Executive Director, Project HIP-HOP
Third Sector New England - Roxbury, MA

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Project HIP-HOP (Highways Into the Past – History, Organizing, and Power) is a youth-led organization that works at the intersection of arts and organizing in the city of Boston. The organization's mission is to teach the hip hop generation how to use hip hop as a cultural tool to educate and motivate the community.

Project HIP-HOP was started in 1993 by local activists as a way to bridge the generational gap and connect Greater Boston area youth with the living history of the Civil Rights Movement in order to inspire a new generation to fight racism and other forms of social injustice while building their own movements.

Project HIP-HOP became an independent 501(c)3 organization and hired its first Executive Director in 2001.

Today Project HIP-HOP is an innovative and unique organization fueled by passion and creativity. The organization has developed a cultural organizing model sustained by youth leadership development, within which all work is situated. Cultural organizing is a social-justice strategy that places arts and culture at the center of organizing. Through cultural organizing, Project HIP-HOP seeks to:
  • Develop artistic leadership in youth
  • Challenge and shift societal narratives
  • Unite people through common culture
  • Use art as a tool for campaign organizing
Project HIP-HOP’s 2014 Budget is approximately $323,000 and the organization is projected to serve approximately 150 - 200 teenage youth in 2014. Project HIP-HOP is well positioned to move forward in its mission.

The Opportunity After undergoing a full organizational assessment, resulting in key strengths, operational and strategic priorities, the board has identified the need for a passionate, creative, agile and experienced leader and manager with networks and funder relationships in Boston and/or state-wide.

The next executive director of Project HIP-HOP will build upon the work of founding Executive Director Mariama White-Hammond and inherit a highly visible and recognized organization in the city of Boston known for its theater performances and musical presentations including new-generation forms of art, like krumping, flash mobs and spoken word. The agency is in the final year of its strategic plan and has outlined the following priorities moving forward:
  • Securing a new location
  • Executive Transition
  • Board Development
  • Funding
The executive director is accountable to an 8 - 16 member board of directors composed of professionals, alumni and community members and manages a staff of three along with additional interns and volunteers.

The Ideal Candidate The executive director will provide essential leadership to guide organizational and programmatic shifts and help ensure stability during this transition period.

The successful candidate will be passionate about youth development, social justice/organizing and the arts. S/he will be a big picture strategic thinker grounded in local politics and committed to playing a prominent role in cutting edge local cultural organizing and advocacy, while also maintaining regional alliances in order to increase the scope and scale of impact.

The executive director must have proven leadership and management experience with a track record of managing high performing staff, as well as experience writing and managing grants, leading fundraising efforts, and fiscal management and oversight of a nonprofit organization or program of comparable size.

In addition, the executive director must be ethical and able to build trust, with strong communication and interpersonal skills. S/he must possess a demonstrated ability to build collaborative partnerships among culturally diverse community leaders; develop and empower the leadership of staff; build an effective board; create and implement strategic organizational plans; and passionately support strategies that fully develop the leadership and power of youth participants and incorporate their perspectives in organizational decision making.

Key Responsibilities and Duties Program and Staff Management
  • Provide leadership and guidance to staff and Board Committees to develop, deliver, and evaluate effective programs, and assess Project HIP-HOP’s contributions to youth movement building alliances through the arts;
  • Supervise staff (three positions) to ensure implementation of work plans and encourage team accountability around larger organizational issues and long-term strategic priorities.
Resource Development and Communications
  • Establish relationships to secure diverse financial resources to meet budgetary priorities;
  • Build an organization-wide commitment to fundraising;
  • Oversee strategic integration between youth development, organizing through arts, communications and fund development.
Community Relations, Advocacy, and Organizing
  • Work with staff and youth members to develop coherent public/community relations and build community visibility;
  • Act as Project HIP-HOP’s spokesperson as appropriate, and encourage active leadership and visibility among other staff and grassroots leaders.
Budget, Finance, and Human Resources/Personnel Management
  • Ensure Project HIP-HOP’s policies and procedures and other organizational practices for fiscal and human resource management practices are comprehensive and consistently implemented;
  • Help create an organizational culture and consistent practices to support strong work teams, and attract, develop and retain high quality staff and volunteers;
  • Ensure job descriptions and professional development plans are appropriate and sustainable for all staff positions and annual evaluations are completed;
  • Work with the staff and Board to develop Project HIP-HOP’s annual budget, and review mid-year budget and other necessary financial reports with the Treasurer.
Board of Directors Development and Management
  • Work with board members to build a vibrant, active, representative board that can fully fulfill their role as organizational leaders related to the overall mission, goals, and long term priorities of the organization;
  • Attend all Board meetings and, as necessary, committees meetings;
  • Provide the Board with complete information to help members reach sound decisions and establish policies.
Key Qualifications and Skills Strong candidates will have proficiency in the following areas:
  • Experience as an executive director or senior manager (five years minimum) managing and leading a nonprofit enterprise;
  • Experience developing youth leaders, working in and building coalitions and collaborations, developing constituency through organizing strategies, and working across multiple constituencies;
  • Strong written communication skills, encompassing a range of styles, from nuanced emails to website postings to foundation proposals and donor solicitations;
  • Ability to work nights and weekends as needed to support program events and actions.
Other preferred qualifications include:
  • Experience working with and/or serving on a community-based Board of Directors, including leading strategic planning processes and/or organization transitions;
  • Familiarity with local issues;
  • Excellent verbal communication skills and experience presenting before a wide array of audiences, including the Board of Directors, governmental agencies, nonprofit colleagues and peers, funding sources and granting agencies, and community based gatherings.
Contact This search is being conducted by Third Sector New England’s Executive Transitions Program with Transition Consultant Roosevelt Smith. All submissions are confidential. This is a full-time position offering compensation commensurate with experience, within the framework of the organization’s operating budget.

Interested candidates are encouraged to submit their resume, along with a cover letter that describes how their qualifications and experiences match the needs of Project HIP-HOP, salary requirements and how they learned of the position. Resumes will be accepted until the position is filled.