Position Announcement: Executive Director

Mass Humanities is seeking an Executive Director to spearhead public humanities engagement with educational, cultural, government, business, and nonprofit leaders throughout the Commonwealth. The ideal candidate will be a passionate advocate for the humanities and their relevance to contemporary life, a highly persuasive public communicator, and a proven leader and organizational manager.

Mass Humanities uses history, literature, philosophy, and other humanities disciplines to enhance civic life and enrich public discourse across Massachusetts. Established in 1974 as the state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Mass Humanities is an independent programming and grant-making organization that receives support from NEH, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and private sources.

Mass Humanities

  • Advocates for the public humanities, for humanities institutions, and for the incorporation of humanities values in the public square;
  • Serves as a funder, facilitator and catalyst for projects that bring the humanities to life especially in underserved communities;
  • Encourages collaboration between humanities institutions and other organizations (hospitals, social service agencies, prisons, libraries, businesses, schools, etc.);
  • Uses the media to increase awareness of the humanities and to encourage civic discourse;
  • Informs those who make and implement public policy in Massachusetts; and
  • Expands the power and pleasure of the humanities by engaging larger and more diverse audiences that cross social, cultural, and economic divides.

In these days of global transition, the humanities are often undervalued yet increasingly vital to resolving our common predicaments and strengthening discourse among diverse communities. At the same time, the means by which the public engages with the humanities is dramatically changing. Mass Humanities seeks an Executive Director who embraces these challenges, can build on its solid and award-winning history, and will lead the organization and represent its values confidently into the future.

Mass Humanities (formally known as the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy, Inc.) is governed by a volunteer board of 25 directors, including six Governor-appointees, who reflect the social and geographic diversity of Massachusetts. There is a staff of 10 highly skilled individuals and an annual budget of approximately $2 million. For more information, please visit our website: www.masshumanities.org.

The Position

As the chief executive, the Executive Director is delegated the authority by the board to lead Mass Humanities in the following key areas:

Vision, mission and strategies

  • Works closely with the Board in the development of the strategic vision and mission; and
  • Works with staff to translate strategic planning into realistic goals and actions.

External relations

  • Maintains productive relationships with federal, state, and private entities;
  • Advocates and communicates to advance Mass Humanities’ mission with public, educational and cultural institutions, public officials, and leadership of the for-profit and nonprofit sectors; and
  • Creates and maintains innovative partnerships.


  • Assumes a leadership role in diversifying funding sources and raising funds from federal, state and private sources, including personally “making asks;” and
  • Works with Board and staff to meet Mass Humanities’ fundraising needs.

Management and Operations

  • Hires and evaluates qualified staff and models effective performance;
  • Builds morale among staff and volunteers;
  • Has a clear understanding of current and future financial resources needed to realize the mission;
  • Submits an annual plan, budget, financial reports and audit for Board review and approval; and
  • Oversees day-to-day operations and ensures that appropriate systems are in place, including accounting, risk management, human resources, legal requirements and technology.


  • Works with staff to create and support meaningful public humanities-based programming;
  • Maintains substantive knowledge of Mass Humanities’ programs and services;
  • Sets high standards of quality and ensures the efficiency and effectiveness of programs; and
  • Recommends new programs and modifications to existing programming to the Board.

Board relations

  • Understands the role of the Board and its leadership expectations of the Executive Director;
  • Updates the Board on all material developments concerning Mass Humanities; and
  • Effectively partners with the Board to develop appropriate policies and to recruit Board candidates.

Experience and Attributes Desired

  • Demonstrated passion and vision for public humanities;
  • Knowledge of and insight into the current direction of humanities scholarship;
  • Ability to creatively engage current issues;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills including experience as a public spokesperson;
  • Cultivation of partnerships and collaborations with constituencies;
  • Proven track record in grant making as well as in fundraising;
  • Experience creating, financing, managing and evaluating core programs to reach broad audiences;
  • Demonstrated effective staff management and organizational leadership;
  • Inspiring leadership style;
  • Entrepreneurial bent, with the ability to think strategically and analytically; and
  • Experience working effectively with a volunteer board of directors.

To apply in confidence: Please email cover letter and resume to Susan Egmont at Egmont Associates, segmont@egmontassociates.com.

posted: February 15, 2018