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Foundation Operations: Managing Operations-> Executive Staff Position Descriptions

Do you have job descriptions for the position of president, CEO, or executive director?

Yes. You can download several different position descriptions for the job of foundation president, chief executive officer, or executive director by clicking on the document icons below.

These descriptions have some common themes. They describe the roles and responsibilities of the foundation's chief executive, define the relationship between the chief executive and the board and staff, and highlight the specific qualifications required of the chief executive. They also provide a framework for evaluating the position of chief executive and, in some cases, structuring the work of the foundation.

The descriptions below reflect different approaches. Some foundations use position descriptions to highlight the specific tasks of the chief executive, while others use them to illustrate the various roles that a foundation executive might play. Task-oriented position descriptions are generally adopted by smaller foundations where the chief executive may also play the role of program officer, communications officer, and grants manager. Role-oriented descriptions, by contrast, focus on issues such as developing a strategic plan or being responsible for the overall direction and management of the foundation's programs. Such descriptions may be more appropriate for larger foundations where the everyday tasks of evaluating proposals and making grants are assigned to other staff and the CEO is responsible for managing their work.

Some foundations also integrate special personal qualities into the position description. These might include educational qualifications; personality traits; or in some cases, a personal affiliation with the goals of the organization. For example, some foundations created by religious organizations will require that the chief executive be a member of that religion.

The position description for the chief executive must also reflect the unique characteristics of the organization. For example, position descriptions for CEOs of public charities may include fundraising responsibilities.


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