Executive Director, Belk Foundation


Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, the Belk Foundation invests deeply in public education—specifically K-3 achievement and excellent teachers and leaders, both critical building blocks for successful education. The Belk Foundation, founded in 1928, continues the family’s philanthropic legacy by investing over $2 million annually to strengthen public education in its hometown of Charlotte and select priorities at the state level in North Carolina.

As a private, family foundation, the organization is well known for being an active philanthropic organization, willing to invest time, advocacy, and dollars towards its mission. The Foundation pursues its work with a hands-on approach, going deep to understand the problems and promising solutions related to its focus areas, and prioritizing their role in connecting nonprofits, educators, and system leaders. Over the years, the Board has identified two “strategic issues” that provide focus to their advocacy and convening. The strategic issue of “Third Grade Reading” has catalyzed work locally with their lead role in designing and launching Read Charlotte, and at the state level with efforts to bolster teacher preparation in the Science of Reading and strong implementation of the Excellent Public Schools Act. Their second strategic issue of “Equitable Access to Effective Teachers” has increasing importance, as the effects of the pandemic on learning loss will require even more from educators in the classroom. Combining research and model solutions, the Foundation advocates for system improvement at the district and state levels, to increase the odds that students who are low-income and/or of color will be taught by highly effective teachers.

As a foundation dedicated to quality education for all students, The Belk Foundation is committed to ensuring its learning and actions uphold diversity, equity, and inclusion. They believe this commitment is critical to deepening their relevance, credibility, and effectiveness, and will strengthen their mission to improve education for present and future generations.

The Foundation seeks diversity of thought, background, and experience in those they engage with, learn from, and invest in; policies and practices that provide genuine opportunities for people of all races, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds to thrive; and an environment where staff, volunteers, and partners feel valued and respected.

For more information, please visit www.belkfoundation.org.


The Executive Director (ED) reports directly to the Board of Directors and works closely with the Chair of the board. The Board meets three times a year. The Board consists of both family members and community members. Much work has gone into encouraging the work of the “next generation” of family through its own advisory board and grantmaking activities.


overall leadership and general supervision for the daily operations of the Foundation. Functions include working with the Board to set strategic direction and leading program development, operations, financial management, personnel management, and external/ community relations. Specific duties will include, but not necessarily be limited to:

Governance, Board Administration, and Support: With the Board Chair, enables the Foundation to fulfill its governance function and supports the ongoing development of potential leaders from among Foundation Board, family, and community members.

  • Supports the operation and administration of the Board by advising and informing Board members, and interfacing between Board, family members, and staff.
  • Advises the Chair as required on keeping Board activities within the bounds of its bylaws; oversees Board secretary and treasurer functions and the keeping of critical corporate records.
  • Designs, reviews, and maintains operational policies, practices, and guidelines of the Foundation, periodically presenting to the Board for input and approval.
  • Arranges and attends Board and Committee meetings/activities, including preparing facilities, agenda, and supporting materials.
  • Supports the Chair to lead the Board in its strategic planning and establishes objectives based on goals and budget considerations agreed upon by the Board.
  • Supports Board continuity and development of leadership capacity within the Board and its Committees.

Program Development and Operation: Implements and executes the Foundation’s mission and its annual grantmaking goals/objectives within Board-approved guidelines.

  • Provides overall direction to grantmaking initiatives/strategy; develops and implements grantmaking policies and procedures in conjunction with the Board.
  • Administers Foundation’s grantmaking program, including cultivating and vetting potential partners, grant proposal reviews, and site visits.
  • Oversees evaluation of funded programs, monitors progress of approved grants, and makes periodic reports to the Foundation and committees on funding effectiveness.
  • Provides technical assistance to grant-seekers and grantees, including guidance in fundraising, planning, organizational development, program design, and volunteer leadership development.
  • Develops new programming ideas and initiatives which assist the Foundation in fulfilling its mission.

Financial/Legal Responsibilities: In consultation with the finance and executive committees, communicates actions/decisions made with the investment manager, accountant, legal counsel regarding the investment portfolio, regulatory compliance, and governance of the Foundation to ensure the Foundation’s existence and operations under applicable laws and regulations.

  • Prepares and reports quarterly and annually on the Foundation’s budget and overall financial status; consults with accountants on matters affecting the Foundation.
  • Consults with the outsourced Chief Investment Officer on investment strategy and decisions; stays abreast of current trends that may affect the portfolio.
  • Maintains financial records and reports according to generally accepted accounting standards.

Administrative and Human Resources Management: Supervises day-to-day operations of the Foundation, including managing the human resources of the organization.

  • Manages and enhances systems that allow for efficiency and smooth functioning of Foundation operations, ensuring compliance with established policies and procedures; delegates various office functions as appropriate.
  • Develops and maintains system to employ, train, mentor, supervise, evaluate, and compensate all staff positions, interns/volunteers, and consultants. Has “hire-fire” responsibility for the Foundation’s staff and/or consultants, in consultation with the Board Chair and Personnel Committee; creates an atmosphere conducive to growth, learning, and improved performance.
  • Makes recommendations to the Personnel Committee on the need for new or revised policies.
  • Reviews, negotiates, and works with administrators and agents to execute and comply with payroll and employee benefit plans, including retirement plans, as well as business liability, D&O insurance, etc.

External/Community Relations: Assures the Foundation and its mission are consistently presented in strong, positive images to relevant stakeholders.

  • Maintains a professional profile in the field of philanthropy and education by participating in events, seminars, and conferences at the local and state level.
  • Identifies and promotes participation in philanthropic and mission-related learning opportunities for Board, Next Gen, and staff.
  • Participates in partnerships/collaborative opportunities with other grantmakers, nonprofit organizations, and education leaders in meaningful ways that facilitate the Foundation’s mission.
  • Supervises the preparation all Foundation external communications and outreach activities, with a goal of promoting transparency, approachability, and inclusivity amongst diverse partners.


  • Deep personal and professional commitment to advancing social good while leading with integrity, humility, and a spirit of partnership.
  • Demonstrated track record of executive board-facing experience and leadership in philanthropy, public service, education, social innovation, financial stewardship, or a related field.
  • Successful leadership tenure in a foundation setting and/or collaboration with donors; familiarity with current trends in philanthropy with a particular expertise in stewarding multigenerational leadership and engagement in a family foundation.
  • Sophisticated facilitation skills that ensure a diversity of opinions are heard and knit together into a cohesive programmatic vision that builds the tapestry of the family’s philanthropic work; passion for connecting people to the powerful impact philanthropy can have with a community or issue.
  • Well-established credibility and effectiveness in engaging diverse communities and embracing difference in tangible and pragmatic ways; an authentic and sophisticated understanding of leveraging a variety of tools to drive impact.
  • Experience building and leading a high-functioning, diverse team; management savvy to develop a team that balances and effectively supports the ED’s skillset; commitment to fostering an internal team culture that reflects the Foundation’s core values.
  • Proven expertise working in partnership with others to translate a vision into clearly defined priorities and results; comfortable working through iterative design to drive clarity and measure impact.
  • Strong convening skills and an authentic interest in listening to and learning from others; ability to establish trust with a diverse set of stakeholders; a commitment to honoring and elevating community expertise and wisdom.
  • High emotional intelligence and quiet gravitas to effectively represent the family’s legacy and values in the community, the personal presence to speak on behalf of that legacy, and the grace to invite others into that shared space.
  • Demonstrated organizational, financial, and operational management expertise applicable to the Foundation’s asset size and mission.
  • A commitment to learning and the diplomacy skills required to work at the intersection of family philanthropy and community change.
  • Ability and willingness to become an integral part of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community and engage with state level leaders.
  • Advanced degree preferred or equivalent lived experience in a relevant field of service to the Foundation’s work.
  • Ability to travel (15% of the time).


Compensation will be commensurate with experience including a competitive base salary, bonus opportunity, and competitive benefits package.

To make a nomination, provide a referral, or for additional information please use the contact information below. To apply, please submit a resume and/or vita, and cover letter, to:


Chris Shade, Consultant