The next leader of The Erie Community Foundation will join a rapidly growing, and widely respected, institution recognized as a key community leadership organization working collaboratively with others to transform our region. In the past five years, the Foundation has averaged nearly $20 million annually in new gifts, and over $20 million annually in grantmaking. Recently, it worked closely with corporate and civic leadership to raise $27 million in start-up funding to transform our downtown, while also strengthening adjacent neighborhoods.
The Foundation traces its history back to 1935 when Elisha H. Mack, co-founder of the Boston Store, created a charitable endowment fund. Mr. Mack’s fund was transformed into a public charity, The Erie Community Foundation, in 1971. In a town of 100,000, and a County of 280,000, the Foundation is now a growing collection of over 800 endowments with a collective market value of $280 million. Foundation assets have doubled since 2006 and tripled since 2002 making the Erie Community Foundation one of the largest community foundations in the country for a community of its size.
Erie is a city that has been undergoing a renaissance. Once primarily known as a manufacturing town, Erie now enjoys a diverse and modernized industrial base with fully developed educational, cultural, healthcare, and recreational resources that far surpass most communities of its size. The Erie metropolitan area is equidistant from Buffalo, New York, and Cleveland, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
We seek a proven and visionary executive-level leader who demonstrates a strong ability to work collaboratively at all levels in the community, but especially including government, nonprofit and private sector leadership. The ability to inspire confidence and trust, along with exceptional communications skills, are a must.
The successful candidate will likely be a self-starter who pursues, cultivates and enjoys building and maintaining strong and authentic donor and stakeholder relationships. This person must be able to engender trust and empathy and relate to donors in a highly professional, honest and caring manner. His/her career has been noted by their ability to chart a path forward with exceptional interpersonal skills and a servant leadership style.
The ability to communicate exceptionally well in oral and written form is necessary for success in this position. As the key spokesperson for the Foundation, this person must be able to speak extemporaneously and appropriately on any number of subjects in a clear and transparent fashion in order to build trust and support.
The qualified candidate must demonstrate success in reaching out to the community, participating with people of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and building rapport with those who have varying viewpoints and perceptions. High integrity and sound judgment are essential to success in this role.
While a familiarity of the region and of Erie is a plus, it is not a requirement. However, the ability to quickly understand the resources of the region and assimilate into the culture is a necessity.
Career experience in a top leadership position in a community foundation is highly desirable. However, an understanding of the community foundation’s organizational and financial model is expected. Leading, growing, and empowering the staff and a dedicated, committed Board are needed skills, as well. Energy, natural optimism, the ability to be a good listener and a quick learner are important personal attributes. A sense of humor and humility are also valued.
The ideal candidate will show a high level of participation in the life of the community in which he or she works by virtue of civic involvement, public service, volunteerism and club or social activities. A Bachelor’s degree is required. Advanced and continuing education/certification is preferred.