Position Summary

The McKnight Foundation seeks an experienced philanthropic leader to guide its renowned Arts grantmaking program, which supports working artists and the organizations that help them advance artistically and professionally. This role oversees strategy development and execution of the Arts grantmaking process, leads Arts-based initiatives, and develops partnerships and collaborations that enable sector-wide capacity development. Reporting to the Vice President of Programs, the Program Director of Arts will be joining at a critical moment in the Foundation’s history as the institution advances its recently adopted Strategic Framework. This position will join a cross-functional team of program directors who will lead their teams collaboratively through periods of ambiguity and iterative change as the Foundation evolves.

The Arts program remains a key priority for the Foundation. Building on McKnight’s legacy and unparalleled reputation as an arts funder, the new program director will have the opportunity to shape its grantmaking strategy to further align with the Foundation’s strategic direction and two refined focus areas: advancing climate solutions and building a more equitable and inclusive Minnesota. In addition to internal leadership, this role represents the Foundation externally, building authentic relationships within the arts community, as well as with partner organizations and civic and governmental entities. For more context on these changes, please read this posting.

Key Responsibilities

Strategic and Operational Leadership

  • Effectively collaborate with peer directors and leadership across the Foundation to integrate processes, facilitate change, ensure alignment, and achieve organizational goals.
  • Actively facilitate internal dialogue with peers, staff, and leadership to address the Foundation’s evolving strategy, structural, and systems changes.

Team and Culture

  • Build, strengthen, develop, and support a high-performing team of two Program Officers, including effective management of technical and financial resources.
  • Advance the Foundation’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and foster a culture aligned with the organizational values of curiosity, respect, equity, and stewardship.
  • Demonstrate cultural competency and emotional intelligence and communicate with candor and openness when addressing sensitive issues such as mental models/assumptions, power dynamics, historical contexts, and racial inequities.

Program Leadership

  • Demonstrate deep appreciation for, commitment to, and patronage of a wide range of artistic endeavors, forms of expression, and practices.
  • Directly manage a portfolio of grants and oversee the grantmaking process across the entire Arts program.
  • Develop and coordinate Arts-related initiatives in collaboration with the program team and support the team’s work in the field.
  • Identify Foundation partners with shared values, assess partners’ readiness and capacity for leading change, and engage with committed partners to facilitate strategic change, systems change, and field-building efforts.
  • Direct the design and management of program learning and evaluation.
  • Maintain current knowledge of the arts landscape in Minnesota to include the issues, trends, and other factors affecting Minnesota artists.
  • In support of the Foundation’s broader priorities and new focus areas—advancing climate solutions and building a more equitable and inclusive Minnesota—seek to understand and articulate the ways in which the Arts program supports and aligns with enterprise-level strategy and direction.

Building Relationships

  • Cultivate and foster strategic relationships throughout Minnesota with individuals and entities who share the Foundation’s core values and program interests.
  • Represent the Foundation with high-level strategic partners, including external stakeholders and grantees, other nonprofits, and policymakers.

Core Competencies

  • Proven success developing and implementing impactful programs and effectively communicating conceptual program frameworks to grantseekers, partners, stakeholders, and trustees.
  • Comprehensive understanding of Arts program design and development, systems, and networking.
  • Demonstrated expertise with innovative grantmaking practices including and especially program evaluation, strategic alignment, and grantee communication.
  • Experience shaping strategy in partnership with senior leadership and program officers, with the ability to translate strategy into priorities and achieve goals.
  • Broad and current understanding of the arts sector and art communities in Minnesota, with firsthand knowledge of the state’s rich artistic cultural diversity.
  • Demonstrated commitment to furthering a culturally inclusive definition of artistic excellence.
  • Ability to take a broad view when approaching issues and apply a culturally competent lens.
  • Proven ability to effectively leverage and collaboratively deploy best practices to achieve program alignment across an organization.
  • Direct experience and awareness to effectively work with and support diverse artistic communities, including appreciation for historical context, discernment of relationship nuances and power dynamics, and understanding of social, racial, and ethnic realities.
  • Comfort with ambiguity and demonstrated success leading teams through change, fostering a climate where people are motivated to do their best to help the organization achieve its objectives.
  • Exemplary public communication skills and experience participating in national and regional convenings as a panelist or keynote speaker.
  • Proactive, positive approach to new opportunities and tough challenges with the ability to build consensus, gain buy-in, reduce conflict, deflect drama, and solve problems.

Qualifications of an Ideal Candidate

Bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 10 years’ related full-time professional work experience in a foundation, nonprofit, government or directly related entity are required; foundation/nonprofit experience is strongly preferred. Five or more years of managerial level experience or a combination of equivalent experience and training is required. Eight or more years of experience in grantmaking or a related role with demonstrated expertise in strategy development and priority-setting in support of the Arts program area is required. Experience working with a board of directors, preferably a family board, is strongly desired. Master’s degree is preferred.

This is a full-time exempt position based in Minneapolis. The salary range is approximately $165,000 –$173,000.

The above statements are intended to provide a general framework of what this position requires. There may be other functions and qualifications that emerge in time, and the chosen candidate may be asked to perform other duties that are not listed here.

The McKnight Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and proudly values diversity. We encourage candidates of all backgrounds to apply.

To Apply

Click here to apply for the opening.

Ash Talent Solutions LLC is pleased to represent this exceptional career opportunity on behalf of the McKnight Foundation. Direct any inquiries to Jen Hanlon Ash at jen@ashtalentsolutions.com.

Priority will be given to candidates who apply by January 13, 2020. Position is open until filled.

About the McKnight Foundation

The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive. Established in 1953, the McKnight Foundation is deeply committed to advancing climate solutions in the Midwest; building an equitable and inclusive Minnesota; and supporting the arts in Minnesota, neuroscience, and international crop research. The Foundation has approximately $2.3 billion in assets and grants about $90 million a year.

McKnight has earned national recognition for fostering a culture of collaboration, innovation, and inclusiveness that empowers our diverse teams to achieve our shared mission. McKnight has been named one of the best workplaces for women and one of the best small workplaces in the nation. McKnight offers a high-trust, high-performing culture that encourages continuous learning and improvement across its program areas. The Foundation’s offices are located above the Mill City Museum in downtown Minneapolis. This landmark building is an architecture award winner whose sustainable design and historic preservation practices blend modern amenities with original features and reclaimed materials. Filled with art and natural light, the space offers stunning city and riverfront views that connect the urban and natural environments year-round—a reflection of the Foundation’s mission.