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Director Of Strategy & Learning

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director of Strategy and Learning oversees the management of the two primary grantmaking strategies of the Foundation’s All for NC Framework for Grantmaking and Learning, including a State-Level Systemic Change Strategy (SLSC) and a Community-Based Strategy (CBS). The position also co-leads ZSR’s efforts to operationalize its racial equity lens. This position is a new position that will be part of a five-person executive team.

This position supervises a team of seven Program Officers, including day-to-day management, support and annual reviews. The position provides project management support and oversight of grant application review processes with an eye towards how the strategies may intersect. In addition, this position creates and manages intentional spaces for program staff to strategize and learn together, and to use lessons learned to make improvements.

Along with the Director of Convening and Capacity Building, the Director of Strategy and Learning will co-lead ZSR’s efforts to operationalize its commitment to racial equity. This includes serving as a primary liaison to the Foundation’s racial equity consultant and working with staff and Trustees to deepen knowledge and improve practices, policies, and procedures related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

This position is not designed to manage a grant portfolio but, rather, to support Program Officers as they manage the grant portfolios.

The position requires the development of a thorough understanding of the Foundation and its priorities, operations, structure and culture. Management experience, initiative, expertise in philanthropy and grantmaking, sound judgment, expertise in using a racial equity lens, and knowledge of both state- and community-level issues impacting North Carolina are vital to this role. The position is full-time and is based in Winston-Salem, NC.

Job description:


The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation (ZSR) is a statewide, private, family foundation, based in Winston-Salem, NC. For more than 85 years, ZSR has strived to support the efforts of North Carolinians to make our state a better place for everyone through investments totaling over $667 million. Our All for NC Framework for Grantmaking and Learning includes three strategies: a State-Level Systemic Change Strategy; a Community-Based Strategy; and an Exploratory, Visionary Ideas Strategy. It also includes commitments to using a racial equity lens, to being a learning organization, and to participating in the life of the Foundation’s home community of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County.

Our mission:

To improve the quality of life for all North Carolinians.

Our core values:

  • Stewardship
  • Integrity
  • Fairness and Justice
  • Dignity and Equity
  • Civic Participation
  • Excellence
  • Sustainability
  • Collaboration


All staff work together to live out the Foundation's mission and core values. We are on a continuous journey to enhance our individual and institutional understandings of how to operationalize our shared commitments to racial equity, to engaging in the Foundation’s home community of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, and to being a learning organization. The Director of Strategy and Learning will play a key role in helping ensure that the strategies of the Foundation are carried out in accordance with the Foundation’s core values.


  • Supervise the Program Officers (7), including but not limited to orientation, day-to-day management and support, and annual reviews
  • Support the Executive Director in hiring Program Staff, as needed
  • Provide regular support to Program Officers as they carry out the strategies of the All for NC Framework

Grantmaking Strategies

  • Stay abreast of the larger context of issues facing North Carolina at both the state and local levels, supporting staff in aligning the Foundation’s strategies with broader issues affecting the state
  • Lead internal grant application review processes, including but not limited to internal meeting facilitation; document review and editing; application and reporting improvements; and preparing materials for Trustees
  • As needed, work with staff and Trustees to redesign grantmaking strategies and processes
  • With Program Officers and Grant Administrators, develop grant cycle timelines and workflows with an eye towards both operations staff and program staff needs
  • Work with staff to provide analysis of grant cycles for Executive Director and Trustees
  • Work with the Executive Director to design and implement special projects and initiatives within the Exploratory, Visionary Ideas strategy, as needed
  • Support staff who are assigned to carry out specific tasks within and across strategies
  • Create and manage intentional spaces for Program Staff to strategize together and develop strategy and process improvements
  • Pay attention to how the strategies should/could intersect, and take advantage of opportunities for cross-strategy work that can advance the Foundation’s mission
  • Alongside the Executive Director, serve as a liaison to Trustees regarding any changes or improvements to the strategies
  • Assist with research projects, as needed
  • Help identify potential opportunities to leverage ZSR resources to advance the Foundation’s mission
  • Assist staff with compliance matters
  • Staff Board committees as needed, including arranging committee meetings consistent with the directions of the Committee Chairs, preparing background information consistent with the purpose of the meeting, executing any tasks as assigned by the committee, and communicating with committee members regarding the status of committee activities
  • Help design and support new initiatives as needed

Learning Agendas

  • Help ZSR operationalize its commitment to being a learning organization, including supporting staff and Trustees in developing learning goals and processes
  • Develop programmatic learning agendas and opportunities for staff and Trustees, in regards to priority areas, the field of philanthropy and issues affecting NC
  • Work with the Director of Convening and Capacity-Building to discern ways to better support and listen to grantee partners, and to create opportunities for learning from and with partners

Racial Equity Lens (Co-Lead with the Director of Convening and Capacity-Building)

  • Help ZSR develop and implement the next steps of its racial equity journey, including managing racial equity/DEI consultants
  • Develop learning opportunities about racial equity for Trustees, staff and grantees
  • Support staff in further applying a racial equity lens to the Foundation’s strategies, processes, and operations including but not limited to assisting internal committees, reviewing current application and grant practices, etc.
  • Identify opportunities for staff and Trustees to further understand the ways in which systemic and institutional racism have and do intersect with the field of philanthropy
  • Stay abreast of the larger context of issues facing North Carolina at both the state and local levels, the ways in which race intersects with those issues, bring awareness to staff and Trustees, and develop ideas for addressing racial inequities

Operations and Communications

  • Work with the Director of Finance and Operations to create budget projections and descriptions for the SLSC and CBS strategies
  • Support the Executive Director on legal matters, in consultation with the Foundation’s legal counsel
  • Work with the Director of Communications to share the Foundation’s strategies and learning with external audiences

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by the person assigned to this job. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and/or skills required of personnel as classified. Other duties may be assigned, as needed.


  • Commitment to the Foundation’s core values
  • 15+ years of work experience, including at least 5 years in philanthropy
  • Experience managing staff and teams
  • Knowledge of North Carolina and its communities
  • Ability to develop and implement learning agendas
  • Strong analytical skills and experience developing strategy and process improvements
  • Ability to identify appropriate data to drive decision-making
  • Highly collaborative; skilled connector and communicator
  • Highly detail-oriented, with superb organization and follow-through skills; proven ability to multi-task, strategize, problem solve and prioritize responsibilities
  • Ability to exercise sound judgment and maintain highly confidential information
  • Flexibility and adaptability in dealing with a variety of assignments, people and resources
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office; comfort with technology and ability to learn and adopt new computer programs
  • Willing to reside in Forsyth County


The Director of Strategy and Learning is expected to work on-site in the office most days, with some flexibility for remote work. Our office is in downtown Winston-Salem. Regular travel is likely, primarily around North Carolina. As part of the executive team, occasional after-hours work may be required.


Following are physical and mental requirements of the position as typically performed. Inability to meet one or more of these physical and mental requirements will not automatically disqualify a candidate or employee from the position. Upon request for a reasonable accommodation, the Foundation may be able to adjust or excuse one or more of these requirements, depending on the requirement, the essential functions to which it relates, and the proposed accommodation.

  • Operates in a professional office environment and performs primarily sedentary work.
  • Routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, printers, copiers, and phones.
  • Sits for prolonged periods at a desk. Frequent standing and walking. Occasional stooping, reaching, bending, climbing, pushing, pulling.
  • Repetitive use of fingers and hands for typing and other tasks.
  • Frequent listening, speaking, and use of visual acuity.
  • Reading and writing at an intermediate to complex level.
  • Occasional lifting up to 35 lbs.
  • Ability to use all senses to safely drive a vehicle, and ability to drive a vehicle.


Salary range is $150,000 - $185,000, commensurate with experience. Benefits include generous paid time off (PTO) and holidays, health insurance, life insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, long-term disability insurance, sick leave and short-term disability, parental leave and a 403(b) retirement plan. There is no waiting period for participation in the 403(b) retirement plan. Other optional benefits include a flexible benefit plan, matching gifts program, professional development, and tuition reimbursement.

The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation is committed to equality and diversity. Qualified individuals are encouraged to apply regardless of socio-economic status, gender expression, gender and sexual identity, or cultural background. The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer and will not discriminate against applicants or employees based on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, sex, disability, political affiliation, protected veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected class.

Winston-Salem, NC
$150,000 - $185,000

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