Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation
The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, widely recognized as the state's premier public policy organization dealing with state and local fiscal, tax and economic policies, is seeking a new President. This is an exciting opportunity to lead the Foundation during a time of significant changes in the Commonwealth. The Board is looking for a critical and strategic thinker with sophisticated knowledge of public finance, research and policy, who is skilled at navigating the state’s business, government and political landscapes. The new President will also be an exceptional relationship-builder and communicator, with a strong understanding of, and commitment to, the Foundation’s mission. Importantly, s/he will have the vision and credibility to ensure MTF’s vitality and relevance as it moves into a new chapter.
The ideal candidate will be a leader who has established a record of credibility by virtue of his or her accomplishments, around whom the membership and staff will coalesce. Politically astute, but balanced and objective, the new President will be able to serve as an articulate and influential spokesperson for the Foundation, representing the interests and priorities of the organization’s members, and framing and communicating complex research and policy analysis for a variety of audiences and through a range of media in this rapidly changing digital era.
Founded in 1932, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation’s record of high quality research and non-partisan analysis has earned the organization the trust and respect of the business community, the legislative and executive branches of state government, policymakers and the media. Its mission is to provide accurate, unbiased research with balanced, thoughtful recommendations that strengthen the state's finances and economy in order to foster the long-term well being of the Commonwealth. MTF fills a unique niche in the community of Massachusetts business and trade associations. It serves as a watchdog on the state budget, working to promote rational tax policy, efficient government operations, and a strong private sector. Its research and analysis is highly regarded, standing up to intense scrutiny and seen in many quarters as definitive.
Over the course of 8 decades the Foundation has played an instrumental role in achieving major reforms and promoting sound public policy in state government. In the past 20 years, the Foundation has won 16 prestigious national awards from the Governmental Research Association for its work on a wide array of topics. The Foundation’s credibility has allowed it to have a significant impact on a diverse range of issues - from health care, business costs and transportation funding to tax competitiveness, capital investments and state and local finances.
MTF is at a critical juncture. The transition from the successful tenure of Michael Widmer to new leadership will present opportunities, challenges and risks. This lean, highly valued and productive organization will require strategic and thoughtful leadership – from both the Board and the new President – in order to remain the primary source of fiscal research and policy in the state.
The Transition: The new President will have the opportunity – and responsibility – to work with the Board to use this transition period to further define MTF’s future direction. There is strong support for an inclusive strategic planning process that includes the membership, staff and other stakeholders. The core mission is unquestioned, but members believe that in moving forward the new President should work with the Board and staff to refresh the mission, and determine how best to leverage the Foundation’s strengths, increase its capacity and capability, and expand its visibility and influence. To support these potential changes, s/he will help refine the role of President through thoughtful delegation of some major responsibilities, to allow for more focus on big picture issues and membership engagement. The primary concern is for a smooth and successful transition that builds upon the many strengths of MTF and sets a clear course for its future.
The Environment: Massachusetts is undergoing a generational leadership change in its business, not-for-profit and government sectors. Particularly significant are imminent changes in its elected leadership, in both the executive and legislative branches, and on both the state and municipal levels. Concurrently, there are differences in opinion about the role of government and about how its policies should be implemented. As one member commented, “it is a new century and a new economy, and the world of work is rapidly evolving.” These trends will impact the organization both directly and indirectly. The new President will need to understand the pulse of the state on many levels, and be able to respond and adapt effectively.
Membership: Underpinning MTF’s success is its membership, which represents an economic powerhouse that lends the organization credibility and influence. As the business climate evolves, MTF will need to recruit new members to broaden and diversify its membership base (e.g., geographically, demographically, and by industry). In addition, MTF will need to explore ways to offer more opportunities for member engagement, more clearly articulate MTF’s value proposition, and ensure that the research agenda includes the interests and concerns of a broader membership.
Financial Stewardship and Sustainability: MTF is financially stable, with significant reserves. These funds will need to be carefully stewarded. Attracting additional financial support and identifying new revenue sources will be key to the Foundation’s ability to build upon its past successes.
Visibility and Recognition: Well known in state government, the business community and the media, MTF is not as well known in other arenas or by the public. MTF’s leadership must consider the extent to which visibility and recognition are necessary to its capacity to accomplish its mission, develop a communications strategy, and, if appropriate, “rebrand”. Journalists and the media in general have been an important vehicle for MTF to reach varied audiences, and this world, too, is undergoing radical change. MTF will need to adapt by leveraging new media accordingly.
Reporting to the Board of Trustees and working closely with the Executive Committee, the new President will provide intellectual leadership, oversight and support for the Foundation’s capable staff. S/he will work with the Board leadership, membership and staff to develop a vision and strategic direction for MTF’s future. Serving as the face of MTF, the President will establish credibility and become a trusted resource for diverse audiences, including members, government leaders and the media. The President will continue MTF’s non-partisan approach, and will ensure the ongoing excellence of MTF’s research, policy and reputation. In addition, the President will be responsible for the Foundation’s overall performance, leveraging its resources, and ensuring its financial stability. The new President will maintain current and identify new opportunities for creative partnerships and collaborations with organizations with similar interests.
Central to the new President’s success will be the ability to identify issues of import, frame research that explores those issues in an impartial way, and communicate the findings to a varied audience in a balanced and persuasive manner. S/he will consider the potential impact on MTF of current external factors, explore ways to expand, diversify and better engage the membership, and cultivate strong relationships with both business leaders and the executive and legislative branches of government, in order to provide insights that help to align government policy with business perspectives in ways that support a thriving Commonwealth.
To be successful, the next President will need to:
Work closely with the Board to refine, articulate and implement the strategic vision of the Foundation, while continuing to focus on MTF's core mission:
· Reach out to the membership and staff to engage them in a strategic planning process and to refresh the mission, vision and goals
· Reaffirm and articulate a clear set of core values/guiding principles
· Clearly articulate MTF’s value proposition as it both partners and competes with similar organizations
· Translate the vision into action in a way that continues to ensure excellence
Be responsible for the overall performance of the organization, and oversee day-to-day operations and administration:
· Inspire and oversee the Foundation’s staff
· Foster a collaborative, supportive, accountable, and transparent work environment that enables all staff to continue to contribute at the highest levels to the Foundation’s mission
· Ensure continued financial viability (including revenue diversification) and the integrity of all financial transactions, and that professional systems and standards are maintained throughout the organization
· Ensure that MTF has the organizational infrastructure, capacity and capability that it needs in order to achieve its goals
· Work effectively with the Board to keep them informed about the performance and financial status of the organization and enable them to make decisions that best support MTF and its mission
· Promote ongoing Board and membership development and keep them engaged, making the best use of their time and talents
· Focus on broadening and diversifying the membership base (e.g., geographically, demographically, and by industry) by working with the Board, membership and staff to design processes to identify potential new members, and strategies to persuade them to join
· Work with Board and staff to identify candidates for the Executive Committee, Board of Trustees, and various committees
Cultivate existing and new relationships, partnerships and collaborations in support of MTF’s goals:
· Maintain and build organizational and personal credibility, particularly within the business community and the executive and legislative branches of government
· Build working relationships, new partnerships and coalitions with other groups in support of common objectives, to extend the reach of the Foundation in support of its agenda and goals
· Establish relationships with key government leaders in the executive branch and legislature
· Engage the membership and other civic leaders or organizations as appropriate
Working in concert with the Board of Trustees, develop and implement the Foundation’s research agenda, balancing short-term requirements with longer-term commitments to achieve major policy changes:
· Develop and carry out a range of research projects that build on the Foundation’s record of important, groundbreaking work that has earned the organization widespread credibility and respect
· Oversee all research reports, ensuring that the final product achieves the Foundation’s standards for accuracy, clarity, and persuasive writing
· Create a long- and short-term policy agenda that is linked to the research agenda as appropriate, including developing and carrying out legislative and media strategies to support policy goals
· Serve as a thought leader and catalyst around state fiscal and budgetary policy, and as a spokesperson for MTF, communicating its research and policy views to a broad audience
· Prepare and deliver legislative testimony
Guide the Foundation’s efforts to maximize its impact and influence through the communication of its research and policies:
· Develop and implement a wide ranging communications strategy with an array of audiences, including members, media, legislators/staff, executive branch, municipal leaders and the business community
· Continue to expand the Foundation's voice and influence through targeted outreach, existing and new partnerships and public presence
· Skillfully leverage new media and marketing opportunities, including social media, and keep abreast of new developments and opportunities to engage and inform
· Consider "rebranding" to better position MTF in support of its mission and goals
· Ensure effective responses to requests for data and analysis on a remarkably diverse set of issues from members, legislators, the media and many others
Hold periodic forums on important policy issues
Initial Priorities and Expectations
In the first 12-18 months, it is expected that the President’s focus will be to:
• Create a smooth transition
• Retain and cultivate staff; build organizational capacity and capability, as appropriate
• Assure continuity in the high quality and balanced nature of research, and serve as an impartial convener around issues of import
• Maintain and cultivate external relationships
• Begin an inclusive strategic planning process
• Establish personal credibility while maintaining MTF’s status as the principal nonpartisan resource on all manner of issues related to state and municipal finances
• Effectively partner with the former President and leverage his skills and relationships in the best interest of the Foundation
The Foundation seeks a strategic leader with integrity, vision and a passion for the Foundation’s mission who will possess many or all of the following qualifications and attributes:
• Credibility and excellent judgment
• Sophisticated understanding of public finance, business perspectives, government and policy
• A skilled and persuasive communicator; able to clearly frame complex issues and policies for a variety of audiences; an articulate presenter and a strong writer
• Able to conceive and carry out a high quality research agenda
• An exceptional relationship-builder; politically astute and diplomatic, able to navigate the competing demands of government, business and politics
• A thought leader with high standards who is balanced and non-partisan
• A trusted mediator and consensus-builder, able to bring together stakeholders with a wide range of perspectives, and frame issues in ways that motivate collaborative effort toward lasting solutions
• Effective manager who can engage and retain a highly-skilled staff
• Confident and able to take unpopular positions
• Able to create revenue diversity and raise money
• An advanced degree, preferably in public affairs, business, government relations, or general public policy or a closely related field is desired
To nominate a candidate, or to apply, forward resume and cover letter in confidence to E. Catlin Donnelly & Associates at: firstname.lastname@example.org
MTF provides unpaid internship opportunities for college students and recent graduates who have an interest in public-policy research. Internships range from 10 - 25 hours/week. Responsibilities will vary based on the skills of the intern. If interested in applying, please send a resume and cover letter to Carolyn Ryan, with the phrase "Internship Request" in the subject line.