The Entrepreneurship Funders Network (EFN) galvanizes philanthropic funders to inspire entrepreneurship, support entrepreneurs, and strengthen entrepreneurial ecosystems. By informing, connecting, and catalyzing action, EFN seeks impact that is greater than the sum of its parts. It strives to increase its members’ knowledge, networks, and efficacy; bolster entrepreneurship; and contribute to shared prosperity.
An inclusive peer network of philanthropic funders committed to learning and working together, EFN is led by an advisory committee of representatives from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, the Kauffman Foundation, The Lemelson Foundation, the Telluride Community Foundation, and the William Davidson Foundation. EFN’s membership includes 45 grantmakers from around the country. While members have diverse philanthropic approaches, all focus on entrepreneurship as a key mechanism for achieving their missions and collectively work at local, state, regional, and national levels in the United States.
To date EFN has operated as an informal network, hosting an annual conference and network-wide learning communities. Significant early-stage planning with regard to strategy, initial funding, and implementation has been completed with the goal of becoming an organization that influences and leads in the field of entrepreneurship. EFN is currently a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives and is in the process of formally establishing itself as an independent 501(c)(3) organization.
This is an exceptional opportunity to be the inaugural leader of this dynamic and growing network of the leading funders of entrepreneurship in the U.S. At this foundational stage, EFN requires seasoned leadership, vision, and creativity to realize the formation, ongoing growth, and sustainability of the organization. The ED position offers strategic and visible thought leadership potential to influence funders and the field of entrepreneurship, to apply an equity lens to that work, and to catalyze the collective impact of members. The ED is an employee of Community Initiatives and makes decisions with input from an advisory board comprised of representatives from member organizations.
Core activities of EFN include:
- Catalyzing joint action that is strategically aligned among members and the sector
- Connecting Funders to each other for peer learning and problem solving
- Sharing best practices, policy developments, and trends in funding among members and the broader entrepreneurship field
- Work with our advisory board and membership to clearly define vision and the strategic plan for the continued growth and expansion of EFN.
- Position EFN to be a thought leader in the field of entrepreneurship
- Identify priorities and areas of intersection shared by the breadth of approaches to entrepreneurship represented by our members
- Employ an anti-racist leadership lens in all EFN work
- Synthesize information generated by members and experts about policy and practice in various sectors of entrepreneurship to inform our work and ensure our goals are achieved
- Model innovation and successful startup practices to stand up and grow the organization
- Build the necessary infrastructure, platforms and tools to support the needs of a growing, diverse membership base
- Create a goal, objective, and KPI system with aligned budgets to manage programs and initiatives
- Define future structure and model for membership, including what revenue streams are required to support network activities
- Ensure legal and financial compliance and a strong, transparent fiscal position
- Invest in building relationships with the advisory board and EFN’s current and prospective membership base
- Develop and execute multi-year funding plan with membership dues, sponsorships, and grants to support EFN’s operations from 2022 onwards
- Grow the membership, with a view to inclusivity and diverse representation across the spectrum of the entrepreneurship ecosystem
- Shape member participation by forming and staffing member-led committees to drive specific initiatives and learning agendas
- Establish regular communication to keep abreast of member activities and needs, design opportunities for partnerships, advocacy, funding, innovation
Thought Leadership and External Representation
- Represent the organization at conferences, in the media and other appropriate channels in consultation with the advisory board
- Provide visible, respected leadership in the entrepreneurship community and manage relationships with key local and national partners
- Communicate about the transformational power of entrepreneurship to other thought leaders
- Develop inspiring materials and presentations that communicate our work to prospective members
- Manage all aspects of creating and executing an annual convening for EFN members
- Select and hire a consultant to help manage conference planning and logistics
- Engage advisory board and membership to create a compelling agenda and form a conference committee to ensure event success
- Solicit member engagement and feedback in planning content and structure for convenings
First and foremost, EFN is looking for candidates who are passionate about catalyzing change through collective efforts among funders and who are advocates for advancing equity within EFN and in entrepreneurship ecosystems.
As a new and active membership organization, EFN seeks a leader who brings energy and vision, and a growth mindset to ideas about the future of EFN. They recognize the importance of and have the ability to apply an equity lens to EFN’s work and impact on the field of entrepreneurship.
A natural network builder, the ideal candidate is a connector who exercises the interpersonal maturity and intellectual curiosity to collaborate across the members and create opportunities for shared interests, learning, and actionable ideas. Experience building consensus and participation among a diverse group of individuals and organizations is critical. Very strong listening, writing and oral communications skills are essential.
Candidates should demonstrate the capacity to develop strategies and financial approaches to maximize resources and grow a new body of work into a thriving and sustainable entity. The role requires attention to detail while also driving the broader vision and growth of EFN. The Executive Director needs to be effective in a self-driven environment and comfortable with balancing fiscal sponsor oversight and advisory board consultation.
Experience that will prepare candidates well for this position includes:
- Demonstrated experience growing and sustaining an organization or program
- Prior professional experience running an association, an entrepreneurship service organization such as an innovation hub or accelerator, or a community of practice is an asset
- Fluency with effective organizational and operational practices, particularly on budgeting and financial management
- Previous experience in philanthropy or with a charitable organization
- Direct institutional donor cultivation among diverse philanthropic organizations
- This is a remote position; the executive director will need access to appropriate workspace, equipment, and telecommunications.
- Must be authorized to work in the United States
- The employer for this position is Community Initiatives, the fiscal sponsor of the Entrepreneurship Funders Network.
- The midpoint of the salary range is $150K, plus a comprehensive benefits package
To Be Considered
Please submit your resume and cover letter expressing your interest in the position and fit for the role via the Become a Candidate button. Letters may be addressed to Melissa Merritt.
Community Initiatives is an equal opportunity employer and gives consideration for employment to qualified applicants without regard to age, race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, marital status, disability or protected veteran status, or any other status or characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law.