Director of Communications
A cover letter is not required to apply for this role. Instead, all candidates will provide written answers to the application questions. Your responses will be shared with the hiring manager, so please put forth your best effort. Up to 3 paragraphs maximum per response, please.
Location: Chicago, IL (Loop):
COVID work policy (June): 2 days a week in the office, 3 days of the week out of the office. Staff can choose one of the 2 days, with 1 day, Thursday, devoted to in-person team time and staff meetings. All GVF staff are required to have COVID vaccination.
Status: Full time
Salary: $125,000 - $135,000
Reports to: GVF President, Sharon Bush
Desired start date: Winter 2022 (November)
Director of Communications
About the Foundation
Grand Victoria Foundation is a private foundation that annually awards upwards of $10M in grants and other support, and has the distinction of being the only state-wide multi-issue funder in Illinois. We developed a new mission, vision and strategy to focus our philanthropy more deeply on supporting community-driven solutions to persistent challenges. Our vision is a strong, livable and equitable Illinois where every resident has an opportunity to thrive.
In the past four and half years, with new leadership and team members, the Foundation has had more engagement and made deeper investments in programs and initiatives that center racial equity and justice. This emergent body of work will help the Foundation create long lasting and sustainable change, specifically for communities and leaders whose voices have been underrepresented in regional and statewide conversations.
In addition to our grant making, the Foundation has partnered with community-based organizations to advance racial equity and justice work in other spaces. We’ve lent our support and partnership to a diverse group of organizations on initiatives that lift up communities of color, including (but not limited to) the Cook County Equity Fund and Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Greater Chicago. On a national level, GVF was recently awarded $1M from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for our research, analysis and community engagement with targeted Illinois communities, the results of which will be integrated into a strategic plan. Finally the Foundation has taken a leadership role in the build-out of two brand new organizations that center Black voices, leaders and communities in advocacy/organizing and philanthropy: The Illinois Black Advocacy Initiative, and Abundance, in partnership with Chicago Beyond and the MacArthur Foundation.
The Director of Communications is a brand new leadership role at the Foundation. This leader will join us at a critical time in our history, as we continue to position ourselves as one of many thought leaders in philanthropy as well as racial equity and justice. The Director will work in partnership with the president and staff to build a platform that gives voice to, and amplifies the impact of, our grantee partners and how we work best to support them. They also will create a narrative that reflects how the Foundation is working to meet today’s social challenges to grantees, partners and others interested in our work.
- Develop and execute a mission-aligned communications strategy that advances and amplifies our work and that of our grantees, and highlights the Foundation’s racial equity and justice approaches
- Create and execute a public and media relations strategy to raise awareness of key topics and info sharing in our community of grantees, along with opportunities and lessons learned from our racial equity work and partnerships
- Build and execute a social/digital media strategy that utilizes traditional and social media, including op-eds, blogs, videos and podcasts
- Make the Foundation website one of several entry points of information for grant seekers, partners, and other organizations seeking to learn about our grant making, partnerships, as well as our racial equity work
- Create FAQs and media talking points for staff and the Board, as needed, as well as build out crisis communications strategy; coach and support staff as needed for media conversations or external speaking engagements
- Develop compelling and original communications strategies for Foundation campaigns, programs and initiatives
The Director of Communications is a sole contributor role, however, support will be provided via interns as well as external consultants for large-scale projects and website maintenance.
Skills and Characteristics Candidates for this role will have a strong commitment to racial equity and justice, with an ability to work independently and collaboratively with the President, staff and the Board to listen and learn more about our work with the goal of developing creative and informative content.
The most competitive people for this role will have many of the following skills and/or experiences:
- Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 5 years of relevant and progressively responsible communications experience
- Exceptional written and verbal communication skills, with an ability to work collaboratively with others, internally and externally, to generate creative and informative content that educates and inspires
- Strong relationship building and networking skills, including an ability to work well with media (online and print) locally and statewide (having existing media relationships is a plus)
- Strategic and creative thinker, with great listening skills and the ability to translate ideas into content
- Strong project and time management skills, with an ability to meet deadlines without sacrificing quality
- Ability to work independently and proactively to identify opportunities and pursue new leads
- Prior work/communications experience at a foundation or nonprofit is not required, but is a plus, as is experience working with organizations that focus on racial equity or justice.
Benefits: Health dental, and life insurance, a 401K plan with employer-paid matching contribution, flexible work environment, generous paid vacation and holidays, and professional development resources.
The Grand Victoria Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer and actively invites a diversity of candidates regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, or religion.