Director of Communications


Full-Time Exempt
New York, NY

About Wallace

With assets of roughly $1.7 billion, Wallace is one of the nation’s 75 largest independent, endowed foundations, and took shape four decades ago from the legacy of the founders of the Reader’s Digest Association. Working nationally, Wallace has developed a reputation as a reliable source of insights in the fields it works through its unusual approach to philanthropy, which is summarized in our core values:

    At The Wallace Foundation, we develop long-term, inquiry-led approaches to creating a more equitable society by developing and sharing evidence-based strategies to make meaningful contributions in partnership with others locally and for the field. We value behavior that demonstrates a commitment to mutual respect and support, DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion), continuous learning, collaboration, excellence, and accountability.

Over the past two decades, Wallace has contributed to elevating the importance of school principals along with strategies to support them, built understanding of the role of citywide intermediaries in expanding equitable access to high-quality afterschool programs, developed the gold standard for guidance on summer learning programs, and shed light on how arts organizations can better connect to their communities and draw in new audiences.

Wallace’s overall strategic framework for its multi-year initiatives recognizes the value of an interdisciplinary approach among program, research, and communications in enabling social progress.

Position Overview

The Director of Communications leads Wallace’s communications efforts to support our mission to foster equity and improvements in learning and enrichment for young people, and in the arts for everyone.

Reporting to the President and as a part of the Foundation’s senior leadership team, the Director leads an experienced team of eight professionals. The communications team is responsible for positioning Wallace as a source of credible, relevant and non-partisan evidence and insights. The Director of Communications will innovate and build upon existing strategy to make these insights accessible to practitioners, policymakers, funders and influencers within the fields of K-12 education, afterschool and summer learning and the non-profit arts. As part of this effort, the Director oversees communications-focused grants, typically 8-10 percent of an initiative’s budget and including partnerships with associations and issue groups, to support those goals.

The ideal candidate will be strongly committed to the value of research to contribute to social progress. The Director of Communications will understand the importance of maintaining our nonpartisan perspective and equity-focused mission while remaining in conversation with actors across a wide swath of the political spectrum and in all states and territories of the U.S. Importantly, they will enjoy doing this while working in a culture that prizes collaboration, and in which all major decisions are made in interdisciplinary teams in order to benefit from diverse perspectives and experiences, including those from outside the foundation.

Key responsibilities

Organizational Leadership

  • Lead and develop eight communications professionals; mentor, cultivate and elevate their work and experience, provide feedback and support their growth.
  • Lead the Communications Unit in its goal to sustain and build Wallace’s reputation as a reliable and non-partisan source of evidence-based insights.
  • As a member of the interdisciplinary strategy teams, identify and support communications strategies for the Foundation’s programmatic areas including Education Leadership, Arts and Learning & Enrichment.
  • Oversee the Foundation’s editorial review process for new reports and knowledge products, and as a part of the interdisciplinary team, represent the communications perspective in decisions on format and product types in commissioned research.
  • Work cross collaboratively to set organizational impact goals and ensure communications activities align with those goals across Program and Research.
  • As a member of the Senior Management Team, sponsor and support organization-wide equity initiatives. Recognize and foster opportunities for staff to have conversations about DEI. Understand where Wallace finds itself on its own DEI journey and contribute to advancing that journey.
  • Serve as a member of the Public Policy Engagement and Website working groups.

Communications Function Leadership

  • Build and execute strategies to disseminate the Foundation’s work and make it accessible to key audiences, including innovative ways to integrate and leverage our owned, earned and paid channels.
  • Serve as a knowledgeable resource and advise the Senior Management and Communications teams on best practices for digital content strategy and audience segmentation.
  • Oversee the review, analysis of communications proposals and recommendations for funding, and the ongoing support and measurement of progress against goals for those grants.
  • Contribute to the development of the annual Year in Review report to the Board, the Foundation’s public-facing annual report, staff presentations and other communications vehicles as part of the Foundation’s knowledge dissemination efforts.

Skills and Qualifications

  • Fifteen or more years of substantive experience in strategic communications and/or journalism.
  • An understanding of and strong commitment to the power of research, evidence, and ideas to create change.
  • A personal approach grounded in empathy, integrity and curiosity.
  • Capacity for complex thinking and understanding how to navigate interdisciplinary approaches to work. Open to questions and feedback.
  • Ability to prioritize work and team resources and feel comfortable setting clear expectations with their team and their peers about what is possible to achieve.
  • Demonstrated experience in using digital media to extend the strategic reach and impact of communications.
  • Exceptional writing, editing, listening and oral communication skills.
  • Excellent conceptual thinking, analytical, interpersonal, strategic planning and project management skills.
  • Excellent staff management skills and demonstrated ability to effectively lead and collaborate with an integrated, interdisciplinary team of professionals in a goal-oriented environment.
  • Experience in diverse organizations and settings is of particular interest.
  • Undergraduate degree is required, certificate of further study or advanced degree is a plus.

Compensation and Benefits
The current salary range for this position is $313,200 to $348,000. Our generous benefits package includes a choice of health insurance plans and a healthcare reimbursement account, 403(b) retirement plan with a competitive employer contribution upon eligibility, matching gifts programs and much more.

For more information, contact:
Amy Segelin
T: 212.365.6645 x1

Jaimie Cohen