CEO of Religion News Foundation/Publisher of Religion News Service

Website RNS Religion News Foundation

Closing Date for letter of interest, resume, and three listed references: February 14, 2020 (5:00 PM EST).

Religion News Foundation (RNF) and its subsidiary, Religion News Service (RNS), are seeking a resourceful and dynamic chief executive officer to lead both organizations as the CEO of RNF and publisher of RNS. Along with overseeing the RNF staff, the Editor-in-Chief of RNS, and RNS business staff, this person shall: create and execute a strategic plan that builds a strong organization with a clear identity; understand the publishing industry and how to monetize content and build business models; create revenue streams through fundraising and other activities; and be a strong leader with excellent interpersonal, communication, and managerial skills.

This position reports to the Chair of the RNF Board of Trustees and liaisons regularly with other Trustees.

Religion News Foundation is an independent, educational, nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the understanding of religion in America and the world by improving public discourse about religion, advancing religious literacy, and supporting professional religion journalism. RNF facilitates and encourages discourse about religion in a neutral and informative way without endorsing or promoting any particular belief system or point of view. In the spring of 2019, RNF launched a global religion reporting initiative with two global media partners to create the largest group in the world of full-time professional journalists covering religion, spirituality, culture, and ethics, with content distributed to the AP’s 15,000 media customers representing print, television, radio, digital, and other media outlets.

In Fiscal Year 2019, RNF received roughly $6.5 million in grants, primarily from the Lilly Endowment, to finance RNS and other projects. Annual expenses for Fiscal Year 2019 were $2.9 million. Most expenses are related to RNS (see below).

Religion News Foundation also is the Section 501(c)(3) supporting organization of the Religion News Association (RNA). Created in 1949, RNA advances professional standards of religion reporting and provides support for religion reporters, editors, and producers. Since 1999, RNF has worked closely with RNA to seek, receive, and administer grants to create tools, training, and models for religion reporters, including scholarships; a tip sheet, ReligionLink; a religion stylebook and primer; webinars; and regional and global training events.

Religion News Foundation acquired Religion News Service in 2011 and created a Board of Managers to oversee its operation. It is a nonprofit news site with a mission to provide in-depth, non-sectarian coverage of religion, spirituality, and ideas using the highest standards of journalism. It currently has an editorial staff of nine plus contributors, correspondents, and columnists, as well as a business staff of three FTEs. RNS is reinventing itself in the digital age and aims to be the largest single source of objective news and insightful commentary about religion, spirituality, and ideas. For most of its 80 years, RNS has been a wire service providing content to a wide range of publications and websites.


Leadership & Management: The CEO will have overall responsibility for RNF staff, serve on the RNF Board of Trustees and the RNS Board of Managers, and work collaboratively with the RNS Editor-in-Chief. The CEO shall forge close relations with the RNA Board of Directors and develop partnerships to execute the missions of RNF and RNS by:

• Creating and executing a strategic plan for the organization; implementing RNF’s vision and mission; and setting goals that are measurable and describable;

• Building relationships of trust with key partners and stakeholders—including media organizations, religion journalists, educators, and foundations—that support religious literacy, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and a robust, informed public discourse;

• Ensuring ongoing programmatic excellence, rigorous program evaluation, and consistent adherence to legal and fiduciary guidelines, as well as in-house policies to maintain RNF’s legal and business ethics;

• Skillfully communicating on behalf of RNF to its many audiences, including reporters, religious community members, partners, funders, and the public;

• Succinctly analyzing problematic situations and providing solutions to ensure the organization’s survival and growth; and

• Providing day-to-day supervision of the RNF staff, RNS Editor-in-Chief, and RNS business staff; advising on editorial products and overall editorial strategy from a business perspective. (Individual news judgment and editorial managerial control belongs to the Editor-in-Chief.)

Revenue Generation and Fundraising: The CEO will work with the RNF Board of Trustees and RNF/RNS staff to enhance revenue and diversify its funding sources by:

• Expanding RNF’s revenue-generating and fundraising activities to support and expand existing program operations. This includes developing initiatives to monetize RNS content, fostering paying partnerships, seeking and renewing grants, identifying and developing fee-for-service opportunities, cultivating donor relations, and developing a membership component, products, and advertising strategies for RNS;

• Developing fundraising efforts with strong messages that appeal to potential donors and are strategically tied to the organization’s mission; and

• Ensuring that all legal reporting requirements are satisfied.


This position offers a creative and innovative leader the opportunity to assist a well-respected organization achieve ambitious goals. All candidates should have proven leadership, interpersonal, communication, and management skills. While no candidate is expected to have all of the professional and personal characteristics sought in this position, the ideal candidate will have the following qualifications:

Professional Experience: The successful candidate:

• Is an advocate for religion journalism and has demonstrated a commitment to journalism as a necessity of free and open societies;

• Has experience in the publishing industry, knows how to monetize content, and possesses a deep understanding of the media market landscape, including its challenges and opportunities;

• Has a background in entrepreneurial experimentation, planning, and business development, particularly in developing advertisers, donors, underwriters, and other revenue sources based on an engaged community;

• Displays excellence in organizational management with the ability to coach staff, manage and develop small and geographically dispersed teams, set and achieve strategic objectives, and manage a budget;

• Has experience in marketing and public relations and the ability to create strategic partnerships and engage a wide range of stakeholders and cultures, including people from a variety of religious traditions and media platforms;

• Has fundraising experience, the knowledge of grant-making, and meaningful relationships with key media and/or religion and other funders; and

• Respects editorial independence and the role and responsibilities of journalists.

Personal Qualities: The successful candidate:

• Is a visionary who is willing to take risks and continue the entrepreneurial innovation required to align priorities, goals, and the overall missions of RNF and RNS;

• Has an unwavering commitment to quality programs and data-driven program evaluation with the flexibility to adapt and accommodate changing priorities in a fast-paced environment;

• Has excellent interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills; is flexible and has a management style that combines respectful collaboration, wisdom, and humor with disciplined productivity and persistence;

• Has the aptitude and drive to lead, mentor, and motivate board members and staff and energize donors, funders, subscribers, and other constituents;

• Views leadership as an opportunity to empower others; and

• Is able to travel domestically and internationally and uses excellent communication and public speaking skills to represent RNF and RNS.

Office based in the New York City/Washington DC area.

We offer a salary and bonus commensurate with the role including full benefits.

Candidates should send a cover letter explaining what strengths they would bring to this position, reason for applying, as well as a resume and three listed references to (The letter should be 800 words maximum.) The deadline for applications is February 14, 2020 at 5:00 PM EST.

The Search Committee will keep all applications confidential. After submitting your application, you will receive an email confirming receipt of your application materials. RNF will contact you if we wish to schedule an interview or if we require additional information or references.

For any questions, please email

RNF is an equal opportunity employer.