Minneapolis, MN

Communications Director, The McKnight Foundation

The Organization

The McKnight Foundation is a 4th-generation family foundation that utilizes financial resources, credible influence and strategic communications to address on some of the most complex, urgent and consequential challenges and opportunities of our time. Founded 60 years ago and headquartered in Minnesota, The Foundation had assets of over $2 billion and gave about $88 million in grants in 2014.

The Foundation’s comprehensive approach includes grantmaking, collaboration across issues and sectors, research, mission-related investing, and policy reform.  Our program areas reflect generations of diverse interests and experience. Program interests include regional economic and community development, impact investing, arts and artists, early literacy, youth development, Midwest climate and energy, Mississippi River water quality, neuroscience,  international crop research, and community-building in Southeast Asia. Over half of our grantmaking supports efforts in our home state. At home and around the world, quality relationships and deep understanding of place inform how we learn and adapt to changing circumstances.

As part of its Strategic Framework, the Foundation has increased its focus on knowledge sharing and strategic communications, and its use of a broad range of media.  Through its communication function, McKnight has a strong institutional voice and equips and supports a broad range of staff to use communications to advance our goals. For example, in addition to a Foundation presence on social media, several senior leadership team members and program staff members utilize twitter and other social media to communicate McKnight Foundation news, perspectives, and key initiatives.

Position Overview

Serving as a member of the five-person senior leadership team and reporting directly to the president, the communication director leads the Foundation’s strategic and operational communications efforts. The communications director supports the Foundation’s goals, strategies, and points of view by framing and helping to convey them to relevant internal and external audiences. The communications director devises and implements communications strategies for McKnight, develops content, and acts as lead media contact. The communications director supervises a communications officer and communications administrator to strengthen internal and external understanding of McKnight’s identity and impact, and to inform, engage, and influence key audiences.

Specific Responsibilities:
•Lead development of comprehensive communications strategy and develop annual goals and work plan.
•Assess new communications opportunities and vehicles, build in feedback and assessment, to determine most effective for Foundation over time.
•Develop content, and manage staff to produce all communications materials. (Including press releases, op-eds, executive summaries, reports, and social media).
•Foster relationships with editorial boards and individual reporters through direct contact and through op-ed suggestions or submissions. Creates or assists in production of public comments, speeches, and talking points for use by board and staff.
•Directs and manages the communications team budget and supervises the communications team staff members.
•Lead internal communication including coordination of quarterly board materials; support information and knowledge sharing within the Foundation.
•Provide or identify talent to work with individual programs on specific strategic communications.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities: 
•Demonstrated experience contributing on a strategic, managerial and operational level; as both a leader and a strong individual contributor.
•Stellar communication skills in writing; Ability to prepare clearly written articles, summaries and analysis. As well as edit and curate generated by others.
•Professional experience researching and writing about complex topics in a variety of lengths and formats, and for varied audiences.
•Quickly grasps complex issues; is able to distill key elements and convey those to multiple audiences.
•Experience with variety of social media vehicles, experience assessing fit to purpose.
•Strong time, budget, project management skills.
•Ability to quickly switch gears as urgent issues arise, display calm under pressure, and consistently meet deadlines.
•Ability to work effectively and collaboratively across organizational functions.
•Commitment to develop and guide adherence to defined technical, design, and language style standards.
•Ability to analyze, question and identify key issues and use data to support conclusions.
•Ability to view issues and challenges from multiple dimensions and apply intellectual energy and creativity.
•Ability to engage others and influence outcomes.
•Excellent verbal and listening skills. Ability to communicate effectively interpersonally and in group presentations.

Required Education and Experience:
In addition to the above knowledge, skills, and abilities requirements, the ideal candidate for this position will also possess:
•A degree in communications or a related field and a minimum of 10 years related full-time professional work experience in nonprofit, foundation, public relations or other for-profit business, with five or more years of managerial level experience, or a combination of equivalent education and experience.
•Experience working with a board of directors, preferably a family board.
•The ideal candidate will build on work done to date and bring new ideas to increase McKnight’s credible influence, leveraging the knowledge, experience, and insights of board, staff, and our large and vibrant cohort of grantees.


How To Apply

If you are interested in this opportunity please go The McKnight Foundation website to submit a thoughtful cover letter and resume. Inquiries should be directed to Bernadette Christiansen, VP of Administration at bchristiansen@mcknight.org

The McKnight Foundation will consider resumes as they are submitted until February 25, 2015. Resumes will not be accepted after February 25, 2015. We expect several steps in the selection process including interviews with key staff members and representatives of the board of directors.

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