A Better Chicago
A Better Chicago is a venture philanthropy fund devoted to changing the way Chicago fights poverty by investing in bold ideas that provide opportunity for our youth. Driven by the core beliefs that education changes everything and that charity as usual doesn't work, A Better Chicago invests in and supports a select portfolio of high-performing nonprofits that are putting low-income students on a path toward high school, college and career success. Through its approach to selecting and supporting outstanding organizations and attracting and stewarding donors to support these organizations, A Better Chicago seeks to improve opportunities while setting an example of how philanthropy can drive compelling results at scale.
In 2015, A Better Chicago launched a bold strategic plan, with the goal of dramatically improving educational outcomes for Chicago's low-income youth by helping exceptional organizations expand their reach and elevate their impact beyond their already compelling outcomes. As part of its strategic plan, A Better Chicago developed two primary portfolio objectives: 1) expand the service capacity of outstanding organizations in Chicago by 80,000 students, and 2) achieve an aggressive set of portfolio performance targets, including a 60% college graduation rate of 9th graders compared to a current average in Chicago Public Schools of 18%. A Better Chicago seeks to achieve these goals by raising the bar on analytic rigor in philanthropy and amplifying the impact of funding with thought partnership and capacity-building support. Backed by a brand that connotes rigor and excellence within the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, A Better Chicago is at the forefront of changing the way philanthropy is done.
To achieve the objectives set out in its strategic plan, A Better Chicago seeks a Portfolio Director to engage with portfolio organizations to dramatically expand their impact. In this role, the Director will shape A Better Chicago's approach to grantee support and will collaborate with grantees to set shared goals that are actionable, aspirational, and mission-aligned. As the core link to A Better Chicago's grantees, the Portfolio Director will ensure that organizations within the portfolio are effectively pursuing these ambitious goals, are held accountable for delivering upon shared expectations, and are benefitting from the best support A Better Chicago has to offer. Reporting to the President and managing 1-2 high-performing colleagues, the Portfolio Director will serve as a member of A Better Chicago's management team and play a critical role in shaping and building the future of the organization.
Why this is your dream job:
This is an ideal role for an entrepreneurial and influential leader who believes that thoughtful advice, guidance, and deployment of additional resources can have a game-changing impact on organizations and the students they serve. This role provides an unmatched opportunity to 1) engage with and support top nonprofit leaders to accelerate impact; 2) grow professionally through working with senior leaders at a diverse set of outstanding organizations; 3) apply creative and strategic thinking to identify the highest-impact ways to support organizations tackling a range of tough issues; and 4) work with an amazing and collaborative team to take on new challenges and achieve ambitious goals. If using your skills and experience to advise and support great leaders in service of dramatically enhancing opportunities for low-income students is exciting to you, this is your ideal job.
Why this is a challenging job:
This is a demanding role. As a young organization with a lean team, A Better Chicago is highly entrepreneurial and maintains high standards and ambitious targets. Each member of A Better Chicago's team relishes the opportunity to be a part of building something great – and not wait for it to be built. As a senior leader at A Better Chicago, the successful candidate should expect to work hard, spend plenty of time outside their comfort zone and embody the mindset that no task is too big or too small. Furthermore, as new opportunities emerge and others prove less promising, the organization readily flexes its time and attention to ensure it is spending energy on those things that will make the greatest difference for students. The Portfolio Director will need to bring their experience to bear in order to make thoughtful tradeoffs in service of maintaining a portfolio of high-impact organizations. At times, this requires the difficult decision to exit a grantee from the portfolio. While this is never ideal, the Portfolio Director will need to be ready to have tough conversations and make hard decisions regarding an organization's future investment status.
Specific responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
Oversee A Better Chicago's portfolio of grantee organizations – engaging, partnering, and deploying resources to help them expand their impact (~75%)
Build and maintain a high-impact portfolio as an effective steward of A Better Chicago's donors' funds (~15%)
Build a great organization (~10%)
The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications and attributes:
A Better Chicago recognizes that the Portfolio Director role requires a highly skilled and seasoned leader. Therefore, the compensation for this role is very competitive and includes medical, dental and vision insurance, short-term and long-term disability insurance, and four weeks of paid vacation.
A Better Chicago is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes candidates from diverse backgrounds.