The Raikes Foundation was launched in 2002 by Seattle based philanthropists, Jeff and Tricia Raikes, with a focus on both “what” and “how” philanthropy funds. Specifically, the foundation has had a deep commitment to youth through its long-term work in education and youth homelessness, and to supporting funders to give in more impactful ways. Over the years, the foundation has also embarked on a journey to understand and deepen its commitment to racial equity and how it serves as a through-line across all the foundation’s work. Given the multi-crisis context the country is facing, as well as a deepening awareness of the inequities baked into the systems that are supposed to support all Americans, the foundation is deepening its work on equity and justice.
With leadership from Executive Director, Dennis Quirin, the Raikes Foundation is looking to build and maintain the foundation’s brand and reputation as well as expanding its impact though communications. With this exciting focus, NPAG and the Raikes Foundation invite nominations and applications for a Director of Communications.
Reporting directly to the Executive Director, the Director will first and foremost be a mission aligned partner, compelling storyteller, and gifted communicator who is intellectually curious and has the facility to write and speak about complex social issues and sectors in a way that inspires action. The Director will work within funder and partner coalitions that help identify and deliver on field-facing communications needs. And finally, the Director will also ensure the foundation has a consistent cadence of content that is relevant, equity-focused, persuasive, and engages the foundation’s key leaders, including the co-founders, to use their voices to advance the foundation’s mission.
The ideal candidate will be an experienced leader and collaborative team member, capable of deftly working within coalitions, managing resources, and ensuring a wide range of voices are featured and heard. Strong candidates will have a deep understanding of issue-based communications and a demonstrated track record for designing and implementing communications programs focused on impact in the field. The Director of Communications will effectively steward the communications assets in a small but dynamic and growing organization and bring a strategic outlook to designing and implementing a foundation communications strategy that supports broad, cross-cutting work and knits together the needs of multiple program areas.
As a key member of the Raikes Foundation Senior Leadership Team (SLT), the Director will work in partnership with the Executive Director and closely with SLT colleagues to build and maintain the foundation’s brand and reputation, as well as expand its impact through communications, in order to advance its mission.
The core responsibilities of the Director are as follows:
Vision and Strategy
- Refine and implement the vision for the foundation’s field-focused communications strategy, including articulating a clear internal philosophy on the role of communications and how to use the foundation’s assets to advance the mission.
- Refine and execute an organization-wide communications strategy, that effectively integrates work across program areas and tends to specific program needs when necessary.
- Set priorities and monitor performance of the strategy.
- Partner with the Executive Office Communications Director to support the ongoing development of the Trustees’ voice and platform to ensure alignment with the new foundation brand and strategy and across all of their priorities.
Program Area Guidance
- Partner with program teams to identify communications needs in their fields, as well as specific initiatives which might require communications support.
- Help identify skills and resources (internal or external) required for successful implementation.
- Collaborate across teams to ensure work in each program area integrates with the broader communications strategy.
- Provide counsel to coalitions identified with program colleagues on field-focused communications projects.
- Provide counsel to key grantees on specific initiatives requiring communications support.
- Partner with Executive Office Communications Director to prioritize Trustees’ engagement in supporting key Foundation advocacy initiatives.
Organization, Team, and People Development
- Supervise and support the development of a full-time communications officer.
- Optimize use of external consulting resources for ongoing and periodic work to support the Foundation directly and to work in support of outside coalitions.
- Provide coaching and training to staff and Trustees on consistent use of the foundation’s messaging.
- Provide leadership on the foundation’s management team to support continuous organizational development and effectiveness, including operationalization of the foundation’s on-going commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in its practices, policies, and structure.
- Actively participate in regular programmatic team meetings including informing meeting agendas and identifying how the team could optimize and work together to maximize impact.
- Collaborate with the foundation’s Senior Leadership team to maximize organizational effectiveness and impact.
Communications Strategy Execution
In partnership with the Communications Officer support the brand execution, including:
- Develop an overarching unified voice for the foundation that ties together the program work and can be understood by all of its priority audiences.
- Maintain a relevant stream of thought leadership from foundation staff, grantees, and partners that reinforces the organization’s mission and vision.
- Partner with the Executive Office Communications Director to execute Trustees voice and platform related to the Foundations strategies.
- Media Relations: Manage reporter relationships, brief staff for interviews, and pitch Op-Ed pieces.
- Oversee strategy for foundation’s digital channels: Medium, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
- Build relationships with senior officials, media, thought leaders, policymakers, partners, and other key audiences and serve as an effective spokesperson and ambassador on behalf of the foundation.
QUALIFICATIONS OF THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
The ideal candidate will have a minimum of 7-10 years of hands-on experience and progressive leadership in coalition building, community building, and movement building through large and complex communication campaigns and strategies. The Director will ideally be a thoughtful storyteller, connector, bridge builder, and strategist who is action oriented and can adapt to changing priorities. The right candidate is a leader with impeccable judgment and listening skills, an effective collaborator throughout the organization regardless of perceived seniority, and someone who excels in inspiring and enabling others to do their very best work. While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:
- Knowledge of racial justice, social equity, community organizing principles, racial and cultural differences; an understanding of systemic and institutional racial bias; sophisticated understanding of issues and concerns of communities of color and other diverse groups.
- Experience managing work across teams with a high degree of emotional intelligence; a highly collaborative leader with experience in working with coalitions and agency partners to realize impact.
- Ability to establish trust, understanding, and strong thought partnership in the pursuit of innovative approaches that lead to an appropriate course of action to address strategic objectives, staying relentlessly focused on equity in process and outcome; a creative outlook and adaptability to change, be it embracing a shift in strategy or finding new approaches to existing work.
- Experience in the design and execution of effective strategies surrounding vision setting, leveraging tools and resources for maximum effect.
- Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills, including a personal presence that is effective and inspirational across a variety of settings and stakeholders.
- Experience and fluency in measurement, learning, and evaluation of their strategies and plans in motion.
- Proven ability to be flexible, adaptive, and can thrive in a fast-paced environment; gathering input, acting on feedback, making appropriate yet at times difficult decisions, and demonstrating sound professional judgment, maturity, and self-awareness to know when to step into the spotlight and the humility and team orientation to know when to let others take the lead.
How To Apply
More information about the Raikes Foundation may be found at: raikesfoundation.org
This search is being supported by Katherine Jacobs and Sharon Gerstman 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 Raikes Foundation’s ability to achieve its mission is enhanced by a diverse team, an inclusive culture and programmatic strategies that apply an equity lens. We seek candidates who possess the knowledge, skills, and lived experience that contribute to the diversity of our team and share a commitment to equity.