Director, Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

Position:  Regular, Full Time, Exempt

Department:  Marketing & Communications

Reports to:  Chief Marketing Officer 

Supervises:  N/A

Organizational and Program Background

For more than 109 years, the Cleveland Foundation has worked with donors, nonprofit organizations, and community partners to enhance the quality of life for all Greater Cleveland residents. With a focus on Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties, the foundation builds community endowment, addresses needs through grantmaking and social impact investing, and provides leadership on vital issues. The Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the largest today, with approximately $3 billion in assets. 

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, a program of the Cleveland Foundation, recognizes books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and human diversity. For 88 years, the distinguished books earning Anisfield-Wolf prizes have opened and challenged our minds. Cleveland poet and philanthropist Edith Anisfield Wolf established the book awards in 1935, in honor of her father, John Anisfield, and husband, Eugene Wolf, to reflect her family’s passion for social justice. The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards is the only juried American book prize focusing on works that address racism and diversity.

Position Summary

Reporting to the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), the Director, Ansifield-Wolf Book Awards (AW) is a pivotal role that focuses on continuously improving the AW jury prize program itself and how it is run, while simultaneously focusing on the growth and impact of AW locally, nationally and internationally. 

Primary Roles 

Strategy: Develop an articulated plan for the future 

· Lead the process for the creation of a new strategic vision and plan for the future of the AW book awards including a 3-, 5- and 10-year plan for the growth and impact of the program.

· In partnership with Cleveland Foundation leadership, the AW jury chair and key stakeholders, lead a cross departmental team of foundation staff, stakeholders and consultants to develop a strategic plan to strengthen the awards’ processes and amplify its importance externally to further the mission of contributing to society’s understanding of racism and cultural diversity through literature.

· Examine leading literary awards programs to understand best-in-class operations. Help identify the AW awards’ position in the literary ecosystem and suggest ways to strengthen it. The learning should be iterative, and organized into 3-, 5- and 10-year plans and documented and shared. 

· As a part of the AW strategy, continually evaluate the impact of the AW Book Awards portfolio of assets which include the awards ceremony, Cleveland Book Week, The Asterisk* podcast, the PBS documentary, a college curriculum comprised of scholars at colleges and universities nationwide, a branded website and social media platforms.

Governance: Develop protocols for the jury and award process 

· Design and lead a process to transform the governance of the prize from informal to formal. 

· With the aid of the jury chair and TCF legal counsel, formalize and put in writing the prize’s guidelines for nomination and review processes, confidentiality, and conflicts of interest. 

· Help establish term limits for the jury and jury chair and the annual contracts that will undergird the work. 

Day-to-day operations and delivery of the annual AW book award program

· Ensure a transparent, respectful, and inclusive process, as it pertains to all AW stakeholders. This includes honoring poetry, fiction and nonfiction books each year, plus a lifetime achievement winner, linking the recipients to a distinguished canon that includes seven writers who went on to win Nobel Prizes. 

· Accept and organize submissions, reading and describing each one, and send books to jurors. This includes staying atop the literary scene, requesting books from publishers, and tracking responses in deliberations. 

· Help the jury reach its conclusions and partner with the CMO to orchestrate the embargoed news announcement, locally and nationally, across all platforms. This includes writing biographies of the winners and cultivating the Cleveland Foundation’s relationships with them.

· Over the course of the summer months, partner with the CMO and, more directly, the Events Managers to prepare for the awards ceremony and Cleveland Book Week, including identifying new community partners. 

· Work with grantmaking colleagues to provide leadership and insights for grantmaking in the literary arts, weaving the work into the foundation’s culture and practice. 

· Oversee the curation of a teaching curriculum for the honored books by assisting a robust portfolio of Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards scholars doing innovative work and symposia that continuously add richness to the awards’ ecosystem. 

Amplify the AW Identity

· Partner with the CMO to help shape the AW identity by collaborating on annual and long-term marketing strategies to promote, integrate and amplify the award and the accompanying programs.

· Work in collaboration with the marketing team and related AW consultants to develop and maintain the awards website and all owned media and content. 

· Develop, record and amplify a podcast series with present and past winners and coordinate a PBS documentary that is produced locally and distributed nationally.

· Grow attendees, engage national partners and build the recognition of the books, the writers, and the brand through innovative work to move the awards beyond its growing but still modest profile. 

· With the CMO, help to form a more seamless brand strategy that better integrates with the Cleveland Foundation brand and corresponding marketing and communications strategy. Bring the brand to market, while safeguarding the integrity and processes of the prize-giving on which its reputation depends. 


Essential Qualifications, Credentials and Technical Skills required

· A bachelor’s degree in English, literature, journalism or related field, and a minimum of seven to ten years of experience as a journalist, writer/editor, critic or similar role. 

· In-depth knowledge of classic and modern literary styles, authors and trends across genres in prose and poetry.

· Well-versed in publishers, various book critic circles as well as various award/prize categories and published works that have been both nominated and honored. 

· Demonstrated understanding of the sensitive issues surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion at the individual, community, national and international levels. 

· Ability to interact successfully with and present confidently and effectively to diverse constituencies, conveying information that is complex and emotional in a compelling, engaging, and sensitive manner. 

· Ability to be keenly aware of and connect literary themes to issues facing the Northeast Ohio community as well as those that are prevalent nationally and internationally. 

· Collaborative working style with an emphasis on working across teams internally as well as with many external partners and stakeholders. 

· Organizational mastery, with emphasis on event, project, and budget management.

· Demonstrated exceptional writing, editing, and proofreading skills.

· High potential for leadership.



The Cleveland Foundation exists to enhance the quality of life for all citizens of Greater Cleveland. The ability to carry out our mission and to foster our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion can best be pursued if our workforce, grantees, donors, partners, and governing body are inclusive of individuals of diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and perspectives.

We believe that diversity encompasses, but is not limited to, age, color, education, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, physical and mental abilities or characteristics, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, veteran status, and/or other characteristics that make an individual unique. The Cleveland Foundation is committed to equal employment opportunities for all.


Employees are not just employees at the foundation. They are thought partners and contributors that provide the passion, creativity and effort behind the success and impact we have with our partnerships and initiatives in the community. The foundation encourages collaboration and sharing within and across teams and has benefited from the innovative ideas and work that has resulted from this collaborative workplace mentality. 

Each employee is valued for the expertise and experience (lived and learned) they bring to the foundation and encouraged to bring their genuine selves to their work. All employees understand and tie their work back to our mission, values and strategic direction and have been included in the decisions and design of many of our programs and strategies, including the design of our new headquarters building. Most importantly—they have fun at work!

To ensure the ongoing ability to attract, engage and retain the most talented and diverse employees, the foundation has made it a priority to understand and support its internal community in every way. The comprehensive and regularly evaluated array of programs and benefits offered are designed to ensure that every employee is cared for and has resources available with respect to physical, mental/emotional, financial, social, family and professional wellbeing. 

Employees share with the foundation how they feel about the work culture, pay and benefits on an annual basis—and the foundation listens, shares and responds! As a result, and based on ongoing feedback, the foundation has been named a NorthCoast 99 Award winner 21 years running and a Plain Dealer Top 100 Workplaces Award winner 11 years running. 


Based on the foundation's compensation program, estimated annual salary for this position may be anywhere between $87,000 and $115,000 with some flexibility, based on the academic, professional and community experiences and credentials of a candidate. 

The foundation offers an exceptional benefits package including medical, dental, vision, identity theft, and life and disability coverage, a comprehensive wellness program, an employee assistance program, a fully vested 403(b) retirement plan, ten paid holidays and, for exempt positions, 15 days of vacation and 12 sick days, prorated the first year of service based on date of hire. 


If you are interested in applying for this position, please submit your resume and cover letter as soon as possible. This posting will remain active until on or around September 29, 2023. We regret that we cannot respond personally to each applicant.

 Note: Our flexible workplace policy provides for one day of remote work per week.

Salary Description
$87,000 to $115,000