COO Job Description
CANVAS seeks its first COO to oversee all operations of a growing nonprofit dedicated to encouraging and supporting a 21st century Jewish cultural renaissance through more than $1 million in annual grantmaking.
WHAT IS CANVAS?
The CANVAS Vision: To encourage, support and promote the 21st century Jewish cultural renaissance.
The CANVAS Mission: To elevate the ecosystem of Jewish arts & culture in North America through strategic and coordinated giving, education, and cross-sector exposure (between funders and artists, Jewish creatives and secular distribution networks/media, etc.).
Central to the work of CANVAS is the goal of seeding, expanding and deepening philanthropic investment in the Jewish arts & culture ecosystem. To this end, CANVAS oversees two investment portfolios: The CANVAS Partnership and the Matters of the Art giving circle.
WHAT YOU’LL WORK ON AT CANVAS
As primary thought- and implementing partner to CANVAS leadership, the COO will report directly to, and work in close concert with, the Founder/CEO, and in close partnership with key stakeholders. The COO’s role is to conceive, support, and continually monitor all of CANVAS’s operations, systems, processes, and people—all with an eye toward the ultimate health and sustainability of CANVAS’s mission and strategic goals.
COO: PRIMARY AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY
Oversee and manage all day-to-day operations, including finance, processes, and systems.
Continually monitor the financial health and sustainability of CANVAS, in consultation with its funding partner, Jewish Funders Network (JFN).
Develop and continually evaluate systems to monitor and steward CANVAS’s funders, including a donor database, a stewardship plan, and boilerplate fundraising materials.
Engage with and motivate staff and select contractors as needed, helping stakeholders set and meet ambitious yet achievable goals, and monitoring progress toward those goals.
Engage with legal, media, PR advisors as needed and as directed by CEO/Founder.
Board and Partner Engagement
Coordinate and participate in all board, executive, and advisory committees, and provide thoughtful and meaningful reports to all stakeholders as needed.
Meet regularly with JFN leadership to review finances and revise projections as needed.
Engage with and coordinate communications with a group of experienced funding partners (CANVAS Executive Committee) and an extraordinary counsel of advisors (CANVAS Advisory Board) to refine and expand investments in three key areas: networks, media, and distribution channels.
Grantmaking: Systems, Oversight, and Partner Growth
Oversee the development and management of all processes and systems related to CANVAS grantmaking, including schedules, and reporting and evaluative systems.
Oversee the development and management of systems and processes related to a new pooled fund with Matters of the Art, dedicated to individual artists and projects.
Organize and report on monthly convening of grantee cohort, paying attention to their needs, insights, and strategic pivots over time.
Work with grantees to regularly assess their strategic needs and create and implement a suite of supportive tools and guidance offerings to enhance each partner’s sustainability and overall growth experience with CANVAS (e.g. leadership coaching; strategic planning; development skill building; etc).
ADDITIONAL STRATEGIC AREAS OF FOCUS:
The COO will also work in tandem, and with a small but mighty team of staff/contractors, to advance these key goals:
Articulate and supervise a plan that advances our work advocating on behalf of the field to funders and audiences, including the CANVAS Compendium and the Annual Arts Summit—the largest Jewish arts convening of its kind.
Growing a CANVAS Culture
Refine, implement, and monitor the effectiveness of the newly developed CANVAS Culture Success Spectrum and Action Plan to ensure that the CANVAS community— our grantees, funders, advisors, and team—is unified, engaged, and supported.
WHAT YOU WILL BRING TO CANVAS
You are a natural for the COO role at CANVAS because you care about arts and culture, you have managed effective teams and efficient budgets, you value results, and you know how to achieve them. You routinely under-promise and over-deliver thanks to your ability to analyze and problem-solve. Systems are your strong suit: you don’t miss deadlines, and you intuitively know when to employ a person versus when to employ a database. Although you have natural attention to detail and are always well organized, you never lose sight of the big picture.
Your experience with the philanthropic sector and/or the nonprofit arts and culture sector is deep, and you won’t sacrifice progress for process. A background in the business of finance, media, or corporate giving is also welcome. At least 5-7 years of experience in directly overseeing staff/managing projects/delivering results is preferred.
WHAT CANVAS WILL PROVIDE FOR YOU
First and foremost, CANVAS provides an opportunity to lead with purpose, in a field desperately in need of leaders. For those who value cultural creativity, this is a chance to radically supercharge the arts and culture ecosystem. You will play a central role in helping to draw clear connections between the power of the arts and its role in the Jewish community’s sense of self, and the relationships we foster with peoples of differing backgrounds.
Secondly, CANVAS provides a chance to make a meaningful mark on the organization and the field. Because it is relatively new, you’ll be given the chance to guide this initiative from a fiscally sponsored program to an independent corporation; to build a dedicated and talented team; and to establish a gold-standard for arts funding and field-building.
And finally, CANVAS will provide a corporate culture that prioritizes trust, meaning, and shared learning. Together, we will build a community where participants are united by their commitment to Jewish arts & culture and where they feel supported, informed, and strengthened.
Competitive, fair, and based on experience and achievement. Bonus package to be designed in tandem with CEO/leadership. Competitive benefits package.
CANVAS has an office in Western Massachusetts, and regional candidates are encouraged to apply. That said, the work of CANVAS covers North America and may be conducted remotely. An East Coast-based candidate is preferred, who is willing and able to travel to attend meetings in person with CEO/Founder and other stakeholders as needed (with current COVID protocols in place as needed). A flexible work schedule can be discussed as needed.
HOW TO APPLY
Qualified candidates should send a letter of interest and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. The priority deadline for applications is February 11. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY
CANVAS is an equal opportunity employer. CANVAS provides equal employment opportunity for all employees and applicants without unlawful discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, national origin or ancestry, sex, age, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, sexual orientation, military status or veteran, political association, political/personal convictions, citizenship status or any other classiﬁcation protected by federal, state and local laws, in all employment decisions, including, but not limited to recruitment, hiring training, compensation, promotion, demotion, transfer, lay-oﬀ and termination, and all other terms and conditions of employment.
WHY ARTS & CULTURE? WHY NOW?
A Jewish cultural renaissance is taking shape before our eyes. An entirely new generation of artists, authors, musicians, performers, and designers are exploring and creating innovative ways to preserve and reimagine Judaism and Jewish identity, making them relevant and meaningful for the times we live in. Their art enriches our lives, deepens our understanding of what it means to be Jewish, builds community (both among Jews and between Jews and other cultures), and ensures that vibrancy and joy remain at the core of the Jewish experience for religious and non-religious Jews alike. In fact, research has demonstrated that arts and culture are powerful vehicles for today’s Jews to express and strengthen their Jewish identities.
And yet, the field of Jewish arts & culture remains significantly underfunded and underleveraged. Without critical support and coordination, this renaissance cannot flourish.
We have arrived at these conclusions collectively, after commissioning two research reports on the field and studying their findings independently, and at Jewish Funders Network-sponsored convenings:
The first, Devising Strategies to Support Jewish Arts & Culture, identified the significant enthusiasm, and significant barriers to entry, for Jewish funders considering a philanthropic investment in the arts space.
The second, Cross Section: A Look at Jewish Arts and Culture in North America Today Through the Lens of Artists and Arts Organizations, was based on in-depth interviews with a broad range of artists, presenters, arts nonprofit leaders, and funders—and found that the field is in serious need of three things:
More targeted and smarter support for Jewish artists and arts organizations
More robust distribution networks for high-quality products and programs, to allow more individuals and organizations to access arts and culture as a way to connect to Judaism
More engaged and coordinated funders who want to ensure that their funding is strategic and well leveraged
This presents a vast but time-sensitive opportunity for the Jewish community:
If funders work together, strategically utilizing recent research on the field, the impact of our efforts could be transformative—both for the landscape of Jewish Arts and Culture and for other issue areas Jewish funders care deeply about, including education, identity, cross-cultural understanding, battling antisemitism, and strengthening community.
It is for this reason that we came together to create CANVAS.