Open Position: Executive Director
Background on Organization
The Pollination Project seeks to become a formidable antidote to the poisons of apathy and indifference by unleashing the goodness in each person we come into contact with (and beyond). We make small grants to social change agents who seek to spread compassion in their communities and in the world at large. Since we began, The Pollination Project has made nearly 3,000 grants in 112 countries. Through pollinating and amplifying the good in our grantees, such that their example ripples out beyond their existing reach, we hope to create the conditions for new ecologies of compassion consciousness in society.
THE JOURNEY OF THE POLLINATION PROJECT:
When we first envisioned the idea of making small grants to individuals and incipient organizations the concept was far from sure. In fact, the conventional wisdom was against us. Overhead was significant for any sized grant and would eat up all of the funding if the grant size was small (below $25k). Unproven applicants would not be as efficient or effective as larger more established groups. It will be far too difficult to find enough qualified applicants to give out hundreds of grants each year without a large organization as back up. It’s necessary to pick single issues to focus on in order to build the required expertise to pick fundable projects. Without proper background checks and vetting, grantees are likely to commit fraud or waste funds (and don’t even think about giving such grants to applicants in the developing world).
I am sure there were many other thoughtful reasons to doubt why our project would succeed for veterans within philanthropy. However, more than five years later we have proven that making small grants to changemakers around the world based on a network of relationships grounded in mutual trust, at low administrative costs, isn’t only possible but often superior to conventional philanthropy. Moreover, we have experimented with additional value-based and value-add ingredients to refine what “Pollination Philanthropy” means to us. Examples of this include concepts such as pushing power to the edges (e.g. grant making teams made up mostly of grantees, youth-led projects), transparency (e.g. a grantee bill of rights which includes feedback on why a grant application was denied and timeline until an applicant gets a response), and questioning the dominant paradigms (e.g. funding projects and people other organizations would never consider such as youth and illiterate and controversial applicants, de-siloing movements by prioritizing intersectional projects). All of this is grounded in an organization where concepts such as diversity, equity, and compassion are more than words, and where the process is our product.
We are now entering the next stage in our journey at The Pollination Project, far beyond the proof of concept we were challenged with in 2013. With nearly 3,000 grantees all around the world, many of whom have become important leaders in their communities and their respective movements, there are competencies, resources and networks waiting to be utilized, to be connected, to be amplified and to become more manifest.
Questions we are holding now include how can we better ladder our existing grantees so they are more capable of achieving their potential? How can we spread the idea of Pollination Philanthropy among donors such that small grants become a necessary component of every large foundations portfolio? When someone, almost anywhere in the world, feels called and capable of improving their community and needs some support, how do we make sure they know TPP exists as a resource? How do we expand our access to resources, financial and non-financial, such that we can support all qualified applicants and deepen our funding of stellar grantees? What partnerships can we make with justice groups, foundations and NGOs that cross-pollinate our know how around small grass roots funding with their knowledge around training and project development? And, most importantly how can we (the staff and board of TPP) accomplish all the above while both maintaining the core values which brought us here and through an even deeper process of inner transformation?
These are the questions we want to hold for this next stage of our journey. We seek leadership that can hold the space for the answers to clearly arise as a common wisdom and clear inner call. We are seeking to bring on two key leaders who will be willing and able to weave their experience and wisdom with that of the TPP team with respect and grace. Leaders who know the power of collaboration; deep listening and self-awareness.
Executive Director – Job Description
The Director will oversee administrative, operational, technological and financial systems of the Organization. This includes:
- H/R: Hire and supervise key staff, volunteers and global team members. Ensure organization is operating in compliance with HR law; oversee personnel policies and procedure development and implementation, secure workers comp insurance, manage employee health insurance and wellness plans. Oversee global team of 40+ people, directly supervising 5-8 team members and coaching senior staff as supervisors and managers Culture: Embody and inculcate core values of the organization such that they deepen over time through practices. Meet stakeholders ‘where they are,’ such that relationships and process-orientation is prioritized. Build a collective capacity to engage with grantees from the perspective of colleagueship. Create shared organizational practices that permeate life in our work, and beyond, such as mindfulness, gratitude, veganism, collaboration and generosity.
- Finance/Legal: Partner with Development lead to ensure sound financial targets are developed and met while TPP programs/staff are properly resourced to support their efforts and work toward their goals. Support the board in bringing a Director of Development/Finance into the team who will further resource our work.
- Board of Directors: Partnering in staffing the Board including organizing and facilitating board meetings where needed, managing minutes and Board compliance issues. Supporting the Board as requested. Also possibly building a separate advisory council.
- Facilitating the design, development and implementation of an even more robust and innovative grantmaking program.
- Overseeing a grantmaking team that handles applications, review processes, grant making logistics and reporting/evaluation. This includes creating a mind-meld among the team and TPP staff around what types of grantees and grants we want to prioritize, as well as what red flags we want to pay particular attention to.
- Designing special grantmaking programs in partnership with outside funders and key grantees.
- Overseeing grantee metric collection and communications about impact; Develop non-traditional forms of tracking, building on organizational theory of change.
- Design and support the evolution of a “grantee services” program that provides value added support including peer to peer networking, promotion, and training for grantees.
- Project managing special award and grantmaking programs where needed.
- Grow our capacities from a lens of organizational values grounded in our theory of change.
Illuminating the Work
Oversee all aspects of the communications and outreach of TPP including:
- Managing website team and proactively making changes to the site.
- Reviewing various social media metrics and optimizing website and social media presence for engagement.
- Supervising social media team.
- Project managing videos to highlight the activities.
- Build collaborations with other NGOs to “cross-market” each other’s work and build alliances that incline an intersectional framework
- Tease out threads of the TPP and grantee stories which are accessible and relatable to a broad audience and galvanize them into action.
- Normalize the act of stepping up and utilizing one’s unique capacity for goodness to make to impact the world.
Work closely with the Board to shape and guide organizational mission, vision and strategy. Support the Board in optimizing the use of their time to forward the organization’s goals. Create and manage an advisory board if needed/warranted.
- Passion for and experience in other groups that align with our mission and values.
- A positive, creative, problem solver with an entrepreneurial spirit.
- Strong emotional intelligence and the capability to communicate with people of all different backgrounds from often disparate viewpoints.
- Highly motivated, self-directed person who can operate with little oversight but maintains a high level of accountability and integrity in how work gets done.
- Extraordinary level of cultural competence and experience working with diverse communities successfully.
- Proven ability to work well with and oversee virtual teams.
- Dedicated to both internal and external transformation and cultivating the qualities that deepen their ability to serve.
- Ability to work with, facilitate and utilize Boards of Directors and advisory boards.
- Skilled manager of staff and interns, basic sense of personnel processes and best practices.
- A candidate whose experiences and life path show clear alignment with the values of the Pollination Project