Director, Early Childhood Development
Valhalla Foundation (“Valhalla”) is the private foundation of Scott Cook (co-founder of Intuit) and Signe Ostby. Valhalla invests in and supports innovative organizations aligned with its mission to drive measurable and meaningful improvement in outcomes that matter.
In that spirit, five key issue areas comprise Valhalla’s main portfolio: early childhood development, K12 education, medical research and talent, environmental innovation and data literacy. Additionally, Valhalla is an active participant in collaborative philanthropy efforts through The Audacious Project, and is a General Partner in Blue Meridian Partners. Valhalla has also made sizable gifts to COVID relief and racial justice efforts in the past several years.
Scott and Signe – sole Trustees of Valhalla – have already committed over $600 million, are proud signatories of The Giving Pledge, and are passionate about the idea of “giving while living.” Therefore, the Foundation’s lean grant-making team works with focused attention to investigate who is achieving “outcomes that matter,” invest millions of dollars in those leaders and their solutions, and accelerate the scale of those models.
True to its founders, Valhalla applies a data-driven and highly rigorous approach to grant-making and also provides ongoing non-monetary support to help portfolio organizations scale their impact. Examples of these services include connections to other funders, goal-setting and strategy assistance, strengthening hiring processes, strengthening board practices and recruitment, executive coaches to help leaders with specific challenges they’re facing, and candid feedback and moral support.
Learn more at www.valhalla.org.
Valhalla considers early childhood development (prenatal to age 5) to be its main area of focus, with a goal of dramatically improving rates of Kindergarten readiness so that all children – particularly low-income children and children of color – get off to a strong start in learning and life. Early childhood is the primary growth area for the Foundation and the area where Valhalla supports organizations most intensively.
The Director will join the early childhood development team to support a growing portfolio of grantees, and will also lead Valhalla’s “portfolio supports” strategy to source and vet non-monetary resources to accelerate the impact of grantees across issue areas. This is a new role at Valhalla, and represents a unique opportunity to join a dedicated and growing team (a new Associate is also being hired) that will drive a robust and impactful early childhood strategy. The Director, Early Childhood Development will develop specific grant recommendations, support and coach portfolio organizations to accelerate their impact, monitor impact and progress, and shape evolving investment strategies based on learnings. They will apply and hone their skills in a collaborative, learning-centered environment where the path to the Senior Director level is intentional and transparent.
More specifically and primarily, the Director will cultivate relationships with and advise leaders of early childhood portfolio organizations. They will harvest learning from portfolio organizations individually and collectively, connect and collaborate with leaders and other funders in this area, and conduct additional sourcing and due diligence to grow the portfolio. Portfolio organizations include: scalable programs proven to dramatically improve the social-emotional, cognitive, and health outcomes that matter for Kindergarten readiness; research efforts that identify and illuminate what moves the needle on Kindergarten readiness; and field-building efforts that develop the policies, tools, and resources needed in the field to improve Kindergarten readiness. Click here for more details.
The Director will collaborate with other members of the Valhalla team, including Scott and Signe, who are actively involved in the work of the Foundation. Additionally, many of Valhalla’s diligence efforts are fueled by a dedicated team of external consultants from The Bridgespan Group whose members meet frequently with the Valhalla team.
Reporting to Dana Nunn, Senior Director and head of the Early Childhood Development portfolio, the Director’s key functional responsibilities are:
- Coaching of high-potential early childhood portfolio organizations: The Director will work closely with a subset of portfolio organizations to supercharge their impact and scale. This involves identifying where organizations are performing well versus where they may be facing challenges and risks and serving as a coach and mentor to the leaders of these organizations. The Director will marshal capacity-building resources and facilitate the involvement of the Trustees and other members of the Valhalla team in targeted support of these organizations, as appropriate.
- Supporting diligence on new early childhood investment opportunities and developing reinvestment recommendations: The Director will support diligence on new investment opportunities, often in conjunction with consultants from The Bridgespan Group. In addition, as grants mature or new rounds of funding are raised for organizations within the early childhood development portfolio, the Director will conduct due diligence and present a point of view on whether to reinvest, the appropriate grant amount and structure, and the key risks associated with an investment recommendation.
- Harvesting learning from portfolio organizations and across individual portfolios: The Director will glean and distill data, insights, and learning from portfolio organizations and initiatives, then effectively and efficiently share insights and learnings with the Valhalla team, the Trustees, and other portfolio organizations. Further, the Director will synthesize key trends and insights from the sectors in which the Trustees are investing to inform Valhalla’s philanthropic strategy and sourcing of new opportunities.
- Managing and measurement of portfolio-wide supports and events: The Director will develop, curate, coordinate and connect portfolio organizations to a range of in-house and outsourced supports and resources (e.g., leadership coaches, executive search firms, board governance advisors, strategic communications firms, strategic planning consultants, etc.) to ensure each grantee is getting what is needed to reach its goals.. While these portfolio supports are often rooted in the early childhood portfolio, the Director will work with portfolio managers across all issue areas at Valhalla to identify the most important grantee needs and deploy the relevant resources. Importantly, the Director will also track, measure and assess the impact of the foundation’s non-monetary supports and refine the supports it offers over time based on lessons learned.
- Collaborating with and influencing others in the field: The Director will build relationships with other leaders and funders in the field, collaborate with them, and learn from and influence them. This will involve staying apprised of key sector trends; participating in relevant networks by attending conferences; staying closely connected to key leaders/funders; and possibly organizing convenings/gatherings and/or writing.
The successful candidate will be a collaborative, curious, continuous learner with a deep interest in early childhood development and the systems that affect child outcomes. While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications outlined below, successful candidates will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:
Strategic leadership and coaching skills:
- The ability to think critically about what it takes to achieve outcomes in early childhood development
- A track record of helping leaders identify needs and solutions to hurdles they face, and of influencing leaders (without direct authority) to make decisions / act in ways that deliver outstanding results
- The capacity to listen to and value the views of others, even when possessing an existing point of view
- The ability and courage to clearly say what you think and why, even when it’s contrarian or bold
- Excellent written skills, as evidenced by the ability to write strong assessments and recommendations with appropriate supporting rationale
- Excellent oral communication skills, as evidenced by the ability to clearly and succinctly present perspectives with appropriate supporting rationale, and by the ability to be persuasive and influence others orally
Robust analytical skills and judgment:
- The ability to analyze data and research, and appropriately assess impact, scale trajectory, financial sustainability, leadership / team strength, and other key success factors of potential portfolio organizations
- The capacity to derive important insights from the analysis above, name strengths, weaknesses, and assumptions, and, ultimately, to make sound recommendations on investments
- Demonstrated passion for social impact and social change
- Humble learner orientation and appetite for feedback
- A collegial and team-oriented working style
- A track record for being highly productive and a “doer”
- Unquestionable integrity
- Respect of the fact that, ultimately, we are executing the vision of our Trustees
Valhalla is currently in the midst of a comprehensive compensation study to develop transparent salary bands and promotion criteria for each role. The study will likely be completed before interviews for this position begin. For now, Valhalla estimates that the minimum salary for this position is $180,000. Valhalla also offers generous benefits.
ABOUT VALHALLA FOUNDATION / FOX HOLLOW VENTURES
Valhalla’s operations are supported by Fox Hollow Ventures, Scott and Signe’s family office. Valhalla staff are employees of Fox Hollow Ventures.
The Director will work from Valhalla’s Woodside, CA office two days/week with the option to work remotely for the remainder of the week when in-person collaboration is not required.
We have engaged Promise54 to support the hiring process.
Review of applications will begin immediately, and continue until the position is filled.
For best consideration, please follow these instructions to submit a cover letter and resume by June 15th, 2022:
- Visit the Opportunities section on Promise54’s website and click on the APPLY NOW tab within the Valhalla Foundation – Director, Early Childhood Development job description
- Answer a brief set of questions about you
- Below the questions, you’ll be able to upload your resume as well as a cover letter
Finally, if you encounter any technical difficulties, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fox Hollow Ventures is an equal opportunity employer.
Valhalla Foundation is building a diverse team that values diversity, equity, and inclusion.
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