Foundation seeks candidates with leadership expertise and commitment to gender and racial equity

Today, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota released a job description for its next President & CEO and formally opened the application process. In March, the Foundation announced the retirement of Lee Roper-Batker as President and CEO (effective January 3, 2020), a position she has held since 2001.

The Foundation has retained Korn Ferry to conduct the national executive search. Internal staff are not being considered for this position. All interest, nominations, and inquiries about the position should be directed to Korn Ferry at

The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota (WFMN) is seeking a new President & CEO to advance its statewide mission to invest in innovation to drive gender equity. As a national philanthropic leader recognized for innovative research, grantmaking and advocacy, WFMN is building pathways to prosperity for women and girls in the state with the greatest disparity in outcomes.

Over the past two decades, WFMN has experienced its most prolific period of organizational growth and impact since its launch in 1983. WFMN has increased its grantmaking from $319,000 to $3 million a year (840% increase) and increased its endowment from $8 million to $26 million (213% increase). As current WFMN President & CEO Lee Roper-Batker prepares for retirement, she leaves the organization with a legacy of inspiring leadership and an enduring impact on women and girls in the Minnesota, and beyond.

The opportunity to become WFMN’s next President & CEO presents the rare opportunity for a strategic and visionary leader to join a fiscally strong, organizationally sound statewide community foundation with a dedicated Board of Trustees and skilled staff who have wealth of enthusiasm for their mission.

WFMN’s team is hardworking and possesses a high standard of excellence, which is balanced with a celebratory culture that values a sense of humor. The next President & CEO will be deeply committed to gender and racial equity and will act as the organization’s primary champion, fundraiser, advocate, and spokesperson, effectively increasing WFMN’s visibility and national reputation as a leader in the field.

Recent initiatives, ranging from combating human trafficking to building economic success for underserved and underrepresented girls, have served as scalable models for actively building power for women and girls locally and nationally.


Mission: The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota is a statewide community foundation that invests in innovation to drive gender equity in Minnesota.

Vision: A world of equal opportunity where women, girls, and all people hold the power to create and lead safe, prosperous lives.

History: Founded in 1983, WFMN is the first statewide women’s foundation in the nation and remains the only grantmaking organization in Minnesota dedicated exclusively to growing equity for women and girls. WFMN’s founders ranged from grassroots activists to active philanthropists and were united by a powerful common goal to create an enduring legacy of equality for women and girls. They were deeply concerned about two related issues: the small proportion of philanthropic support allocated to women and girls in Minnesota —then, less than 3 percent —and the fact that support did not address the need for long-term system-wide change.

WFMN was originally established as a designated area fund of The Minneapolis Foundation, and in 1989, became a separate and independent 501(c)3 public charity.

Today, as a statewide community foundation, WFMN makes grants, invests in research, advocates for policy reform, and leads cross-sector partnerships to ensure community-led solutions so that all Minnesota’s women and girls have what they need to thrive. To ensure equity in outcomes, WFMN ensures equity in all it designs by applying an Intersectional Equity Framework™, which is inclusive of gender, race, place, and additional identities (ethnicity, sovereignty, class, age, ability, LGBTQ , immigration status), and qualitative research in the Foundation’s, grantmaking, public policy agenda, and internal work.

WFMN believes that for individuals, families, and our state to thrive, we must have gender and racial equity. We must position and resource women and girls as solution-builders and leaders within their communities.

To learn more about WFMN’s recent work, visit What We Need to Thrive.

Primary duties and responsibilities include oversight of organizational leadership and strategic planning; board engagement; fundraising; research and grantmaking; strategic partnerships, communications and advocacy.

Organizational Leadership and Strategic Planning
• Demonstrates an energetic, entrepreneurial nature that combines leadership and intellectual curiosity with practical management skills.
• Develops and leads the implementation of WFMN’s organization-wide vision and long-term strategic plan with appropriate delegation to direct reports.
• Provides inspiring leadership and ensures WFMN’s team-driven culture supports the mission while promoting synergy and collaboration across the organization.
• Ensures all operations, human, and financial resources are sound and aligned to provide the highest impact and implementation.
• Maintains the accuracy and integrity of financial information, reporting and disclosure requirements, internal controls, and management information systems.

Board Engagement
• Maintains a transparent relationship with the Board of Trustees and works collaboratively with board members/committees to establish WFMN’s strategic direction and policies, enabling the organization to adapt to a constantly changing external environment.
• Administratively supports the Board in the recruitment and cultivation of new members and committee chairs that best fit the organization’s values, strategic objectives, and functional needs.
• Provides regular reports and communicates on all strategic, operational, and programmatic matters.
• Oversees the preparation of annual operating plans and budgets for review and approval by the Board.

• Actively ensures WFMN’s long-term fundraising efforts to secure significant gifts and investments (6- and 7-figure plus) from individuals and institutions.
• Oversees development staff and related activities, including the cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of contributed revenue from general operating gifts to government grants.
• Creates strategy to increase endowment and donor advised funds.

Research and Grantmaking
• In collaboration with WFMN team, analyzes qualitative and quantitative research (disaggregated by gender, race, place, and ability), informing annual grantmaking and policy agenda. Grant programs past and present include girlsBEST, Innovation, MN Girls Are Not For Sale, Pathways to Prosperity (P2P), Young Women’s Initiative, Social Change Fund, and the Ripley Memorial Foundation (donor advised fund).
• In April 2020, WFMN will embark on our Road to Equity Tour. In communities across the state, the organization will preview their Status of Women and Girls in Minnesota research (July 2020). They will hear directly from communities why the research resonates in their community and identify key issues and solutions. The next President & CEO will meet with leaders across the state to foster their understanding, leadership, and impact with communities and partners.

Strategic Partnerships, Communications, and Advocacy/Policy
• Develops innovative strategies and approaches to address key issues of equity impacting WFMN’s mission, vision, and programs.
• Proactively engages with public policy leaders and other influencers, helping to shape the agenda and decision-making of government officials and other external stakeholders. In the coming year, WFMN will strengthen and grow their partnership with new leadership in the Governor’s Office to continue to co-lead the Young Women’s Initiative. They are the only state in the nation with this type of vanguard partnership to create a state of gender and racial equity.
• Intuitively develops, nurtures, and sustains productive relationships with grantees, peer organizations, community groups and other nonprofits throughout the state of Minnesota.
• Leads collaborative partnerships with other national and state government, organizations, and corporations.
• Ensures WFMN’s mission is represented to appropriate audiences in local, state, and national media, and with similar advocacy initiatives.
• Design new program to advance new board strategic goal to end gender-based violence.
• Contributes to the vision and thought leadership in the public dialogue around gender equity through conferences, symposiums, and other presentations.

The successful President & CEO candidate will be a steadfast and persistent leader for gender equity who courageously cultivates innovation and creates community alliances for measurable change.

The ideal candidate will have a depth of experience and acumen in strategic planning, relationship-building, human capital management and fundraising, and should possess the following:

• Community awareness and political savvy to build and sustain relationships with many internal and external constituencies including Board of Trustees, donors, peer organizations, grantees, government agencies, corporations, academia, grantees, and the media.
• Steeped in diverse communities to build upon our shared vision, values, accomplishments, and credibility to inspire even greater impact and innovation.
• Strong, proven communicator; ability to communicate complex frameworks, both orally and in writing, to diverse stakeholders, and be a persuasive, enthusiastic public speaker.
• Exhibit highly relational abilities to garner new and continued support of key initiatives.
• Experience in applying gender, race, place equity frame and strategy to work
• Proven track record for team building in a highly productive organization with success in attracting, developing, motivating, and retaining a diverse staff.
• Successful record of growing top-line revenue, establishing innovative sources of income, and driving sustainable growth. The skills to be successful in fundraising across private, public, and governmental sectors.
• Demonstrated initiative and a solution-focused attitude while positively contributing to a team work environment.
• Commitment and willingness to actively participate in WFMN’s learning culture in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
• Proven management, business, and financial acumen within an organization of similar scale.

• Deep expertise and commitment to the movement for systems change and gender and racial equity.
• Understand the unique role of a community foundation in creating conditions for social change to occur through research, grantmaking, policy, evaluation, strategic convenings, cross-sector partnerships, and donor engagement.
• Prowess in using evaluation to advance impact.
• Willingness to co-create, learn, and adapt in order to increase effectiveness in the work of the Foundation.
• Willingness to work collaboratively as an effective and proactive team member and leader.
• Keen analytic, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities that enable sound decision-making.
• Strong professional ethics, transparency, integrity, and accountability in all actions.
• Commitment to cultivating a diverse, dynamic, and integrated team that models healthy and direct communication, humor, and celebration, and supports the WFMN values of hope, generosity, and inclusion.

An undergraduate degree is required; an advanced degree is preferred.

All interest, nominations, and inquiries about the position should be directed to Korn Ferry at

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