What is the role of the foundation’s president?

The president is responsible for establishing an efficient and effective infrastructure that enables seamless execution of grantmaking functions and heightens professionalism of the foundation’s operations. The role can be broken down into 5 core responsibilities:

  1. Leadership for the foundation’s grantmaking– The president is responsible for focusing on the issues that the trustee’s feel are of great importance. He/she is also exhibit professionalism by maintaining appropriate and timely communication with potential grantees. 
  2. Programs- As president, you should be fully involved in the different platforms that your foundation’s information is being displayed on. Whether it’s social media, foundation’s website, or an event, it is important to measure the effective of medium through which you hope to increase the foundation’s recognition.
  3. Governance- A productive president should work with trustee’s to formalize and improve processes for decision-making and operations. A strong relationship with the trustees can help the foundation reach its goals. 
  4. External Relations- The president represents the foundation. They should embody the foundation’s vision, mission, and values. He/she is the face of the organization. It is important for them to have a positive image because their reputation is linked to the foundation’s reputation. In saying that, the president should network with different leaders within the community. These relationships could be beneficial for the foundation. 
  5. Administration- The foundation’s investments are managed by outside professionals. To ensure the financial stability of the foundation, the president should communicate with these professionals frequently. 

Interested in more about the president role within a foundation? Check out these resources!

“The mad hatter: 13 key roles for family foundation CEOs.” Gary A. Tobin, lists 13 different roles that a president of a family foundation must act as. This is a guide to achieving success as head of the foundation. 

“CEO transitions in family foundations.” This article offers guidance to foundations that are undergoing changes at the CEO position. This phase can be detrimental to success of the foundation, but there are ways to eliminate the stagnation that’s associated with this change.

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