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The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven (The Foundation) is launching a multi-pronged, multi-year initiative designed to enhance levels of student achievement in the New Haven Public Schools. The Foundation is seeking to hire an individual with the knowledge, experience, leadership potential and skills to conceive, design, implement and lead this initiative.
The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, founded in 1928, is the charitable endowment for a twenty-town region in South Central Connecticut. Governed by a board of eleven community leaders, The Foundation is comprised of more than 700 separate philanthropic funds and manages total philanthropic assets of almost $290 million as of the end of 2009. The Foundation is the region’s largest grantmaker, making approximately $14 million in grants in 2009. The Foundation raises substantial new philanthropic resources each year as well, with new gifts to The Foundation averaging almost $10 million annually over the last five years.
Given The Foundation’s size, scope and deep long-standing relationships in the region’s philanthropic and non-profit communities, The Foundation has a long track record of leadership on important community issues. In 2009, The Foundation decided that it would focus significant effort, resources and attention in the coming years on enhancing student achievement in the New Haven Public Schools (NHPS) through a new initiative (the Student Achievement Initiative). This decision was made in the context of the public commitment of the City of New Haven in 2009 to undertake its own comprehensive school reform initiative designed to achieve exponential progress in closing within five years the achievement gap between the academic performance of students in NHPS and the academic performance of students in Connecticut generally. The Foundation’s Student Achievement Initiative will be designed to be aligned with, supportive of and at the same time independent of school reform as it is taking place within NHPS.
The Student Achievement Initiative will encompass a comprehensive set of inter-related activities that will go far beyond The Foundation’s traditional education grantmaking. At the center of the Student Achievement Initiative will be a dedicated Foundation intervention strategy designed to achieve specific defined goals over a period of five years related to enhancing student achievement in NHPS. This strategy will have its own budget ($250,000 has been budgeted in 2010 for the first year of this strategy, which does not include funds budgeted for the director of the Student Achievement Initiative). The director of the Student Achievement Initiative will take the lead role in defining this strategy, including its long-term and annual goals, and in defining how it will be pursued. While no direction has yet been established, examples that have been mentioned as areas in which The Foundation might undertake this dedicated strategy include enhancing teacher quality, strengthening school administration through training of principals, and encouraging parental engagement in school reform.
Other elements of the Student Achievement Initiative will include:
· Grantmaking. Starting in 2010, The Foundation intends to undertake a dedicated competitive process to provide responsive grants to non-profits that are providing services that will enhance student achievement in NHPS (funding for these grants is over and above the budget for The Foundation’s dedicated strategy mentioned above). The Foundation expects to work with NHPS and the United Way of Greater New Haven regarding these grants. The director of the Student Achievement Initiative will work closely with The Foundation’s grantmaking staff in this process.
· Development. The Foundation will make a priority of raising funds for the Student Achievement Initiative. This will involve extensive work with corporate and institutional funders and with individual donors. In addition, The Foundation expects to play the role as needed of intermediary for governmental and private philanthropic grants to support elements of NHPS school reform. The director will work closely with The Foundation’s development and donor services staff in this work.
· Community Knowledge and Accountability. The Foundation, through its participation on the Regional Leadership Council, is involved in discussions with local private sector leaders as to establishment of an accountability mechanism that will be designed to track the progress of and keep the community’s leadership informed about the status of NHPS school reform. The director of the Student Achievement Initiative will work closely with the President of The Foundation in this work. In addition, the director will work closely with The Foundation’s communications staff and community knowledge staff on developing our strategy for keeping the broader community informed as to The Foundation’s Student Achievement Initiative.
· New Haven Promise. Building on The Foundation’s long-standing leadership in raising funds for and in administering local scholarships, The Foundation is likely to be the administrative home of New Haven Promise, which will be a comprehensive financial assistance program for higher education for graduates of NHPS. The Foundation will work closely with Yale and with the City of New Haven on New Haven Promise. While it is not yet clear how the Foundation’s work with respect to New Haven Promise will be staffed, the director of the Student Achievement Initiative will work with New Haven Promise staff as appropriate.
The Foundation is establishing a Student Achievement Task Force to guide, shape and oversee the Student Achievement Initiative and to act as the interface with The Foundation’s board on these matters. The task force will consist of Foundation board members as well as non-board members who have significant and varied experience in K-12 education, in school reform and in related educational issues. The director of the Student Achievement Initiative will work closely with the task force.
The director of the Student Achievement Initiative will report to the President and CEO of The Foundation.
The director will have a minimum of 5 years of experience in urban public education or related urban policy work with a graduate degree in a relevant discipline being desirable but not required. It will be important that the director of the Student Achievement Initiative has the following skills, experience and attributes:
· Experience in successfully managing people and projects;
· Deep knowledge of school reform best practices;
· Experience in translating programmatic goals into powerful and persuasive presentations to potential funders and partners;
· Experience in and commitment to working to address the challenges of inner-city communities;
· Creativity and experience in designing and implementing social change activities;
· A collaborative working style and experience working in situations demanding complex coalition-building; and
· The political savvy, stature and self-confidence to interact with the public and private sector leadership of Greater New Haven.
Inquiries with respect to this opportunity should be directed to:
Leon J. Bailey
Vice President, Human Resources
The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven
70 Audubon Street
New Haven, CT 06510