Washington, DC

President and CEO, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
The Organization


Understanding that grantmakers are successful only to the extent that their grantees achieve meaningful results, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) promotes philanthropic strategies and practices that contribute to nonprofit success.


In 1997, a group of grantmakers committed to strengthening and improving their practice around capacity building came together to learn from one another. Over the years, GEO members have inspired each other by working and learning together to lift up the grantmaking practices that matter most to nonprofits and that truly improve philanthropy.

GEO designs 1) conferences focused on solving of-the-moment challenges, 2) regular opportunities for peer learning (including cohorts, workshops, webinars, and member calls), and 3) publications that highlight best practice and examples from peers. As a result, GEO drives grantmakers’ progress for more effective change.

GEO’s current strategy focuses on 1) engaging grantmakers in high-impact programs that encourage the adoption of smarter grantmaking practices, 2) integrating racial equity into a vision for smarter grantmaking, 3) delivering the call to action for grantmakers to strengthen nonprofits and communities, 4) establishing shared values and stronger member identity within the GEO community to support long-term field change; and 5) building and maintaining the internal excellence necessary to do this work.

Toward this end, GEO engages 1) members who are looking to change their own practices as well as those who can partner with other funders, 2) nonprofits who are leading the direct work and can determine if GEO is on the right track about the grantmaker practices that are most important, and 3) other philanthropy support organizations, consultants, and other partners that share GEO’s goals for the field and can enhance its knowledge.

GEO is based in Washington, DC with a staff of more than 20 and an annual budget over $5 million.

Position Overview


GEO, a vibrant community of more than 7,000 grantmakers worldwide, is leading a dynamic and growing movement for smarter grantmaking to transform communities and ensure equitable and impactful outcomes. GEO offers a rich community for its members to learn with each other and a platform of resources and tools for: stronger relationships between grantmakers, nonprofits, and communities; capacity building; learning and evaluation; collaboration; change management; culture; racial equity; and flexible, reliable funding.

GEO seeks a curious, inspirational President and CEO motivated by possibilities and committed to maximizing philanthropic effectiveness to achieve a more just society. With an adaptive and facilitative leadership style, the President will be an effective mobilizer, collaborator, and bridge builder among GEO’s members, staff, and the broader philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.

Committed to implementing a framework of racial equity as core to philanthropic effectiveness, the President will ensure that the principles of transparent communication, collaboration, and commitment to equity are consistently promoted both externally as well as within the organization.

The new President will take over an organization with an extraordinary record of achievement over the past 22 years. To build upon GEO’s legacy, the President will possess extraordinary vision and entrepreneurial acumen and the ability to manage a complex membership philanthropic support organization that serves as a connector and resource to its members while leading in an ever-evolving movement for systemic change in philanthropy and the broader society. Key to the President’s success will be their ability to dynamically and successfully ensure relevant and actionable programs and services, attract new members and resources, and equip members with additional tools to bring real progress to communities. All of the efforts of the next leader will be driven by a sense of passion, community, respect, humility, equity, and action, as well as a firm belief in the untapped potential of philanthropy.


● Leadership – Lead with a mission-driven sense of urgency and commitment to racial equity. Inspire with a strategic vision while attending to day-to-day operations, services, and activities. Lead and support a committed, passionate staff with a shared vision and sense of purpose, creating ongoing opportunities for learning, growth, and creativity. Facilitate effective and collaborative work of the senior leadership team, assuring and strengthening alignment with organizational values, strategy, and the business plan. Organize strategic planning initiatives, incorporating buy-in from GEO’s constituent membership base. Serve as a respected thought leader in the field, staying abreast of new developments and ahead of the curve.

● Racial Equity – Lead and support GEO’s continuing journey to incorporate a commitment to racial equity as core to philanthropic effectiveness into both its internal and external work.  Apply a racial analysis, communicate to others at multiple developmental stages of understanding, inspire allies in the equity movement, and support/partner with content experts. Develop programming, tools, and resources that help GEO member organizations practice racial equity within their own organizations and in their grantmaking. Internally, create an inclusive environment where all staff, regardless of their identities, can thrive. Tend to culture through living out values, build staff’s intercultural competencies, provide equitable access to growth opportunities for all staff, and ensure the staff has the competency to support members and each other in advancing racial equity.

● General Management, Administration, Finance, and Planning – With the COO and other staff, ensure fiscal sustainability and health, attending to both longer-term financial forecasting and the efficient administration of day-to-day operations. Hold the organization to the highest levels of accountability and consistency with respect to all management systems, accounting, budgeting, financial analysis, funding, cashflow, and cost reporting.

● Board Relations – Establish a strong working partnership with the Board of Directors built on trust that enriches their experience and brings forth their best ideas and efforts in the governance and support of GEO. Facilitate the work of the standing Board committees. Build strong, collaborative working relationships between Board and staff. Help strengthen the Board through the recruitment of new members as needed.

● Member Development and Fundraising – Lead fundraising with the Revenue Team and the engagement of senior staff and Board members to sustain, diversify, and strengthen recruitment, engagement, and support. Shape a revenue strategy and funding model that expands GEO’s reliable revenue over time. Build a strong culture of philanthropy within the organization in which Board and staff serve as ambassadors and engage in relationship building.

● Communication – Oversee communication of the organization’s vision for smarter grantmaking, stronger nonprofits, and more equitable communities. Serve as a visible spokesperson and advocate for smart and effective philanthropy, increasing membership and attracting resources. Build upon GEO’s reputation as a recognized leader and partner in the field. Shape and deliver compelling messages that move GEO’s change agenda forward. Serve as GEO’s principal public spokesperson to media, members, and other important constituencies about the organization’s mission, services, programs, and members. Represent GEO as a thought leader through national committees, conversations, and convenings that hold the most potential to advance its change agenda. Together with staff, monitor key trends and issues in the field of philanthropy and communicate their implications to staff and Board with recommended action.

● Partnership and Program Development – Serve as a driver of innovation by continuously scanning for new opportunities and new potential partnerships that support progress on GEO’s change agenda. Evaluate and ensure that all member services and programs are coordinated and relate to the organization’s overall strategy and mission. Align staff functions and responsibilities based on programmatic goals and promote a customer service culture that holds the organization accountable for achieving intended outcomes. Provide thought leadership as GEO shapes new partnerships, lines of business, or areas of focus. Contribute to strategy development of GEO’s programs and services. Ensure that GEO continues to produce practical tools grantmakers need to foster impactful change in their communities.

● Learning for Improvement – Assess and evaluate the organizational structure, staff, and functions. Implement strategies for promoting continuous improvement and accountability. Ensure an organizational commitment to evaluation so that GEO understands the progress it is making and where it needs to make adjustments. Ensure and promote ongoing learning and improvements in the field by setting expectations and modeling a commitment to give, receive, and integrate feedback.


The President and CEO will:

● Be an unwavering champion advancing the movement for smart and effective philanthropy to transform communities, creating a more equitable and just society;

● Be a knowledgeable and experienced leader with the credibility to engage and inspire a diverse set of constituencies around GEO’s mission, including members, funders, philanthropic and nonprofit peers, and the media; be able to influence change in the field both by lifting up and appreciating exemplars as well as holding grantmakers accountable to better practices;

● Be a leader with demonstrated experience putting racial equity into practice, who listens with understanding and treats everyone with respect with a consultative and inclusive internal and external management style; be a consensus builder able to make tough decisions when necessary;

● Have a high level of emotional intelligence, with the ability to bring people together around a shared vision and common cause;

● Inspire trust through integrity, competence, and follow-through;

● Have a deep understanding of the philanthropic and nonprofit fields with respect to capacity building, evaluation, systems thinking, change management, and organizational learning from an equity perspective; possess a firm understanding of the philanthropic community – its policies, leaders, trends, and funding matters;

● Be nimble and curious, with an openness to learning new things and seeing things in new ways;

● Have proven managerial, problem-solving, and strategic-planning skills as a results-oriented executive in a growth-oriented environment; have the creativity to break free from established structures and try new approaches to solving problems;

● Have demonstrated success as a steward of responsible growth in an organization; believe that anything is possible and be able to get it done;

● Have demonstrated ability as a catalyst for transformative change to balance long-term strategic vision with daily operational responsibilities; have the ability to attract and hold top people to work for the organization and to nurture high-performing teams; have the ability to share responsibility for leadership of the organization and partner with the Board and staff to set goals, track progress, and assess effectiveness of the organization;

● Have the sophistication to build membership services, cultivate, and seize new opportunities for revenue generation; be a leader able to ensure enduring and impactful services and programs; be a talented fundraiser who enjoys the opportunity to secure resources and rises to the occasion;

● Enjoy collaborating with others to develop creative ideas and approaches; possess a sense of optimism, adventure, and humor; effectively bring out the best in others; have demonstrated experience navigating partnerships, building and working in coalitions, and putting mission first, ahead of individual needs/interests; prioritize – listening and learning from partners.

For more information about the organization and its programs, please visit https://www.geofunders.org/.

Grantmakers for Effective Organizations seeks a diverse pool of candidates. Salary will be negotiable commensurate with experience.

How To Apply

Applications, including cover letters and resumes, and nominations should be sent to the attention of Paul Spivey at GEO@PhillipsOppenheim.com.

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