The Girls First Fund – Supporting Communities to End Child Marriage was established in 2018 to expand financial resources and related support, for community-based organizations and locally-focused national organizations to advance effective local solutions that enable girls, their families, and their communities to create a world without child marriage.
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18. That is 23 girls every minute – married off too soon, their personal development and well-being put at risk. Child marriage violates girls’ rights to health, education and opportunity. It exposes girls to violence throughout their lives, and traps them in a cycle of poverty. In every country and region where this is a practice, however, there are organizations and girls themselves working to end the practice. While they are joined by a robust global community of advocates, legal and policy groups, most organizations are under-resourced. In response, The Girls First Fund – Empowering Communities to End Child Marriage (“Fund”) was formed through a partnership between a group of philanthropic partners and Geneva Global, with a vision of a world in which every girl has access to the information, services, resources, skills, and support necessary to decide when, if, and whom to marry so that she can live a healthy and equal life, and to achieve her full potential.
The Fund’s objectives are to:
- Significantly expand resources to community-based organizations which are leading the fight to end child marriage by bringing in new donors and new money through a pooled fund that makes ending child marriage a primary philanthropic goal.
- Identify the strongest grassroots organizations, particularly women- and girl-led organizations, which are working with the most vulnerable girls, because we recognize that they are critical to ending child marriage.
- Invest in community-based organizations and provide funding to programs across a range of sectoral approaches and strategies as is required to prevent and respond to child marriage. Provide multi-year funding to carry out local policy and programmatic solutions aimed at ending child marriage.
- Collect and use evidence to champion effective and locally relevant solutions by providing a vehicle for measuring results and sharing learning across Fund grantees and with the broader field of advocates, practitioners and donors. All in aid of growing the evidence and support for interventions to end child marriage.
- Promote and support structural change by encouraging strong linkages and collaboration between the donors, Girls Not Brides, Fund grantees and other key actors in the field(s), and by serving as a connector between top-down and bottom-up approaches. The Fund sits within Capital for Good USA with a Board Committee made up of the founding donors and a representative of Girls Not Brides. All services to the Fund are provided by Geneva Global, a philanthropic consultancy and management company.
We seek to hire a Fund Director to shape the vision of the Fund and significantly accelerate the goal of ending the practice of child marriage around the world. The Fund Director will help guide a powerful grant-making strategy to comprehensively support locally based organizations. They will identify the strongest and most impactful grassroots organizations, build evidence and collate best practice from the field, share that learning widely, and collaborate with other actors to pursue a systems change approach to end the practice of child marriage. In addition, they will find and access new sources of funding so as to grow the Fund.
As the first Fund Director, they will manage the start-up phase and growth of the initiative, based on best practices in donor collaboration. The Fund is targeting $50 million for its first five years and currently has commitments totaling approximately $35 million. The Fund will be launched later in 2018 with the first-year grants being distributed in early 2019 across multiple countries in an initial learning year. The Fund Director will play a key role in this learning year process and will then lead the Fund into a multi-year, multi-country strategy. The successful candidate will be a leader with energy and passion for and experience in advancing community-based strategies with experience promoting and protecting the rights of adolescent girls and women in the Global South.
The Fund Director will lead the collaborative process of working with the founding donors and their staffs as well as Girls Not Brides and other technical experts. They will lead and manage a small team of professionals at Geneva Global and, over time, field-based staff and/or consultants to facilitate and manage a multi-million-dollar grant portfolio. They will balance managing internal program functions (including relationships with existing and prospective grantees of the Fund, grantmaking, monitoring, and evaluation) with active engagement of the Board, new contributors and field-relevant organizations. The Director will lead the Fund’s programming, ensuring there is strong accountability to girls, and will bring an emphasis on results, metrics and learning to ensure that effective approaches are enhanced and local knowledge and grassroots experience can be shared with the broader sector. Externally, this leader will advance the profile and influence of the Fund by promoting community-based organizations as experts in the fight to end child marriage and as leaders in implementing multi-sectoral approaches.
The Fund Director will be responsible for the overall success of this effort, including managing and executing both internal and external aspects of the Fund. The Fund Director’s key responsibilities include:
- Refine and ensure high quality grantmaking strategies and processes that strengthen the work of and learning from community-based and locally-grounded national organizations working to end child marriage in key countries;
- Manage active engagement of the Board and other governance structures (advisory committees, key Geneva Global and Capital for Good/USA staff, etc.). This includes design of and leading Board meetings, docket processes, and other stakeholder events as needed;
- Cultivate and manage a small, high performing, value-driven team of professionals devoted to the Fund’s mission, program excellence, learning, monitoring and evaluation, teamwork, and resource mobilization;
- Ensure a robust learning, monitoring and evaluation system that allows for deep learning from the grantees of the Fund and sets clear metrics for the overall success of the Fund itself;
- Define and hone creative strategies for identifying lesser known grassroots organizations and girl-led groups;
- Manage relationships with other NGOs and funders to ensure grantees of this fund have the maximum opportunity to be connected to other resources in the field;
- Oversee back office functions related to the Fund’s day-to-day operations;
- Ensure a strong working relationship with Girls Not Brides;
- Design creative ways to elevate the visibility of the Fund and its grantees to encourage new resources for and learning from community-based organizations and girl-led groups; ▪ Provide fiscally sound management and fiduciary oversight of the Fund;
- Assure ongoing communication and feedback with the Board Committee and key global stakeholders;
- Provide key leadership for a fundraising plan designed to mobilize at least $10M in additional resources by the end of 2019; and
- Position the Fund as a global resource for learning about and support for community-based innovation to end child marriage.
The preferred work location for this position is at Geneva Global’s headquarters in Paoli, outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; though another US East Coast location is also possible. The successful candidate should ideally already have authorization to work in the US. Other arrangements may be possible for exceptional candidates. Frequent domestic US and international travel will be necessary, potentially 25%-40% depending on phase of Fund and location of hire. If the Fund Director is located in Paoli, the travel will likely be closer to 25%. The Fund Director will be employed by Geneva Global and will report to both the CEO of Geneva Global and the Board Committee of the Fund. The Fund Director will work with an established staff at Geneva Global who have expertise across program strategy, fundraising, marketing/communications, and back office support. The Fund Director will work with the Board to determine the scope for future staffing requirements and roles devoted solely to the Fund.
All inquiries and discussions with prospective candidates will be considered strictly confidential. Please note that the Fund’s donors understand that current employees and staff of grantees might be interested in this position and encourage them apply with assurances that any expression of interest will have no ramifications for their position or their organization’s funding.
The Fund seeks an entrepreneurial and dedicated leader able to operate with diverse constituents and in multiple contexts with a passion for promoting and protecting the rights of girls and women. The successful candidate will bring a deep understanding of community-based approaches to addressing the priorities of girls and women, coupled with the ability to leverage local experience to influence national and/or international policy, legal and/or social norm change. The successful candidate will possess the ability and drive to identify lesser known and girl-led organizations with which to work and support. Experience working with engaged Boards or similar high-level working groups is required. The successful candidate will have strong interpersonal and cross-cultural skills and the ability to create and execute program strategy including international grant management, risk management and mitigation, to fundraise, and to align and engage the interests of diverse and committed stakeholders. Additionally, the candidate’s background will demonstrate a commitment to learning and assessment and a passion for advancing the well-being of girls and young women.
The successful candidate will ideally have:
- Passion for movement building and the drive to think big, create and do things differently.
- Experience in high-level leadership, including demonstrated ability to manage and grow an organization, program or initiative focused on girls and women’s rights.
- Proven record of managing and guiding a diverse and complex set of stakeholders; experience working with a dynamic Board Committee; experience working with donor collaboratives a plus.
- Deep program knowledge, including working with community-based organizations in the Global South; and expertise in, and passion for, issues related to the promotion of women and girls’ rights and supporting movement building which centers on girls. Direct experience working on programs to end violence against girls and women and to end child marriage a plus.
- Ability to creatively design and oversee implementation of multiple strategies needed to end child marriage, including an interest in girl-led organizations, girl-centered programming, movement building approaches, ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health services (including abortion where legal) and ideas on how to connect community focused interventions to larger systems change such as girls’ education and/or larger social norm change strategies.
- A good understanding of effective grantmaking, and program and project management required to reach groups working in diverse communities and geographies – including a creative approach to reaching organizations that may have less developed fundraising systems, including girl-led groups, stand-alone community-based organizations and associations, etc.
- Results-orientation with a metrics-driven approach to programming and organizational management; experience with integrating community feedback a plus.
- Commitment to gender and human rights concerns driving the mission of the Fund, including commitment to girl-led and girl-centered programming.
- Proven fundraising success a plus, including cultivating donors and soliciting significant major gifts.
- Outstanding communication skills, both verbal and written; demonstrated tact and interpersonal skills and proven ability to work cross-culturally.
- Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to facilitate and generate agreements in groups comprised of senior leaders and members with diverse opinions.
- Fluency in English; high degree of proficiency in additional language(s) such as French, Spanish or Hindi, as examples, highly desirable.
- Strong team building experience and the ability to both foster a positive internal culture and collaborate with a diverse audience across the globe.
- Curious and articulate with an enthusiasm for the role of spokesperson, ambassador and leader coupled with a “get things done” attitude and willingness to pitch in on specific program related tasks.
- Passion combined with humility. Sense of humor always a plus.
In terms of the performance and personal competencies required for the position, we would highlight the following:
- The ability to refine and articulate an inspiring vision for the Fund.
- The inclination to seek and analyze data from a variety of sources, especially those most directly impacted by child marriage, to support decisions and to align others with the Fund’s overall strategy.
- An entrepreneurial and creative approach to developing new, innovative ideas that will stretch the organization and push the boundaries of getting critical financial and technical resources to organizations working to end child marriage and advance adolescent girls’ rights.
- The ability to create realistic goals and implementation plans that are achievable and successful.
Executing for Results
- The ability to set clear and challenging goals while committing the Fund to continuously improved performance; tenacious and accountable in driving results.
- Comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty; the ability to adapt nimbly and lead others through complex situations.
- A risk-taker who seeks data and input from others to foresee possible threats or unintended circumstances from decisions; someone who takes smart risks.
- A leader who is viewed by others as having a high degree of integrity and forethought in their approach to making decisions; the ability to act in a transparent and consistent manner while always taking into account what is best for the Fund and girls worldwide.
- The ability to attract and recruit top talent, motivate the team, including direct and indirect reports, delegate effectively, celebrate diversity within the team, and manage performance; widely viewed as a strong developer of others.
- The ability to persevere in the face of challenges, and exhibit a steadfast resolve and relentless commitment to higher standards, which commands respect from followers.
- A leader who is self-reflective and aware of their own limitations; leads by example and drives the organization’s performance with an attitude of continuous improvement by being open to feedback and self-improvement.
Relationships and Influence
- Naturally connects and builds strong relationships with others, demonstrating strong emotional intelligence and an ability to communicate clearly and persuasively.
- An ability to inspire trust in others through compelling influence, powerful charisma, passion in their beliefs, and active drive.
- Encourages others to share the spotlight and visibly celebrates and supports the success of the team.
- Creates a sense of purpose/meaning for the team that generates followership beyond their own personality and engages others to the greater purpose for the Fund as a whole. Contact
Russell Reynolds Associates has been exclusively retained for this search. Prospective candidates are invited to email GirlsFirstFund@RussellReynolds.com. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.