About the Connecticut Bar Foundation
The Connecticut Bar Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Hartford, Connecticut. Established in 1952, the Connecticut Bar Foundation (“CBF”) works to facilitate systemic change that advances civil justice for all, regardless of power or resources.
To promote equal access to civil justice in Connecticut, the Connecticut Bar Foundation pursues its mission through the following:
- Administers grant funding to support access to civil legal aid services for those who cannot afford private counsel,
- Funds scholarships, based on financial need, for Connecticut students attending law schools in the state, and
- Develops and oversees programs to enhance the understanding and improvement of the law and legal institutions.
To fund legal services, the Foundation administers the following grant programs:
- The Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts and the Interest on Trust Accounts (IOLTA/IOTA) programs,
- The Judicial Branch Grants-in-Aid (JBGIA) grant program, and
- The Court Fees Grants-in-Aid (CFGIA) program
In 1994, the Foundation established the James W. Cooper Fellows as the result of a generous bequest from James W. Cooper. The Fellows sponsor projects and programs that enhance understanding of the role of law in society and promote the highest ideals of the legal system.
In the midst of fluctuating traditional state sources of legal aid income (IOLTA, CFGIA, and JBGIA) that have historically fallen short of meeting the demand for services, CBF continues to navigate ways to garner new and more stable funds to support critical civil legal aid services to Connecticut’s most vulnerable residents.
Currently, CBF is at a unique inflection point in which its role is rapidly changing. In tandem with the recently completed 2023 – 2026 Strategic Plan, CBF has taken on the stewardship of a growing number of restricted funds and the administration of two new programs: one that provides a right to counsel for eviction defense, and a second that provides increased access to counsel for individuals seeking Temporary Restraining Orders.
CBF has an operational budget of approximately $600,000 per year, with a total budget (including grants administered) of approximately $25 million per year. The Executive Director leads a passionate and dedicated staff of eight who are responsible for work in the areas of grantmaking; program management; and internal accounting, compliance, and operations.
Staff are currently working hybrid (partly remote, partly in-person).
For more information, please visit the Connecticut Bar Foundation’s website.
Connecticut Bar Foundation seeks an energetic, entrepreneurial, and accomplished leader to serve as its next Executive Director. This leader will provide sound strategic, financial, and operational leadership while ensuring that the highest levels of programming and policy-oriented activities are generated by the Foundation.
Reporting to an experienced and committed Board of Directors, the Executive Director will serve as a trusted and engaging ambassador and spokesperson, fostering and developing deep relationships and raising awareness of CBF’s work across the legislative and judicial branches, the organized bar, and legal service providers to ensure that the Foundation continues to increase its effectiveness and impact.
Moreover, the Executive Director will foster a culture of respect, achievement, and fiscal stability; retain and develop a small but skilled and motivated staff; increase philanthropic support; build external visibility with funders, partners, political leaders, and other constituents; and maintain, cultivate and explore partnerships and collaborations that deepen the Foundation’s impact across the State of Connecticut.
The successful candidate will be an inspirational, proactive, collaborative, and experienced leader who inspires trust and confidence, both internally and externally. Combining a personal commitment to access to justice with a dedication to programmatic excellence and exceptional communication skills, the ideal candidate will bring senior leadership experience in law, nonprofits, government, policy, or advocacy.
The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:
Strategic Executive Leadership & Operational Excellence
- Develop annual goals, plans and a budget for Board review, working closely with the Board President and Nominating Committee on recruitment and governance.
- Steward and oversee implementation of the recently completed Strategic Plan with an emphasis on progressive legal thinking and social mindedness.
- Serve as the primary liaison to the Board of Directors in strategic planning, grant-making, program prioritization, and resource development.
- Provide and direct administrative support to the Board and its seven committees.
- Partner with the Board to broaden and deepen the funding base and provide regular financial reporting, analysis, and forecasting for Board oversight.
- Streamline and update financial and operational systems/processes.
- Promote the continued fiscal health of the organization by expanding fundraising efforts and broadening and diversifying operational and programmatic funding streams; assure a balanced revenue mix of grants, corporate sponsors, donations, and events revenue.
- Organize and operationalize the immense amount of support being provided to CBF, as well as the good work being carried out by CBF.
Ambassadorship, Relationship Building & People Leadership
- Serve as a strong messenger, excellent communicator, and visible, engaging leader who articulates CBF’s mission, vision, and objectives to advance and promote the work of the Foundation and its grantees.
- Effectively partner with local and statewide bar associations as well as legislative, executive, and judicial branches of state government.
- Lead with a growth-oriented mindset.
- Foster and maintain excellent relationships with CBF grantees and Fellows.
- Establish significant working relationships and partner closely with the Board of Directors, leaning on it for institutional knowledge and expertise.
- Lead in a hands-on, fully engaged and roll-up-your-sleeves way, embracing work in a small organization, maximizing available resources.
- Build and maintain a strong team culture regardless of environment (in office/remote/hybrid) in a way that supports and empowers staff.
- Serve as an effective hiring manager who can successfully assess, build, leverage, and support the team around them.
- Promote internal best practices, including strong onboarding policies, that focus on strong process and building institutional knowledge.
- Be decisive when called for, while being responsive to the needs of colleagues.
Legal Acumen & Program Leadership
- Bring confidence and comfort working with legal professionals, lawmakers, policymakers, and distinguished leaders within the judicial branch.
- Be aware of legal terminology and ideally some knowledge of the legislative process.
- Be a thought partner to staff in research leadership related to legal issues in the state.
- Assure the fiscal integrity of the Foundation and its funds, including the IOLTA/IOTA, CGFIA, JBGIA, TRO and RTO grant programs.
- Manage the grant application and monitoring processes and oversee the completion and submission of forms, reports, and contracts, including annual reports to the Executive Committee of the Judicial Branch.
- Administer the Fellows program and identify and pursue activities that further engage and attract a deep pool of accomplished Fellows.
Passion for the Mission
- Have a current presence in, or connection to, the legal community in Hartford and surrounding areas or bring willingness, enthusiasm, and ability to build connections quickly.
- Promote best practices and maximize coordination of service within Connecticut’s nonprofit legal services community.
- Nurture a statewide network of partner organizations, government contacts, and influential individuals focused on common policy goals who are aligned with the Foundation’s mission.
- Possess a curiosity to identify new opportunities to engage with various lawyers and legal groups in the region, including for example law students, new lawyers, and attorneys from underrepresented groups.
- Bring a demonstrated commitment to ensuring the state’s civil legal system is available to all, regardless of power or resources, as well as a belief in law as a solution to social issues.
- Lead with emotional intelligence and empathy, bringing a sense of humor, optimism, and eagerness to problem-solve in a collaborative environment.
Compensation & Benefits
Compensation is competitive and commensurate with experience. The salary range for this role is $140,000 - $158,000 with a generous benefits package.
Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Molly Brennan, Corina Benitz and Gina Wrolstad of Koya Partners are the search team. To express interest in this role, please submit your materials by filling out our Talent Profile or email the search team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email NonprofitSearchOps@divsearch.com. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.
The Connecticut Bar Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.
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, please visit our Koya Partners website.