The American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC) is a national non-profit headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, providing fellowships to American Indian and Alaska Native graduate students throughout the United States. In its 50-year history, AIGC has supported more than 16,000 Scholars with the support of the Bureau of Indian Education, corporate and foundation partnerships, and their generous alumni and private donors.


In support of its mission, AIGC now seeks a new Chief Operating Officer (COO) who will be responsible for the oversight and management of daily operations including managing and stewarding the financial health of the organization. Reporting to the Executive Director, the COO is a key member of the senior management team and will manage a diverse group of operations, finance, and program staff committed to AIGC’s core values of excellence, impact, respect, empowerment, and It’s Personal. The ideal candidate is detailed and process oriented, with strong financial management skills and working knowledge of tribes and tribal organizations. This is an exciting opportunity to lead core operations and oversee programming excellence with the premier organization funding and empowering the next generation of Native leaders across all sectors.


For the full position description and to apply, please visit: https://npag.com/current-searches-all/aigc


Organizational Overview

Founded in 1969, the American Indian Graduate Center is the largest scholarship provider to American Indian and Alaskan Native students in the United States. The organization has awarded over $350 million since inception to deserving undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students from 500 Tribes in all 50 states.


Scholarship and Financial Assistance Programs

American Indian Graduate Center administers over 30 scholarship programs that serve and support American Indian and Alaskan Native students pursuing higher education through our partnerships with corporate entities, foundations, private donors, and federal contracts. Undergraduate scholarship programs include support towards associate and bachelor’s degrees, as well as some graduate entrance exam fees. Graduate scholarship programs support study towards master’s, doctoral, or professional degrees and limited certificate and licensure exam fees.


Our scholarship operations team works to support students through the application process, the funding process and provide academic support services to students in need. The team works with various financial aid offices and conducts outreach to high schools, colleges/universities, tribal education departments, and national/regional conferences. They also produce reports and stay in compliance with the organization’s various grant reporting and donor requests.


Student Support Programs

AIGC operates a variety of support programs, which includes College Readiness, Financial Aid Assistance and Advisement.

·         College Readiness Programs – AIGC hosts college readiness programs for Native high school students to share knowledge of the college application process, the scholarship application process, transitioning to college life, and succeeding in college.

·         Financial Aid Assistance – AIGC assists students with common FAFSA questions and serves as a resource for those who are having difficulty completing their FAFSA application.

·         Advisement – AIGC provides advisement on scholarship guidelines, procedures, and eligibility requirements. AIGC also provides counseling and advisement to students about academic plans, educational opportunities, and graduate admissions process.


Opportunities and Challenges Facing the Chief Operating Officer

The COO will join a talented and dedicated team supporting AIGC operations and programs. S/he/they will maintain control of a variety of organizational operations, including finance, student support services, scholarship administration, human resources, and IT, with the potential to oversee additional departments in the future. The COO supports the Executive Director as second-in-command, ensuring organizational effectiveness and efficiency.


Financial Stewardship

·         Serve as the CFO to assure proper fiscal management, budgeting, and compliance.

·         Supports Development team to achieve and surpass fundraising goals, cash flow, and business targets and objectives.

·         Ensure full compliance to conditions and requirements of grantors, including federal agencies, corporations, foundations, and individuals.

·         Serve as a member of the senior management team responsible for developing and/or implementing the organization’s strategic plan, budget, policies, and procedures.


Operational Leadership

·         Establish processes and procedures that promote AIGC’s culture, vision, and mission.

·         Manage and oversight of key department (finance, scholarship operations, student support services, human resources, information technology, marketing, and development) outcomes by communicating clear job expectations and tracking progress.

·         Increase management and staff effectiveness through recruitment, onboarding, and active performance management, providing support or corrective action as needed.

·         Evaluate the effectiveness of all processes and procedures, both internal and external.

·         Provide timely, accurate, and complete reports on organization operations.

·         Encourage maximum performance and dedication through example and support.

·         Contribute to operational effectiveness by proactively identifying issues and goals and recommending options or corrective action based on relevant research and data.

·         Act as Corporate Officer and serve as program liaison to the Board of Directors.


Program Oversight

·         Direct program staff in all aspects of the scholarship programs, including recruitment, retention, student services, data collection, and reporting.

·         Evaluate the effectiveness of all processes and procedures, both internal and external.

·         Provide timely, accurate, and complete reports on organization operations.

·         Serve as a spokesperson for the organization regarding scholarship programs.

·         Evaluate performance by analyzing and interpreting data and metrics.

·         Maintains strict student confidentiality and compliance with the Family Education Right to Privacy Act.


External Relations

·         Embodies AIGC Core Values and promotes the AIGC, staff and programs, in a positive and professional manner.

·         Promote AIGC and AIGCS through attendance and participation in national, regional, and local conferences and events.

·         Serves on select boards and advisory committees to increase visibility, advocacy, networking, and fundraising for AIGC.



The ideal candidate will be a proven leader with high attention to detail, strong analytic skills and proven financial acumen. S/he/they will have previous experience managing high functioning, cross-functional teams. While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

·         Bachelor’s degree; master’s preferred in business administration, accounting, management, or related field.

·         Minimum 5 years of experience in a similar operations role responsible for fiscal management and budgeting, institutional fundraising, human resources, IT, business/program development, programming, and strategic planning.

·         Familiarity with American Indian history and culture; knowledge of tribes and tribal organizations, federal contract regulations and procedures, and financial aid procedures.

·         Superior written, verbal, and presentation skills to effectively communicate with all levels within the organization, external partners, funders, public and media.

·         Strong relationship building and interpersonal communication skills.

·         Track record of successful financial and budget management, including experience supporting organizational strategy though the effective stewardship of resources.

·         Proven track record of effectively leading teams through strong project management by tracking, reporting, holding managers accountable for achieving goals, and fostering a culture of collaboration, trust, and high achievement.

·         Excellent understanding of principles and practices required to lead nonprofit organizations or educational institutions.

·         Demonstrated experience creating and adapting policies and procedures including creating efficiencies and guiding investment in people and systems.

·         A strategic and collaborative approach to planning and problem solving; ability to analyze situations and adopt appropriate courses of action.


Valid Driver’s License required. Must be able to successfully pass a pre-employment drug/alcohol screen and background investigation.


Physical Demands: While performing the duties of this job, the employee regularly is required to sit; use hands to finger, handle or feel; reach with hands and arms and talk or hear. The employee, occasionally, is required to stand, stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl. The employee must, occasionally, lift and/or move up to 40 pounds.


Work Environment: Work is generally performed in an office setting, with a moderate noise level. Extended hours and irregular shifts may be required. Tight time constraints and multiple demands are common. Travel will be required for training, meetings, conferences, presentations, and other events.



More information about the American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC) may be found at: www.aigcs.org


This search is being led by Linh Nguyen and Catherine Seneviratne of NPAG. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible.  Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s candidate portal.


The AIGC is an equal opportunity employer and proudly values diversity.

Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.