and of the South.
  • Ability to lead with empathy and compassion.
  • Positive attitude and sense of humor.
  • Patience and commitment to see work through that is long-term by nature.
  • Relationship-focused with the courage to lead and push boundaries on issues critical to LGF.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal and conflict resolution skills. An active listener.
  • Highly motivated, organized, creative, self-directed, and flexible.

Compensation and Benefits

The salary range for the Executive Director position is $170,000 – $190,000, along with a robust and competitive benefits package.

How To Apply

Laughing Gull Foundation has retained Morten Group, LLC to conduct this search.

Applicants should email a cover letter and resume in PDF format to executivesearch@mortengroup.com with the subject line “Laughing Gull Foundation – Executive Director Search.” Cover letters will be evaluated as a writing sample and should include the applicant’s salary requirements. Application materials must be directed to the email address above. No phone calls, please. For best consideration, applications should be received by Monday, September 20, 2021. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

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