Expanding opportunities in America’s cities

Lead Attorney

The Kresge Foundation has an immediate opening for a Lead Attorney.

About the foundation

The Kresge Foundation is one of the top 20 private foundations in the United States and is metro Detroit's largest foundation. With a $3.8 billion endowment and a staff of nearly 100 employees, we work to expand opportunities in America's cities for people with low incomes. We do this through grantmaking and social investing nationally in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and community development in Detroit. The foundation’s state-of-the-art headquarters maintains an array of energy-efficient, water-conserving and health-promoting systems. The foundation also operates an office in Detroit’s Midtown district.


An image of Kresge Foundation employees convening in an office

The Lead Attorney will be a thoughtful and trusted advisor to the Board, Executive Team and staff and assist in advising on grantmaking, investments, social investments, governance issues, tax (specific to exempt organizations) and other general corporate law matters of the foundation including contracts and leases, intellectual property, technology, and insurance related matters. This position includes ongoing work as well as short and long-term projects such as policy development, research, and analysis, with an eye toward ensuring compliance with laws governing private foundations. This work will be done with the support of external counsel, in partnership with the foundation’s Executive Team and under the supervision of the VP, CFO, CAO, Treasurer and Board Secretary.

The successful candidate will have at least seven (7) years of corporate/business law experience with an emphasis on transactional matters. Experience advising tax-exempt entities, specifically experience counseling private foundations, is a clear advantage. Experience handling investment transactions is a strong plus. Prior law firm experience is required.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Specific responsibilities of the Lead Attorney will include:

  • Provide strategic advice, counsel and legal support to foundation staff to provide the highest quality legal representation and positioning that supports the foundation’s mission and strategic framework; includes research, counseling, document drafting, review and negotiation, regulatory work associated with general business transactions, intellectual property protection and technology, corporate requirements, internal foundation policy review and oversight.
  • As a trusted business partner, troubleshoot issues with staff and assist in finding solutions.
  • Cultivate knowledge of and provide periodic legal support on private foundation tax laws affecting grant making and the philanthropic sector generally.
  • Assist with review and negotiations of documents on a variety of transactions, including grants, program-related investments and investments.
  • Build and maintain strong relationships with outside counsel and assist with management of outside counsel budget and quality.
  • Lead and facilitate foundation-wide projects, including developing and delivering training on legal issues.
  • Construct and support the foundation’s internal system to organize and track legal issues. Identify areas and processes for improvement, make recommendations, and implement and communicate changes.
  • If required, assist with oversight and coordination of legal proceedings including litigation, document requests, regulatory investigations and inquiries and similar proceedings.
  • Perform other related duties as required.

Qualifications & Skills

This position requires an accomplished attorney with a distinguished professional record and a strong business orientation. Personal and professional alignment with The Kresge Foundation’s culture is of paramount importance. Candidates must be self-motivated and exhibit a passion for understanding the organization and contributing in a meaningful way to its strategy and long term strategic goals. In addition to possessing the requisite legal and technical skills, the successful candidate must approach this role with a high degree of ethics and integrity, as well as demonstrate strategic/conceptual thinking capabilities. Collaborative mindset is crucial.

Education and/or Experience

  • Juris Doctorate from ABA accredited law school required.
  • Active admittance to practice law (any state, in good standing) with ability to obtain admittance in Michigan required.
  • At least seven (7) years of corporate/business law experience required with emphasis on transactional experience.
  • Experience advising tax-exempt entities, specifically private foundations is a clear advantage.
  • Experience with investment transactions a strong plus.
  • Experience advising governing board and senior management of complex organizations is preferred.

Core Competencies

  • Superior intellect, with the ability to think critically and make clear and well-reasoned decisions; ability to see and handle more than the legal issues of a project; strong, pragmatic business acumen with the ability to recognize the broader consequences of legal advice; a strategic and innovative thinker who can bring value to his or her clients and find creative solutions to complex legal problems.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate (both orally and in written form) effectively with senior leaders and other professionals and colleagues at all levels of an organization while utilizing excellent business and legal judgment in complex situations.
  • Strong attention to detail and ability to meet tight deadlines.
  • Excellent research, writing, and presentation skills.
  • Strong analytical skills and ability to understand complex and nuanced legal concepts and analysis.
  • Commitment to collaboration and teamwork with staff at all levels.
  • High level of ethics and commitment to mission, vision and core values.
  • Absolute integrity and discretion essential due to exposure to sensitive and confidential information.
  • Excellent judgment as reflected in a professional record of successfully and independently providing counsel to clients.
  • Comfort with ambiguity and the ability to work through challenging complex situations; experience with resolving challenging problems.
  • Strong project management experience.
  • Highly developed diplomatic skills and organizational savvy.
  • Demonstrated skill with Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint

How To Apply

Please submit a resume in Microsoft Word format with a letter describing your interest and relevant skills addressed to:


Equal Opportunity Employer

The Kresge Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women and LGBT applicants.

Job Description