About the Organization

The Laughing Gull Foundation’s (LGF) Board of Directors seeks an Executive Director who is an energetic and empathetic leader to guide and manage the next chapter of LGF’s impact. Laughing Gull’s next Executive Director will work out of our newly built-out offices in downtown Durham, North Carolina. They will be a strong internal manager and external organizer. The successful candidate will utilize their high-level leadership, emotional intelligence, and management skills to lead LGF in advancing justice in the South.

About the Opportunity

Laughing Gull Foundation was founded in 2012 and plans to spend out all assets by 2036 in the service of three strategic goals: (1) the advancement in the South of LGBTQ equality, higher education in prison, and climate and environmental justice; (2) the growth of progressive philanthropy in the South; and (3) the sustaining of a vibrant internal learning community. LGF currently grants $4.5 million annually in primarily multi-year, general operating grants, with the aim to reach $6 million a year by 2022 and maintain that pay-out level until we complete our work and pass the torch.

For best consideration, please apply by September 13, 2021.

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About the Organization

EarthCorps is a nonprofit organization based in Seattle, Washington that develops leaders to strengthen community and restore the health of our environment. EarthCorps believes in the power of people – acting through their collective responsibility to one another and our planet – to tackle the most pressing challenges facing our world, a world in which people and nature thrive together.

About the Opportunity

The Executive Director (ED) is responsible for fulfilling EarthCorps’ mission by providing leadership and direction to all areas of the operation. The ED supervises the organization and oversees program development and evaluation, operations, finance, fundraising, and public relations. The Executive Director also ensures compliance with all government regulations and works with the Board of Directors to both provide direction to the organization and secure resources.

For best consideration, please apply by July 12, 2021.

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About the Organization

Howard Brown Health was founded in 1974 and is now one of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) organizations. With an annual budget of over $59 million, the agency serves more than 27,000 adults and youth each year in its diverse health and social service delivery system focused around seven major programmatic divisions: primary medical care, behavioral health, research, HIV/STI prevention, youth services, elder services, and community initiatives. Howard Brown serves men, women, trans and gender non-conforming folks, infants, youth, and children through a multi-site operation based in Chicago that includes: 11 service delivery sites, an administrative building, and three resale stores.

About the Opportunity

The Vice President for Human Resources is a member of the senior management team entrusted to steward a high-performing, engaged, prepared, and informed workforce that advocates the organization’s values and upholds its code of conduct. The VP works with leaders across the agency to spearhead human resource solutions designed for results, accountability, and excellence. The executive advances diversity and inclusion efforts to ensure Howard Brown Health’s commitment to culturally affirming care, anti-oppressive principles and LGBTQ-affirming practices are taught, embraced, and continuously reinforced among the workforce. The VP oversees all HR initiatives including, but not limited to, position design, recruitment, hiring, retention and promotions; budgeting and compensation and benefits strategies; on-boarding, orientation, and exit/transition protocols; employee relations, engagement, appeals, and grievances; policy development and performance management; workforce training and development; supervisor training and support; employee health and wellness; record-keeping and compliance; and other core human resource functions.

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About the Organization

Established in 1987 as the Test Positive Aware Network, TPAN’s mission is, “Saving lives and empowering people affected by HIV/AIDS and related challenges.” Armed with the vision of providing lifesaving care and far-reaching education to people affected by HIV that improves quality of life, TPAN is committed to its grassroots foundation as a highly mobilized, peer-led and community-based organization that maintains its key value of self-empowerment.

About the Opportunity

TPAN is seeking a new CEO that will serve as the leader and public face of the organization. The successful candidate will be engaging, personable and possess strong leadership skills with an ability to lead a highly-skilled and knowledgeable team. The CEO will report directly to the Board of Directors and work in concert with the senior leadership team. The CEO will be expected to develop a strategic vision for the future of TPAN and demonstrate innovative thinking and judicious use of resources. This person will also foster and develop strong relationships with clients, government agencies, philanthropic enterprises and community partners. Therefore, candidates with a strong connection to the community that TPAN serves and the Chicagoland area are especially encouraged to apply.

For best consideration, please apply by Tuesday, May 18. 

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How Nonprofits Are Helping Workers Cope with Pandemic Fatigue – The Chronicle of Philanthropy

  • Gathering Ground host Mary Morten and past Morten Group client, Ali Forney Center, were featured in this article that explores what nonprofits and foundations can do to help their struggling staff members.


White House Fact Sheet for COVID Recovery Plan (March 11, 2021)


Nonprofits need to Change for Good and the Moment is NowStanford Social Innovation Review

  • Leave Organizational Ego at the Door: Rather than being the best, the only, the biggest, sometimes by trying to do everything, nonprofits needed to do a real analysis of the particular value they provided to the world—to identify their competitive advantage—and then join forces with others to create broader and deeper impact.
  • Collaborate Intentionally and Creatively: The need for nonprofits to think creatively and be open to the possibilities of shared resources is as important now as it was at the start of the pandemic. Listening to the needs of peer organizations and supporting projects that aim to improve the workings of the sector more broadly are effective places to start.
  • Don’t Be Afraid of Merging: The cultural and financial challenges associated with mergers often steer nonprofits away from them. But if organizations are serious about achieving as much impact as possible, they need to actively consider them—from a place of possibility, rather than from a sense of duty or a deficit mindset.


Nonprofit Leaders Share Impact of COVID-19 at Year’s End – Nonprofit Leadership Center

  • Surveyed CEOs and Eds in March 2020 and again in November 2020 to see how the pandemic was affecting their organizations.
  • Despite a challenging operating and fundraising environment, the outlook for many nonprofit leaders is still positive.
  • 2020 has required nonprofit leaders to grow and stretch in many ways. As a result, the needs of leaders and their staff are growing, too.
  • While nonprofit leaders aspire to have diverse and inclusive organizations, most admit they have more work to do to make this a reality.
  • To succeed in our ever-evolving philanthropic landscape and world, respondents believe adaptability is the most important trait nonprofit leaders need to succeed.


Philanthropy in the Era of COVID-19Dalberg Advisors

  • Most foundations have increased or are considering increasing their share of endowments disbursed in 2020 due to COVID-19 – through the impact of these funding increases on net philanthropic giving is not yet clear
  • In the near-term, foundations are prioritizing sectors and areas that can directly mitigate the impacts of COVID-19, most notably health and economic support and recovery. At times, this occurs at the expense of sectors and issues that are seen as less urgent or have longer-term impact horizons.
  • In the long-term, foundations feel the need to “build back stronger” and address underlying issues of inequity and social injustice.
  • Foundations are particularly worried about grantee “mass extinctions” and are drastically changing grant requirements and operating procedures to ensure the survival of grant recipients.
  • These changes and the crisis, writ large, offer an opportunity for foundation leaders to reflect on longer-term strategic questions that will shape the future of the philanthropic sector.
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About AIDS Foundation of Chicago

For 35 years, AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) has led the fight to create health equity and justice for people living with and disproportionately impacted by HIV and AIDS. The organization’s work is guided by the vision that people living with HIV and related chronic diseases will thrive, and new HIV infections will be rare. AFC brings together service providers and funders to develop systems that meet the needs of those living with HIV/AIDS and to maximize the use of scarce resources. AFC manages more than $27 million in local, state, and federal funds for an array of AIDS-related services, providing expertise and promoting high-quality delivery across the region. For more information, please visit: https://www.aidschicago.org/

About the Opportunity

The Senior Director of Human Resources & Talent Management is responsible for developing and implementing comprehensive Human Resources and Talent Management programs, systems, and tools. The Senior Director of Human Resources & Talent Management directly reports to the Vice President of Operations and works closely with the Senior Leadership Team to strengthen the people and culture of the organization. This position is responsible for all aspects of human resources and talent management at AFC.

The ideal candidate will be a strategic and thoughtful problem solver, an adaptable change-agent and collaborator, and a respectful coach-like leader. The Senior Director will serve as an advisor to leadership at all levels across the organization and will provide insight and guidance on key strategic decisions. The individual in this role is also responsible for cultivating and promoting a positive organizational culture that is in line with AFC’s mission, vision, and values.

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About Young Chicago Authors

With a history spanning more than three decades, Young Chicago Authors (YCA) is focused on cultivating artistic development, social and emotional learning, and academic success in Chicago’s youth. Young Chicago Authors helps young people from all backgrounds to understand the importance of their own stories and those of others, so that they can pursue the path they choose and work to make their communities more just and equitable.

This search has been paused until June 2021. For any questions, please reach out to Sarah Menke at sarah@mortengroup.com or Anedra Kerr at anedra@mortengroup.com.

Thank you for your interest in this position. Click here to see our complete list of active searches.
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About Free Spirit Media

Free Spirit Media (FSM) provides youth and young adults on Chicago’s West and South sides with a comprehensive foundation in media literacy/production through digital media arts, journalism, and creative workforce development programs. It transforms media and society by providing opportunities for emerging creators, primarily from communities of color, to produce and distribute original content and to pursue artistic, personal and professional aspirations. FSM pursues this mission by providing an engaging learning environment that stimulates meaningful media creation, fosters an entrepreneurial and visionary culture, and understands that social transformation is most viable when individuals promote and practice equity, inclusion, and solidarity.

About the Opportunity

Free Spirit Media is seeking a visionary, passionate, and strategic leader as its next Executive Director. The Executive Director drives the strategic, programmatic, and fundraising vision for Free Spirit Media, directing and managing the organization toward its strategic goals under the oversight of the Board of Directors. Representing the organization to both internal and external audiences, the Executive Director ensures that FSM’s activities and programs are mission-driven and youth-centered. The ideal new Executive Director will have deep familiarity with the communities and young people that Free Spirit Media serves. The Board seeks candidates who have experience and/or understanding of positive youth development and career pathways, as well as the creative sector (arts, performance, media, journalism, communications, etc.).

Click here to view the full position description, essential qualifications, and application instructions.

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Article written by NBC correspondent Derrick Clifton

The Trump administration announced two moves last week that target diversity training at federal agencies and public school lessons about American slavery. Experts in civil rights history and diversity consulting say the actions serve as an appeal to President Donald Trump’s base, while further stoking racial divisions that have been called into focus by recent protests.

The Office of Management and Budget issued a directive prohibiting departments from using federal funds to administer diversity training for executive branch staff that incorporates teachings about critical race theory and white privilege. Trump himself also threatened to cut off funding from schools that teach The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, a Pulitzer Prize-winning effort released last year to coincide with the anniversary of slaves being brought to the Virginia colony 400 years ago.

In the executive memo issued by OMB, department director Russell Vought claimed that diversity trainings “run counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our Nation has stood since its inception” and also “engender division and resentment within the Federal workforce.” He specifically cited elements of some training sessions that highlight how white people benefit from racism and may contribute to racial discrimination.

Mary Morten, president of the national consulting firm Morten Group, said federal agencies may become ineffective in serving the public without giving employees the benefit of training that incorporates lessons about diversity, inclusion and equity (or DEI).

“If government agencies are prohibited from doing DEI training, they’re missing an opportunity to build a unified workforce, to include groups of people who are underrepresented … and to bring these voices forward to effectuate real change.” said Morten, whose firm conducts training sessions with government offices, nonprofits and companies. “If people aren’t able to do it at the highest level of government, there will be a trickle-down effect. It means government policies from the federal level won’t be inclusive.”

Morten said her firm conducts a needs assessment before making recommendations on the types of sessions or training they offer to an organization. Then the organization drafts a long-term action plan based on its training to bolster inclusion.

“People realize this is an opportunity to make a difference,” Morten said, adding that the work of inclusion is an ongoing process. “Race is still the primary indicator of someone’s success in this country, and it’s important that we uplift race in our discussions of equity. Some organizations get concerned that centering race means we won’t include other areas of oppression. If we don’t address race, we won’t have equity in these other areas either. There’s no way around it.”

‘Divisive, un-American propaganda’

While diversity training is primarily informed by academic fields such as sociology, history and ethnic studies, the source material draws heavily from critical race theory, a legal framework that emerged from the work of scholars like Derrick Bell, who was the first tenured Black professor at Harvard Law School. Critical race theory posits that race is socially constructed, and that it is not exceptional but an ordinary and routine occurrence. It also examines how white supremacy and racial discrimination are written into and maintained by the law.

“Critical race theory is important because it’s in the family of critical thinking, which means you must look at something with an eye towards identifying flaws, truths and opening up different ways of thinking,” said Erika George, a professor of law at the University of Utah. George added that critical race theory may highlight ways in which laws and public policies may not explicitly name race as part of its language, but that the measures can still bear racial implications. “It’s about getting us to a place of understanding where we are by understanding where we’ve come from, and why it is that things are the way they are.”

In Vought’s executive memo, both the terms “diversity training” and “critical race theory” were offset in quotation marks in some instances, an apparent signifier that the teachings are considered inferior or illegitimate.

“The President has directed me to ensure that Federal agencies cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions,” Vought wrote. He continued, “The divisive, false, and demeaning propaganda of the critical race theory movement is contrary to all we stand for as Americans and should have no place in the federal government.”

The phrasing Vought used echoes government actions from decades past that criminalized or scrutinized elements of academic study, political thought and activism purportedly carried out in the service of communism and treason. The scare tactic, otherwise known as McCarthyism after Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s notorious efforts, was used to target elements of the emerging civil rights movement and bears historical implications for present day, said Theodore Foster, an assistant professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette who focuses on African-American history, civil rights memory and Black studies.

“If we think about what is being labeled propaganda, it’s a diversion. It’s a spectacle that’s familiar for this administration, but it’s also part of conservative rhetoric,” Foster said. “‘PC culture’ is a conservative phrase that’s become common in our political language [and] diminishes the demands of critical race theory and Black studies in their call for recognition of anti-Blackness in society.”

Through her work at an international human rights organization, George said governments that were headed toward authoritarian rule often openly harassed and policed academics.

“When ideas are under assault, that’s usually dangerous ground that you’re treading on,” George said, adding that she and her colleagues were concerned “with the academics because it was a free thinking space that needed protection for other groups to be protected.”

The 1619 Project in public schools

Trump’s skepticism about ideas and teachings on race extends to The 1619 Project, which has gained popularity among educators seeking to supplement their lessons about slavery with the project’s meditations on how the slave trade influenced American democracy and has continued to carry implications for the civil rights of Black people. The work recently came under fire from Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.

In an interview with The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Cotton discussed his proposed bill to block funding from public schools that teach The 1619 Project, and described slavery as a “necessary evil” upon which the union was built.

“The 1619 Project is left-wing propaganda. It’s revisionist history at its worst,” Cotton told The Democrat-Gazette. “Curriculum is a matter for local decisions and if local left-wing school boards want to fill their children’s heads with anti-American rot, that’s their regrettable choice. But they ought not to benefit from federal tax dollars to teach America’s children to hate America.”

Foster said that while there are valid debates about the presentation of The 1619 Project, teaching the Times’ work could benefit students who might otherwise receive watered-down lessons from textbooks about the trans-Atlantic slave trade or the Middle Passage.

“To call it un-American is to take conversations about power dynamics and relations off the table,” Foster said. “There’s a lot of criminalization of diversity going on here, [which] goes hand in hand with a criminalization of Black protest and the Black Lives Matter movement, which has demanded an ongoing recognition of anti-Blackness. In this moment, close to the election, it caters to an us-versus-them narrative that’s about the spectacle and not the substance.”

The apparent disconnect from Trump and his allies on diversity training and The 1619 Project may also signal an investment in maintaining any existing misinformation on the nature of race and racism. George noted that Derrick Bell’s approach to critical race theory suggested that there will be no progress unless there’s an “interest convergence” between white people in power and racially marginalized people.

“Critical race theory doesn’t even say that [white] people are inherently racist or evil. … It does say that people can be complicit in racist action,” George said. “I do think this is a play to the fear of displacement from what has been a relatively privileged perch in American society.”

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About Jane Addams Senior Caucus

Jane Addams Senior Caucus (JASC) is a multiracial, grassroots organization led by conscious seniors in the Chicago metropolitan area. It crosses neighborhood, racial, religious and socio-economic lines to find common ground upon which to act on its values. Through leadership development, organizing and popular education, JASC uses the power of its collective voice to work for economic, social, and racial justice for all seniors and our communities.

About Jane Addams Seniors in Action

Jane Addams Seniors in Action (JASIA) is incorporated in Illinois as a 501 (c)(4) nonprofit organization. Its mission is to unite the power of seniors and their allies in an active grassroots organization, which works to build racial, social, and economic justice. Its activities include community organizing, coalition building, issue campaigns, referenda efforts, educating voters, direct lobbying, and candidate electoral endorsements.

About the Opportunity

JASC and JASIA is seeking a highly-qualified, visionary candidate who can both lead and accompany the organization into its next phase. The Executive Director gives direction and leadership to fulfill the organization’s missions and provides guidance to staff. The ideal candidate is an exceptional listener, someone who will work in close collaboration with the staff, both Boards, and the organization’s members. JASC and JASIA are committed to social, racial, and economic justice and seek a director willing to join in building collective power for long-term structural change.

Click here to view the full position description, essential qualifications, and application instructions.

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