President and Chief Executive Officer

Forefront | Chicago, Illinois


Forefront, a 501(c)(3) organization, is Illinois’ statewide association representing both grantmakers and operating nonprofits, as well as their advisors and allies. Its mission is to build a vibrant social impact sector for all people of Illinois, providing education, advocacy, and thought leadership, as well as facilitating networking and collective action. 

Job Summary

In partnership with the Board of Directors, the President and CEO shapes the organization’s vision, mission, and strategic goals. They are accountable for the achievement of those goals by providing leadership and overall management, and by developing and activating creative solutions to strengthen the organization’s operations, programs, and fiscal health.
The ideal new President and CEO will have an entrepreneurial spirit, attitude, and approach that actively seeks out change and innovation. The Board seeks candidates who actively pursue critical questioning, innovation, service, and continuous improvement. The President and CEO should have the ability to build strategic coalitions, participate in complex collaborations, and creatively envision opportunities for the organization to lead during this unique moment in time.

Reports To

The Board of Directors


Organizational Leadership

  • Maintain a networked organization with statewide reach that provides a platform for effective communication and collaboration with and between members and affiliate organizations.
  • Bring an empathetic and mission-driven approach that brings members, leaders, staff, and the board together around developing and implementing a new strategic plan.
  • Effectively communicate the vision, goals, and plans to Board members, staff, members, and other constituents.
  • Implement a comprehensive strategy to engage and steward current members while creatively and enthusiastically cultivating new members.
  • Implement all board-approved and directed policies, as well as the annual work plan to ensure Forefront meets its purpose and goals.

Fundraising/Business Development

  • Develop and manage long-term sustainable revenue streams and business models to sufficiently support programs, activities, operations, and new initiatives.
  • Actively seek new and creative opportunities for funding to obtain the necessary resources to effectively carry out Forefront’s goals and to meet the objectives of the annual budget.

Membership and Relationship Building

  • Foster strong relationships with new and potential members to ensure sincere member recruitment and retention efforts.
  • Remain informed about, and responsive to, the varied and changing needs of current and future members throughout the state.
  • Mobilize members across the state, continuously assessing the needs of a diverse constituency, and determine how Forefront can provide resources and support to myriad stakeholders.
  • Maintain, cultivate, and leverage relationships with key decision-makers in the public policy arena (legislative and regulatory) through a diplomatic approach.
  • Maintain timely and thorough knowledge of the field of philanthropy, nonprofit organizations, and other related sectors.

Staff Supervision and Management

  • Build and retain a talented team that embraces a culture of member service, excellence, and shared learning.
  • Nurture a healthy staff culture that is mission-focused, dynamic, and communicative.
  • Lead the staff with empathy and compassion.
  • Lead strategic planning and annual goal setting to align with organizational mission and priorities; ensure staff members are successfully achieving outcomes in support of established priorities.

Board Development

  • Responsible for the operations of the Board of Directors, supporting board member recruitment, training, and development.
  • Ensure smooth operation of all Board and committee meetings and related events.
  • Work with the Board of Directors to develop organizational priorities through a collaborative and transparent process anchored in clear and open communication.


  • Represent Forefront to funders, media, policy makers, the public, and other philanthropy infrastructure groups and effectively articulate the organization’s mission and values.
  • Cultivate relationships and develop collaborations across the state to increase Forefront’s visibility and advance its work.
  • Build and market Forefront’s image as a state, regional and national leader that unites grantmakers and operating nonprofits.
  • Provide leadership and oversight to all program functions and operations. Use best practices of accountability, priority setting, inclusiveness, and delegation, and empower staff to maximize their performance.


  • Strong knowledge of the nonprofit sector, generally, and the field of philanthropy, specifically.
  • Strong knowledge of statewide issues impacting grantmakers and operating nonprofits.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and implement creative and comprehensive approaches to fundraising.
  • Demonstrated ability to build coalitions and to create and engage in collaborative partnerships across the state.
  • Knowledge and experience in racial equity principles and practices, with experience in organizational implementation.
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically and creatively and act empathetically and compassionately.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide leadership both internally and externally.
  • Experience supporting a Board of Directors and supervising staff.
  • Excellent communications and interpersonal skills.
  • 10 years of experience, with increasing management and financial responsibilities in a multi-dimensional and customer-focused organization.
  • Knowledge of and experience around public policy, business, government, and/or related fields.


Forefront offers a competitive salary and benefits commensurate with experience and organizational salary structure.



How to Apply

Forefront has retained Morten Group, LLC to conduct this search.
Applicants should email a cover letter and resume in PDF format to with the subject line “Forefront – President and CEO Search.” Cover letters will be evaluated as a writing sample and should include the applicant’s salary requirements. Application materials must be directed to the email address above. No phone calls, please. For best consideration, applications should be received by Friday, July 10, 2020. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
Forefront is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy status, gender identity and/or expression, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service or other non-merit factors. Forefront is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from under-represented group members, including, but not limited to, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and women.


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Organization: Nonprofit organizations