THE SEARCH

A non-partisan, nonprofit think tank providing independent research and analysis of state budget and economic policies with an equity lens, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) seeks an experienced leader and policy changemaker in the search for their next president. This is an opportunity to lead one of the country’s most innovative state-level economic think tanks in providing the research, analysis, and advocacy to achieve critical policy advances across the Commonwealth.

MassBudget provides research, analysis, and advocacy to help others to access, understand, and interpret complex policy choices and outcomes, as well as the leverage points that impact communities. The organization plays a vital role in producing the highest standard of economic research and advocating for such research to inform progressive state policy solutions to create an equitable, thriving Commonwealth for all. MassBudget has been credited with providing the research and analysis necessary for the achievement of critical policy advances. These policy victories have included raising the Massachusetts minimum wage; establishing Paid Family and Medical Leave and Earned Paid Sick Time; fairer corporate taxes that have netted substantial revenue for vital state programs; boosting take-home pay for low-income families through Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) increases; the nation’s most progressive K-12 education funding bill with the 2019 Student Opportunity Act; and the 2022 Fair Share Amendment (or “Millionaires’ Tax”), which is estimated to bring over $2 billion to education and transportation needs across the Commonwealth.

MassBudget seeks an experienced and collaborative leader who is both a strategist and an implementer. The ideal candidate will bring a strong command of economic, social, and fiscal policy, and a deep understanding of how these policy areas are interconnected with issues of racial justice, economic security and inclusion, and an inclusive democracy. They will have excellent managerial skills and will be an engaged and effective communicator, with an impressive record of cultivating relationships and authentic partnerships at the legislative and community levels. They will envision and coordinate, alongside community partners, a statewide grassroots strategy for advocacy towards an antiracist state budget. A highly relational and people-centered leader, MassBudget’s next president must be very emotionally intelligent and capable of inspiring and working effectively with staff, board members, and a diverse array of external partners and constituents. They will bring strong strategic, operational, and fundraising leadership, and will be a cohesive and collaborative team leader who values and amplifies the collective strength of the MassBudget team.

MassBudget is partnering with Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, in this recruitment effort. Confidential inquiries, referrals, nominations, and applications may be directed to the firm as indicated at the end of this document.

ABOUT MASSBUDGET

Organizational Context

For over 35 years, MassBudget has produced non-partisan policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening the state’s economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts. The organization’s work addresses how the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can achieve these objectives while also maintaining fiscal stability through a fair and efficient tax system. MassBudget believes accomplishing these goals depends on an effective government in which everyone is empowered to participate. To this end, MassBudget produces rigorous research informed by collaborations with community coalitions and makes research as accessible as possible to promote government transparency, particularly to those who have been historically excluded from the policy discourse across the Commonwealth.

In addition to its core work to produce reliable research with an equity-centered, antiracist lens, MassBudget conducts executive, legislative, and public advocacy to push forward equitable policy changes, and executes strategic communications around equity-focused change. It works in close partnership with a spectrum of stakeholders, centering those in low-income communities and communities of color. Through this work, MassBudget aspires to transform the public narrative, engage and empower communities, and improve policies that create racial and economic equity.

MassBudget has an operating budget of approximately $2.8 million and employs 14 staff members. MassBudget is overseen by a board of directors currently comprised of 12 members with backgrounds in nonprofits, healthcare, education, philanthropy, and several other sectors.

Research and Partnerships

MassBudget serves as an institution for economic research and a model for advocating for greater accessibility of data, education efforts, and outreach to inform progressive state policy. MassBudget conducts research across several key areas impacting low- and moderate-income families across the Commonwealth, ranging from education and housing, to jobs and the economy, to transportation, healthcare, and taxes. On average, the organization publishes around 50 reports, articles, testimonies, and papers annually.

MassBudget’s research is driven by its engagement with coalitions, advocates, and base-building organizations, especially those rooted in community and led by people of color. Working closely with partner organizations, MassBudget’s goal is to create conditions where communities can equip themselves with the research and data they need to fight for the just, antiracist policy solutions they deserve. MassBudget is part of multiple national networks, including the State Priorities Partnership (led by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities); the Economic Policy Institute (EPI); the Institute for Tax and Economic Policy (ITEP); the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN); and currently serves as Massachusetts’ KIDS COUNT organization, a national and state-by-state effort funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to track and improve the well-being of children across the United States. Along with the Massachusetts Communities Action Network (MCAN), and the Massachusetts Voter Table (MVT), MassBudget is a founding partner of the Delivering on Equity Collective (DOE), an emergent statewide budget advocacy table that creates a platform where historically marginalized communities can fight for greater economic and political power.

ROLE OF THE PRESIDENT

Reporting to the board of directors, the next president will be passionate, mission-driven, and an excellent communicator who will be able to further grow the organization’s capacity to fulfill its critical mission of providing high-quality policy analysis and research. They will ensure the organization is attracting, developing, and retaining a diverse pool of talented individuals who work together to achieve the organization’s mission and vision.

The next president will be expected to:

  • Serve as a prominent public spokesperson for the organization and a sought-after policy resource with media, opinion leaders, activists, and policymakers, strengthening MassBudget’s external presence and strategy.
  • Possess a strong knowledge and demonstrated expertise in economic, fiscal, and social policy.
  • Convene, collaborate, and build partnerships and coalitions with a diverse array of constituents to inform MassBudget’s research agenda and advocate for policy changes.
  • Ensure a well-managed organization where employees feel supported; cultivate an organizational culture that ensures a great place to work where everyone feels invested in MassBudget’s success.
  • Build and maintain relationships with supporters of the organization, thoughtfully cultivating and stewarding major donor and grantmaking relationships.
  • Work with staff and board of directors to define strategic plans and annual goals.
  • Maintain systems and a shared office-wide commitment to ensure the quality of MassBudget research and analysis.

KEY OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR THE PRESIDENT

The president will provide strategic and transparent leadership while also galvanizing the community around a shared vision for MassBudget’s future. Specifically, the president will work to address the following challenges and opportunities:

Defining organizational culture and prioritizing staff development

The president will foster an organizational culture that champions teamwork, collaboration, and mutual respect; values process; and ensures staff have a healthy space to contribute their perspectives and energy. They will manage the hiring, professional development, and retention of a highly talented and diverse staff, promoting an organizational culture that ensures MassBudget is a great place to work where everyone feels invested in the organization’s success.

This leader will leverage and build on the strength of the talented MassBudget staff, including providing opportunities to delegate leadership opportunities to staff, and to further develop staff talents, skills, and abilities to ensure professional growth and produce solid outcomes for MassBudget’s strategic goals. The organization’s commitment to equity will be centered in its internal operations just as it is in its research, policy, and external engagement work. In partnership with the leadership team, the president will maintain systems and continue to cultivate a common commitment to ensure the quality of MassBudget’s work.

Maintaining and elevating a reputation for producing high-quality research

In alignment with MassBudget’s core mission, the next president must continue to hold the highest standard for research production, maintaining MassBudget as a trusted and reliable research authority. Together with the policy director, the president will ensure that MassBudget maintains high-quality, accurate, consistent research and information and is grounded in antiracist values. The president will develop a strategic plan from the organization’s mission and vision, and will partner with the board and staff to delineate specific projects and tactics to advance the strategic plan.

Working collaboratively with the director of communications, the president will elevate the organization’s public presence with a diverse set of audiences, serving as a prominent public spokesperson for the organization with media, opinion leaders, and policymakers. They will strengthen the organization’s external strategy and presence, ensuring that MassBudget products are widely and effectively distributed and that they amplify the voices of impacted communities and create space for those voices to play a lead in transforming the public narrative.

Cultivating and strengthening relationships with key stakeholders

The president will partner closely with the recently created role of advocacy director to ensure that MassBudget deploys its assets effectively to engage in strategic policy advocacy with values-aligned partners. They will preserve and enhance important relationships with key funders, legislators, policymakers, and community partners. They will also provide opportunities to build and expand new networks and partnerships to extend the reach and breadth of MassBudget’s work across the Commonwealth. This includes maintaining and growing a strong, impactful, and effective presence at the State House and amongst civic leaders.

Balancing growing advocacy mission and media strategy with research agenda

MassBudget works with a wide range of partners who come to the table with a complex array of perspectives, needs, and agendas. To ensure its efficacy with policymakers, the organization must strike a careful balance of serving as a trusted source of unbiased, reliable data, while also accomplishing its mission to advocate for equity-focused public policy change. They will develop and implement a media strategy that translates MassBudget’s research and advocacy positions into media-friendly communications. The next president will help MassBudget navigate this complexity by forging strong, authentic relationships; communicating clearly with partners about what MassBudget is doing and why; and consistently reinforcing the strength and credibility of the organization’s research.

Providing leadership for fundraising, board relations, and overall fiscal management

The successful stewardship and ongoing generation of financial resources is a key charge for the next president of MassBudget. Working with the director of development and director of finance and operations, as well as the board of directors, this leader is responsible for maintaining the fiscal health of the organization and will ensure that the organization is well managed fiscally and administratively and that its structure and roles align well with its vision and strategy. The president will engage effectively with board members, drawing on the deep knowledge and experience they offer and providing them with clear, concise, and rigorously researched information to make sound strategy, policy, and governance decisions.

The president will lead fundraising through personal involvement, particularly with major foundation, institutional, and individual donors and prospects; through board and volunteer engagement; and in partnership with the development director. They will play a lead role in cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding major and planned gifts, external grants, and other revenue sources for MassBudget.

QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS

The successful candidate will possess many of the following qualifications and qualities:

  • Outstanding record of effectively managing and influencing people; proven experience as a strategic and inclusive leader; the ability to build strong teams, delegate responsibility and leadership opportunities, and execute fiscally responsible plans; and a willingness to circulate widely, listen well, and motivate and share power with others.
  • A team builder and leader who seeks input and feedback and functions decisively, with a well-established reputation for inspiring effective collaboration.
  • Proven ability to bring about complex change in a thoughtful manner and to implement solutions and establish best practices that are tailored to the unique needs of the organization; specific experience leading policy advocacy at the state or local level in areas of large-scale budget impact such as education, housing, or transportation.
  • A proven ability to translate complex economic research into media-friendly communication.
  • A strong command of economic, social, and fiscal policy; a deep understanding of how these policy areas are interconnected with issues of racial justice, economic security and inclusion, and an inclusive democracy; and an intellectual commitment to understanding emerging trends and issues in the field.
  • A high degree of intercultural competence, with a demonstrated commitment to and record of success in advancing equity, inclusion, diversity, and belonging; demonstrated experience advancing an organization that serves diverse constituencies.
  • Experience using an integrated approach to social change, including research, coalition-building, policy, strategic communications, and advocacy.
  • Highly effective interpersonal and communication skills, including the ability to establish strong, purposeful relationships with diverse communities, and the capacity to work closely with and earn the respect and trust of stakeholders, both internally and externally.
  • Substantial experience using data, technical research, and narrative to create compelling arguments for change.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain strong relationships and partnerships with coalition members, media, researchers, policy advocates, community members/leaders, legislators, and other public officials.
  • A capacity to lead through influence with an approach that attracts and inspires others.
  • A track record of success cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding foundation, institutional, and individual donors.
  • A flexible and adaptable problem-solver who is resilient in the face of conflict, able to engage diplomatically, and effectively represent an organization’s mission, work, and goals while meeting others where they are.
  • Open, motivating, collaborative, and approachable working style and demeanor.
  • Demonstrated integrity and a commitment to professional excellence.

COMPENSATION

Compensation for this position will be competitive and negotiated in good faith, with a salary range estimated at $165,000 to $175,000.

APPLICATIONS, INQUIRIES, AND NOMINATIONS

Screening of complete applications will begin immediately and continue until the completion of the search process. Inquiries, nominations, referrals, and applications (including resumes and two- to three-page letters of interest responding to the opportunities and challenges outlined above) should be sent via the Isaacson, Miller website for the search: https://www.imsearch.com/open-searches/massachusetts-budget-and-policy-center/president.

Kennedy Kearney-Fischer, Managing Associate
Miguel Santiago, Senior Associate
Rachel Banderob, Senior Search Coordinator
Isaacson, Miller
263 Summer Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02210

MassBudget does not discriminate against any employee because of race, color,
creed, ancestry, national origin, citizenship, sex, gender, gender identity or expression
(including transgender status), sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age, dis/ability,
handicap, genetic information, uniformed military service, veteran status, pregnancy or
pregnancy-related condition, or any other characteristic protected by applicable
federal, state, or local laws and ordinances.

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