Overview of Tiny Foundation
The Tiny Foundation works to facilitate change by providing funding to individuals and groups pushing the world forward in a positive way. Each year, the Foundation provides a group of experts in their fields significant financial grants. They are free to direct the Foundation’s funds to the causes they deem most important.
Current areas of focus include:
- Medical Research
- Alcohol Education
- Non-Profit Reform
- Investigative and Local Journalism
- Local Arts and Culture Initiatives in Victoria, Canada
For more information, please visit www.tiny.foundation.
This is a rare and exciting opportunity to join the early start-up phase of a family foundation that will be scaling its work in the coming years. In partnership with the Foundation’s principals and Board of Directors, the President will help shape the organization’s strategic endeavors and its approach to impact for each of its issue areas. Over the next several years, the President will lead the Foundation through its initial building phase covering a suite of diverse priorities, including developing its philanthropic toolkit, programmatic strategies, learning and grantmaking systems, culture and operations, partner / grantee engagement, governance, and more.
Operating as a service-oriented leader, the President will build and foster an environment based on trust and co-creation with the Foundation’s principals and board, accompanying them on their philanthropic journeys, as well as leading the Foundation in a way that is an authentic reflection of their interests. Ensuring ideas are put into action and that the Foundation moves effectively into its next phase of impact, the President will spearhead and advise on initiatives that ensure the organization delivers on its priorities across Canada and internationally.
This is a phenomenal opportunity to help build out an innovative and forward-thinking Foundation that will be seen as a trusted partner and catalyst for positive change. The Foundation is interested in exploring multiple philanthropic levers, including strategic grantmaking, impact investing, convenings, incubation, and collective action. As such, the President must be ready to advise on a broad philanthropic toolset and operate in diverse and far-reaching networks to advise and support the organization’s work.
The Position & Key Priorities
Reporting to the Board of Directors, the President will be a hands-on leader and implementer in a role that brings together elements of philanthropic program strategies, research, impact measurement, and learning. This position will be a strategic generalist across the Foundation’s portfolios and provide program leadership, direction, design, as well as direct administration and delivery in the work.
The President will be guiding the future of the Foundation’s endeavors by being a true partner to the board and principals and stewarding their philanthropic strategies. This role will also help build the Foundation’s culture—promoting and inspiring collaboration, humility, learning, deep thinking, and action.
The Foundation is currently structured to operate in a lean and nimble way. The President is the first and only staff position for the immediate term. Operational support (finance, HR, IT, etc.) is provided by the family office. The President will need to be an agile and capable mover between strategic leadership and tactical support, including around program design and implementation, partner / grantee engagement, grants management, and communications to ensure ideas are put into action.
Key priorities for the first year include:
- Spend the essential time forming meaningful relationships with the Foundation’s principals and board in order to deeply understand the legacy and trajectory of their philanthropic priorities.
- Learn about past and current grantees, build collaborative relationships with existing partners, and map out the networks and engagement plans for organizations and experts working in the Foundation’s areas of interest.
- Lead a learning process with the principals and board to build out the strategic direction of the Foundation, encouraging bold and innovative ideas that leverage a wide range of philanthropic approaches and impact tools.
- Develop reporting and communication mechanisms to keep the principals and board engaged and informed of the Foundation’s progress on an agreed set of criteria for what success looks like in the first year and how it will be measured.
Program Leadership & Grantmaking
- Develop a strategy, learning, and impact framework for each of the Foundation’s program areas.
- Create a communications strategy for chronicling and sharing the Foundation’s work with the aim of attracting additional attention to grantees and more broadly to the organization’s projects.
- Build out and implement a high-functioning grantmaking process for all program areas, and ensure effective learning and impact assessment systems are in place, including reporting and data collection, grantee needs assessment, decision-levels, and budgeting. Ensure grant structures are aligned with the Foundation’s values around trust-based philanthropy, including: (1) working in a collaborative partnership with grantees to understand needs and priorities; (2) placing the onus for vetting/reporting on the Foundation; (3) multi-year general operating and employee support; (4) and other trust-aligned approaches.
- Advise and lead the Foundation’s efforts to deploy multiple philanthropic levers to support progress across all issue areas. This includes exploring innovation / incubation hubs that can help grantees develop social enterprise models and diverse revenue streams for their work.
Organizational Management & Capital Allocation
- Partner with the board to determine how to utilize the public stock that has been transferred to the Foundation and set a reasonable annual budget and timeline for deployment of resources.
- Conduct needs assessment on organizational structure, capacity, and internal systems requirements, and recommend a corresponding multi-year plan to the board that supports building a high-performing and highly effective foundation.
Ideal Candidate Profile
The Foundation is seeking an entrepreneurial leader with a demonstrated track record of success working in the philanthropic grantmaking sector in Canada. The President must have a sophisticated understanding of philanthropy’s multiple levers for impact and its pitfalls in order to establish the Foundation as a leading and innovative institution. Candidates must also thrive in a start-up environment and bring deep experience managing and navigating organizations through growth and evolution.
Since the Foundation expects to remain small and nimble, the President must bring the appropriate balance of strategic thinking, hands-on implementation, and effective collaboration skills. The position also requires a skillset that effectively combines the ability to seek input from multiple sources, encourage constructive discussion, creatively analyze and synthesize data, but also know when to proceed with “doing” rather than overthinking to ensure results.
The President will be an inspiring and thoughtful leader with the strategic and operational capabilities necessary to partner with the Foundation’s principals / board in implementing an innovative vision for their organization. Given the Foundation’s diverse grantmaking, candidates should bring a genuine enthusiasm and willingness to learn new issue areas that may be different from ones they have focused on in the past, as well as an ability to build networks that will benefit the work of the organization.
The President will be an exceptional listener, communicator, and facilitator who is effective at building consensus and trust. A high degree of emotional intelligence and an ability to foster individual, purposeful relationships with internal and external stakeholders is essential. The President must also operate with a sense of humility and an intellectual curiosity that fosters continual learning and understanding.
Additional attributes that will serve candidates include:
- Experience designing and delivering excellence across varied program areas and attuned to the multiple capitals and tools available to the Foundation (financial, social, relational, human, intellectual, etc.); open to new techniques and approaches to philanthropy.
- Ability to navigate leadership and management issues with transparency, compassion, adaptiveness, and agility.
- A strong combination of intellect, organizational management, and financial acumen as well as an ability to use technology, networks, and resources to accomplish work in a small organization.
- Professional experience working in the social impact sector, including significant leadership responsibilities in a philanthropic grantmaking context is required. Experience working in family foundations or family offices is helpful, but not necessary. Experience with Canadian regulation and tax laws for philanthropy / nonprofits is necessary, and ideally a strong Canadian network in the social sector as well as in the Canadian government.
The Tiny Foundation values, celebrates, and supports a diverse and inclusive environment. All qualified candidates who contribute to the Foundation’s broad commitment to diversity are strongly encouraged to submit their cover letters and resumes for consideration.
Please submit your resume and cover letter expressing your interest in the position and fit for the role via the Become a Candidate link.
The search for the President of the Tiny Foundation is being led by: