Solidago is a nimble and creative philanthropic foundation that supports social justice organizations. “Solidago”, the botanical Latin term for the goldenrod plant, means, “to strengthen and make whole.” Inspired by this widespread and strong-rooted plant, the Foundation seeks non-traditional and creative approaches to deep-rooted social problems that address institutionalized disparities. Since launching its work in 1996, Solidago has promoted justice, equity, sustainability, and enfranchisement for all through its charitable grantmaking. It has joined with progressive funding partners across the country to support work for fundamental, transformational social change.
Solidago is a 501C3 charitable foundation. Its sister organization, the See Forward Fund, is a C4, with similar goals and programs focused on supporting work on independent political power and progressive governance. See Forward is operated by the Solidago staff, as is the Frances Fund, an endowed private family foundation that supports Solidago.
The primary beneficiaries of support are progressive community-based organizations and networks that represent low-income communities of color. Solidago has helped to build capacity and empower community infrastructure and institutions, while also creating economic development strategies and policies that have helped to reverse the growing gap between wealth and power.
As a progressive philanthropic organization, Solidago has offered a range of support, from general operation support to technical assistance, applied research and leadership development. The organization has played a critically scarce funding role, enabling many grassroots organizations to thrive and have greater impact.
The board has long positioned the organization to sunset after 25 years, so it will spend down its endowment by 2023. Through a recent strategic planning process, the Solidago Board of Directors concluded that, at this critical moment in history, the timing is right to maximize its impact. With this in mind, the organization has narrowed its focus over the next three years on supporting work on civic engagement and representative government.
With two experienced program staff and a small administrative support team, Solidago enters its final three years with a sharp focus and clear intentions. Solidago is led by a small board of directors and has a dedicated staff of six. The organization’s annual budget is $3 million.
Solidago’s new Managing Director will have the unique opportunity to shepherd the final phase of an organization with a national reputation within progressive philanthropy for its longstanding history of funding grassroots organizing and movement building. The Foundation is poised for the right leader to support its programs and its public visibility. The Managing Director will join a highly functional organization with an experienced, astute board and skilled staff.
Led by Board President Linda Stout, the Board of Directors of Solidago expects to realize significant impact over the three years ahead. Through its intensive strategic and financial planning efforts, Solidago is poised for a remarkable closure to its decades of historic accomplishments.
Over the next three years, Solidago Foundation expects to accomplish the following:
Relational Grantmaking: Solidago will focus on its core function: grantmaking to grassroots social justice organizations that are rooted in low income communities and communities of color, building power through organizing, movement building, civic engagement and advocacy. In this manner, the Foundation will make grants through the end of 2022. It will be joined in this effort by the See Forward Fund.
A Narrow Scope of Activity: Recognizing the enormous importance of the pivotal time we are in, when our democracy and many social justice gains are severely threatened, Solidago has narrowed its strategic scope for the years ahead on the key structural change needed now—non-partisan civic engagement and a truly democratic and representative government. The See Forward Fund will focus on grantmaking that builds independent political power.
Initiate Work with Lasting Impact: Beginning in the Fall of 2020, Solidago’s grantmaking will also prioritize community-rooted representative governance initiatives in strategic geographic areas. The Foundation will continue to work closely with key national partners and initiatives to ensure that this work will extend beyond its own scale and lifespan. The See Forward Fund will focus on progressive governance and policy.
The Ideal Candidate
This position requires a skilled nonprofit leader who will be both collaborative and directive. Solidago seeks a Managing Director who is experienced as a facilitator, and who brings an enthusiastic and energetic presence to the organization. The successful candidate will be a flexible, strategic, and innovative thinker who shares Solidago’s vision of a world in which diversity, equity, and inclusion are imperatives.
The ideal candidate will be a hands-on operational leader, adept at managing a talented professional staff and working closely with an engaged board of directors.
Solidago Foundation’s ideal candidate will demonstrate these skills and attributes:
Strategic Planning and Administrative Oversight
The ideal candidate will be a strategic thinker who brings experience and skill in nonprofit organizational planning and operational management. The successful candidate will be prepared to play a pivotal role in the development and implementation of the organization’s work plans. He, she, or they will directly supervise the Program Director, Chief Financial Officer, and Administrative Assistant.
Excellent Communication Skills
Solidago Foundation seeks a Managing Director with highly developed written and oral communication skills. The organization’s next leader will ideally be an individual who is an articulate and thoughtful speaker, able to represent the organization effectively to public audiences.
Financial Resource Management
The ideal candidate will be comfortable with the financial management of a nonprofit agency, and will possess the skills to supervise and in an emergency back-stop the CFO. He, she, or they will understand workplace compliance and employment laws and possess the ability to assure adequate planning and accounting of all funds, including maintaining sound financial practices.
Facility in Working with a Skilled Staff
Continuing professional staff development is a focus for Solidago Foundation. The next Managing Director will be adept at motivating and leading a talented staff, valuing their work, respecting their contributions, and building an environment that fosters team work. Experience managing and building a team in a virtual environment is a plus.
Solidago seeks a new leader with significant experience working effectively in partnership with a board of directors, and key funder and advisor to carry out the mission of the organization. He, she, or they will administer the board’s processes in conjunction with the board president and facilitate communication between the board and staff, and key funder.
Education and Leadership Experience
Education and work experience in a relevant area is needed. Five or more years of leadership responsibility is required.
Submission of Candidacy
This executive search is being conducted by TSNE MissionWorks and Transition Consultant Cathy Cohen. All submissions are confidential. Only online applications will be accepted.
Candidates should include a resume and a cover letter that describes how their qualifications and experience match the needs of Solidago Foundation, along with salary requirements, how they learned of the position, and any other relevant information (such as published articles). All applications will be acknowledged. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
This is a full-time position offering a competitive salary and benefits commensurate with skill and experience.
Currently, in concern for everyone’s safety and health, all Solidago staff are working remotely. As an added benefit, the next Managing Director of Solidago will be afforded the opportunity to work remotely on a part-time basis even after the COVID-19 quarantine period ends.
Solidago is an equal-opportunity employer and actively seeks a diverse pool of candidates. People of color, women, and LGBTQ+ people are encouraged to apply.