The Rippel Foundation

Director of Communications and Influence, Morristown, NJ


The Rippel Foundation is a catalyst for new ways of thinking and innovative solutions that help committed stewards individuals and organizations who shape the future of health and well-being in the US lead change in a highly complex system and rapidly evolving environment.

Rippel's mission is to advance the health of women and the elderly, to address cancer and heart disease, and to support our nation's hospitals. To accomplish this, Rippel focuses on creating equitable health and wellbeing for all in the US, beginning with those who are struggling and suffering. Rippel helps stewards adopt new mindsets and practices thereby enabling them to better assure the vital conditions and urgent services that all people need to thrive exist in communities across the country.

As an operating foundation with an $85 million portfolio and funding from a diverse pool of supporters, Rippel is a strategic think tank; a value-driven, field-based learning/consulting organization; and a boundary-spanning philanthropy. Rippel's theory of change has been endorsed by some of the country's most sophisticated philanthropies and respected leaders, including Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the US Surgeon General, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Well Being in the Nation, and Blue Shield of California Foundation.

Working at the cutting edge of system transformation and building on its deep experience and expertise, Rippel focuses on those stewards best positioned to affect change in philanthropy, health systems, and corporations. Rippel also partners with peers in a growing field to shift commitments, relationships, actions, and investments as well as create new norms all grounded in what people need to thrive.

Founded in 1953, by New Jersey-based banker and philanthropist, Julius S. Rippel, the foundation has been working to improve the health and wellbeing of Americans for nearly 70 years. Rippel was one of the early pioneers championing the holistic definition of health and wellbeing and the need for systems change to address the social and structural determinants of health and health equity. Since its founding, Rippel has played a pivotal role at the forefront of innovation and thought leadership in the sector.

Building on its investment over the last decade in ReThink Health and FORESIGHT, Rippel's two major initiatives, Rippel is now poised for even greater impact. The foundation's 2025 vision opens a window of opportunity that includes a deep commitment to growing its influence and better reaching key audiences. Rippel seeks to build a creative and dynamic three-tiered strategic communications and influence strategythat operates at all levels of the organization: programmatic, cross-program, and Rippel-wide.

Rippel has a staff of 21 talented members spread across the country, and offices in Morristown, New Jersey and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Rippel's matrixed structure assures that all efforts draw from across the organization to frame sector-specific strategies. Cross-organizational structures support sector efforts and integrate activities for broader learning and impact.


As an integral member of Rippel's senior management team, the Director of Communications and Influence will take a lead role in shaping the key narratives, relationships, and strategic enterprises critical to moving Rippel forward to its next generation of work. The Director will serve as an advisor and partner to the President and CEO, the EVP, and the organization's program directors and content leadership, help curate and strengthen current messaging, and enhance the foundation's ability to communicate and influence at the enterprise level. The Director will drive the diffusion of new ideas, champion innovation and creativity, and ensure that communications and engagement strategies elicit the passions and support of those stewards, influencers, and early adaptors who are eager and receptive to the foundation's work.

The Director will build a communications and influence function for Rippel that operates at all levels of the organization, provide tactical assistance to staff as appropriate, and mobilize the full range of the institution's communications tools. The Director will create an environment that will embolden and maximize communications efforts internally, cross-functionally, and with Rippel's partners, funders, and stakeholders one that is thriving, equitable, and sustainable.

Overseeing a strong and committed communications staff and team of contractors, and in partnership with the Director of Brand and Creative, the Director will disseminate Rippel's strategic initiatives and programmatic activities more broadly, raise the foundation's visibility, build networks of influence, and open doors for Rippel to have a greater impact. This person will help project managers interpret and share their work and focus on pushing out "what we know" and framing it in ways that are useful and impactful, internally and externally. Additionally, the Director will work with Rippel's fundraising team to position the organization in ways that are more attractive to potential new donors and diverse sources of support.


The Director will position communications and influence as an integral element in all of Rippel's activities and functions, and be responsible for the following priorities and responsibilities:

  • Quickly learn, embody, and articulate what makes Rippel special, and why the work of the foundation is critical and deserving of collaboration and external support;

  • Engage with current and potential relationships and partners; coordinate with program and philanthropic partners and their communications teams to jointly advance messages, expand impact regionally and nationally, and assure goals are met;

  • Broaden the scope of Rippel's impact; be proactive; help build on the foundation's brand and position in the field; integrate Rippel's core entities within a singular brand strategy; ensure that a coordinated front is presented; organize comprehensive outreach to the media and external leaders who influence, fund, and shape policy and direction around health and wellbeing;

  • Identify new avenues for strategic communications and influence, provide communications leadership to Rippel's initiatives, projects, and functions (e.g., learning and evaluation, wayfinding); help build and facilitate cross-team alliances; capture and share important insights through compelling and innovative mediums beyond their usual outlets and audiences;

  • Improve, guide, and align communications across all current and potential channels websites, blog, social media, e-newsletter, podcasts, webinars, convenings, events, etc.; reimagine and elevate the values around the foundation's website;

  • Develop and manage major media, digital media, and other communications-related relationships (e.g., conference directors, communications networking groups) and coach key team members in their interactions with such contacts; facilitate appropriate responses to inquiries;

  • Map and be familiar with Rippel's networks; place increased emphasis of relational connectivity, and tighten strategic bonds which have not been fully institutionalized;

  • Train staff on messaging, this includes helping shape and guide the framing, structure, and tone of publications and activities, from conception through final production and distribution, to assure that Rippel's work is accessible and useful to a diverse range of audiences and organizations;

  • Secure speaking opportunities, public engagement, earned revenue, social media, and other opportunities for Rippel leaders and their partners to promote Rippel and its initiatives and projects;

  • Establish, maintain, and monitor metrics related to communications and use results to improve, guide, and align communications across all of Rippel and its channels; track progress against milestones and measures; facilitate alignment and coordination of communications that address organizational and funder requirements.


The ideal candidate should provide visionary yet practical communications leadership, and have the following:

  • A strong background in systems change, and a desire to champion it as a means to a thriving, equitable, and sustainable system of health and wellbeing;

  • A track record of creativity and innovation that leads to influence and impact in diverse sectors ranging from those in communities to leaders and boards in major institutions.

  • Experience in a managerial role, ideally within a complex, matrixed organization with demonstrated impact; a track record of success in positioning concepts and ideas, ideally within an issues-driven communications role, is strongly preferred along with the ability to translate conceptually abstract ideas and messages into succinct and practical language;

  • A commitment to organizational development and effectiveness; experience supporting people as they develop their writing, editing, presenting, and promotion skills from conceptualization to structure and execution;

  • A high value for quality and accuracy, without sacrificing story and humanity; a record of success in identifying and analyzing problems, working collaboratively, and formulating creative solutions;

  • Experience as an effective communicator who is articulate and persuasive in both the spoken and written word; adept at crafting materials and communications approaches for a variety of audiences; demonstrated understanding of best practices in online communication, social media, and the effective use of emerging technologies and approaches;

  • An advanced degree in communications, policy, business administration, or related field is preferred but not required.


The Director should be committed to and enthusiastic about the mission and programs of the Rippel Foundation, with a strong desire to inspire others, and will be or have the following characteristics:

  • A broad appreciation for and sensitivity to Rippel's culture and workplace environment, along with the foundation's commitment to equity and inclusion across racial, cultural, political, and ideological differences;

  • A skillful leader and manager, with an emphasis on collaboration over control; willing to take ownership and work hands-on in developing and executing a variety of communications activities ranging from the routine to the highly creative and visible, who knows how to generate enthusiasm, and work closely with internal and external constituencies;

  • Intellectual heft; a facilitator and bridge builder with outstanding interpersonal skills; sound problem-solving, consistent judgment and decision-making ability; honesty, integrity, and trust; someone who motivates others in a similar vein;

  • Adept at planning, prioritizing, organizing, and following through; straightforward, and self-possessed; one who shares information readily, listens as well as gives advice and respects the abilities of others; open and responsive to the ideas of others;

  • Emotionally mature with a sense of humor and the sensitivity to work with a group of diverse, autonomous personalities in multiple locations.

Please send applications or nominations to Mark Tarnacki at Rippel@PhillipsOppenheim.com.