Who should run the Dodge Foundation? Morristown nonprofit solicits nominations

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Do you know an “innovative and intellectual thought leader” who’s not afraid to shake things up — and can do it with a sense of humor?

The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation wants to hear from you.

The parking authority's 14 Maple Ave. headquarters is an environmental showcase. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
The Dodge Foundation’s home at 14 Maple Ave. is an environmental showcase. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

This Morristown-based philanthropy, which has awarded nearly $400 million in grants to nonprofits in the arts, education, environment and local news over the last four decades, on Thursday announced a national search for a new president and CEO.

“As part of this process, we welcome your nominations or expressions of interest,” board Chairman Preston Pinkett said in a statement.

The board has retained the Sally M. Sterling Executive Search company to lead the quest for a successor to Chris Daggett, who retired last fall after eight years as president and CEO.

Those roles are being filled on an interim basis by Cynthia Evans, chief financial officer at Dodge.

Sterling, Dodge trustees and staff have spent several months defining what they are looking for in their next leader.  Desired attributes include:

  • Ethical and moral standards
  • A sense of humor
  • Curious and a lifelong learner
  • A commitment to the state of New Jersey

The winning candidate also must have at least 10 years in a senior leadership role in the non-profit, public, or private sectors; broad interests in the arts, education, environment, and media; communications skills, and a grasp of politics, public policy and, ideally, philanthropy.

A commitment to “diversity, equity, and inclusion” is essential. So is the ability to guide and manage change, while remaining sensitive to Dodge’s history, according to the Foundation website.

Additionally, the Foundation says it wants someone with “a willingness to take risks, be proactive and nimble,” who may expand programs or “adapt or sunset other programs as appropriate to implement a new equity-focused strategic vision.”

Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge
Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge

The next president/CEO will oversee a 15-member staff and a “corpus,” or financial base, of about $300 million, which generates the interest that funds annual grants.

Dodge and the St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison were endowed by Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, heiress to Standard Oil- and Remington Arms fortunes, who died in 1973.

The Dodge Foundation is known nationally for the Dodge Poetry Festival.

Under Daggett, a former gubernatorial candidate and environmental official, the Foundation also became a strong advocate for local journalism and its crucial role in democracy, at a time when media are facing unprecedented economic and political challenges. Disclosure: Morristown Green has benefited from Dodge programs and is appreciative of the Foundation’s efforts.

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