Foundation Operations: Managing Operations-> Executive Director Responsibilities - GIH Skip Navigation

Foundation Operations: Managing Operations-> Executive Director Responsibilities

What are the primary responsibilities of a foundation's executive director?

An executive director reports to the foundation's board of directors and has primary responsibility for the operation of the organization, including the development and implementation of organizational policies, grantmaking procedures, and administrative systems, as well as representation of the foundation to health care and human service institutions, community organizations, and the media. The executive director also serves the foundation's board of directors and ensures that each board member is well-informed with respect to the board's responsibilities and the foundation's activities. Primary responsibilities usually include:

  • administration, including developing organizational structure and staffing; and monitoring grants management and community leadership responsibilities;
  • leadership, such as developing and maintaining a high level of awareness of the needs of the community; working collaboratively with representatives of other sectors of the community on issues of importance to the foundation; and representing the foundation in local and/or national forums;
  • evaluation, including establishing procedures for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of funded programs and organizations; and providing interim or annual reports on foundation's activities;
  • communication, such as planning and coordinating the foundation's publications; serving as a spokesperson for the foundation; and educating and informing the community of the foundation's mission, objectives, and accomplishments; and
  • financial, including preparing budget for upcoming year for review and approval by the board of directors; maintaining all fiscal and investment information; and communicating on a regular basis with the foundation's accountants and financial and investment managers and advisors.

Position qualifications typically include a masters degree or higher in health, human services, or other related field. Requirements also include prior senior executive experience, strong organizational and managerial skills, as well as written and oral communication skills.

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