Foundations and Philanthropy, Nonprofit and Social Impact, Program Leadership

Program Director, Vibrant Neighborhoods, and Inclusive Economy

  • George Gund Foundation
  • Cleveland, OH

This position has been filled.

About The George Gund Foundation

The George Gund Foundation is one of the leading foundations in the Midwest and is looked to as a national leader on how a foundation can help shape the landscape of a region. The Foundation is known for its strategic partnerships with organizations in the Cleveland area and its interdisciplinary approach to strengthening society. Established in 1952, the Foundation’s primarily urban focus extends to the illumination of public policies and support of nonprofit advocacy on important issues at the local, state, and national levels.

The history of the Foundation reflects a deep commitment to the Greater Cleveland community that was the home of its founder, George Gund. The Foundation’s philanthropic stewardship of the region derives not just from its history, but also from a belief that Cleveland can continue to develop original responses to urban issues and from a hope that collaborations across boundaries can create a crucible of innovation in all fields of endeavor. Moreover, the urban emphasis of the Foundation’s work stems from a belief that thriving cities are one of the nation’s best hopes for addressing essential problems such as climate change, inequality, and the functioning of democracy. This focus is especially vital in an era of diminished state government funding in urban communities, intensifying de-industrialization, and shift from globalization to economic regionalism.

Over the years, the Foundation’s program objectives and emphases have been modified to meet the changing opportunities and problems of our society, but the Foundation’s basic goal of advancing human welfare remains constant. Today, the Foundation’s program areas consist of Climate and Environmental Justice, Creative Culture and Arts, Public Education, Thriving Families and Social Justice, and Vibrant Neighborhoods and Inclusive Economy. Although there has been no democracy program area, serious questions about the fairness and functioning of American democracy have led the Foundation to invest in efforts to effectively respond. Due to the increasingly complex interrelatedness of these issues, the Foundation’s work has become ever more interdisciplinary.

The Foundation is located in Cleveland, Ohio, which has experienced notable but uneven revitalization in recent years as Northeast Ohio transitions from its heavily industrial past to a more diversified, knowledge-based economy. Cleveland perennially surprises people who are new to the community with its amenities, attractiveness, and quality of life.

The Foundation has approximately $565 million dollars in assets, a 2022 grantmaking budget of $41 million, and a typical staff size of 11. The Foundation’s nine-member Board of Trustees is comprised of Gund family members as well as independent trustees from the Cleveland community.

The George Gund Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and pursues equity in all of its work, including hiring.

For more information on The George Gund Foundation, please visit its website.

The Opportunity

The Program Director, Vibrant Neighborhoods and Inclusive Economy will lead the Foundation’s grantmaking in economic and community development and neighborhood revitalization.

Evidence of Cleveland’s transformation is apparent in many places and the Foundation has played an important role in much of that change. Downtown, University Circle, and other Cleveland neighborhoods have seen substantial investment. The regional economy has made great strides toward diversification. But the revival is uneven and has not yet touched many neighborhoods and people in need. Furthermore, the transition away from an economy overly concentrated in heavy industry can be painfully slow with many attendant human, social, and environmental issues. Racial disparities in employment, incomes, and wealth remain distressingly pronounced. Yet, the community also has many assets on which it can build a successful future. These include global leadership in many aspects of health care, abundant freshwater resources in a time of growing shortages, a premier arts and culture community, and a deeply experienced network of community-based and nonprofit agencies that are devoted to addressing tough issues.

The Program Director, Vibrant Neighborhoods and Inclusive Economy will be a key leader in Cleveland and will help to advance the Foundation’s work, community initiatives, and policy advocacy. This leader will be regarded as an organizer, convener, and trusted advisor and will partner with other organizations and government entities to shape the community landscape well beyond the scope of the Foundation’s grantmaking. The anticipated grantmaking portfolio under this position ranges from approximately $4–7 million per year, depending on market value and payout.

Candidate Profile

The Program Director, Vibrant Neighborhoods and Inclusive Economy of The George Gund Foundation will possess the following attributes and competencies:

A Passion for the Mission

The Program Director, Vibrant Neighborhoods and Inclusive Economy will have a true passion for the values, priorities, and goals articulated in the Foundation’s What We Believe statement and will have or will acquire a commitment to strengthening the Greater Cleveland community. Working in close collaboration with the staff and board, this leader will help to achieve the greatest possible impact through the Foundation’s grantmaking and will work tirelessly to advance equity in the region. They will have a broad understanding of the tools of community-building, including organizing, issue framing, advocacy, and impact investing. The Program Director will seek to implement creative and strategic grantmaking to enhance the impact of those tools. This leader will inspire and motivate others and exhibit a wide-ranging curiosity and interest in the lives of older industrial cities, particularly Cleveland.

Critical Thinker

The Program Director, Vibrant Neighborhoods and Inclusive Economy will have a deep understanding of the key issues surrounding economic development and community revitalization. They will have a demonstrated ability to navigate these issues diplomatically and an understanding of the policy-making process and the political dynamics of cities. The Program Director will have strong analytic skills and will have the ability to think creatively and collaboratively about the broad goals of the Foundation, while remaining focused on details and follow-through.

Cultural Fit

The Program Director, Vibrant Neighborhoods and Inclusive Economy will have a seriousness of purpose and a deep appreciation for the Foundation’s work. They will be joining a strong, healthy team, with a dedicated board, and will embrace and contribute to the Foundation’s collegial culture. The Program Director will have a deep appreciation for the role of the Foundation and will actively seek partnerships for the betterment of the community, avoiding bureaucratic hurdles to achieve shared missions. They will have an effective balance of confidence and humility, a strong sense of humor, and will work extremely well with others.

A Relationship Builder and Collaborator

The Program Director, Vibrant Neighborhoods and Inclusive Economy must be able to build and sustain excellent relationships both internally with the Board of Trustees and Foundation staff, as well as with key community members and other stakeholders. The Program Director will be a demonstrated team player and will be a key leader in Cleveland and in the national foundation community. This leader will be seen as a trusted advisor to grantees and other organizations, working to support economic and community development in Cleveland and beyond. It is imperative that they treat others with respect and always stay true to the values of the Foundation. Moreover, the ideal candidate is an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics, and values; and someone who can be trusted without reservation. The Program Director will have insight about the power dynamics that exist in a foundation’s relationship with its stakeholders and will have experience navigating that relationship with appropriate transparency and respect. They will have broad experience building strong working relationships across lines of differences, including gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, and class.


The Program Director, Vibrant Neighborhoods and Inclusive Economy will be an exceptional communicator. They will have superior written and verbal communication skills, including the ability to write clearly and succinctly under time pressure and to make well-organized, strong verbal presentations. The Program Director will have an ability to listen to others and learn from their best ideas and exhibit an intellectual curiosity, approachability, and openness to input from all levels of staff. This leader will be able to work independently and as a team member in a atmosphere where differing viewpoints and give-and-take are expected and encouraged.

Compensation & Benefits

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience, with a salary range beginning at $140,000. The Foundation offers a comprehensive benefits package.


Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Alex Corvin and Maleka Pensky of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express interest in this role please submit your materials here or email Alex and Maleka directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential, and candidates are encouraged to keep their interest in the position 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 If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

The George Gund 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 about Koya Partners, visit

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