Chief Executive Officer, Washington, DC



To amplify and increase the impact of lean funders by building an inclusive community where they can learn, connect, and collaborate.


Do you believe in the power of philanthropy to improve people's lives and change the world?

Do you take pride in maximizing the use of lean resources for innovative and outsized impact and are you inspired to serve as a champion for lean philanthropy?

Do you value the cultivation of big tent inclusive philanthropy with afirm conviction that the intentional inclusion of diverse perspectives leads to better decision making and greater outcomes?

Are you a builder, a builder of community, networks, movements, a builder of brands?

Do you feel a charge to connect people, resources, and ideas for meaningful change?

Are you entrepreneurial with the ambition to run a social enterprise with outstanding customer service and a clear value-added proposition?

If so, we invite you to keep reading to explore the enormous potential for you to strengthen a movement of lean funders changing the world.


In 1995, a group of trustees and executives from foundations with few or no staff saw an opportunity to unite for the development of their craft. Gathering at a conference under a handwritten sign reading "Are you alone with millions?", they formed the Association of Small Foundations and created a movement for small-staffed foundations. The organization became the nation's largest philanthropy membership association providing a comprehensive curriculum and programs for its vibrant membership of 2,000. Funders learned about the tools and resources on issues ranging from grantmaking, evaluation, financial management, and governance and engaged in peer learning, exchanging knowledge, and best practices in an inspiring and supportive environment.

In 2014, the organization's name was changed to Exponent Philanthropy conveying the exponential and outsized impact lean funders have in communities across the country and welcoming funders with a lean, agile, responsive, passionate, and personal style of giving. Exponent Philanthropy's current strategic plan emphasizes its commitment to 1) amplify and increase the impact of lean funders; 2) build a broader and deeper community through sharing and collaboration; 3) maximize relevance and accessibility to a variety of funders; and, 4) advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy. The organization operates with the conviction that the intentional inclusion of diverse perspectives leads to better decision making, more equitable outcomes, and greater philanthropic impact.

Exponent Philanthropy has an annual budget of approximately $3.5 million and a staff of 18. The organization raises its money primarily through membership dues (40 percent), grants and sponsorship (25 percent), and program fees (20 percent). Its membership is comprised of roughly 60 percent family foundations, 35 percent independent foundations, and five percent corporate and community foundations and donor-advised funds.

Exponent Philanthropy is located in the Dupont Circle area of Washington, DC. Currently, the office is operating a hybrid working environment, with some staff working 100 percent remotely and others working in the office on an occasional, scheduled basis. A person located in or willing to relocate to the Washington, DC area is preferred, although individuals with stellar qualifications who are based outside of the DC region post-pandemic will be considered. In either case, the office will continue operating as a hybrid workplace for at least the remainder of 2021.


  • Leadership Lead with a mission-driven sense of urgency and commitment to the promotion of optimal lean philanthropy. Inspire with a strategic vision while attending to day-to-day operations, member services, programs, and activities. Lead and support a committed, passionate staff with a shared vision and sense of purpose, creating ongoing opportunities for learning, growth, and creativity, and fostering an inclusive culture where all staff and members can thrive. Facilitate effective and collaborative work of the senior leadership team, assuring and strengthening alignment with organizational values, strategy, and the business plan. Organize strategic planning initiatives, incorporating buy-in from the membership base. Serve as a respected thought leader in the field staying abreast of new developments and ahead of the curve. Represent the voice for lean philanthropy throughout the country. Always be mindful of striking an appropriate balance between serving the needs of the members and representing in the broader field of philanthropy and beyond.

  • General Management, Administration, Finance, and Planning With the COO and other staff, ensure fiscal sustainability and health, attending to both longer-term financial forecasting and the efficient administration of day-to-day operations. Hold the organization to the highest levels of accountability and consistency with respect to all management systems, accounting, budgeting, financial analysis, funding, cashflow, and cost reporting.

  • Board Relations Establish a strong working partnership with the Board of Directors built on trust that enriches their experience and brings forth their best ideas and efforts in governance and inspires their maximum financial support. With the Board, increase membership and greater support from existing members. Facilitate the work of the standing Board committees. Help strengthen the Board through the recruitment of new members as needed.

  • Member Development and Fundraising Lead fundraising with the development staff and the engagement of senior staff and Board members to sustain, diversify, and strengthen recruitment, engagement, and support. Shape a revenue strategy and funding model that expands reliable revenue over time. Strengthen existing funding relationships and identify and secure new sources of funding. Increase the level of fees generated from publication sales and services. Build a strong culture of philanthropy within the organization in which Board and staff serve as ambassadors and engage in relationship building.

  • Communication Oversee communication of the organization's vision for lean impactful philanthropy. Serve as a visible spokesperson for attracting resources. Build upon Exponent's reputation as a recognized leader and partner in the field. Shape and deliver compelling messages that advance Exponent's four pillars. Reach media, policymakers, members, and other important constituencies about the organization's mission, services, programs, and membership. Represent Exponent as a thought leader through national committees, conversations, and convenings. With staff, monitor key trends and issues in the field of philanthropy and communicate their implications to staff and Board with recommended action.

  • Partnership and Program Development Serve as a driver of innovation by continuously scanning for new opportunities and new potential partnerships that support progress on Exponent's mission. Evaluate and ensure that all member services and programs are coordinated and relate to the overall strategy and mission. Align staff functions and responsibilities based on programmatic goals and promote a customer-service culture, new lines of business, and strategic alliances.

  • Business Development Foster a customer-friendly enterprise that builds member identity, engagement, loyalty, and investment. Commit to earn the business of each member each and every day with clarity around the value-added proposition. Ensure high-quality member services with demonstrable impact. Implement expansion of products and partnerships.

  • Learning for Improvement Regularly assess alignment of organizational structure, staff, and functions with evolving strategic direction. Hold the organization accountable for achieving intended outcomes with solid metrics. Support, manage, and implement strategic planning, implementing strategies for promoting continuous improvement and accountability. Ensure production of practical tools for members to bring impactful change in their communities. Promote ongoing learning in the field by setting expectations and modeling a commitment to give, receive, and integrate feedback.


The CEO will:

  • Be an unwavering champion advancing the movement for lean philanthropy to transform communities, creating an equitable and just society.

  • Be a knowledgeable and experienced leader with the credibility to engage and inspire a diverse set of constituencies around Exponent's mission, including members, funders, philanthropic and nonprofit peers, and the media; be able to influence change in the field both by lifting up and appreciating exemplars as well as holding grantmakers accountable to better practices.

  • Be a leader with demonstrated experience putting equity into practice, who listens with understanding and treats everyone with respect with a consultative and inclusive internal and external management style; be a consensus builder able to make tough decisions when necessary.

  • Have a high level of emotional intelligence, with the ability to bring people together around a shared vision and common cause.

  • Inspire trust through integrity, competence, and follow-through.

  • Have a deep understanding of the philanthropic and nonprofit fields with respect to capacity building, evaluation, change management, governance, and organizational learning; possess a firm understanding of the philanthropic community its policies, leaders, trends, and funding matters.

  • Be nimble and curious, with an openness to learning new things; have the creativity to break free from established structures and try new approaches to solving problems.

  • Have proven managerial, problem-solving, and strategic-planning skills as a results-oriented executive in a growth-oriented environment.

  • Have demonstrated success as a steward of responsible growth in an organization; with a positive can-do attitude, believe that anything is possible and be able to get it done.

  • Have demonstrated ability as a catalyst for transformative change to balance long-term strategic vision with daily operational responsibilities; have the ability to attract and retain top people to work for the organization and to nurture high-performing teams; have the ability to share responsibility for leadership of the organization and partner with the Board and staff to set goals, track progress, and assess effectiveness of the organization.

  • Have the sophistication to build membership services, cultivate and seize new opportunities for revenue generation; be a leader able to ensure enduring and impactful services and programs; be a talented fundraiser who enjoys the opportunity to secure resources and rises to the occasion.

  • Have excellent oral and written communication skills; a comfort level and ability to communicate with widely differing audiences.

  • Enjoy collaborating with others to develop creative ideas and approaches; possess a sense of optimism, adventure, and humor; effectively bring out the best in others; have demonstrated experience navigating partnerships, building and working in coalitions, and putting mission first ahead of individual needs/interests; prioritize listening and learning from partners.

  • A bachelor's degree is required; an advanced degree is preferred.

Please send nominations or applications, including all contact information, to Paul Spivey at ExponentPhilanthropy@PhillipsOppenheim.com.