DEDICATED TO IMPROVING THE LIVES OF BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED PEOPLE

Executive Director

Organization  Background

Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation (RDPFS) is dedicated to fostering the independence of people who are blind and visually impaired (BVI). Established in 1955 by DeWitt Wallace, the founder of The Reader’s Digest Association, RDPFS is a charitable grant making foundation in New York State with approximately $14.5 million in endowment assets and annual giving between $600k to $1MM. Through its grantmaking, RDPFS works towards making a difference in the lives of blind and visually impaired individuals and partners with local and national organizations that assist, support, and train blind and visually impaired people. Its portfolio of carefully directed charitable grants to qualifying organizations seeks to enrich the lives of thousands of visually impaired individuals, and assists them with their goal to become integrated, productive, fully accepted and participating members of society.  RDPFS believes success and improvement is driven by the close collaboration of the BVI community.

In addition to grantmaking, the Foundation runs a large print publishing business with over 45,000 subscribers and approximately $1MM in revenue. In addition to generating income, the publication delivers a much needed service to its subscribers. 

The Foundation aims to foster systemic change  that creates a more accessible world for blind and visually impaired individuals.

Position

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director is a full time position that serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation, leading the Foundation’s business and operations and is the primary spokesperson and advocate for the Foundation’s work. This includes public representation of the Foundation in a variety of forums and community settings. The Executive Director is responsible for planning, implementing, supervising, reporting on and measuring the success of all Foundation activities. The Executive Director is also responsible for identifying areas of unmet program needs for new grantmaking opportunities. The Executive Director works closely with a diverse group of stakeholders in BVI and philanthropic communities to develop and maintain collaborations for programming, funding, awareness, and advocacy.

The Executive Director will be the chief advocate for implementing the recently drafted Strategic Plan and Theory of Change while continually identifying effective strategies that successfully drive the foundation’s desired impacts and outcomes. 

Responsibilities

Leadership

  • Maintain and grow the Foundation’s reputation as having impact far beyond the dollars granted.
  • Provide leadership in developing program, organizational, investment and financial plans.
  • Assure that the Foundation has a long-term strategy which reflects its mission.
  • Maintain a working knowledge of significant developments and trends in the field to enhance the effectiveness of the Foundation and facilitate achieving the impacts and outcomes as described in the Foundation’s Theory of Change 
  • Participate in appropriate regional and national conferences, events and workshops to build relationships in the community that support the  Foundation’s  objectives.
  • Represent the Foundation as a thought-leader in the BVI community.
  • Partner with grantees to ensure and expand the impact of the Foundation’s grant funding.
  • Identify programs, both new and existing, which have game-changing potential within the community. Ensure that the programs are funded to an appropriate level, and provide assistance or capacity building when needed for optimal success.  

Management

  • Oversee the Foundation’s business activities and operations.
  • Oversee and manage the Foundation’s key vendors and partners.
  • Ensure compliance with federal, state and local requirements for non-profit organizations.
  • Implement and enforce practices which reduce risk.

Governance

  • Maintain communication with members of the Board of Directors, providing the Board with relevant information to execute Board decisions promptly and effectively.
  • Provide the Board and its Committees with the information and guidance needed to support policy, budget, and grant decisions. Ensure compliance with Board and Committee decisions.
  • Support the Board role in grantmaking by keeping them informed and  up-to-date on issues, trends, problems, breakthroughs, etc. in the fields of vision impairment and blindness.
  • Serve on the Board Governance Committee, helping to identify new directors .  
  • Assist in the Board’s continual learning through research, education speakers, site visits and special presentations per the Board’s request. 

Grant Making

  • Support the work of the Grant Program Manager.
  • Direct the Foundation’s overall grant making strategy, development and improvement, manage to budget, evaluate proposals, including analyzing fiscal health and business efficacy of potential grantee organizations, conduct site visits, review grant updates for compliance and report to the Board of Directors.
  • Improve the effectiveness of the Foundation’s grantmaking, including development of metrics for measuring and benchmarking costs, impact and outcomes, and develop a means to demonstrate progress over time on the Foundations Theory of Change. 
  • Encourage and facilitate collaborations among grantee organizations and other funders to increase programmatic effectiveness and reach. Foster partnerships among grantees and funding colleagues.
  • Identify areas of unmet program need for new potential grantmaking opportunities.
  • Guide the development of annual grantmaking plans and budgets that align with Board- approved priorities; organize periodic strategic planning retreats at which the Board reviews and refines such priorities.

Financial Management

  • Ensure the Foundation’s fiscal health by actively managing and monitoring revenue sources and expenses. Negotiate favorable pricing with fulfillment and production vendors, etc.
  • Reconcile all financials monthly and prepare quarterly updates for the Board as requested.
  • Ensure all financial and investment information is properly documented.
  • Ensure statutory compliance with relevant regulations.
  • Actively manage relationships with the Foundation’s auditors and investment managers.
  • Lead the Foundation’s annual audit including development of the IRS 990 and CHAR500.
  • Manage cash flow, AP and AR.
  • Work with the Board Treasurer and auditing firm to set up, monitor and update fiscal controls.
  • With the Board Treasurer and outside accountant, develop the annual administrative budget and manage to that budget.

Community Relations

  • Ensure that the Foundation leads by example in areas such as accessibility and other values and tenets expressed in the Foundation’s Mission, Vision, and  Values statements as well as the Foundation’s Theory of Change.
  • Evaluate and maintain memberships and active participation in various organizations as appropriate, such as Philanthropy NY, Vision Research Funders Group, NYC Vision Funders,  and Westchester Funders Group.
  • Ensure the Foundation’s website reflects the Foundation’s messages and values.
  • Explore opportunities to increase the impact of the Foundation through collaboration with BVI funders and partners.
  • Represent and serve as spokesperson for the Foundation to the general public, nonprofit community and other funders.

Human Resources

  • Develop and facilitate a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture for the Foundation’s employees, contractors and volunteers.
  • Actively promote growth and development opportunities for staff with long term succession planning in mind.

Large Print Publication

  • Lead annual review of publication performance, including customer impact and financial contribution.
  • Understand the customer base, including demographics and other key factors that will inform Foundation decisions around the publication.
  • Reconcile all related financials and investigate any variances. Manage expenses and track revenue (cash flow vs. recognized subscription revenue.) Ensure that the business runs in a cost effective manner, covering all variable costs and is contributing to overhead each year.
  • Evaluate circulation efforts, ensuring the health of the business; review monthly circulation reports and communicate the status to the Board.
  • Manage the fulfillment and production vendors and monitor their performance as well as negotiating contracts and pricing.
  • Ensure the circulation partner creates yearly production, renewal, billing and file pull schedules.

Qualifications

Leadership

  • Prior experience driving change within organizations and communities.
  • Demonstrated strategic thinking and analytical skills including prior experience in strategic plan development and execution.
  • Demonstrated experience driving decision making in consensus-based organizations.
  • Demonstrated experience fostering teamwork and collaboration.

Industry Experience

  • Demonstrated leadership and a lived experience in the BVI community is strongly preferred.
  • Past experience with philanthropy or grantmaking preferred, ideally in BVI or underserved communities. 
  • Deep commitment to the Foundation’s mission combined with empathy for the people we serve, with a lived experience of blindness preferred.
  • Demonstrated commitment to improving access for all people including human rights, social justice, equity, inclusion, and diversity preferred.
  • Experience working with an organization serving a diverse population preferred.
  • Experience working with government agencies in the support of underserved populations preferred.

Management

  • Proven management and leadership skills.
  • Demonstrated experience of leading and achieving consensus within a Board.
  • A track record of successful organizational change and development.
  • Experience creating systems of performance management and measurement of key organizational functions.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage and maintain effective communications with constituiences that have diverse professional skills, experiences and communication styles.
  • Demonstrated experience evaluating, designing and implementing measurable processes 

Governance

  • Prior experience working with a Board of Directors, including demonstrated ability to interact professionally with dedicated Board members who have diverse professional skills and perspectives.
  • Experience in development and implementation of bylaws, policies and procedures.

Grant Making

  • Proven record of managing a diverse grant portfolio.
  • Prior experience with measurement and monitoring of programmatic impact.
  • Demonstrated experience in driving improvements in overall program/grant making effectiveness.
  • Demonstrated experience in development of innovative grant making/programs that align with needs of the BVI community preferred.

Financial Management

  • Strong financial acumen including experience in developing and managing operating budgets and in analyzing nonprofit financial statements and budgets.
  • Familiarity with nonprofit or foundation financial filing and compliance procedures with prior experience with foundation audit cycles and endowments preferred.
  • Ability to converse fluently with financial professionals including accountants, tax experts and investment advisors.
  • Experience with strategic financial planning, implementation and measurement.
  • Ability to identify and evaluate revenue-generating opportunities, e.g. through potential partnerships preferred.

Community Relations

  • Proven ability to raise the visibility and brand image of the organization by articulating an inspiring vision and engaging critical stakeholders and experience convening public events.
  • Strong internal and external communications skills, media savvy including a knowledge of digital media with experience building effective communications strategies.
  • A demonstrated history of thought leadership and the ability to communicate in a compelling manner to a variety of constituents and diverse populations.
  • Prior experience developing a strong community presence with the end goal of fostering collaboration while raising awareness for BVI or underserved communities.
  • The ability to establish and expand partnerships, promote community collaboration through identifying and galvanizing different constituencies.
  • Experience in managing community events which raise awareness and/or funds prefered. 

Human Resources

  • Demonstrated commitment to, and experience in building an  inclusive, accessible, and collaborative workplace in organizations with small numbers of staff.

Technology

  • Experience using current technologies to advance an organization’s strategy, mission, and success.
  • Proven recognition of the role of technology in the non-profit and grantmaking environments.
  • Proficiency in office productivity and collaboration tools.

Location

We are a virtual organization. Candidates located in the Northeast US are preferred. 

How to Apply

Applicants should reply with a resume and cover letter that references their experience in relation to the qualifications listed in the job description. No phone inquiries will be accepted. All inquiries and resumes should be submitted via email to [email protected]

RDPFS provides equal opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment in accordance with all applicable equal employment opportunity affirmative action laws, directives, and regulations of federal, state, and local governing bodies or agencies thereof. RDPFS does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, physical disability, age, or marital status.