Consultant: Grants Manager, Arts

 

November, 2021

Executive Summary

The Wallace Foundation is launching a six-year, $107 million initiative to support arts organizations of color and learn whether and how their community orientation can help bolster their financial strength and sustainability. The initiative envisions three cohorts of grant-funded organizations:

  • Cohort 1: Up to 18 organizations with annual budgets larger than $500,000 and up to $5 million, with deep exploration through multiple research studies;
  • Cohort 2: A larger cohort of arts organizations of color with annual budgets of less than $500,000, administered through a network of six regional arts organizations; and
  • Cohort 3: To support research conducted by and for arts service organizations of color, by pairing arts service organizations of color with researchers and plan, strengthen or expand their efforts to collect, analyze and communicate data about the field.

We are seeking a grants management consultant to manage the grants to the six regional arts organizations for Cohort 2 and support a research consultant for Cohort 3.

As far as we know, most arts organizations of color have annual budgets of less than $500,000. The challenges such organizations face may differ from those of their larger peers. A broader learning agenda that includes smaller organizations could help us identify and understand these differences. However, a desire to work with small organizations has historically posed a dilemma for Wallace. On one hand, public charities (nonprofit 501(c)(3)s) are expected to have both diverse control and diverse funding. They are required to have a broad base of public support, so our grants to small organizations must be relatively small. On the other hand, our learning approach requires deep relationships with grantees. We lack the staff bandwidth to maintain such relationships with a large cohort.

We believe tapping a network of six regional arts organizations (“RAO’s”), established in the 1970s by the National Endowment for the Arts and state arts organizations, offers a solution to this dilemma in this case. The six organizations—Arts Midwest, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts, South Arts, and Western States Arts Federation were created to activate and operate national arts initiatives; encourage and support field collaboration across regions, states and communities; and maximize the coordination of public and private resources invested in arts programs.

Wallace will invest $36 million to the six RAOs over three years to help administer grants to the second cohort of organizations with budgets under $500,000 and cover administrative costs. They would use their deep experience regranting federal and philanthropic funds to build cohorts of small arts organizations of color in their regions and to support their own efforts to ensure equity in their work.

Research efforts in this cohort would analyze and describe the types of strategic challenges faced and approaches taken across a large number of participating organizations. There may be additional opportunities to study the role of the regional arts organizations and their efforts to promote equity, but these conversations are at a very early stage.

Collaborating with the Director of Arts and members of the Arts Unit and Interdisciplinary Team, the Grants Manager, Arts is a key contributor to the success of the Foundation’s new arts initiative and shares a commitment to equity and social justice for all.

The Grants Manager brings substantive field knowledge and experience to the interdisciplinary team’s work on strategy design, ongoing refinement, and implementation; managing the work of the grantees and partners to advance the overall goals of the initiative; and supporting sharing of knowledge. Although closed since March 2020, it is anticipated that the Wallace Foundation will reopen its offices in the financial district of Manhattan in early 2022, as soon as pandemic conditions in NYC have subsided. At that time, the person in this position will be required to participate in weekly planning meetings in New York. We therefore seek candidates who are able and willing to regularly commute into Manhattan for work when our offices reopen.

Responsibilities:

The grants management consultant for Wallace’s second cohort of arts organizations of color will include the following services:

  • Participating in arts unit, implementation and strategy team meetings;
  • Participating on the selection committee for the Cohort 2 research firm;
  • Participating in the grantee selection process for the six RAOs, including reviewing proposals and (possible) site visits;
  • Developing the grant agreements and budgets with six RAOs;
  • Managing the on-going work of six RAOs (including site visits and regular calls and communication, participating in virtual and in-person professional learning communities, including planning and preparatory meetings); and
  • Other projects as assigned.

Core duties of the Grants Manager include:

Grants/Contracts/Partnership Management

  • Acting as stewards of our resources, ensure that the funded work of our initiatives reflects Wallace’s “dual goals:” benefits for our partners and those they serve, and benefits through the broader field through knowledge.
  • Manage the work with grantees to advance the overall goals of the initiative: local impact and broader field benefits.
  • Fulfill stewardship responsibilities: (i) ensure grantee budgets reflect the scope and deliverables, monitor spending, and review financial reports to inform future funding; and (ii) maintain an up- to-date grantee record, including report reviews and feedback, conversations with grantees, and budget discussions to ensure the integrity of the foundation’s grants management database.
  • Use feedback skills effectively to build a relationship of trust, candor and transparency with grantees so that discussion of challenges and problems leads to shared problem-solving and resolution; and progress and success is recognized and built on.
  • Prepare timely analysis of funded work to inform the discussion of strategy, initiative goals and implementation in the team and unit. Analysis includes strengths and challenges in fulfilling scope of work, options with pros/cons, and a recommendation.
  • Fulfill lead role on “strands” of work within an initiative, e.g., Professional Learning Community, conference planning, field data collection, to meet agreed-upon goals.

Organizational Overview

About Wallace

The Wallace Foundation—an independent, national, New York-based philanthropy with $1.75 billion in assets—traces its origins back more than half a century to DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace, founders of The Reader’s Digest Association. Our work is grounded by our core values, which guide how we work together, and our mission and approach, which describes what we do. We aim to create a workplace where we all can thrive and contribute in support of our mission.

Our Core Values

We seek to improve complex social systems in ways that are meaningful, measurable, and sustainable. We value behavior that demonstrates a commitment to Mutual Respect and Support, Diversity, Continuous Learning, Collaboration, Excellence, and Accountability.

Mission and Approach

The Wallace Foundation seeks to foster equity and improvements in learning and enrichment for young people, and in the arts for everyone. The foundation has an unusual approach: In each of our focus areas – Arts, Education Leadership, and Learning and Enrichment – we seek to identify, and help answer, one or more significant questions whose answers are not known but which, if known, could help propel progress more broadly. As responsible stewards of our resources, we seek to ensure that our initiatives contribute to Wallace’s dual goals:(a) benefits for our partners and those they serve in the form of increased capacity, and (b) benefits for the broader field through credible, relevant knowledge.

This “Wallace Approach” is reflected in the way the foundation develops its strategies and designs its initiatives. We begin by attempting to understand the context of the fields in which we work in order to identify an important unanswered question to address. We then simultaneously fund programmatic work in the field by organizations (including technical assistance and peer learning communities) and research that studies the process and results of their efforts to answer the question, in order to generate improvements and insights that can benefit both the people served by the grant recipients and the field as a whole. The public reports emanating from this work are the basis for our strategy of catalyzing broad impact by serving as a knowledge hub for credible, useful lessons to be disseminated to key audiences of practitioners, policymakers and influencers.

Interdisciplinary Team Structure

The Wallace Approach is carried out in an interdisciplinary team-based structure with three disciplines: program, communications, and research. We seek partners who are highly skilled in their professions, able to work collaboratively across disciplines to capture the synergy of diverse experience and ways of thinking, think analytically, and communicate clearly the rationale for recommendations. We value the flexibility to adapt to change, a desire to learn, and the ability to work productively both on one’s own and with colleagues inside and outside the foundation.

For more information on The Wallace Foundation and to see examples of our work, please visit http://www.wallacefoundation.org.

Qualifications

  • Demonstrated collaborative approach to shared problem-solving and contributing to program design and strategy – preferably in an interdisciplinary setting – that is grounded in advancing the work, assumes good intentions, demonstrates respect, and welcomes diversity of perspectives.
  • Multiyear experience at the program management level in a community-based arts organization, preferably in the visual or performing arts.
  • Ability to bring together and build productive relationships with and among external parties (grantees/partners/vendors).
  • Exceptional project management skills, with the ability to effectively manage multiple projects and competing priorities.
  • Excellent conceptual and analytical thinking skills.
  • Outstanding communication skills: listening, writing, speaking.
  • Full-cycle grant management experience is strongly preferred.

Compensation

Wallace shall pay up to $200,000 for professional fees, for up to 105 days of consulting time at a daily rate of One Thousand Two Hundred Dollars ($1,200).

Wallace will also reimburse you up to $75,000 for reasonable travel expenses incurred.

Payment will be made within thirty (30) days of Wallace’s receipt of monthly invoices and/or travel reimbursement form with original receipts.

Timing

This is a part time (approximately 3-4 days/week) position, including 2-3 hours/week of fixed meetings with Wallace staff. Work is expected to commence early in 2022. Annual contracts have an option to renew for up to three years, through 2025.

To Apply

Please submit a cover letter and resume to artsrfp@wallacefoundation.org. The position will remain posted until filled.

The Wallace Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to maintaining a diverse workplace where differing perspectives are a source of strength.