Graustein Memorial Fund Search for Director of Impact Investment Strategy Announced

Director of Impact Investment Strategy
Director of Impact Investment Strategy

The mission of the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund is to achieve equity in education by working with those affected and inspiring all to end racism and poverty.

OUR PURPOSE

We understand our mission is part of the larger work of bringing about justice and equity in the United States. We focus on education as both a process and tool for personal and social transformation, in addition to being a central institution in U.S. society. We work with those most affected to center the experiences and wisdom of communities of color and those living in or near poverty as indispensable to designing the solutions needed. We seek to inspire all to end racism and poverty, two of the most significant root causes of inequity in the United States. We focus our work in Connecticut as our home state and a state of stark inequity.

We understand that our endowment is critical for realizing our mission, not simply in generating funds for grantmaking, but in proactively addressing social and environmental injustices in how it is invested. We are working to align our investments with our mission, seeking out new opportunities to maintain our fiscal position while also positively impacting the communities we serve. We seek to work with diverse managers, invest in communities historically denied access to capital, vote our proxies in support of equity, and ensure our investments are creating a healthy, more equitable world.

ORIGIN

Archibald Graustein was in the first generation of his family born in the United States and the first in the family to graduate college. In 1946, he established the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund in memory of his late brother for “religious, charitable, scientific, literary and educational purposes.” During Archibald’s lifetime, the Memorial Fund primarily supported schools and hospitals, institutions that he saw as enabling his generation’s advancement.

After a bequest in 1993 from Archibald’s widow, Hallie Hubbard Graustein, dramatically increased its assets, the Memorial Fund adopted a single strategic focus: the improvement of K- 12 education in Connecticut, with a strong emphasis on early care and education. Throughout its history, the Memorial Fund has sought to both respond to current needs and honor the experiences and achievements of this 19th century immigrant family.

ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

The Memorial Fund was reorganized in 1993 and designed a three-pronged strategy to improve school success for all children in Connecticut with a strong focus on the years from birth to age eight. In the first twenty years the Memorial Fund created networks of relations that effectively integrate these elements:

  • Community Engagement – supporting parents and communities in the development of early childhood education plans; fostering the development of the capacity of communities to organize, analyze, reflect, and act on behalf of young children.
  • Public Policy and Advocacy – raising the level of awareness and discussion of early childhood issues and opportunities at the legislative, executive, and public levels.
  • Improvement of Instruction and Educational Leadership – partnering with school districts to develop leadership, build capacity and expand knowledge for improved student outcomes.

The first two elements were merged in the Discovery Initiative, which worked with 52 towns and cities across the state, advocacy groups and state government to build an early childhood system at both the state and local levels with communities working as full partners from creating the vision to implementation. This deeply collaborative work contributed significantly to the establishment of a state Office of Early Childhood Education in 2013.

The Memorial Fund established the Connecticut Center for School Change in 1994 to address K- 12 instructional improvement. The Center established its own governing board and attracted other sources of support that exceeded the Fund’s contribution. It runs today as Partners for Educational Leadership, an independent entity operating without support from the Fund.

After 20 years, in 2015, the Memorial Fund adopted a new mission to achieve equity in education by working with those affected and inspiring all to end racism and poverty. This mission embodies a commitment to ensure that those who are affected by policies have a voice in creating them and to explicitly address structural racism and poverty to achieve equity in education. As a learning organization, the Fund is also committed to reflecting and sharing experiences that inform both its own practice and the field.

In 2018, the Fund created three separate but interconnected Program Focus Areas to guide implementation of new priorities:

  • Building Community Power: support groups working to increase the power of communities of color living in poverty (i.e., youth, residents, students, parents) by providing information, support and equipping community members with the tools necessary for engaging in individual and collective, bottom-up, social change efforts.
  • Disrupting Institutional Inequity: activities focused on working with cross-sector leaders to develop and advocate for practices and policies that disrupt organizational cultures and structures that perpetuate inequities in education and other issues that intersect with education.
  • Transforming Key Systems: the transformation of systems and institutions what directly impact young peoples’ outcomes in school. Initially its own program area, Transforming Key Systems is now being considered the culmination of effective efforts in the Building Community Power and Disrupting Institutional Inequity program areas. In the end, strategies that elevate community power and include institutional leaders in understanding and reinventing detrimental systems so that they accelerate the advancement of people of color and people living in poverty.

In 2019, the Board approved an Investment Policy Statement (IPS) to begin the work of aligning the management of the Fund’s endowment with the mission and values of the Fund. Prior to this, most of the management of the endowment was focused on fiscal returns and the longevity of the

corpus. While financial gain is still a focus, current and potential investments are held to a much more rigorous evaluation, centering social and environmental impact along with financial return. As of the spring of 2022, approximately 20% of the endowment is aligned with the IPS.

Headquartered in Hamden, Connecticut, the Memorial Fund, has assets of $140 million and an operating budget of $9 million. Currently, the Fund has an 8-person board (2 family and 6 non-family members) and full-time staff of 10.

POSITION OVERVIEW

Reporting to the Executive Director, and working closely with the Investment Trustee, the Director of Impact Investment Strategy (DIIS) will provide overall leadership and direction for the Memorial Fund’s $140 million endowment. In alignment with the IPS, the DIIS will develop and fulfill this new Director role. They1 will make it a priority to preserve and build upon the collegial and collaborative spirit that exists internally with the Board and staff, and externally with the Memorial Fund’s grantees, partners, and the broader community of stakeholders, including the external team of financial professionals and investment partners.

1 We use “they” as an inclusive pronoun to refer to this individual.

The DIIS will coordinate all ongoing investment activities, including the evolving mission-adjacent work of investor activism, community investment development, and development of metrics to track mission alignment. These responsibilities will include coordination of investment consultants and monitoring investment performance in close coordination with the Board and Investment Trustee. They will also serve as primary staff support for the Finance & Audit Committee.

In addition, in coordination with the Executive Director and Senior Program Officer, the DIIS will seek out and evaluate potential local investment partners related to the Fund’s current grant-making strategies and serve as principal spokesperson for the Memorial Fund’s innovative investment program, sharing our work with the broader philanthropic community.

IDEAL VALUES AND SKILLS

The Director of Impact Investment Strategy should embody the following values and skills:

  • A values-driven leader with experience in and commitment to community engagement. A seasoned professional who is community focused and committed to shared leadership.
  • A deep commitment to the principals and priorities described in the Fund’s IPS, able to develop a coherent investment strategy for the Fund, while enthusiastically embracing the co-creation of this new role.
  • A champion of racial and social justice. An awareness of and ability to identify structures of inequity. Attentive to the plentiful opportunities to affect structures within the investment industry that contribute to systems that disadvantage the poor and people of color.
  • Emotional intelligence to deal effectively with multiple constituencies and complex relationships across the breadth of the Fund’s work.
  • Resiliency skills to lead and/or actively participate in advancing the Fund’s work relative to racial, social, and economic justice.
  • A reflective practitioner. A commitment to and experience with learning, exploring, and sharing for a common purpose. A listener who values and appreciates hearing from everyone, with the ability to learn from the stories of others.
  • Ability to confront personal, individual, and internal systemic bias with regards to race, gender, gender-identity, sexual orientation, ability, etc., which may require sharing and discussing personal identities in relation to the work environment.
  • Ability to work and navigate complex conversations related to power, privilege, white supremacy, racism, and oppression on a regular basis.
  • Ability to think conceptually, critically, and strategically. An agile learner with intellectual curiosity and openness to new ideas.
  • Analytical ability and knowledge to assess risk and willingness to guide the investment portfolio; striking a balance between fiduciary responsibility and seeking risks appropriate to the Fund’s bold mission.

KEY PRIORITIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Gain comprehensive knowledge and insights into the Memorial Fund’s history, mission, values, culture, programs, diverse constituencies, voice, and infrastructure to develop the Fund’s approach to mission-aligned investing.
  • Understand and embrace the values of the Graustein family (via direct interaction with family members and family-generated documents).
  • Develop a working knowledge of ongoing mission-aligned programs, understanding role of Investment Trustee, Board of Trustees, Investment Consultants, and various staff roles. Establishing strong relationships to develop best practices to move the IPS forward.
    • Lead, manage, and develop recommendations for all investment-related activities including: o Oversight of Investment Policy Strategy
    • Staff the Finance & Audit Committee and Investment Trustee meetings
    • Evaluation and coordination of Investment Consultants; including Request for Proposal (RFP) process, should change be necessary
    • Conduct due diligence for impact investments with Program Implementation Team and makes recommendations to Investment Trustee.
    • In conjunction with Investment Consultants and Board, oversight of investment portfolio performance
    • Develop Spending Policy Analysis and provide leadership and oversight for expected return studies. Interpret, develop, and make recommendations for changes as needed
    • Lead, manage, and develop recommendations for all investment activism activities including: o Proxy voting policy and practice
    • Coalition building
    • Community impact outreach
    • Actively represent the Memorial Fund at community-based meetings and events related to investment activities. Participating in local, regional, and national projects that contribute to the Fund’s mission.
    • Apply an equitable and anti-racist analysis to all functions to achieve the Fund’s goals.

IDEAL EXPERIENCE

The Director of Impact Investment Strategy should have the following experience:

  • Five years or more experience preferred in any of the following fields: investment management, finance, economics, urban planning, environment, law, nonprofit management, or business administration. Combination of relevant experience and training outside of standard college program will be considered.
  • Experience working in or with foundations and philanthropy.
  • Demonstrated commitment to racial equity and inclusion/social change.
  • Creative analytical and problem-solving ability that provides proactive, creative cross-functional thinking and ideas.
  • Ability to make effective and persuasive speeches and presentations of complex or controversial topics to public groups and/or boards of directors.
  • A history of communicating effectively and openly, both verbally and in writing, with a broad range of individuals and organizations.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The Director of Investment Strategy will be expected to work out of our offices, based in Hamden, Connecticut, once we fully reopen, with some flexibility for occasional remote work. Due to the pandemic, our offices are only partially open at present, and we expect to fully reopen in the coming months.

The position will require travel around the State of Connecticut in seeking out potential investment opportunities and beyond Connecticut to national conferences. This is a position with full benefits and competitive salary. This job description is not designed to be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities and qualifications required.

The William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund is deeply committed to diversity and equal opportunity. As such, the Fund is an equal opportunity employer and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws.

This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training. We will seek, and welcome, a diverse pool of candidates.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Please send cover letter, resume, and contact information to: hr@wcgmf.org with the following subject heading: Director of Impact Investment Strategy. Also, indicate how you learned of the opportunity. All applications will be acknowledged and kept strictly confidential.

Initial interviews will be conducted in early May with applicants considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Position start is negotiable, with start as early as June 2022 a possibility.