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Growth Associate
The Chicago Public Education Fund

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Growth Associate

The Chicago Public Education Fund
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Job Overview

Job Posted
8 days ago
Job Type

Job Description

The Chicago Public Education Fund (The Fund) was founded in 2000 by civic, business and philanthropic leaders who believed that “better schools are everyone’s business.”

We are currently seeking one Associate to join the Growth Team. This role is a temporary position between now and May 2019, with a potential extension based on project developments. The Growth Team is passionate about exploring new possibilities that strengthen our principal quality work. To maximize the success of higher-risk initiative testing and exploration, they closely collaborate with our cross-functional leadership team to drive new ideas and help the team succeed. They demonstrate a hypothesis-driven and outcome-oriented mindset, with a bias toward action, especially in ambiguity.


The Associate will report to the Manager of Growth Projects and will be responsible for project management and strategic support for principal pipeline work.

Responsibilities for the Associate include, but are not limited to:

  • Managing strategies to support Chicago’s principal pipeline and collaborating within a cross-functional team to execute projects that ensure strong recruitment, development and placement of aspiring school leaders.
  • Supporting The Fund’s investment process for growth work and principal pipeline projects, including due diligence around prospective investments, management of external partners and analysis of investment impact for multiple stakeholders, including The Fund’s Board of Directors.
  • Proactively preparing relevant presentations, materials and communication for stakeholders, including The Fund’s Board of Directors, Chicago Public Schools, the funding community and other partners focused on principal quality.
  • Establishing and managing strong relationships with principals, educators and other nonprofit partners to inform The Fund’s long-term vision and strategies to support principal quality.


The Fund is seeking a highly motivated professional. Successful candidates will have:

  • A strong work ethic and detail-oriented approach.
  • Comfort in new or unprecedented contexts.
  • Project planning experience with a strong track record of executing on and achieving results.
  • Strong verbal and written presentation and communication skills, particularly with diverse audiences.
  • High proficiency in Microsoft Office – particularly PowerPoint, Excel and Word.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Ability to manage self, manage workload effectively, be flexible and adaptive, and follow through on execution in a time-sensitive, high-stakes environment.
  • Ideally, prior experience and/or interest in working in the nonprofit or education sector. 

Please email a resume and cover letter that outline how your skills and experience meet the qualifications of the position. In your cover letter, please also indicate how you heard about this opportunity.  

About The Chicago Public Education Fund

In March 2000, Chicago’s top civic and corporate leaders announced the creation of The Chicago Public Education Fund (The Fund) – one of the first city-based philanthropic venture funds in the nation. From inception, The Fund team was dedicated to achieving the goal of a world-class education for all of Chicago’s children. Inspired by the entrepreneurial principles that transformed the technology sector; these visionary leaders saw an opportunity to revitalize the nation’s third largest school district through strategic investments in education innovators and cutting-edge initiatives that would accelerate student achievement across Chicago. The Fund’s founders sent a strong message about the importance of successful public schools to the city’s future by putting their own reputations and significant dollars on the line.

Founding President and CEO Janet Knupp led The Fund for the first decade of its existence, establishing the organization as one of the most respected philanthropic venture funds in the nation. Once a special education teacher, Janet joined The Fund after leading Communities in Schools of Chicago. She soon became a national leader in the nonprofit venture fund community, attracting attention from many sectors for her pioneering work in Chicago.

Janet worked with founding Board Chairman Scott Smith, former Publisher of the Chicago Tribune, and The Fund’s other directors to establish the principles that guide our work today: venture philanthropy, innovation, collaboration and accountability. Through her leadership, The Fund raised $50 million and invested in a number of transformative initiatives that continue to benefit Chicago’s students. Janet led The Fund’s focus on teacher and principal talent as a key lever to accelerate student achievement, helping to put a national spotlight on their importance in school improvement.

In summer 2011, Janet resigned from The Fund, explaining that the time was right for new leadership since a key partner, Chicago Public Schools (CPS), also was poised for a leadership change.

In March 2012, The Fund’s Board of Directors selected Heather Anichini, also a former teacher in CPS, to succeed Janet as President and CEO. Heather is a product of one of the talent pipeline programs, Teach For America, that The Fund helped bring to the city. In partnership with the Board, CPS and others across Chicago, Anichini is building on The Fund’s storied history as she takes the organization in new directions, re-imagining what is possible for Chicago’s students.

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