Fund Director Job Announcement

Summary

Fresh Taste seeks a half-time Fund Director to facilitate the next evolution of the Chicago Region Food System Fund (CRFSF) and to provide support to other Fresh Taste projects to be determined. The initial commitment is for one year, with potential for growth into longer term and expanded employment.  We are looking for applicants who may not normally see themselves as candidates for jobs in philanthropy. If that’s you, please keep reading and consider this opportunity.

This is a job to bring people and resources together to make change. At the outset, the Fund Director’s primary responsibility will be to guide the Chicago Region Food System Fund. Since June 2020, CRFSF has focused on COVID-19 related hunger and business disruption in the local food system—from production to processing to distribution to consumption—in an area approximately 200 miles from Chicago. Priority has been given to organizations producing food in, and supplying food to, BIPOC communities. Fresh Taste, fiscally sponsored by Forefront, manages the Fund. To date, CRFSF has awarded $8,417,150 to 105 grantees in the Chicago region.

From its inception, CRFSF has listened to the practitioners, growers, and communities that comprise Chicago’s local food system. As the pandemic has continued, the Fund has adapted to face evolving challenges, including implementing several rounds of regranting with key nonprofit partners. The Fund has also listened to grantees who have said clearly that this model of pooled funding streamlines their work and puts dollars to work in the system more efficiently.

A robust local food system that works efficiently needs to be supported by funders who also work together. Major funders of the Chicago Region Food System Fund are Amanda Hanley Climate Fund, Builders Initiative, Crown Family Philanthropies, Food:Land:Opportunity (funded through the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust), Fresh Taste, Little Owl Foundation, The Lumpkin Family Foundation, Margot L. Pritzker Fund, Walder Foundation, and Walter Mander Foundation.

The Evolution of Chicago Region Food System Fund

The next phase of Chicago Region Food System Fund (CRFSF) will be governed by a Steering Committee composed of community representatives and funders who will design and oversee the execution of grantmaking strategy and process. Community representatives will make up the majority of the Steering Committee with priority given to nominees from BIPOC communities. Funders who guided CRFSF in 2020-2021 will also participate in the 2022 Steering Committee. This configuration intends to center community voices while drawing upon the experience of CRFSF’s first year.

The Steering Committee is charged with crafting how the Chicago Region Food System Fund may best serve the depth and breadth of the food system in the Chicago Region to promote racial equity and improve food system resilience. During 2022, CRFSF will award between $3,000,000 and $5,000,000. We anticipate the grantmaking process will provide multiple opportunities for community representatives to participate in guiding and making decisions for CRFSF. Fresh Taste hopes this experience will result in lasting change in food system philanthropy. 

Fresh Taste and the CRFSF team take a broad view of food system work and encourage participation from diverse communities: urban neighborhoods and rural communities; tribal nations; LGBTQIA+ organizations; veterans; food chain workers; food system businesses; investors; and more. The Fund prioritizes BIPOC-led organizations promoting food system resilience in BIPOC communities.

Fresh Taste is looking for a dynamic individual to guide this evolution of philanthropy to better serve the local food system in the greater Chicago region. There will be a significant period of onboarding, mentoring, and coaching, if desired. This is not a “jump into the deep end of the pool to learn to swim” situation. The Fund Director will report to Fresh Taste’s Director, work closely with experienced funders, and guide staff and consultants assisting with CRFSF work.

Job Responsibilities

The Fund Director will guide and work with the CRFSF Steering Committee on its grant-making activities. Responsibilities include:

  • Participating in the onboarding and development of the CRFSF Steering Committee
  • Managing the collaborative design and execution of grant-making strategies to award funds in 2022
  • Managing a cohesive administrative and communications team for CRFSF
  • Providing thought leadership and vision
  • Working with Fresh Taste’s director and administrative team to ensure fiscal responsibility with Forefront
  • Identifying and engaging additional supporters for CRFSF and pooled funds as needed

Additional projects may be developed.

Qualifications

  • At least five years experience working as a nonprofit or philanthropic practitioner, preferably on food-related issues 
  • A demonstrated commitment to Chicago region BIPOC communities and racial equity
  • Strong facilitation skills and proven ability to build and support collaborative processes with diverse members
  • Ability to provide thought leadership in the midst of ambiguity and to engage others in crafting a shared vision
  • Strong project management skills
  • Interest in philanthropy and a willingness to work collaboratively with funders
  • Comfort with working remotely using online tools
  • Proficiency in oral and written English required
  • Interest in and ability to bridge urban and rural communities

Application process

Please provide a cover letter, resume, and names and contact information of two references to admin@freshtaste.org. Competitive salary at senior level. Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled.

About Fresh Taste

Fresh Taste is a collaborative funder initiative committed to racial and economic equity and focused on changing the way food is grown, processed, distributed, and consumed in the Chicago region to promote healthy land, healthy people, and healthy communities. Fresh Taste’s members are Builders Initiative, Food:Land:Opportunity (funded through the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust), Little Owl Foundation, The Lumpkin Family Foundation, Margot L. Pritzker Fund, and Walter Mander Foundation.

Fresh Taste is a fiscally sponsored project of Forefront, Illinois’ membership association for nonprofits, grantmakers, advisors, public agencies, and their allies. Forefront oversees and is responsible for all financial and legal activities of Fresh Taste.