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Opening: Executive Director

Publication date: 
March, 2019

Position: Executive Director
Organization: Panta Rhea Foundation
Location: Flexible

Organization Summary

The Panta Rhea Foundation was established in 2001 as a private family foundation devoted to supporting organizations committed to building a more just and sustainable world.

Panta Rhea was founded on the belief that lasting, meaningful change comes from the grassroots: from the organized efforts of people, communities, and organizations to enliven the social imagination, envision a better future, and experiment with new ideas. Panta Rhea supports changemakers who are asking the big questions, implementing strategies that build awareness and power, and sparking activism and civic engagement.

We believe in the need to invest in independent media and investigative reporting. We believe the future we are striving to build must be articulated, that ideas and words have power and that narratives and stories matter. And so Panta Rhea supports artists, journalists, teachers, students, activists, organizers, and visionaries who see, create, and make meaning of our world and our interdependent futures.

We believe in leadership cultivation and movement infrastructure. We are mindful that social movements must inspire, identify, and mentor new leaders and nourish cultural and artistic expression, and that we must constantly seek out new approaches to problem solving and collaboration.

We also believe in the power of arts and creativity to change the world, and we infuse our working culture—from our staff meetings to our board gatherings—with poetry and beauty.

We believe that now more than ever, efforts to build a more just and sustainable world require strong local and national organizations that can serve as a counterweight to corporate power. Forging social change requires taking risks and betting on David despite Goliath's awesome strengths.

Throughout all of Panta Rhea's work, we are guided by a commitment to justice and ecological health, inspired by the beauty, wisdom, and grace of nature and natural systems. Our work is also inspired by a deep appreciation for the interdependency of people, culture, and planet.


In addition to Panta Rhea grantmaking, the Foundation advises individual donors and other charitable entities on grantmaking strategies. Panta Rhea's holistic and interdisciplinary approach to grantmaking is strengthened by recommending general operating grants and providing support for organizational transformation and leadership development. The Foundation's Resilience & Renewal program invests in the ongoing learning and development of core grantee organizations and leaders. Panta Rhea's grantmaking programs include the Food & Democracy Program, the Dignity, Freedom & Solidarity Program, and a third, the Deeper Learning & Creativity program, which is overseen by our outgoing Executive Director and will be sunsetting in 2020.


In our grantmaking, the Panta Rhea Foundation is guided by the following values:

  • Collaboration and Partnership: We believe in the power of connections between our program areas, grantee organizations, and funder colleagues and in the importance of long-term engagement, knowing that thoughtful and transformative work takes time;
  • Equity: We believe in equity—justice and fairness—and seek leaders and organizations who are working to address root causes of injustice. We emphasize inclusion to ensure that power and decision making are shared. And, we believe in the value of diversity defined broadly—including people of color, women, LGBTQ communities, people with disabilities, as well as regional diversity—and value the voices and leadership of populations that have historically been, and continue to be, marginalized in our society and underrepresented in leadership roles. We are guided by these fundamental values and seek out organizations whose work reflects them;
  • Courage: We seek programs and policies commensurate with the crises we face, so we encourage our grantees—and ourselves—to be creative and bold rather than cautious and incremental;
  • Learning: We support ongoing growth and development of leaders and organizations by encouraging reflection and risk-taking, knowledge seeking, and innovation.

For more information on Panta Rhea Foundation, please visit

The Opportunity

The Panta Rhea Foundation is seeking a dynamic and visionary leader to serve as its next Executive Director. This is a unique opportunity for a high-energy nonprofit or philanthropy executive who is deeply committed to social justice. This motivated and ambitious leader will enhance and develop Panta Rhea's core grantmaking programs, help to develop the Board, and seize opportunities for an amplified impact in the field of social justice.

As the face of the organization, the Executive Director must have a deep understanding of and passion for Panta Rhea's vision to create a more just and sustainable world. Panta Rhea is seeking a leader who brings the marrying of creativity with social and climate justice organizing and movement building.

Panta Rhea has unique access to a network that spans the US and into Germany and Mexico. Therefore, this leader needs to be prepared to think collaboratively and create lasting partnerships both in the United States and internationally. The future Executive Director will be globally-minded and will continue identifying compelling organizations and opportunities for partnership.

Position Description

The Executive Director will work closely with the Board of Directors to build on Panta Rhea's grantmaking strategies—including its Dignity, Freedom & Solidarity, Food & Democracy, and Resilience & Renewal programs—and will also develop a new grantmaking program based on the incoming Executive Director's experience and passion, and the interests of the Chair and Board.

The Executive Director will oversee a budget of $5 million and work creatively and collaboratively with Panta Rhea's team of part-time Program Directors and Office Manager. This professional will cultivate a strong and transparent working relationship with the Board Chair, ensuring open communication about Panta Rhea's milestones and goals, engaging in critical thinking about the foundation's grantmaking strategies, and stewarding Board governance and capacity.

The Executive Director will represent Panta Rhea in the philanthropic community, be an ambassador on behalf of the Board and staff, and help forge new partnerships to amplify the Foundation's impact.


Core Competencies

The Executive Director will be an authentic and committed advocate for social change, a creative mind, a critical thinker, and a grounded, self-aware leader. The person will be a steady and mature leader who embodies humility, honesty, and strength of character. This person will have established networks and relationships in the field, experience as a movement-builder, credibility in the philanthropic sector, and demonstrated management acumen.

With an authentic belief in Panta Rhea's mission and a strong connection to the organization's vision for an equitable society, this leader will be inspiring in representing the organization to stakeholders across the globe. The Executive Director will be a strong and natural relationship- and coalition-builder, skilled at influencing and effecting social change beyond grantmaking.

The Executive Director will be able to work seamlessly in partnership with the Board Chair and Directors, composed of family members and non-family members. A track record of success with Board relations and a desire to actively engage Board members in guiding Panta Rhea is imperative.

Ideal candidates will have the following professional and personal competencies:

Passion for the Mission and Vision: The Executive Director will have a clear and informed understanding of the complex issues around social justice and a demonstrated commitment to Panta Rhea's progressive values. This individual will have the opportunity to build their own portfolio that is aligned with the mission of Panta Rhea in a new and exciting adjacent field.

Strategic and Visionary Leadership: This strategic leader and visionary thinker will translate ideas into action, be willing to take risks, and offer creative ideas to adapt, strengthen, and diversify programs and partnerships with effective planning and measurable results. The Executive Director will have proven and successful experience in program leadership, personnel and budget management, and external relations.

Communication; Collaboration; and Creative: Possessing deep relational and emotional intelligence, the Executive Director will be an excellent communicator, active listener and collaborator with all stakeholders, including grantees, board, staff, policy leaders, community leaders, and funders. This person will lead with creativity and a sense of humor, maintaining a flexible and positive outlook as Panta Rhea takes on challenging problems. The Executive Director will foster an inclusive team environment that gives staff opportunities to take risks and develop professionally. In addition to managing their own portfolio, the Executive Director will support the three additional programs—Dignity, Freedom & Solidarity, Food & Democracy, and Renewal & Resilience. This leader will be someone who works well in a virtual environment: Program leads for Food & Democracy and Resilience & Renewal are part-time and remote and work independently on program management and design.

Management and Business Acumen: Must be comfortable working in a nimble, high impact, small organization that strives to maintain minimal bureaucratic overhead and paperwork while maintaining all necessary due diligence of a family foundation. This leader will ensure fiduciary responsibility and accountability and implement best-in-class nonprofit and financial management practices.

Board Relations: This diplomatic individual will work generatively and consultatively as a thought-partner with the Board regarding the direction of the programs, operating policies, and grants. This individual will help Board members build their governance and capacity and act as a liaison between staff and Board.


Panta Rhea Foundation has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. This search is being led by Michelle Bonoan and Stephen Milbauer. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here, or email Michelle and Stephen at the following:

Michelle R.S. Bonoan

Managing Director

Stephen Milbauer


Panta Rhea Foundation is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to providing equal employment opportunity for all applicants and employees regardless of race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, age, citizenship status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, or status as a veteran. Employment decisions are based on merit, qualifications, abilities, and business needs.

about koya leadership partners

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital-consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit

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