The Stephen Lewis Foundation

Executive Director
Posted Date: 
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Closing Date: 
Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Job Description

Executive Director

The Stephen Lewis Foundation


The Stephen Lewis Foundation is at an important juncture as it seeks a strategic, collaborative, and progressive leader as its next Executive Director. This leader will build on the groundbreaking work of the foundation’s founders and staff, supporting the vital work of community-based organizations in sub-Saharan Africa working at the frontlines of the AIDS pandemic, and taking the organization to the next level of revenue to increase that support.

Reporting to the Board of Directors and leading a talented and driven team that values diversity of perspective and collaboration, the Executive Director will provide vision, inspiration, direction and oversight of organizational operations while nourishing the strengths of each team member in support of their shared goals.

This is an opportunity to work closely with the Foundation’s founders Stephen Lewis and Ilana Landsberg-Lewis to continue the values and ethos of the Stephen Lewis Foundation to partner with grassroots groups in a unique way that respects their expertise and priorities.

This position will be based at The Stephen Lewis Foundation offices, at 260 Spadina Avenue in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The language of work is English. This position has a salary range from $150,000 to $175,000, plus 4 weeks’ vacation. The Stephen Lewis Foundation has a highly competitive health benefit plan, and a voluntary RRSP enrollment plan provided by Great – West Life to employees.

To view the full Executive Brief, please visit:



Since 2003, the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) has been delivering resources directly into the hands of community-based organizations in the 15 African countries hardest hit by the global AIDS pandemic. These organizations are turning the tide of HIV & AIDS in Africa by providing care and support to women, children orphaned by AIDS, grandmothers and people living with HIV & AIDS.

These grassroots groups are the lifeline for their communities. They provide counselling and education about HIV prevention, care and treatment; distribute food, medication and other necessities; reach the sick and vulnerable through home-based health care; help orphans and vulnerable children access education and work through their grief; and support grandmothers caring for their orphaned grandchildren.

The SLF raises approximately $11 million annually and as of June 2018, disbursed and committed a cumulative $114.3 million to programmes led by grassroots experts in the more than 325 community-based organizations. Over 1700 innovative and inspiring initiatives have been successfully undertaken—with powerful and tangible impact.

Field visits are a critical part of the funding process. Before a funding decision is made and then throughout the partnerships with funded organizations, a trusted Field Representative will visit organizations to assess their ability to implement programmes, their connection to the community and their organizational systems. The field visits are also important opportunities to build relationships with partners and foster an open, trusting and responsive relationship.

Areas of Work

The Stephen Lewis Foundation supports women, children orphaned by AIDS, and the indomitable grandmothers who have stepped in to care for them, associations of people living with HIV & AIDS, and LGBTQ grassroots groups, who are bravely declaring their HIV status and working to address stigma, educate their communities and press for change.

The SLF strives to be responsive in its support, and to the constantly-evolving needs and priorities at community level. Current areas of focus include:


The SLF works at the community level in 15 sub-Saharan African countries: Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

How the Foundation Works

For the Stephen Lewis Foundation, it’s not only the substance that matters, it’s the method. It’s not only what they do – it’s how they collaborate.

The SLF’s philosophy is firmly rooted in the notion that if anyone is going to turn the tide of AIDS in Africa at the community level, they will be found in the communities themselves. The SLF has created a model that is responsive and reflects the needs and priorities of community-based organizations. To do this requires flexibility, openness and constant learning.

The SLF includes in its funding resources for operating costs, salaries and stipends for home-based care workers, all of which are critical to ensuring that the day-to-day work can continue.

Grandmothers Campaign

Launched in 2006 and raising more than $33 million, the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign is a dynamic movement of thousands of grandmothers and grandothers across Canada and the globe.

The Campaign was a Canadian grassroots response to the emerging crisis faced by African grandmothers and has three shared goals: raise awareness, build solidarity, and mobilize funds for community-based organizations that support African grandmothers and the children in their care.

Resources from the Campaign are invested directly at the community level, with grassroots organizations that provide grandmothers and the children in their care with supports that include food, educational supplies, uniforms and school fees, medical care, HIV counselling and testing, adequate housing and bedding, counselling and support groups, home visits, and much more.

African grandmothers are central to the life of their communities. They became parents anew in the midst of the HIV & AIDS pandemic, putting their grandchildren through school, creating support groups to manage grief, and delivering comfort and hope through home-based care. They teach others about HIV prevention and treatment, create local savings and loan groups, and sit on land-rights councils. African grandmothers are leaders, sharing their expertise in their communities and on the international stage, pressing for their human rights and a hopeful future.


Motivated by the principles of social justice, equality and partnership, the ideal candidate will be a values-driven leader with extensive fundraising, grant-making, and political acumen, ready to work collaboratively with staff and senior volunteers to move this innovative foundation to the next phase in its evolution. The new Executive Director will come to the role with knowledge and experience engaging in international forums and proven success working with grass-roots, community based organizations in Africa.

An accomplished fundraiser with a proven track record securing major gifts from individuals, foundations, and corporations, the ideal candidate will be skilled at developing comprehensive fundraising plans that focus on securing new revenue and enhancing stewardship of the Foundation’s existing donors and funders. The Executive Director will develop and steward relationships with individual, corporate, and foundation donors, funders and partners. In response to dissipating funds for this mandate globally, the Executive Director will increase revenue in order to the meet the growing needs of community partners in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Executive Director will be a charismatic communicator with a sense of optimism and the ability to move confidently, influence, and engage a range of stakeholders and audiences. The new incumbent will have a strong feminist gender analysis, an understanding of north-south power dynamics, and operate with an anti-colonialism lens, endeavoring to amplify the voices of community partners. The new incumbent will work to increase access to funding and magnify the significance of the HIV/AIDS pandemic to Canadians. The successful candidate will bring experience in international development, have an understanding of the international community, operating in global forums, and fundraising opportunities internationally.

Reporting directly to a highly-regarded and accomplished Board of Directors including senior leaders from the international development sector, the successful candidate will be a strong relationship builder, storyteller, and advocate for complex social justice issues.

As a leader who values diverse opinions and skills, embraces collaboration at all stages of development, and applies progressive, feminist values to decision making, the Executive Director will inspire and rally a strong and tenured staff team to provide holistic support for our partners so that they may cope with crisis, foster growth and resilience, regroup and rebuild lives.



  • A minimum of 10 years of relevant senior leadership experience
  • Expertise working with, recruiting, supporting, and coaching boards and senior volunteers
  • Broad fundraising background with experience in diverse revenue generating programmes and proven success engaging and soliciting individuals, corporations, and foundations for major gifts and partnerships
  • Enthusiastic team leader who inspires confidence and desires to lead, coach and work alongside their team towards a shared vision
  • Experience in the international development sector is preferred, and/or a strong understanding of the intersections of HIV and AIDS, with experience working with matters surrounding HIV and AIDS
  • Experience and understanding with grant-making including policies, trends, and impacts
  • A respectful and inclusive approach to community partners is imperative
  • Embodies a feminist ideology and embraces a social impact agenda
  • Exceptional communication and presentation skills with the ability to express ideas and opinions clearly and effectively
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills with demonstrated ability to build and maintain relationships within immediate team, senior volunteers, donors and community partners
  • Regular travel required both nationally and internationally – a valid driver’s licence, passport, and fulfilling health and security protocols are required
  • Comfortable with flexible business hours to accommodate time differences, occasional evening/weekend events, donor support or organizational resource management
  • A minimum of an undergraduate University degree is required



KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) has been retained to conduct this search on behalf of The Stephen Lewis Foundation. For more information about this exceptional leadership opportunity, please contact Ellie Rusonik, Senior Consultant, KCI Search + Talent at

All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence.

Please send resume and letter of interest to the email address above by October 22, 2019.

To view the full Executive Brief, please visit:

This position is open to all Canadian citizens, permanent residents and those legally able to work in Canada. Other individuals may be considered, per Canadian immigration laws. Candidates should please include their status when applying for this position.

The Stephen Lewis Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applicants from diverse backgrounds and those who may require accommodations.