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Director – Kauffman Foundation

Job Details


Reporting to the Vice President, Entrepreneurship, the Director, Capital Innovation (Director), will assist the Kauffman Foundation in expanding its capital work by creating and implementing new and augmented approaches and solutions that will transform and close the capital demand gaps for entrepreneurs and ensure they have the support required to access capital and the financial resources needed to start, sustain, and grow businesses.

The Director will lead the efforts to design, test, and deploy innovative and replicable models that remove barriers and create opportunity and equitable access to capital for entrepreneurs, especially those from underrepresented populations and geographies, and drive systems change. This strategy is focused nationally with a specific and critical eye on the Heartland Region of the U.S. (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas). The position location is Kansas City, Missouri.

Specific Responsibilities include:

National and Local Relationship Development

• Manage existing and build new critical relationships with national, regional, and local stakeholders, acting like a colleague, catalyst, and advocate who is dedicated to educating groups about Kauffman Foundation initiatives and engagement
• Build and nurture relationships with field leaders, capital providers, public and private stakeholders, and organizations to spur program development and foster collaboration
• Maximize existing and develop ongoing partnerships aligned with the program strategy, to deepen and expand the Foundation’s impact
• Assist in connecting and convening grantees to share best practices of their work and inform the field of best practices
• Represent the Foundation when requested for speaking opportunities and at community and entrepreneurship-related events
• Participate in conferences to cultivate relationships and partnership opportunities, explore new initiatives and promote the Foundation
• Identify opportunities for Kauffman Foundation leaders to speak at panels, events, and conferences

Team Development and Supervision

• Develop, support, coach, and supervise a team of program officers
• Facilitate program officers’ strategic planning and project management work by supporting program officers in ways that ensure the execution and attainment of deadlines on program plans and associated activities
• Communicate expectations, work with associates to set performance goals, monitor results, and provide constructive, candid, balanced, and timely feedback on day-to-day work and annual performance goals
• Identify and provide learning, growth, and professional development opportunities


• Lead and develop the capital strategy grantmaking portfolio
• Map and analyze the flow of capital, credit system, capital providers, and all capital solutions available to entrepreneurs to determine what types of capital and innovations are needed to espouse shared prosperity and improve access to capital
• Collaboratively work with the Kauffman research team to facilitate research that will aid in understanding barriers to access capital and flow of capital, synthesize the success and failure of capital products and initiatives, and identify opportunities
• Oversee management of and have accountability for specific strategic grants and grants of capital program managers

General Management and Collaboration

• Evaluate and identify opportunities and partnerships to successfully support the Kauffman Foundation’s goals to improve capital flow and deployment
• Conduct regular analyses to determine if new financial products, programs, or initiatives are needed to support the capital needs of entrepreneurs and capital providers
• Collaborate with other partners locally and nationally to ensure alignment of the overall strategic direction of the Kauffman Foundation’s goals
• Research and evaluate new cutting-edge financial products, programs, and initiatives
• Measure and evaluate activities or programs to ensure progress against program goals, budgets, and critical measures of success
• Utilize data (internal and third party) to discern key behaviors and motivations that influence the flow of capital and deployment of capital
• Grow and maintain a range of content knowledge on all issues of interest to the department, with a special focus on strategies that advance equitable capital access, alternative capital models, alternative underwriting standards, and relevant public policy and regulatory measures
• Collaborate with others in the Entrepreneurship Department and across the Foundation as appropriate to learn and share in various ways, including making relevant introductions and recommendations to inform topical content development and explaining market dynamics to enrich the understanding of grantees’ work
• Stay on the cutting edge of the landscape of thought leaders and key operators interested in equitable capital access and alternative capital models in the nation


Education: A master’s degree in finance, business, economics, or equivalent years of experience

Experience: Ten-plus years of progressive experience working in the financial services sector, including:

• Demonstrated knowledge of various capital sources and investment vehicles, and the origination, structuring, and distribution of debt or social impact capital, underwriting processes, standards, and regulatory structures
• Proven transactional expertise in commercial lending, investment banking, impact investing, alternative investments, venture philanthropy, social finance, or a relevant discipline

Travel: This position may require up to 40 percent travel.


Candidates must be highly motivated, self-directed, detail-oriented, and capable of working collaboratively across teams and departments. They must demonstrate a keen sense of responsibility and enjoy working with multiple demands, shifting priorities, constant change, and be accountable and outcomes-driven

The successful candidate will have:

• Business and financial acumen and problem-solving skills
• A sophisticated understanding of the economy and financial markets with proven ability to analyze the social and economic landscape, trends and underlying conditions, legislative, regulatory, compliance, and other factors
• A practical understanding of various commercial lending, treasury, and investment products, services, and instruments
• Proven ability to translate knowledge of financial markets and socioeconomic factors, identify opportunities, and execute a growth strategy
• Advanced technical and analytical skills, including financial analysis and modeling, credit analysis, underwriting, portfolio management, and regulatory compliance
• Ability to discern the current state of a program or project to visualize the ideal state and how to achieve it and experience defining, measuring, and reporting on appropriate data and metrics
• Demonstrated ability to build and manage strategic relationships internally and externally while motivating and persuading stakeholders to act
• Ability to influence and motivate private sector C-suite stakeholders to act in the interest of the public good
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills and persuasive public speaking abilities
• An understanding of organizational and leadership dynamics to identify grantees’ success and risk factors and ability to construct logical arguments that connect grant outcomes to overall departmental goals
• Exceptional organizational skills, including meeting or exceeding expectations regarding deadlines and successfully managing multiple projects simultaneously
• Proven ability to lead, coach, and develop high-performing teams, set and achieve strategic objectives
• Strong computer literacy skills, including word processing, spreadsheets, database applications, and familiarity with standard software programs, including statistical packages
• Ability to embrace and operate within an organization that prioritizes racial equity, diversity, and inclusion in culture, strategic, and programmatic work
• High level of ethics with a strong sense of integrity and commitment to the Foundation’s mission and values and adherence to confidentiality

The successful candidate will be:

• Thoughtful, innovative, action- and solution-driven
• Culturally competent with the ability to engage, inspire and work effectively with a wide array of internal and external stakeholders
• Intellectually curious, capable of analyzing and understanding academic and other literature, and willing to invest time and energy to stay abreast of the evolving issues and financial and economic landscape
• Emotionally intelligent, mature, flexible, trustworthy, respectful, and humble in dealing with people


A competitive compensation and benefits package will be offered commensurate with experience. The Kauffman Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer, welcoming people to flourish in an open and inclusive work environment.

Apply Now

Job Status: Open

Job Sectors: Director

Job Type: Full Time

Regions: North America

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