Now Recruiting our Next President

Written by: Stephen Hershey Kroes

In January, our president, Steve Kroes, announced his departure after 16 years leading Utah Foundation. Our Executive Board is currently seeking applications from interested candidates through March 31, 2017. See the job description and process for applying below:

President: Job Opening

Utah Foundation is seeking an energetic, principled thought leader to serve as its next president. This is a respected position in the community, working directly with the Governor, legislators, leaders of public and higher education, local officials, business and community leaders, and the news media to help them better understand complicated issues that affect Utah’s economy and quality of life. The president is a voice for reason and balance in public policymaking, preserving and enhancing the organization’s reputation for quality research, independence, and nonpartisanship.

The president is responsible for ensuring the highest quality in Utah Foundation’s research, communications, government and community relations. S/he must also be committed to rigorous fundraising and donor relations efforts, devoting significant energies to raising the revenue needed to sustain the organization. As a small organization, the president also is directly involved in human resources, office management, and financial management functions.

About Utah Foundation

Utah Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization, founded in 1945. The mission of Utah Foundation is to promote a thriving economy, a well-prepared workforce, and a high quality of life for Utahns by performing thorough, well-supported research that helps policymakers, business and community leaders, and citizens better understand complex issues and providing practical, well-reasoned recommendations for policy change.

The foundation is highly regarded by the news media, with 200 news articles per year mentioning our work in recent years. We work with Republicans, Democrats and independents at the state and local level, frequently meeting with legislators, the Governor, mayors, county commissioners, and education officials as well as with leaders in business and community groups to facilitate greater understanding of the issues facing our region. We publish 10-20 research reports per year, providing analysis of data, trends, and policy options to address issues identified by our Board of Trustees as priority issues.

Utah Foundation has a large and engaged Board of Trustees, with 65 members and an Executive Board of 20. Board members represent organizations that contribute to the foundation, including business, higher and public education, and local and regional government organizations.

The organization is currently staffed by two research analysts, a research director, a communications director, and the president. The foundation provides generous compensation, including medical and dental insurance, employer-paid retirement, and ample paid time off. Details will be provided during the interview process.


Research Oversight

  • Provide guidance to the Research Director and analysts on upcoming projects.
  • Hold the research team accountable for deadlines and quality of work.
  • Actively consume all Utah Foundation research and be fluent in presenting its findings.


  • Provide guidance to the Communications Director, ensuring high-quality outreach.
  • Seek opportunities to speak to interested groups about the foundation’s work. Ensure that all policy staff members are involved in these activities.
  • Participate in the foundation’s social media outreach.
  • Explore new ways to communicate with the public.
  • Measure or oversee the measurement of effectiveness of all communications strategies.

Government and Community Relations

  • Seek opportunities to speak about foundation research to legislative committees, councils, commissions, individual elected officials, and their staffs.
  • Be the guardian of our public voice, ensuring it does not cross over into lobbying, advocacy, or unauthorized positions.
  • Seek appointments to commissions, boards, committees, and task forces that discuss issues on which we have knowledge and expertise.
  • Attend events, both during and after business hours, that facilitate networking with elected and appointed officials.
  • Host events designed to inform officials and the public on issues we have researched.
  • Stay informed about politics, policy, and emerging issues.

Donor Relations and Fundraising

  • Identify prospective donors and work with board members to request support.
  • Network with business, government, and community leaders.
  • Manage relations with the Board of Trustees and Executive board, including meetings and regular personal contact.
  • Work with the Fundraising Committee to set strategy and deliver results.
  • Design fundraising communications efforts and materials.
  • Identify philanthropic foundations that can provide grants for our work, manage relations with them and write grant applications.
  • Maintain effective donor stewardship including regular communications and personal visits.

Human Resources, Office and Financial Management

  • Ensure all staff members are active and productive.
  • Participate in interviews and approve new hires.
  • Manage payroll, tax filings, and benefits for staff.
  • Keep Utah Foundation competitive in overall compensation to ensure a stable, quality staff.
  • Manage accounts receivable and payable.
  • Regularly update financial performance for the Treasurer and Executive Board.
  • Make financial projections and monitor budget compliance.

Experience and Qualifications

  • A master’s degree or equivalent experience in public policy, economics, public administration, or related disciplines.
  • A deep understanding, demonstrated by experience, of nonpartisan public policy research and its role in informing legislation and other policy choices.
  • A demonstrated commitment to pragmatic, practical politics, avoiding partisan or ideological biases that could harm the foundation’s reputation as a trusted resource for all parties.
  • At least five years, preferably more, in nonprofit leadership, public policy research, communications, or related work.
  • Utah experience strongly preferred (understanding of Utah issues, policy, and elected officials).
  • Confidence in public speaking and intellectual curiosity to deeply understand the issues on which you speak.
  • Poise and polish in working with elected officials, business leaders, broadcast and print media personalities, our Board of Trustees, and other community leaders.
  • Experience and courage to consistently ask potential donors for funding and involvement.
  • A flexible, entrepreneurial approach to increasing the foundation’s size and public persona.

To Apply

Submit a cover letter about your interest, your resume, and three professional references to Utah Foundation’s Chair, Brent Jensen at [email protected].

The deadline for application is March 31, 2017. Applicants will be notified by late April as to whether they will be interviewed. A decision will be made by June 1st, and the new president will be expected to start in early July.

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