Community Engagement Officer, Equity and Inclusion

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT OFFICER, EQUITY & INCLUSION

ORGANIZATIONAL OVERVIEW

The mission of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (BTCF) is to build stronger communities through philanthropy and leadership. We offer donors, nonprofits and community groups the tools and expertise to achieve their philanthropic vision and goals, and identify critical areas where the foundation can leverage its relationships and leadership for lasting impact. Founded in 1987 in Salisbury, Conn., Berkshire Taconic serves Berkshire County, Mass.; Columbia and northeast Dutchess County, N.Y.; and northwest Litchfield County, Conn. In all, we serve the residents of 70 towns and three cities across three states, within a 2,200-square mile region. 

Like most community foundations, BTCF offers a variety of fund types that allow donors and community groups to build charitable resources and make grants and other awards over time to achieve their philanthropic goals. BTCF has also proactively established funds to address a specific issue in our region or to develop permanent charitable resources to serve a set of communities. This has resulted in the creation and growth of 11 area funds, 33 educational enrichment funds that serve every public school district in our region, and special initiatives to address regional challenges, such as the shortage of high-quality early childhood programs and affordable housing options. 

In total, the foundation manages more than 550 funds totaling nearly $200 million in combined assets that together make over $10 million in grants and other awards each year. BTCF is a learning organization that embraces a culture of high performance, transparency and flexibility. All staff participate in professional development activities on an ongoing basis and work cooperatively as a team, respectful of one another, the volunteer board that guides our work, and the nonprofits and donors who are our vital partners in improving lives around the region. 

POSITION OVERVIEW

The community engagement officer will work with BTCF’s President, senior team and board members to launch a new equity initiative in close partnership with leaders of color from Black, Hispanic, Asian, African, and immigrant communities across the region served by the foundation.  In support of the initiative’s design, a steering committee of leaders of color has worked with a consultant to identified priority issues within their communities where philanthropic tools such as grants, capacity building and convening can help contribute to change. 

This new position will work with the steering committee and its successor committee to develop and implement capacity building and grant programs to address priority issues identified within communities of color. The first priority identified in the planning process is the opportunity for leadership development and network building among established and emerging leaders of color. This position will work in collaboration with leaders of color to develop a program that offers opportunities for leaders across the region to acquire skills, build relationships, and access resources to advance the work they are leading in their communities.

Concurrent to supporting the initiative’s programmatic priorities, the community engagement officer will also work with the Chief Philanthropy Officer to support a group of foundation donors and other funders committed to equity. This donor/funder circle will be committed to shared learning about issues pertaining to equity, inclusion and how systemic racism and implicit bias affect philanthropy and philanthropic practices. This funder circle will also be committed to mobilizing new philanthropic resources to leverage with the resources already committed by BTCF and other funders to support the Equity Initiative. 

This community engagement officer will also serve as an important resource to organizations serving communities of color by acting as liaison and advocate within BTCF and externally, providing information and technical assistance on foundation grant programs and funding opportunities provided by other funders. S/he will also play an important role in broader internal efforts to revise BTCF’s grant application processes, strengthen outreach activities, and provide support to grant program applicants. 

Approximately 75% of this community engagement officer’s time will be spent providing staff leadership and support for the equity initiative. The remaining time will be spent on other program-related activities, donor services, and other priorities, including professional development and administrative matters. 
This position reports to the Chief Philanthropy Officer and will be supported and guided by the foundation’s Program Director.  There will also be regular access to and a working relationship with the foundation’s President. 

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

Program Development and Implementation 

  • Support, manage and help lead the Equity Initiative’s programmatic activities  
    • Support steering committee and its successor leadership advisory committee by working with committee to identify meeting topics, identify and learn about issues important to their communities, and design and implement programmatic strategies in response to priority issues. 
    • Develop and implement leadership development opportunities for emerging and existing leaders. 
    • Broker fiscal sponsorship opportunities for community-based groups through intermediary fiscal sponsors such as New York Council of Nonprofits’ Good Causes, Third Sector New England, or Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires. 
    • Oversee the committee grant review process when a grants program is implemented, including:
    • Working with committee chairs to schedule review meetings
    • Preparing committee agendas
    • Reviewing applications for eligibility 
    • Collaborating with committee chairs to facilitate advisory committee review and decision-making processes
    • Preparing donor stewardship reports

Community Engagement 

  • Build relationships in communities through outreach and engagement.
  • Learn about issues important to communities of color by listening and connecting directly with residents, organizations and leaders.
  • Serve as an advocate and liaison for communities of color through understanding priority issues. promoting funding opportunities, and helping connect organizations and people doing similar work. 
  • Be accessible and responsive to community members seeking information.

Donor Engagement 

  • Support and help manage Equity Initiative’s donor/funder circle
    • Work with staff colleagues to design and implement donor/funder circle learning opportunities 
    • Build effective working relationships with participating donors and funders
    • Support cultivation efforts to mobilize philanthropy/fundraising to support endowed and non-endowed fund development
    • Support the development of communications materials
    • Coordinate donor/funder site visits to grantee organizations
  • Develop productive working relationships with a portfolio of donors: proactively engage donors through in-person meetings, sharing information on grantmaking opportunities and community foundation leadership initiatives, and responding to fund-related questions. The engagement officer will serve as the key contact/relationship manager for approximately 10-15 donors
  • Participate in new relationship development activities with prospective donors and nonprofits unfamiliar with the foundation and the opportunities it provides
  • Other related duties as assigned by the Chief Philanthropy Officer.

Other Programmatic Responsibilities

  • Support assigned portfolio of programmatic initiatives or grantmaking funds (e.g. serving on the staff team for Arts Build Community Initiative, providing support for arts-related grantmaking funds).
  • Be familiar with BTCF grantmaking resources so that community individuals, groups and nonprofits can be encouraged to consider making grant inquiries or applications.
  • Other related duties as assigned by the Chief Philanthropy Officer as informed by the Program Director

Qualifications

The successful candidate will possess and/or express the willingness to learn the following attributes and skills: 

  • Experience advancing goals pertaining to equity and inclusion in community, organizational or corporate settings
  • Experience or demonstrated interest in the nonprofit sector
  • Experience and interest in building relationships in communities through outreach and direct engagement
  • Passion for learning and identifying ways to improve work or an approach as a result 
  • Project management skills 
  • Oral, written communication skills
  • Experience or willingness to learn database and other software systems
  • Public speaking and group facilitation skills desired; can be developed through training and support
  • Ability to synthesize and organize information with an attention to detail
  • Ability to travel to meetings around the foundation’s region and occasionally to conferences and other professional development opportunities
  • College degree preferred (bachelors or associates) along with five or more years of professional experience

About Equity and Inclusion at BTCF
While equity and inclusion have been longstanding BTCF values, the national imperative to advance racial and economic justice calls the foundation to expand its capabilities in order to contribute to eradicating the injustices that exist in our region and fully serve all of our communities. Moreover, embracing these values in today’s climate requires the board, staff, donors and volunteer advisory committees to examine critically our organizational culture and governance, how we develop and implement philanthropic strategies, and how we authentically engage and work in communities of color. 

Toward these ends, BTCF is in the midst of an in-depth internal capacity building process to imbed equity and inclusion in our governance, strategy and operations. First, the foundation is actively working to have the staff, board and volunteer committees better reflect the growing diversity of our region. This involves ensuring more diverse perspectives and lived experiences are guiding and determining the foundation’s strategic direction, programmatic priorities, and grantmaking decisions. With the help of outside consultants, existing staff and board are also in the midst of deepening their cultural competencies through training and shared learning opportunities. To identify priorities for change in how the foundation operates, we are undertaking an internal audit of foundation policies, procedures and communications for the purposes of identifying and addressing implicit biases and underlying power dynamics that may hinder our ability to serve our communities fully and increase the accessibility of programs and services. 

COMPENSATION

Starting salary is $57,000, negotiable based on education and/or experience. Berkshire Taconic is an equal employment opportunity employer and offer competitive benefits including: a 403(b) retirement plan with employer contribution; generous paid vacation and sick time; health, dental and life insurance; opportunities for professional development; and a hybrid work model.

HOW TO APPLY

Please submit resume and cover letter to Brenda Trierweiler hr@berkshiretaconic.org