Director, Learning Programs and Services

Company: Appalachia Funders Network

Location: Remote within Central Appalachia, All

Job Function: Community Outreach


Background

The Appalachia Funders Network (AFN) is a rapidly evolving and maturing cross-sector funding network that supports our members to effectively contribute to the transformation of the Central Appalachian region. We prioritize equal access to the resources, systems, and infrastructure essential to thriving Appalachian communities. Our members include private and family foundations, government agencies, banks, CDFIs, and other community development entities. AFN offers learning programming and services to our members through multiple methods. This includes six learning groups specific to funding issue areas; communities of practice specific to areas of funder strategies; an annual meeting; and related content, resources, and tools. We continually iterate our programming to be in service of our members’ needs and aspirations. AFN staff’s day-to-day work is to create experiences and resources that support funder learning, networking, and collaboration, enabling our members to achieve collective and better-informed impact. We strive to be nimble and responsive to emerging issues, toward a caring and supportive environment, and to embrace equity and belonging.

Our small team of three works remotely and collaborates virtually from across the Central Appalachian region. Our work is guided by a volunteer Steering Committee comprised of regional leaders from AFN’s membership. This Director role reports to the AFN Executive Director and works with the AFN staff team, AFN current and prospective members, current and potential AFN supporters, the fiscal sponsor, and other stakeholders, both within and outside of the region. For more information see https://www.appalachiafunders.org.

Summary

As Director, you lead the design, execution, and evaluation of AFN members’ learning programming and peer group activities and also facilitate AFN’s outreach to members and into the broader philanthropic and community development sectors. You draw upon your direct experiences leading membership affinity or special interest groups within philanthropic, nonprofit, social impact investing, community development, or government trade associations or networks. You coach, facilitate, and structure meaningful learning and action opportunities for our members and are not flustered by having to think on your feet when a group’s agenda pivots. The Director embraces the entire lifecycle of learning—planning, design, execution, and evaluation—for member programs. You are experienced in blending various activities, tools and resources to support successful group and individual learning. You also lead the planning, management, and execution of AFN’s annual meeting. That includes facilitating the AFN members’ planning team, learning content development, meeting communications, and logistics in coordination with other AFN staff and consultants.

You work closely with the peer group volunteer leaders to promote the peer groups’ effective operation and to foster an emergent learning space within the entire membership network. The Director also creates structure and pacing for each peer group to ensure their priorities are solidified and progress is made towards the groups’ shared goals. You offer support for each peer group for them to achieve success together, including administrative and facilitative services, along with guidance and advice. As part of advancing AFN’s Theory of Change, your productive collaboration with the peer group member leaders effectively builds and maintains each group’s sustainability and our members’ strong engagement. The Director will lead and support information gathering and analysis that contributes to measuring progress towards outcomes at all levels of AFN’s learning strategy: network, programmatic, and operational. You develop and maintain strong professional, collaborative relationships.

Resource and content development is another important part of this role. You develop and disseminate learning resources for members and other funders, such as issue briefs, online toolkits, funder stories, and blogs. By tracking local, regional, and national trends in practice areas that relate to the peer groups’ interests and central Appalachian philanthropy, you support the AFN groups’ learning and project focused work. You support AFN’s communications work by developing and managing website content and social media pertinent to your work. You also provide content related to your work for grant proposals and reports and participate actively in the life cycle of fundraising. Externally, you cultivate and maintain excellent relationships with regional philanthropic and community development associations and other professional networks to create collaborative programming and initiatives.

While the exact balance of responsibilities will ebb and flow as needed, it is anticipated that the new Director will spend approximately 30% of their time focusing developing, leading, and evaluating the six peer groups and Network-wide learning opportunities; 20% supporting the planning and progress for the peer groups and enabling alignment with AFN’s Theory of Change; 30% in content generation (for blogs, websites, grants) and resource development for members’ learning; and 20% working with external learning partners and other funder networks, as well as other AFN assignments.

Responsibilities

The Director will lead the design, planning, execution, and evaluation of AFN’s member learning programs and services, and will also support AFN’s outreach and communications with members and in the broader philanthropic sector. This role will work closely and collaboratively with other AFN staff and member leaders on the following key areas:

  • Lead strategy, design, execution, and evaluation of AFN’s learning programs and related services including organizing webinars, briefings, workshops, and co-sponsored events with partners
  • Lead the planning, budgeting, and execution of AFN’s annual meeting, including management of the AFN members planning team, content development, meeting communications and logistics in coordination with other AFN staff and consultants
  • Strategically support and facilitate each peer group’s activities so that they provide optimal blended learning environments for members through shared goals, actionable plans, time for reflection, and meeting agendas
  • Promote synergy across AFN programs and related services, ensuring the expectations of members, funders, partners, and other stakeholders are met
  • Cultivate and maintain excellent relationships with peer group colleagues, regional and state associations, and other funder groups
  • Serve as a resource to the broader funder community (e.g., foundations, investors, government agencies, banks) and facilitate collaborative programming and initiatives
  • Develop and disseminate learning resources for members and other funders, such as issue briefs, online toolkits, case studies, and blogs
  • Manage website content and social media related to learning programs and related services
  • Help track local, regional, and national trends in practices and topics that relate to member interests and network opportunities
  • Collaborate with the AFN team to engage in fundraising from idea generation, proposal development, and organizational promotion and follow through post-award and accountability
  • Model AFN’s commitment to internal and external racial equity, diversity, and inclusion and embed this commitment throughout program and events development and execution
  • Ensure that evaluation results and feedback from members are proactively integrated into the ongoing development of AFN programs and activities

Requirements

Qualifications:

  • BA/BS or equivalent experience
  • Five to seven years’ experience in a similar role within private, public, or corporate philanthropy; government community development; CDFIs and lending environments; and/or social impact investing
  • Proven experience developing and executing strategic programming for learning communities and events in professional associations, membership organizations, or networks
  • Proven experience as a facilitative and consultative leader that supports participatory decision-making
  • Demonstrable skills in designing and facilitating remote and in person meetings that include strategy, planning, budgeting, content development, and problem solving
  • Possess a diverse tool-kit to create learning spaces to move participants among trust-building, visioning, developing scenarios, understanding issues, developing and owning action plans, and reflecting on progress and results
  • Proven experience with every aspect of webinar development, from defining goals and structure to facilitation, evaluation, and follow-up
  • Experience organizing in-person and virtual events that tie back to learning outcomes and network-building
  • Experience writing reports and newsletters for both technical and public audiences
  • Experience with social media, blogging, and other forms of online content creation
  • Experience strengthening association or network members’ engagement within learning communities
  • Self-directed with proven ability to manage multiple projects, priorities, and deadlines while maintaining quality and attention to detail
  • Excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills and strong editorial skills
  • Ability to work independently and on a highly collaborative team
  • Not flustered when a group’s interests veer in another direction away from the original agenda for the day
  • Emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and willingness to model vulnerability
  • Sensitivity to power dynamics within our members’ organizations and the communities we support
  • Strong grounding in the principles and practice of equity, justice, and anti-racism
  • Ability to occasionally travel as needed including during weekends or evenings

Additional Preferred Skills/Qualifications

  • Understanding of the synergies among CDFIs, foundations, corporations, banks, government agencies, social venture funds, and other types of funders needed to improve community wellbeing
  • Basic understanding of various grantmaking, social impact investing, and economic development practices used in rural regions
  • Experience with one of the six peer groups’ areas of interest (see appalachiafunders.org under Groups)

 

Basic Work Requirements

  • Uses English language with sufficient structural accuracy and vocabulary to participate effectively in most formal and informal conversations and to write on practical and professional topics
  • Possesses a positive attitude and outstanding interpersonal skills including listening effectively
  • Takes initiative in a quick-moving, ever-evolving environment and uses excellent time management skills
  • Models commitment to equity, inclusion, and social justice
  • Fluency in common computer-based tools such as Microsoft Office products (Word, Excel, Powerpoint), Google Drive (docs, sheets, slides),email, websites, Zoom (e.g.., registration, breakout rooms, polls), and interactive virtual platforms (e.g., Mural)
  • Willingness to travel occasionally within the region and U.S. We acknowledge the possibility of future COVID-19 related travel restrictions but expect that this position will require minimal travel in the future.
  • You must either currently reside in an Appalachian Regional Commission-designated county or have significant, demonstrable lived or work experience in those designated counties within West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, or Tennessee. Seehttps://www.arc.gov/appalachian-counties-served-by-arc/
  • Must reside in Eastern time zone
  • Must be able to pass a Kentucky and national criminal history check
  • Possesses a valid drivers license
  • Authorized to work in the United States

Compensation and Benefits

This is a full-time, exempt, remote position with a salary range of $75,000-$85,000, depending on skills and experience. We are committed to the health, wellbeing, and work-life balance of our team. Full-time employees receive generous benefits, including pension contributions, full health, dental, vision, and childcare benefits; paid vacation, sick, parental, family, and sabbatical leave. AFN operates through a fiscal sponsorship agreement with the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, a well established and respected 501c(3) organization that accepts and manages funds on our behalf. All AFN staff are employees of FAKY.

How to Apply

Applicants should submit an application packet via email using the subject line “Director of Programs” to coordinator@appalachiafunders.org. Please include your name on any attachments.

 We are excited to receive your resume, brief 1-2 page letter of introduction, and something to show us who you really are! It’s your choice – this could be in a written, video, or infographic format – whatever showcases your passion for the work you’d be doing. In your resume and letter, be sure to provide concrete examples of peer groups that you have coached and meeting agendas you have crafted and facilitated.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so early submission by November 30th is encouraged. The position will remain open until filled. The new hire would ideally start in January 2023.

We are unable to respond to telephone inquiries about this position and will not accept candidates through the services of a search firm.

We are an equal opportunity employer that values an inclusive and multicultural working environment. Applicants of diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. We prohibit discrimination against any employee or applicant for employment based on race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, sex (including marital and parental status), gender identity and expression, economic status, ethnic identity, veteran’s status, or any other legally protected status.