About Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago (“Charities” or “CCAC”) was founded more than a century ago to meet human need through the Mission of Charity. Charities partners with mission-driven people and organizations across Cook and Lake Counties to witness a message of mercy and hope to a world in need - accompanying anyone in need, regardless of their faith, gender, race, or ethnicity. With intention, respect, and tenderness, Charities staff and volunteers are called to:
- improve lives and nourish spirits by meeting need within a faith-based community of respect, compassion, caring, and excellence.
- strengthen and empower people, families, and communities by building programs that promote lasting, positive change.
- create and share opportunities for living out faith and values through service, community and network building, and dialogue—being present to the times through the eyes of faith.
Over the last 24 months, Catholic Charities has not only provided uninterrupted care to the region’s most vulnerable, but also responded to extraordinary new demands precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. During this same period, under the leadership of a new President and CEO, Sally Blount, Charities has embarked on a rigorous period of learning, listening, and visioning as the first phase of a strategic planning process that will guide the organization into its next 100 years.
As Sally, who is also a scholar with expertise in governance and organizational change, knows well, all organizations must periodically rethink how they operate and serve. “This is particularly important when a strong 25-year leader, like Monsignor Boland, steps down. Then it is time to step back and reflect on who we are now and what we are called to do. The pandemic only heightened that need.”
For more information on Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, please visit their website.
As part of this transformation, Charities has created a new role of Vice President of Community and Government Engagement (“VP-CGE”)who is charged with leading the organization’s goal to become the region’s most trusted partner for mission-driven people and organizations seeking to serve those in need.
Partnering as Core to Charities’ Success
To meet this goal, Catholic Charities aspires to make parish, community, and government engagement a source of distinction regionally and nationally. By building a team that can effectively leverage Charities’ scale, scope, and history of service to partner ever more deeply, Charities can do its part to assure that the region’s safety net is vital and strong. Charities’ role in making this happen is not to simply do more themselves, but to work “smarter” and in tight collaboration with others.
As Blount has identified, one of Charities’ core organizing principles must be to “Amplify the impact of our work – by focusing on areas where our Catholic identity, our network and our century of service make us a unique and valued partner and provider. The provision of human services is not a competition – there is plenty of need to go around. Each provider is our partner in God’s call to serve.”
The new VP-CGE will lead this charge -- to assure that Catholic Charities is outstanding partner across its stakeholder and constituent base. To do this, Charities seeks a strategic, values-driven leader with excellent relationship-building, networking and collaboration skills, who will work seamlessly with the CEO and other Senior Team members as Charities’ key external-facing representative.
They will lead a team of 8-10 staff members, who together will oversee building and strengthening Charities’ relationships across four critical constituent groups, including:
- The region’s 2+ million Catholics, including 300+ Archdiocesan and parish priests and their staff, as well as the members of 300+ local parishes.
- Key neighborhood and community leaders across the region who partner with Charities and other human services organization to protect, enrich and sustain their homes and surrounding social infrastructure.
- The hundreds of volunteers who partner with Catholic Charities in living out their personal values and faith by serving and accompanying their neighbors in need.
- The government representatives, both elected and administrative, at the local, county, state and federal levels, who partner with Catholic Charities and their peers to assure that the region’s most vulnerable receive the critical support that they need.
The VP-CGE will be a primary member of Catholic Charities’ external relations leadership team that also includes leaders of communications and institutional advancement. All members of this team report directly to the President and CEO, both individually and collectively. It is assumed that the group will meet frequently and work closely together, so that Charities speaks with a cohesive and compelling voice to all internal and external stakeholders.
The Vice President of Community and Government Engagement will also be an integral member of Charities’ Senior Leadership Team, reporting to the President and CEO. They will be expected to partner closely on various internal and external outreach projects and in pursuit of foundation, government, corporate, and individual philanthropic funding.
Key responsibilities include:
- Mission Engagement: Oversee the work of the 6-8 person Mission Engagement Team, led by the Senior Director for Mission Engagement, to build out a vision for parish and community engagement that will:
- Strategically grow partnerships with priests and parishes in order to significantly increase Charities’ presence and impact across and within the Archdiocese of Chicago.
- Strategically grow partnerships with aligned nonprofit organizations to increase how they collectively support key populations. neighborhoods and communities across the region.
- Thoughtfully steward and grow Charities’ new Regional Mission Boards as a vehicle for engaging parishes and communities at the local level in the work of Catholic Charities.
- Volunteer Engagement: Oversee the work of the 3-4 person Faith and Service (volunteer engagement) Team, led by the Director for Service and Volunteer Engagement, to build out a renewed volunteer experience at Catholic Charities that touches thousands yearly and will:
- Ensure that Charities develops best-in-class systems, training, and overall service and accompaniment experiences that are fully and thoughtfully differentiated from similar secular volunteer opportunities.
- Joyfully direct volunteers to service opportunities with vetted partner organizations when Charities does not have enough or particular types of service opportunities available.
- Imbue the Charities’ volunteer engagement experience with opportunities for spiritual learning and growth in the knowledge that service and accompaniment are essential to the life of faith.
- Model “compassion in action” on-the-ground where CCAC’s clients and partners in mission live.
- Government Relations: Oversee the work of the 1-2 person Government Relations Team, led by the Director of Government Relations, to build and sustain relationships with key government elected and administrative officials at the local, county, state and federal levels – partnering when needed with the Cardinal’s office to coordinate outreach. The VP will:
- Amplify Catholic Charities as a leading voice for government policies which serve the vulnerable, the suffering, and the overlooked and strengthen and empower people, families, and communities.
- Establish Charities’ presence as a thought and policy leader among human services organizations.
- Engage as a good-faith partner and leader in advocacy coalitions.
- Activate the Catholic network of regional mission boards, engaged parishes, and community organizations in advocacy efforts.
- Coordinate seamlessly with Charities’ internal teams – in particular, programs and regional operations – to deliver excellent services with compassion to the region’s most vulnerable.
- Effectively communicate the work and impact of Catholic Charities to external stakeholders.
- Collaborate with communications team to share messages with parish, community organization and government stakeholders to increase awareness and ultimately partnership with Catholic Charities.
- Lead the vision for the team data, systems, structures and strategy that make this work possible.
The Vice President of Community and Government Engagement will possess the following attributes and competencies:
A Strategic Leader
The VP-CGE will be a strategic and results-oriented leader who will be consistently focused on how to best adapt and assure the continued success of the parish, community, peer provider, and government engagement functions within Catholic Charities. This leader will instinctively ‘get ahead of the curve’ by anticipating needs and threats, adjusting strategy accordingly. Passionate and informed, the ideal candidate will be organized and efficient while also inclusive. This leader will be an innovative and energetic individual who functions well in a fast-paced and complex stakeholder environment. They will empower their team to lead and manage and coach to high performance. A diplomatic and supportive professional, the VP-CGE will enhance the organization’s culture of values-driven collaboration and high performance.
A Relationship Builder
The VP-CGE will be skilled at building and sustaining excellent relationships at multiple levels with varied constituencies including Catholic Charities senior leadership, Archdiocesan leaders, peer organizations leaders, and community and government leaders. The VP-CGE will thrive in a role expanding and enhancing the credibility, visibility and reach of the organization through relationship building. This leader will be skilled at strategically seeking partnerships and building coalitions and gain energy from working to connect parishioners and community members to opportunities to serve, engage, and live their faith.
A Leader with Deep Personal Faith and Integrity
The VP-CGE will have a deep faith and a strong understanding of who God and Jesus are and why they matter to the work that Catholic Charities undertakes. They will be comfortable representing the values of the Catholic Church and have a passion for the unifying role that faith can play in a highly diverse (ethnically, racially, socio-economically, and religiously) workplace and complex stakeholder operating environment.
The VP-CGE will be passionate about Charities’ mission and, accordingly, be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics, and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation. The VP-CGE will have a strong work ethic, emotional and social intelligence, an ability to bring compassion to the table in tough situations, as well as a natural joy and foundational understanding of our shared humanity. Above all, this leader will bring a personal passion and commitment to Catholic Charities’ mission as well as an appreciation and understanding of the organization’s vision, methods, and impact.
An Ambassador for Catholic Charities’ Mission
The VP will work tirelessly as one of the key ‘Ambassadors’ for Catholic Charities’ mission. Partnering closely with leadership across the organization the VP will steward relationships with elected leaders, community leaders, and social service peers to advance mission-aligned advocacy at the local, state and federal level. This leader will articulate, extend and heighten the mission of Catholic Charities to a broad range of constituents. The VP must be a confident public speaker and have a solid understanding of the complex population that Charities serves. They will stay current on relevant events, including federal, state and local legislation that impacts low-income families and individuals, social services, and the charitable sector. A thought leader in the community, the VP will participate in community and policy-related meetings, events and conferences.
A Systems Builder
The VP-CGE will serve as a strategic leader to define the systems and processes necessary to execute a best-in-class parish and community engagement effort. Drawing on best practices across sectors (including political campaigns, grassroots community organizing and issue-based advocacy campaigns) this leader will develop the strategies and tactics for outreach leading to lasting and impactful partnerships. They will have a keen sense for how to leverage databases for constituent engagement and relationship management and manage the team to set ambitious goals and accomplish them. They will have a track record of team development, coaching, and building systems which adapt and improve over time.
Marissa Delgado and George Theotokatos of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role, please email VPCGE@koyapartners.com. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
About Koya Partners
Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.
For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.