Tenets Director

  • Full-time

Company Description

Title:                                 Tenets Director

Reports to:                      Program Director, IECMH

Department:                   Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

Status:                             Full-Time

Apply by Date:                September 29, 2023

Salary Range:                 $120,000 - $130,000 with an annual performance bonus between 3-7%  

Location:                         Preferably Chicago, IL but open to candidates who live elsewhere

Are you committed to building a world that honors the dignity of all infants, children and families? Do you desire to strengthen the commitment and capacity of professionals, organizations and systems that serve infants, children and families to embed diversity, inclusion and equity principles into their work? Come join our dynamic team committed to positively impacting the lives of all those we serve.

Irving Harris Foundation Overview

The Irving Harris Foundation (Foundation) enhances the quality of life for children, families, and communities by advancing human potential, social justice and equity, and creative experience and expression. The Foundation is a strategic grantmaker, investing approximately $13 million annually in the fields of early childhood development, infant and early childhood mental health, reproductive health and justice, arts and culture, and Jewish values in the U.S. and Israel. The Foundation’s grants aim to address root causes, leverage public and private resources, provide technical assistance, and foster collaboration through public-private and funder partnerships.

The Foundation has embraced and worked to advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in our philanthropic efforts. For the Foundation, DEI is not a goal to be accomplished, but a reflective, intentional journey in which we are consistently striving toward more equitable policies, systems, and communities. We continue to lean into the commitments we made as a Foundation in solidarity with Black Lives and the Foundation’s decision in 2021 to center intersectional racial equity. This includes internal work to deepen our efforts to be an antiracist organization including racial equity and culture change training, strengthening our policies and procedures, and new grantmaking practices. External we are centering racial equity in our grantmaking, field leadership, and special initiatives which includes increasing the amount we invest in Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) led organizations, exploring how to lift-up parent voice, focusing on community driven solutions and using our grants and field leadership to support efforts designed to dismantle systems of oppression that have and continue to cause harm.  https://www.irvingharrisfdn.org/who/

Diversity Informed Tenets for Work with Infants, Toddlers and Families (The Tenets)

Co-created by an intergenerational, diverse group of infant and early childhood mental health leaders who are part of the Irving Harris Foundation’s Professional Development Network, an international network of grant partners working to change the landscape of services for pregnant people, children ages birth to five and their families, the Tenets are a set of ten strategies and tools for strengthening the commitment and capacity of professionals, organizations and systems that serve infants, children and families to embed diversity, inclusion and equity principles into their work. The Tenets, an initiative of the Irving Harris Foundation, are disseminated to the field through the Tenets Initiative which provides Tenets workshops, trainings and consultation to organizations and groups working with young children and families.  Supported by increased investments from the Irving Harris Foundation and Perigee Fund, the Tenets is being expanded with an intentional strategy designed to support its long-term growth and viability as an independent resource for child and family serving fields.

Job Description

Position Summary

Over the past thirteen years, the Diversity-Informed Tenets has grown significantly while transforming the IECMH field by speaking the unspeakable and asking our community of IECMH colleagues to do the same. We are seeking an inaugural Tenets Director who is prepared to build on the foundation of the past thirteen years, respond to evolving socio-political and cultural conditions in the field, and grow, boldly and strategically our impact for years to come. 

The Tenets Director must be a proven leader, facilitator, and consensus builder who is able to promote cooperation, collaboration, and partnerships while advancing the core mission: We strive to empower individuals, programs, organizations, and systems to work for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

A successful Tenets Director must be deeply knowledgeable about liberatory practices, anti-racist organizing and diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging principles. They will be a strategic thinker and planner, a proactive and responsive problem-solver, and a source of stability and clarity in times of uncertainty and conflict.  

The Tenets Director will work collaboratively with their internal team, other Irving Harris Foundation team members, external facilitators and trainers, and Advisory Council members selected from founders and experts who will inform the development of the Initiative. The Tenets Director will provide strategic oversight, external and internal leadership and primary day-to-day decision making for the Initiative. The Director will cultivate and manage relationships with current and potential funders and lead the Foundation budget approval processes. The Tenets Director reports to the Program Director, IECMH and works with them to advance the vision, goals and objectives of the Tenets Initiative and to ensure the work aligns with the overall vision of the IECMH program and the Foundation as a whole. The Tenets team is an integral part of the Irving Harris Foundation team and, as such, helps to advance the overall goals and vision of the Foundation.

Position Responsibilities

Strategic Implementation, Growth and Development

  • Build a strong team internally to ensure the Tenets Initiative has the operational and programmatic capacity to remain a vibrant, responsive, relevant resource for the field
    • Lead team members in overseeing project tasks are undertaken as planned
    • Create an environment where all who work with the Tenets feel seen, heard, and respected
    • Oversee the training and curriculum development work to ensure the Initiative remains at the forefront of the racial equity and IECMH fields
    • In community with the Advisory Council, Identify and implement operational infrastructure supports needed to support the current and future Tenets Initiative needs
    • Advocate within the Foundation for the resources needed to advance the strategic goals of the Initiative
  • Foster and organize the plans to spin the Tenets into its own organization
  • Collaborate and establish trusting relationships with the Advisory Council, facilitators, organizational partners, funders and other external stakeholders through maintaining a clear communication channel, outreach etc.
  • Identify and work with an implementation consultant to advance the Tenets strategic growth plan
  • Manage, co-create, plan, organize and coordinate all the activities related to advancing the Tenets Initiative and ensure quality
  • Stay abreast of developments, challenges, and opportunities in the field to identify new training and consultation partners, shifts in best practices, etc.
  • Conduct landscape and/or field analyses to develop strategies to inform and advance new and ongoing training, curriculum, etc. as appropriate
  • Develop annual key performance indicators
  • Support existing and identify potential new investors and secure increased funding to supplement earned revenue to allow for the Tenets to grow over time and move toward independence
  • Represent the Tenets to the broader field including speaking at conferences, promoting the Tenets in appropriate venues etc.
  • Develop and cultivate relationships with foundation colleagues in the field that help create new partnerships and opportunities for collaborative grantmaking and advance the field and the foundation’s work
  • Manage all strategic, operational, and legal consultants, vendors, facilitators, etc. who support the implementation of the Tenets Initiative
  • Manage deadlines and push the team to ensure progress

Operations and Financials

  • With the PD, IECMH and the IHF DOO, determine and oversee the implementation of processes, procedures and financial tracking and management tools needed to ensure the smooth operation and growth of the Tenets
  • Develop the annual budget with the PDN IECMH and IHF DOO and track expenses and revenue throughout the year to ensure transparency and accuracy for operational expenses.
  • Determine market pricing for Tenets offerings and regularly check pricing against the market

Research, Evaluation and Learning

  • Track developments in the field – including identifying market comparators, best practices related to racial equity training, model training programs, and potential new offerings and markets for the Tenets
  • Deepen own learning and knowledge and professional growth in the field through conferences, meetings, webinars, etc.
  • Engage in professional development and continuous learning including involvement in fellowships, funder networks and other field building/professional development opportunities that will enhance leadership development

IHF Board and Advisory Committee Management

  • Develop and assemble program materials for presentation in board meetings that support reflection, learning, and strategic planning
  • Identify a process for reconstituting an advisory group who brings diverse expertise and experience with the Tenets, IECMH, Racial Equity work, etc.
  • Co-create and plan for board and committee meetings, including material development, identification of speakers, agenda setting, etc.
  • Co-create and support the recruitment of new committee members as needed

Reporting and Communications

  • Contribute to the Tenets ability to track its impact and growth
  • Help develop reports and visuals of trends related to the Tenets growth over time
  • Help develop narrative and visual materials that highlight the Tenets Initiative
  • Create and produce materials that help show the impact of the work; visually and through written materials (i.e., slides, podcasts, and visuals for presentations at meetings, conferences, and other events)

Overall Foundation Effectiveness

  • Work across Programs Areas and the Foundation overall to help advance the vision, mission, internal and external goals, and overall effectiveness of the organization.
  • Participate in overall strategic planning at IHF
  • Support updates and revisions to grantmaking processes as we continue to advance our commitments to Trust Based Philanthropic practices
  • Participate in full team and relevant Program team meetings

Foundation Organizational Culture

  • Support Foundation-wide efforts to build a thriving and supportive organizational culture that is joyful, inclusive, equitable and trusting
  • Support the Foundation’s commitment to live into its values of becoming an anti-racist organization
  • Engage and participate in workshops and consultation on racial equity including activities of the Equity Belonging and Transformation Committee
  • Assumes internal leadership roles and committee work as appropriate opportunities arise 


Position Requirements and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree required.
  • Master’s Degree preferred in a related field such as early childhood, child development, education, social justice, public health, maternal child health, psychology, community development, social work, journalism, and humanities.
  • 5+ years of progressive leadership experience in mission-driven organizations
  • 5+ years of experience creating and facilitating curriculum, programming, or experiences that support the authentic development of practitioners, leaders and communities.
  • Team member who values diversity, equity and inclusion and takes pride in working with and collaborating on a team that brings together diversity of thoughts, perspectives and expressions.
  • Knowledge of issues related to infant early childhood mental health, racial equity, policy and systems, child trauma, early childhood, and birth justice.
  • Leader with experience managing projects and program and who has developed new programs and/or organizations.
  • Demonstrated passion for advancing social justice and equity through community driven approaches and solutions.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, and leadership experience including communicating and working with internal and external stakeholders to build successful partnerships/collaborations and motivating groups around shared interests.
  • Ability to meet deadlines, independently conceptualize and manage project plans, and work on several projects simultaneously.
  • Ability to be flexible, adaptable, and to think conceptually, strategically, and learn quickly.
  • Demonstrated problem-solving and strong analytical, written, and verbal communication skills
  • Experience with reviewing and understanding organizational budgets and financial statements.
  • Tech savviness - able to creatively navigate multiple platforms from Microsoft Office to survey tools, basic web-design/updating, databases, social media platforms, video conferencing software (Zoom), etc.
  • Candidates with high levels of integrity, thoughtfulness, curiosity around creating equitable and just internal processes, and sense of humor will be prioritized.
  • Show strong growth mindset, receptivity to feedback, and the ability to learn from successes and challenges and be adaptable.

Additional Information


The Foundation offers a competitive salary/benefits package and the opportunity to work with a small, collaborative, and dedicated team.

  • Competitive Fulltime Salary – Starting at $120,000 and commensurate with experience.
  • Annual performance bonus 3-7%
  • Professional Development Opportunities
  • Tuition Reimbursement 
  • 401(K) contributions of 15% after 1 year (no match required)
  • Generous employer paid Health, Dental and Vision package
  • Vacation accrual of 3s week annually plus 13 PTO days (up front) upon hire
  • Holidays (including week between Christmas and New Year) plus 3 floating holidays.
  • Work week 4 ½ days per week
  • One in-person collaboration day each week and access to an office any time

Preferably this position is based in Chicago, Illinois, but we are open to candidates who live elsewhere. The Tenets Director may be expected to travel up to 15% of the time annually.

Interested individuals should submit a cover letter and resume for consideration.


The Irving Harris Foundation is committed to an inclusive, fair and equitable workplace where everyone is a respected and valued member of the team. The Foundation values and actively seeks diversity in its workplace. The Foundation’s inclusive and equitable practice is embedded in recruitment, hiring, training, promoting persons in all job classifications. The Foundation does not discriminate against any individual with respect to the terms and conditions of their employment based on that individual’s race, ethnicity, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, sex, age, disability, pregnancy, childbirth, medical condition, marital status, military service or veteran status, sexuality or status in any other group protected by federal, state or local law. In addition, the Foundation administers all personnel decisions such as compensation, benefits, transfers, layoffs, returns from layoffs, etc. in accordance with the principles of equal employment opportunity.