This position has been filled.
The John And Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation Overview
The John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation is committed to strengthening democracy through civic engagement— guided by truth, integrity, and moral clarity—with a goal of amplifying the voices of rising generations.
The John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation (JLMLF) was conceived by the late Congressman to carry on his and his wife’s passion for purposeful living and civic engagement. Throughout their lives, John and Lillian consistently demonstrated their love of learning, their unwavering devotion to helping others and their steadfast commitments to peace and building the “beloved community,” a world in which everyone values the dignity and worth of every human being.
The Lewis’s spent their lifetimes praying and moving their feet as they fought for justice, fairness and inclusion through non-violent means. They realized that the fight for justice was a lifelong struggle and that everyone has a role to play. They believed in the power of collaboration. They had unwavering confidence in the power of individuals to reimagine and build a better society.
The John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation was established to advance the ideals that John and Lillian espoused throughout their 60-plus years of activism and to preserve their legacy. Congressman Lewis asked three long-time friends to commit their personal passions and professional talents to achieve the organization’s vision as the JLMLF’s founding board of directors. Upon John’s passing in July 2020, the board launched strategic planning to create the path forward.
The JLMLF’s emergence is incredibly timely. Recent, pivotal events have forced an overdue reckoning with U.S. racial history and democratic principles. Additionally, these events have elevated public awareness of the existence of systemic cycles of evil and awakened a new sense of consciousness about an even greater need for change.
People throughout the U.S. and around the world, young and old, rich and poor, of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds, are responding to a newfound sense of urgency to make intentionally different choices to dismantle racism and injustice. The JLMLF is committed to doing its part by continuing the good, righteous and important work of John and Lillian Miles Lewis and inspiring what Congressman Lewis called “good trouble, necessary trouble!”
To achieve its mission, JLMLF uses the following levers for change, which, when activated together, possess transformational power and potential to build democracy:
Trusted Partnerships – JLMLF’s goals are achieved through trusted, mutually respectful partnerships with mission-aligned individuals, organizations and efforts.
Innovative Thought Leadership – JLMLF produces and promotes fresh and bold ideas that identify and articulate threats to our democracy and human rights; and it commits to prepare individuals and communities for the work of justice by facilitating important, although often difficult, conversations.
Strategic Investment – JLMLF invests in, inspires and supports innovative, committed and trusted efforts to achieve its mission.
As a nation, if we care for the Beloved Community, we must move our feet, our hands, our hearts, our resources to build and not tear down, to reconcile and not to divide, to love and not to hate.
The John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation is a national, not–for–profit, organization founded by Congressman John Lewis shortly before his death as a vehicle to perpetuate the memory and legacy of Mr. Lewis and his wife, Lillian Miles Lewis, through continued efforts to advance the human condition.
Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director (ED) will manage all JLMLF activities. While the JLMLF has been legally established as an operating entity and a strategic framework has been developed, JLMLF is essentially a startup. Unlike most startups, however, the JLMLF is expected to have immediate impact and visibility, having already garnered significant support and interest from a wide range of individuals and organizations.
The immediate priority for the new ED will be to create and implement a strategic plan, based on the strategic framework that has been established. The ED will develop operating policies and procedures while keeping the Board informed on JLMLF activities and opportunities. The ED will provide strategic and managerial leadership of JLMLF and ensure that the Foundation’s strategic direction is consistent with its mission, values and priorities. Working collaboratively with the Board and other constituents, the ED provides the intellectual, operational, and strategic leadership to realize the vision of JLMLF.
The ED will be the first permanent employee of the JLMLF and will initially work in conjunction with outsourced vendors that provide financial and accounting services, marketing and communications, technology support, fundraising and development support, and other administrative services. The ED functions as the chief executive and development officer, working collaboratively with board members to set fundraising goals and strategies and to execute against those goals. Over time, and in conjunction with a strategic plan, the ED will build the staff necessary to carry out JLMLF daily operations including, financial management, fundraising, programs management, communications, administration, and compliance with investment objectives and policies.
Although JLMLF is based in Atlanta, Georgia, its impact will be far reaching, and its work will have meaning around the world. The ED must be comfortable with the high level of visibility that comes with this role and be mindful that their decisions, actions and priorities must be reflective of JLMLF mission and values. To be successful in this role, the ED must have familiarity with Congressman Lewis’s work, his life, and his priorities both inside and outside of Congress.
This position requires dedication to the JLMLF mission, values and goals, as well as to the organization’s overall effectiveness and impact. The ED is expected to work diligently in an environment that demands and promotes personal and professional excellence.
- Work in partnership with the Board of Directors to refine and implement the Strategic Plan while ensuring priorities are aligned with the JLMLF core mission.
- Cultivate a strong and transparent working relationship with the Board of Directors and ensure open communication about performance against stated milestones and goals.
- Serve as the JLMLF primary spokesperson to the news media and represent JLMLF in local, regional, national, and global venues.
- Ensure all partnerships and programs align with the mission and goals of JLMLF and uphold its values, practices and priorities. Must be able to discern activities and partnerships that might pose potential conflicts with the principles and intent of JLMLF.
- Set the direction for JLMLF management and staffing, and work to attract, motivate, develop and retain excellent staff.
- Ensure the Foundation’s financial resources are utilized prudently and with maximum positive impact and that effective auditing and financial controls are in place; ensure the organization complies with all legal, contractual, or partnership obligations.
- Assist in the administration and management of operations of the Board of Directors, and in partnership with the Board, help cultivate and recruit additional board members.
- Lead fundraising efforts to cultivate sources of revenue needed for the ongoing operations, programming, and growth plans for JLMLF.
- Oversee the day-to-day operations and activities of JLMLF and ensure the organization is being managed with integrity and efficiency in all its interactions and processes.
- Respond to requests from external entities seeking to engage, support, or collaborate with JLMLF to assess benefits to JLMLF and alignment with its core values.
- Establish the physical office space for JLMLF staff and operations.
“Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble. “
The successful candidate will demonstrate through prior experience the following qualities, attributes, and accomplishments:
- Visionary Leader: A politically astute and imaginative leader with the ability to cast a vision, set clear priorities, and deliver on results. Evidence of an ability to develop and implement new ideas and initiatives in a creative, responsible and collaborative way. Ability to lead through influence and facilitation with a record of establishing clear goals and guiding an organization to achieve them.
- Mission Orientation: Respect and appreciation for the JLMLF mission and authentically embraces the mission and priorities.
- Values-driven and self-aware: Committed to the highest levels of personal and professional development and willing to elevate JLMLF goals and values beyond personal gain; ability to serve as the public face of the organization without promoting a personal agenda or over-shadowing the legacy of John Lewis.
- Financial acumen: Exceptional ability to use good judgment and maintain the financial stability of the Foundation.
- Unimpeachable integrity and trustworthiness: Exhibits mature judgment in handling sensitive and confidential information.
- Self-starter, ability to multitask: Effective operating in an entrepreneurial/start-up environment; possesses a high level of energy; not dependent on a large infrastructure to achieve results.
- Relationship building and collaboration: Ability to effectively strategize and engage various groups and constituents to develop trust and strong collaborative working relationships.
- People Management, Financial and Operational Abilities: Ability to attract, build, develop, and empower a leadership team and staff and provide organizational leadership.
- Exceptional Communicator: Demonstrated passion and superior communication skills to express, both orally and in writing, the mission and goals of JLMLF with clarity, passion, and persuasion; ability to communicate with both internal and external constituencies and to represent JLMLF locally, nationally and globally.
- Fundraising: Evidence of achieving tangible results in growing revenue through multiple sources including grants, on-line, events, major individual giving, and capital campaigns.
- Strategic Planning: Experience developing and implementing a Strategic Plan to build, grow, and diversify an organization.
- Marketing and Branding: Ability to promote JLMLF and develop and implement a consistent messaging, communications, and marketing plan.
Diversified Search has been retained by the John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation to assist in this recruitment. Applications, nominations, and inquiries may be directed electronically, and in confidence, to: JLMLF@divsearch.com.
Euris E. Belle
Jayne M. Traurig