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Executive Director

Executive Director
Application Deadline: 
Friday, December 16, 2022
Job Description: 


The Common Counsel Foundation (CCF) is looking for our next Executive Director who will help to define a new era of leadership and partnership in social justice philanthropy. Founded in 1988, CCF works across the United States, in relationship with grassroots and frontline organizations, progressive donors, and social justice movements. We are seeking a leader who can inspire and challenge (us and the sector), who can build diverse partnerships and deep relationships, and, most importantly, who intimately understands the power of unlocking resources in support of community-led change. We have undergone a period of dynamic growth which has enabled us to expand both the scale and strategic impact of our work. We need a leader who can help us to expertly navigate and chart this evolution. Someone who is equally at home being a champion, a strategist, and an institution builder. We are looking for someone who is an organizer at heart. Someone who can build, strengthen, and grow with vision, solidarity, integrity, and purpose.


First and foremost, we are a social justice organization and a movement grantmaker. Our work – building and strengthening catalytic organizations, growing alliances and networks in philanthropy, and the strategic realignment of resources and relationships – is all in service to the partnerships we have built with grassroots and frontline communities and movements for a more equitable, just, and whole world. We are proud of our ability to be nimble, flexible, and agile while maintaining strategy, vision, and cohesion. This ability to both root and flex recognizes our position as a deep listener and elder in the field of progressive philanthropy along with an acknowledgement of our energy and creativity as a dynamic and ever-evolving start-up. Above all, we invest in communities and the building and strengthening of community power. CCF partners with visionary leaders, communities, and movements working on the most critical issues of our time. CCF operates within a broader community that includes the over 225 nonprofit organizations, grassroots and frontline communities, and movements funded annually by CCF, 25 foundation partners leveraging their resources through funding collaboratives, and over 100 individuals and families entrusting their philanthropy to CCF. In 2021, we distributed over $20M in grants to some of the most essential and visionary grassroots organizations and movements in the country. 80% of those funds were for general operating support. With an annual budget of $42M, our work includes:

MULTIPARTNER COLLABORATIVES | CCF is home to several initiatives that leverage the resources of multiple funding partners. These include the Fund for an Inclusive California that supports power building for housing justice in California communities through investments and strategic coordination, as well as an emerging body of work around supporting community ownership models in housing to build community power; Native Voices Rising, one of philanthropy’s most notable and innovative Native-led funding collaboratives, which supports organizing, advocacy and civic engagement in American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities; the Grassroots Exchange Fund that fosters networking and collaboration between small social change organizations across the country while building capacity through training and technical assistance; and Still We Rise which offers flexible and responsive funding to frontline organizations that protect and mobilize vulnerable people in the struggle for democracy, resilience, and power.

INCUBATION & FISCAL SPONSORSHIP | Fiscal sponsorship allows newly formed and emerging organizations to deepen and expand their movement building work. Partners in this work include: Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) – a space for Black organizations across the country to debate, develop shared assessments and co-create a movement wide strategy for Black liberation; Windcall Institute – a residency experience and “staying power” program that supports and sustains labor and community organizers, particularly people of color and women, to conduct movement work with more life sustaining, imaginative, and visionary approaches; The Color Congress – a national collective of POC aimed at centering and strengthening nonfiction storytelling by, for and about people of color across the US and territories; Roadmap Consulting which provides capacity building, peer learning and field building consulting services to social change organizations across the country; and the Kindle Project an agile philanthropic organization invested in democratized, collaborative, and strategic grantmaking that aligns donors and projects for meaningful impact.

STRATEGIC PHILANTHROPIC ADVISING | Our advising offerings include: Donor Advised Funds – We manage the granting process, offering donors the giving power of an independent foundation without the administrative effort and expense. Foundation Services – Our flexible and tailored services enable donors to create a specialized plan for their philanthropy that best reflects the mission of your fund, foundation, or trustees. Philanthropic Advising – We bring our knowledge of and relationship in grassroots organizing across a range of social justice issues to help individuals, families and mainstream foundations hone and/or strengthen their philanthropic interests and craft strategic grantmaking programs to fit their specific giving mission. We invite you to learn more by visiting our website.


Our staff are a deeply engaged, dynamic team of professionals that operate with a sense of agency, passion, and purpose and who are invested in the long-term evolution of CCF. Our team brings a diverse set of skills and backgrounds built from community organizing, movement-building, advocacy, and organizational development which inform our philanthropic strategies and programmatic design. The 18-member core staff team leads and implements CCF’s finances, operations, and grants administration. The Program and Philanthropic Advising Team manages CCF’s pooled funds, partners with donor-advised fund holders, and leads the family advising practice. The Executive Director along with five senior staff members form the Management Team who work together to maintain institutional cohesion and clarity and to grow shared leadership and learning. Our culture aspires to be collaborative and learning-centered. The Executive Director reports to a Board of Directors composed of seven leaders from social justice movements, progressive philanthropy, finance, and investment. The Board works in partnership with the Executive Director to ensure that the CCF remains grounded in actualizing our vision of building community power through organizational change, growth, and transition. CCF is headquartered in downtown Oakland, with an office space for meetings, gatherings, and collaboration. A majority of the core staff reside in California’s Bay Area. We offer flexible remote options for locally-based staff with some staff choosing to come into the office a few times a week while others only come when needed or for team meetings.


The Executive Director is charged with the following key responsibilities:

  • Serve as a key leader, advocate, and organizer for social justice philanthropy that centers and shifts power (resources and relationships) towards community and the building of community power.
  • Lead the strategic alignment and focus of the organization, including the development of a strategic plan, working in partnership with the staff and Board.
  • Maintain an inclusive, supportive, and collaborative culture that draws in, retains, and inspires a diverse, professional, and experienced staff.
  • Grow team cohesion and partnership while building strong second line leadership. Support a culture of professional development. • Supervise senior staff which currently includes the Managing Director, Chief Financial Officer, Director of Grants Management and Learning, Director of the Fund for An Inclusive California, and Director of Strategy and Asset Building.
  • Develop and lead a comprehensive fundraising strategy that ensures the strong financial health and programmatic nimbleness of the organization in collaboration with staff and Board.
  • Lead financial oversight and planning in collaboration with the Chief Financial Officer, including crafting an annual budget for submission to the Board, with regular updates to the Board as well.
  • Provide strong leadership and clear communication, in partnership with the Board Chair, to ensure the Board and its committees are effectively engaged to advance the CCF’s vision and to be in service to the communities and movements we serve.
  • Develop and lead a comprehensive communications strategy in tandem with a team of staff and consultants.
  • Serve as a principal spokesperson for the organization, including representing CCF at meetings, events, and conferences across the country.
  • Develop and expand relationships and networks with CCF’s funding partners, movement leaders, and colleagues in the philanthropic sector leverage sectoral influence and change.
  • Listen deeply to our movement partners and allies and lead from a space of solidarity and collective good.


CCF’s next leader will bring at least 10 years of experience as a successful senior leader in an organization of similar scope and complexity, including experience building an organization while serving in a leadership role. The ideal candidate will possess a background in social justice organizing and philanthropy, or at minimum a strong understanding of how these sectors operate and intersect. They will be a compelling spokesperson who inspires confidence, creativity, and action with a vision that is grounded in the realities of the communities we serve and the world we are working to achieve. Specifically, CCF’s next leader will embody most or all the following qualifications:

POLITICAL ALIGNMENT | Commitment to social justice and the building of community power. Ability to articulate and orient work with a nuanced and intersectional understanding of power, privilege, and oppression. Sees organizing as a foundational strategy and core tool to transform the power dynamics within mainstream philanthropy. First-hand experience as an organizer or philanthropic disruptor is highly desirable.

PHILANTHROPY EXPERTISE | Experience within philanthropy (mainstream or otherwise) that includes an understanding and articulation of national funding trends (particularly related to CCF’s core work), the specific priorities for different regions and communities, and the systems, challenges and opportunities of the philanthropic sector including managing and delivering capital. The ideal candidate will bring an existing network of connections and relationships in philanthropy.

MOVEMENT EXPERTISE | Experience working as part of a community-led change process, at various scales and leadership points. Ability to map and engage the current political system and policy making process (local, state, national) and to establish and maintain working relationships that create concrete action towards enduring structural change. The ideal candidate will bring an existing network of connections and relationships within social justice movements.

RELATIONSHIP BUILDER | Recognizes relationships as the cornerstone of their work. Skilled at building and maintaining quality relationships across communities and constituencies, with diverse stakeholders and allies. CCF’s next leader will be gifted in facilitation, comfortable with conflict, and effective in resolving tension points. Understands accountability as a core dimension of all relationships.

EQUITY ADVOCATE | Brings a sophisticated intersectional analysis to social justice philanthropy and movement building across a range of identities and experiences (geography, age, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, class, language, disability, immigration). Recognizes the layers of oppression experienced by many in our community, especially Black, Indigenous, and people of color and works to build understanding and collective action. Sees diversity and justice as interconnected.

COLLABORATIVE LEADERSHIP STYLE | Exhibits a style of leadership that is collaborative, transparent, and empathetic. CCF’s next leader will be fully committed to distributed leadership and to building a leaderful organization. They will create an environment of listening and learning, and respect the voices and expertise of colleagues, community members and movement partners. They will bring self-awareness, self-reflection, and humility to their role and ability to demonstrate collegial leadership, and when to use positional leadership to strengthen organization-wide effectiveness.

ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT | Holds experience with organizational development, systems improvement, and managing change. A strong orientation towards systems thinking and a commitment to organizational learning will be key for CCF’s next leader. They will also bring direct experience in systems building, growing staff leadership, and fostering a team culture which embodies CCF’s values and vision.

VISION & INNOVATION | Demonstrates the ability to envision and implement bold, transformative ideas. Ability to move from theory to practice. CCF’s next leader will be comfortable holding ambiguity and complexity, and capable of shaping those muddy places and spaces into clear pathways and partnerships.

FUNDRAISING & FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT | Demonstrated success in relationship-based fundraising that builds both institutional resilience and flexibility. Demonstrated record of sound financial planning, oversight, and accountability.

GOVERNANCE & ACCOUNTABILITY | Practical understanding of risk management, legal compliance, and financial accountability, including the wisdom of knowing when to consult t legal counsel. Experience working with financially complex organizations. Grantmaking experience is a plus.


With headquarters in Oakland, CA, it is preferred that the next Executive Director be based in the Bay Area. If necessary, a relocation package will be offered. The CCF Board is also aware that workplaces are transforming and looks forward to working with the next Executive Director on how CCF designs itself for the future.

As the country emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, and safe travel is beginning to resume, CCF’s executive leader is expected to travel both locally and nationally. Out of area travel by plane, and spending time away from home, is required for approximately 30% of the year.


CCF’s next Executive Director will be compensated in the range of $200,000-$225,000, commensurate with experience, plus a relocation package if required. Grounded in the organization’s commitment to equity, CCF adheres to a policy that the salary of the highest paid employee will be no more than three times the lowest paid employee.

CCF recognizes that the success of the organization lies in retaining an engaged staff and so we strive to offer a holistic compensation and benefit package that includes competitive pay, quality health benefits, generous paid time off including paid sabbaticals, flexible work schedules, professional development opportunities, and non-elective contributions to a retirement savings plan.


CCF provides equal employment opportunities to all employees, volunteers and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws.

All positions at CCF involve frequent use of a computer and telephone. Reasonable accommodations can be made to enable individuals with differing abilities to perform the essential functions of their position.

CCF is committed to the full inclusion of all qualified individuals. As part of this commitment, we will ensure that persons with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations. If reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in the application or interviewing process, please contact upon submitting your application.


Strategies for Social Change® LLC (SSC) is conducting the executive search and transition for Common Counsel Foundation. SSC is a woman of color owned and led capacity building and leadership development practice dedicated to working with social justice organizations nationally.

We invite you to share this position announcement widely or to request a networking call with SSC by emailing Phone inquiries are discouraged.

The priority deadline for applications is November 15, 2022, at 5pm PT and the final deadline for applications is December 16, 2022, at 5pm PT. Applications received during the priority period will be reviewed by the transition committee ahead of others.

Applications should include the items listed below as a single, combined PDF and emailed to

  1. A thoughtful and compelling cover letter that addresses why you are interested in working with CCF and what relevant qualifications and experience you bring to this role.
  2. A resume.
  3. A list of three references that includes names, affiliation, relationship to you, email addresses and phone numbers. References will not be contacted until the final stage of the search and candidates will be given an opportunity to notify their references in advance.

Please submit a single PDF. Applications with multiple attachments will not be accepted. Selected applicants will be contacted for interviews with CCF’s Leadership Transition Committee in January 2023.