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President and CEO, The Coleman Foundation
The Coleman Foundation in Chicago, Illinois
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Date Posted 04/15/2020
Philanthropy-Senior/Executive Management
Employment Type Fulltime
Application Deadline Open until filled


The Coleman Foundation is a philanthropic organization that leverages its resources by investing in the efforts of community-based organizations and local institutions to preserve and strengthen the physical health and the economic and emotional well-being of people living in and around Chicago.

The Foundation envisions itself as a thoughtful and active participant helping nonprofit organizations and local institutions in the greater Chicago area to create more equitable and inclusive access to resources and opportunities that improve peoples’ lives. Through its grantmaking, it supports efforts that encourage entrepreneurial thinking and self-improvement for all who strive to overcome barriers.


The Coleman Foundation, located in Chicago, is the legacy of entrepreneurs Dorothy W. Coleman and her husband, J.D. Stetson Coleman, one-time owners of Fannie May Candy Company. The Colemans created the Foundation in 1951 to improve opportunity and quality of life. Today, the Foundation continues to foster change through programs that are practical, financially sustainable, and results-oriented. With a year-end endowment of $190 million, the Foundation approved $10.5 million in grants in 2019.

Throughout all of its work, the Foundation is guided by several critical values. The Foundation deeply values its relationship with its grantees and other key partners working in partnership to collectively achieve measurable outcomes. Attentive to changing social conditions and community needs, the Foundation adopts a dynamic, comprehensive, multidisciplined long-term approach, attempting to effectively address societal problems. The Foundation is a champion for equity, working to enhance access for all people to improve their lives and communities. In its work, the Foundation strives for integrity to all its endeavors.

The Foundation focuses on three program areas.

Entrepreneurship – To advance entrepreneurship in the Chicago area with an emphasis on low-income and moderate-income neighborhoods. The Foundation seeks to support emerging entrepreneurs by: 1) building a citywide network of nonprofit organizations that provide quality entrepreneurship education; 2) developing and enhancing the capacity of these organizations and their educational staffs; 3) collaborating with other funders to grow and expand Chicago’s entrepreneurial ecosystem; and 4) enabling emerging entrepreneurs to learn the skills needed to create business ventures and sustain business operations.

Cancer Care and Health Rehabilitation Services – To support patient-centered cancer care and health rehabilitation services. The Foundation seeks to support cancer care and rehabilitative medicine to achieve better outcomes through: 1) funding the delivery of comprehensive, patient-centered care; 2) catalyzing collaborations that integrate clinical care with community resources and service providers; 3) creating education for patients and training for healthcare professionals; and 4) supporting clear communication of care and treatment options.

Developmental Disabilities – To support the efforts of disability service organizations to use best practices. The Foundation seeks to support people with developmental disabilities in the Chicago Area by: 1) funding collaborations which engage multiple disability providers to advance delivery of services; 2) transitioning existing disability service programs to new models that are more responsive to emerging client needs and future payment models; and 3) encouraging efforts to increase individual philanthropic support and decrease reliance on public dollars.

The Foundation also has a Board-Directed Grant Program to explore and fund programming outside of its core areas.



Reporting to the Board of Directors, the President and CEO provides the overall leadership for the Foundation and will:

  • Establish an effective working relationship with the Board as thought partners, gaining their confidence and bringing forth their best ideas and efforts; ensure clear communication between Board and staff; help grow the Board, in part to reflect the diverse range of the Foundation’s grantees; practice good governance.

  • Develop a vision with the Board for how best to invest the Foundation’s resources to maximize impact by improving the lives of those in the greater Chicago area.

  • Manage a talented and dedicated staff; build strong relationships with the staff and work closely with them to foster cohesiveness; set benchmarks with staff and hold them accountable; provide professional development opportunities for staff to enhance their abilities.

  • Present budgets for Board approval and manage within the financial and programmatic parameters established by the Board; participate in the Foundation’s investment meetings.

  • Conduct a comprehensive strategic plan to set priorities, focus energy and resources, strengthen operations, and ensure that all are working toward common goals around intended outcomes.

  • Contribute expertise and make best use of the Foundation’s influence to promote effective partnerships to further the mission areas.

  • Maintain an efficient process for managing, reviewing, and evaluating the Foundation’s initiatives; establish and monitor appropriate success metrics.

  • Understand and support the Foundation’s history, mission, values, culture, programs, constituencies, and infrastructure; with the Board, ensure as smooth an executive leadership transition as possible, following the tenure of a long-term leader.



The President and CEO is expected to bring demonstrated achievement and accomplishment in current and prior positions, as an innovative executive with responsibility for management of both human and fiscal resources. He or she will also have had senior-level managerial experience as a strong, compassionate visionary with proven ability to lead strategically and manage a values- and mission-driven organization. Philanthropy experience either as a staff or board member and expertise, knowledge, and/or deep interest in the content areas of Entrepreneurship, Cancer Care, or Developmental Disabilities are a plus. In specific, the successful candidate should have the following experience and qualifications:

  • A strong understanding with the needs of the greater Chicago community and the ability to grow the network throughout the city, building strong alliances and leveraging the Foundation’s resources.

  • A commitment to underserved neighborhoods and a passion to improve the plight of vulnerable families among the broader population.

  • A thoughtful, values-driven approach to the role of philanthropy; an ability to use the tools of philanthropy beyond grant dollars to maximize the contribution of the Foundation as a catalyst for community engagement and change; a strong track record as a motivator, collaborator, innovator, and builder of partnerships across culturally and economically diverse community groups.

  • A strong leader driven by a passion to help others with dedication, enthusiasm, and a high level of energy to work with the dynamic mission of the Foundation without being ego-driven – for whom the ownership of ideas is less important than the results of the effort; comfort with ambiguity; the knowledge to assess risk and make prudent decisions; a background with financial/investment management as well as strategic planning and program development.

  • Proven record as an effective spokesperson who can raise the visibility of the Foundation and the work of its grantees; excellent oral and written skills.

  • A naturally consultative and inclusive management style that provides supportive autonomy to staff without micromanaging; a visionary with the maturity, confidence, wisdom, and collaborative skills necessary to garner the trust and confidence of the Board, staff, and grantees.

  • A reflective and pragmatic practitioner; a commitment to and experience with learning, exploring, and sharing for a common purpose.

  • An ability to lead by example, bringing out the best in others; an unwavering work ethic and commitment to excellence; deep emotional intelligence to deal effectively with multiple constituencies and complex relationships across differing constituencies.

  • An ability to maintain a sense of humor.

  • Undergraduate degree required and advanced degree preferred.


Equal employment opportunity and having a diverse staff are fundamental principles at the Coleman Foundation, where employment and promotional opportunities are based upon individual capabilities and qualifications without regard to race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation/preference, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, or any other protected characteristic as established under law. Salary will be negotiable commensurate with experience. 

Applications, nominations and contact information should be sent to Paul Spivey and Jane Donaldson at

For additional information on the Coleman Foundation, please visit

*Please mention to employers when applying for this job*
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