The Bezos Family Foundation is a private, independent foundation established by Jackie and Mike Bezos, who along with their children and their spouses, serve as directors. Their vision is that all young people are prepared to achieve their full potential and make a meaningful contribution to society.
Inspired by the belief that investing in education is the best way to ensure a better future, the Bezos Family Foundation supports rigorous, inspired learning environments for young people, from birth through high school, to put their education into action. To this end, the Foundation’s grantmaking is focused on early learning, strengthening the K-12 public education system, and supporting young leaders. Through investments in research, public awareness, and programs, the Foundation works to elevate the field of education and improve life outcomes for all children. Investments are guided by the potential to scale and be replicated, as well as grantees’ proven ability to accomplish results.
The President role is an exceptional opportunity to partner with the Founders. The new leader will be taking the helm of an entrepreneurial philanthropic enterprise that is quietly advancing an innovative portfolio of programs and scientific research that improve outcomes for children in all stages of their young lives. Working with a dedicated team who bring deep expertise in the Foundation’s focus areas, the new President will provide leadership to manage daily operations and evolve the Foundation’s strategy to stay on the cutting edge of developments in its field of interest.
Joining an organization with a strong track record of investments and a deep network of partners (grantees), thought leaders and policy makers, the President will be positioned to develop creative new partnerships, identify synergies across the portfolio, and support efforts that will spark advances in the work. They will bring to the Board of Directors knowledge, insight and guidance and work with the Board to design the next phase of the Bezos Family Foundation’s philanthropic impact.
The role is based in Seattle, WA where the Foundation’s Founders and headquarters are located. The President will be responsible for overseeing a team of 30 professionals, with 4 direct reports. They will report to the Founders and Board of Directors and will manage a grant portfolio that ranged from $60 to $90 million over the past two years and is expected to continue to grow in the years ahead.
Key Priorities and Responsibilities
The new President will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for the Bezos Family Foundation’s staff, programs, finances, future strategy development and fulfillment of its mission. The following represent the key priorities in the President’s first year:
- Champion and lead a culture of forward momentum on the established strategic focus of the Foundation, encouraging bold and innovative ideas that will advance its mission and promote a spirit of continuous improvement and adaptation to the evolving needs of the field.
- Build on and support the deep expertise and networks of the Founders and staff to create initiatives and partnerships that will catalyze impact.
- Harness passion for new ideas and operational improvements into a regular cadence of long-range strategic planning that aligns direction, people, and resources.
- Guide and maintain strategic communication channels for the Founders, Board and staff, ensuring effective engagement and collaboration.
- Partner with the Founders and Board to continually advance good governance, looking for opportunities to strengthen, clarify, and streamline Foundation practices.
- Responsible for maintaining and expanding relationships and networks involving foundations, education leaders, policy makers, nonprofits and other partners/stakeholders.
- Serve as one of principal spokespeople while identifying appropriate opportunities for the Founders to represent the Foundation and staffing them as needed.
- Attend conferences and convenings relative to the Foundation’s interest areas to ensure the Foundation is operating with the most current insights about trends, research and discoveries.
- Lead and manage a high-performing and deeply committed team in Seattle and New York, as well as external consultants, fostering an innovative and forward-thinking work culture.
- Champion teamwork across the organization by providing effective internal leadership, coaching, performance management, and professional development.
- Build upon and maintain a cohesive culture and strong esprit de corps
- Lead effective change management to support the organization’s evolution and growth.
- Foster diverse points of view, respectful collaboration, and accountability using a participatory and inclusive leadership approach.
The ideal candidate is deeply passionate about the Foundation’s mission and is motivated by the opportunity to improve life outcomes for all children. This is a key driver for every team member and will be essential for the new leader. You are someone who has already established your reputation in a field relevant to the foundation’s work, and/or family philanthropy, and will leverage your networks to serve and promote the Foundation’s activities.
You approach your work with humility, a deep curiosity about what you don’t know and a track record of thinking outside the box. You are an education generalist whose knowledge, experience and insights will benefit our entire portfolio of program investments. You encourage the free exchange of ideas and are receptive to constructive feedback in pursuit of the best outcomes. You have a big picture view of the world, actively keep up with the latest research. In addition, you are an early trend-spotter who can readily anticipate what is critical to our focus area and then connect the dots between what is happening on the macro level and what our Foundation’s role might be in addressing the gaps.
The successful candidate is a critical thinker, natural networker, and exceptional people manager. You have a positive energy that you use to good effect, whether aligning teams around a shared vision or building culture. Personally and professionally secure, you demonstrate a high level of maturity and discretion in your relationships and communications—qualities that are essential to successful working relationships with the Founders, their family Board, staff and external constituencies.
You are a natural collaborator who possesses a strong team orientation, demonstrates a flexible approach, and keeps your ego in check. We seek an individual who is ethical, diplomatic and routinely demonstrates sound judgment along with the highest levels of confidentiality, discretion and tact. You are drawn to the Foundation’s collegial, supportive, and non-hierarchical professional environment where no job is too big or too small. Being an animal lover is a plus; the Bezos Family Foundation is a dog-friendly workplace.
A minimum of 15+ years of progressively responsible executive leadership experience navigating growth in entrepreneurial and dynamic organizations is required. Familiarity with early learning, K-12 education or brain science is an asset. A career that combines leadership in family philanthropy and the social sector is preferred. A track record of successful implementation of strategic initiatives—from conceptualization through evaluation is essential. It is advantageous for candidates to bring experience reporting to or serving on a high-profile board of directors.