Director, Systems Change

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Posted: 8/5/2019

Position Type: Full-Time (Paid)

Function: Programs

Primary domain: Youth Development

City: Battle Creek

Postal code: 49017

State: Michigan

Country: United States

Organization Information:


$20M +


Mission statement:

“The W.K. Kellogg Foundation supports children, families, and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society.”

Position Details:

Job Description:

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, a leading national philanthropy helping communities create the conditions children need to thrive, is seeking nominations and applications for a Director of Systems Change. In recent years, the foundation has sharpened its focus on improving conditions for vulnerable children. Systems Change investments constitute the foundation’s national body of work that advances the mission of the foundation in three key focus areas: thriving children, working families, and equitable communities.

Working in close partnership with the Vice President for Program Strategy, the director will oversee the foundation’s work to influence and promote conditions that lead to transformational and systemic change for children and families. This work includes strategy implementation, priority setting, collaboration and knowledge sharing across the foundation with other directors, and relationship development with grantees, external partners and stakeholders.

The ideal candidate will be a visionary leader with deep knowledge of the role philanthropy can and should play in systems change, including and especially the dismantling of structural racism. He/she/they will have significant experience in grantmaking strategy with a specialty in content areas that target the wellbeing of children. Economic equity, food systems, education quality and health equity are preferred areas of expertise grounded in the foundation’s DNA of community engagement, leadership and racial equity. The new director will also be a seasoned manager skilled in empowering highly talented individuals to seek out innovative ways to drive toward the mission. He/she/they will have experience in program alignment and evaluation and will leverage their expertise into knowledge sharing opportunities across the foundation.

Success in this role requires significant leadership experience (10+ years) in regional or national grantmaking, an anti-racist approach to the work of grantmaking and a demonstrated knowledge of and appreciation for emergent trends in grantmaking. The ideal candidate will be an innovative, energetic leader, who is excited about the opportunity to balance work as a senior manager, strategist and thought-partner. He/she/they will be a talented communicator who is able to build rapport, trust and transparency internally and externally.  The director will build positive relationships especially among the grantmaking team while acting as a bridge between program staff and senior leadership. He/she/they will be a strong public communicator who seeks knowledge, first and foremost, from grantees but also engages in thought-partnership with national partners and stakeholders.


The ideal candidate will be first and foremost committed to the foundation’s mission and will have a deep and nuanced understanding of the structural forces that impact the wellbeing of children. She/he/they will be distinguished as a leader in regional or national philanthropy and a tested, successful manager.

While no one person will embody all of the qualities enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes and experiences:

•             At least 10 to 15 years of progressive experience in grantmaking or a related field with demonstrated expertise in strategy development and priority-setting in support of the wellbeing of children, racial equity, economic equity, health equity, educational equity, or a related field;

•             Experience shaping strategy in partnership with senior leadership and program officers with the ability to translate strategy into priorities and goals. A thorough understanding of how to leverage best practices in collaboration to achieve program alignment across an organization;

•             Capacity to develop and implement impactful programs and effectively communicate conceptual program frameworks to grant-seekers and trustees; deep and comprehensive understanding of program design and development, systems, networking, and community change;

•             Demonstrated expertise and experience in innovative grantmaking practices including and especially program evaluation, strategic alignment, and grantee communication;

•             The knowledge and sensitivity to effectively work with and support vulnerable communities including appreciation for historical context, discernment of relationship nuances and power dynamics, and understanding of social, racial, and ethnic realities;

•             Exemplary public communication skills and experience participating in national and regional convenings as a panelist or keynote;

•             Demonstrated ability to develop and implement programs that have impact; ability to think globally while working locally, representing WKKF to a variety of stakeholders and intermediaries in a credible and influential way and with a selfless manner focusing on values and the greater good;

•             Successful experience leading a multidisciplinary team and working effectively with persons from diverse cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds; willingness to set aside a personal agenda in favor of organizational and/or community goals and objectives;

•             Strong relationship building and communication skills with the ability to have authentic dialogue around sensitive issues including funding priorities, WKKF expectations, and community concerns;

•             Highly developed emotional intelligence and active listening skills, and the ability to use interpersonal and political skills in collaborative, diplomatic ways;

•             Excellent writing, editing, analytical, and oral communication skills including the ability to collect, review, synthesize, and present information and findings;

•             Ability to multitask and meet deadlines within designated timeframes, as well as demonstrated resourcefulness in setting priorities; strong organizational skills and exceptional attention to detail with the ability to work both independently, take initiative, and contribute ideas for enhancing performance;

•             An optimistic outlook and the humor, integrity, and patience necessary to work within a transformative environment; and

•             Ability to travel approximately 40 percent of time; regular attendance on-site at the Battle Creek headquarters to facilitate interaction and synthesis of the grantmaking programs is required.


Not Specified


Commensurate with Experience

Posting Expiration Date:


How to Apply:

More information about the W.K. Kellogg Foundation may be found at

Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Applications including a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, your resume (in Word or PDF format), and where you learned of the position should be sent to: [email protected]. In order to expedite the internal sorting and reviewing process, please type your name (Last, First) as the only contents in the subject line of your e-mail.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and proudly values diversity.

Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Posted By: NPAG


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