President and CEO, the ELCA Foundation and Executive Director, ELCA Mission Advancement

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
Chicago, IL

This position serves as the president and chief executive officer of The ELCA Foundation and executive director for the Mission Advancement unit of the churchwide organization. The person in this role has responsibility for achieving the mission and vision of The ELCA Foundation, ensuring compliance with legal and fiscal requirements and board approved policies and, along with the Board of Trustees, gives direction and leadership toward the development of the organization’s strategic objectives, consistent with the values and mission of the ELCA.


This position serves as the chief development officer for both the churchwide organization and the ELCA Foundation and ensures effective marketing tactics are deployed to support strategic and fundraising objectives.


The position reports to the ELCA Foundation Board of Trustees and the ELCA Executive for Administration.


ELCA Foundation

The ELCA Foundation is a separately incorporated ministry of the ELCA that provides major gift and planned giving opportunities for individuals, and educational and support services in major gift and deferred giving programs to congregations, synods and institutions of this church toward the goal of increasing resources for all the ministries of the ELCA. 

The Foundation also offers opportunities for congregations and institutions of the ELCA to invest in the Endowment Fund Pooled Trust; provides oversight of the assets including the Endowment Fund, Charitable Gift Annuities, Charitable Trusts; and cares for the accounting, administration and financial reporting of assets and activities.  

The ELCA Foundation is governed by a board of trustees with separate committees for Investments, Audit, Resource Development and Finance.


Foundation Parameters: 

       Assets Under Management - $854 million

       Annual Budget - $7.5 million

       Foundation Staff Size – 36

Mission Advancement Unit

The Mission Advancement unit is responsible for developing and executing the churchwide organization’s development efforts, including current gifts, deferred giving, major gifts, Mission Support and churchwide campaigns.  In addition, the unit is responsible for strategic communications, public relations, data and constituent management, gift processing and the constituent contact and resource distribution center.  Efforts are coordinated in order to most effectively communicate around a clear identity and mission, while also motivating donors to respond with financial gifts. 


Combined Scope: Foundation and Mission Advancement Unit

·       Staff Size: 100

·       Annual Expense Budget: $15 million

·       Annual Fundraising Goal: $30 million; Annual Benevolence Goal:  $42 million

·       Foundation Assets under Management:  $800 million


Position Responsibilities

1.     Oversees the development and implementation of a comprehensive strategic plan for the ELCA Foundation and for the communication and development work of the ELCA churchwide organization, including a plan for marketing, public relations, branding, and the effective implementation of the strategy across this church.

2.     Interprets and implements policies established by the Foundation Board of Trustees.

3.     Analyzes and evaluates the effectiveness of all operations; develops and maintains organizational structure and effective personnel; and provides for the responsible management of fiscal resources under its management.

4.     Oversees the development of coordinated fundraising strategies for the various programs of the churchwide organization including World Hunger, Fund for Leaders, Vision for Mission, Global Church Sponsorship, New Ministry Starts and the Campaign for the ELCA.  Identify and cultivate major donors.

5.     Supports the stewardship efforts of this church through maintaining or growing Mission Support income and developing interactive communications that lead to more engaged members who understand the identity of the ELCA, participate in its programs, and share generously their financial resources.

6.     Ensures effective maintenance and use of constituent database, leveraging its capacity to realize communication, fund-raising and marketing potential.  Oversee call center, mail room and resource fulfillment.

7.     Motivates and leads a high-performance management team; attract, recruit, and retain a qualified and diverse staff, overseas relationship with synod and institutional partners. 

8.     Develops and fosters close working relationships and provides guidance and support to churchwide units, congregations, synods, regions, and related institutions on matters of communications and resource development, while providing a consistent message regarding the vision and mission of this church.



·       Certified Fund Raising Executive status preferred, but not required.

·       A minimum of 10 years desired in a senior leadership role involving a significant number of staff and oversight of key organizational functions and initiatives.  Master’s degree in business administration or similar field preferred.

·       Demonstrated ability to lead an organization; strong administrative, organizational, management, partnership-building skills; a strategic thinker; ability to conceptualize, analyze and synthesize ideas. 

·       Demonstrated ability to develop collaborative relationships with different areas of this church, such as other churchwide units, bishops of the church, and congregational leaders.

·       Extensive experience with major gifts, donor stewardship, annual giving, capital campaigns, and planned giving.  Experience with gifting vehicles including annuities, trusts, donor advised funds and endowments.

·       Broad, functional experience in operations management, including marketing communications, publications, digital media and data analytics.

·       Considerable knowledge of risks and prudent practices associated with investment management; experience working with investment managers, advisors and consultants.

·       Experience in successfully managing board and committee relations as well as other volunteer tables.

·       Exceptional interpersonal skills; proven ability to motivate and inspire others to achieve goals and to communicate effectively and clearly.

·       Understanding of and commitment to the mission of the ELCA; in-depth knowledge of church structure and trends.


Other Requirements

Membership in an ELCA congregation is required.


Physical Requirements

Must be willing and able to travel by air and automobile; about 20% of the time.


Physical Demands

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk and hear, use hands and fingers to operate a computer and telephone. This position requires sitting for long periods of time. Reasonable accommodations can be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Application Process

Application, resume and cover letter should be submitted through the ELCA job board.

Inquiries about the position may be directed, in confidence, to Gaye Lindfors of Significant Solutions, Inc., the consultant assisting with this search (; 651-490-9550).