Executive Director

Community Design Collaborative

The Community Design Collaborative is seeking a dynamic, experienced leader to take the helm as we enter the next phase of the organization’s evolution. To succeed in this exciting and challenging role, the new executive director must possess a variety of aptitudes and skills that will help move the organization toward its vision that all communities will have access to critical resources necessary for driving development of their own built environment.

The Collaborative - a nationally recognized leader in community design - provides pro bono preliminary design services to nonprofit organizations and community groups across greater Philadelphia and raises awareness about the importance of design in revitalizing communities. To fulfill this mission, a small, nimble staff leverages a talented pool of over 1,000 volunteer design professionals.

Over three decades and 700+ projects, we have engaged local communities in the design of their neighborhoods, proving that design is not a luxury, but a necessity for creating smarter, more effective strategies for strengthening communities. Founded in 1991 as a program of the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects and now an independent 501(c)(3), the Community Design Collaborative has built a solid reputation among community leaders, neighborhood groups, city agencies and officials, partner organizations, and funders. We have become a model as one of the oldest and most successful providers of community-based design.

Are you the right candidate to build upon this legacy and chart the path forward in a changing landscape?

Position Description:

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director provides strategic leadership for the Community Design Collaborative and is responsible for overall management of staff and operations. As the public face of the organization, the Executive Director is responsible for building connections, maintaining and establishing positive relationships with donors, partners, and city agencies, and representing the interests of the Collaborative, its volunteers, and its clients.

The Executive Director drives the strategic vision of the organization based on goals set forth in the strategic plan. As we enter the final year of the current strategic plan, the Executive Director will need to prepare for the next strategic planning process while also re-examining how the present goals relate to current realities.

Key responsibilities of the Executive Director include, but are not limited to:

  • Programmatic Vision: Provide a clear vision and path forward for the organization that promotes organizational and programmatic sustainability
  • Resource Development & Fiscal Management: Ensure the long-term financial health of the organization and develop a robust fundraising strategy
  • Staff Management & Operations: Develop and lead a talented team through transparent policies and practices
  • External Relations: Position the organization as an essential community asset and a leader in the field
  • Governance: Engage the board in meaningful participation to further the organization’s goals


  • Provide a clear vision for the organization and work with staff to research, evaluate, and pursue programmatic opportunities that support strategic goals and organizational mission
  • Identify new and creative ways (including partnerships with other organizations) to provide clients with a broader continuum of services
  • Evolve strategic goals as needed to respond to the funding environment and other factors
  • Provide coordination and oversight of programmatic activities
  • Identify, track, and share key measures of success with staff, board, funders, and partners
  • Apply data to support decision making
  • Ensure high quality of programs and design services


  • Take the lead role interacting with major individual donors, foundations, and Corporate Champions, including cultivation, support, and solicitation of gifts
  • Oversee fundraising plans and activities to ensure that financial goals are being met
  • Ensure continuity of funding and pursue new funding sources, including strategies for income generation (e.g. technical assistance, consulting)
  • Develop and maintain key relationships with funders
  • Develop and implement annual budget
  • Ensure sound financial practices and maintain official records
  • Manage contracts and ensure grant compliance
  • Provide board and staff with the context and data needed to make informed financial decisions
  • Provide ongoing cost-benefit analysis of programs, vendor services, staffing requirements, and new and existing activities 


  • Develop a strong team of professionals who work together to carry out the goals of the organization
  • Provide transparent leadership that engages staff in planning and problem-solving
  • Provide ongoing feedback to staff and conduct annual performance reviews
  • Ensure staff have capacity, skills and resources necessary to effectively run organization’s operations and programming
  • Identify opportunities and funds to expand staff capacity through outsourced resources (e.g., consultants, interns, volunteers, etc.)
  • Manage all human resources functions, including recruitment, hiring, termination, compensation/benefits, conflict resolution, team/project management, documentation, and maintenance of personnel files
  • Ensure all operational policies and procedures are up to date, legally compliant, understood, and in active use by all staff
  • Negotiate vendor contracts


  • Build strong relationships with stakeholders and serve as a connector between designers, nonprofit developers, community leaders, and policymakers
  • Position the Collaborative as a thought leader in the field
  • Publicize activities, programs and goals of the organization
  • Raise awareness about the importance of design in revitalizing communities and advocate for equal access to design.
  • Recruit new volunteers and communicate the value and benefits of volunteering to the design community


  • Work with the board to develop, implement, and advance the strategic plan
  • Assist the board in identifying and recruiting new board members who will add diversity to the board and whose talents, interests, and commitment will further the Collaborative’s mission
  • Recommend new policies, programs, goals, and objectives to the board
  • Provide regular updates and ensure that the board has access to appropriate metrics to understand, evaluate, and advise on programmatic, staffing, and financial issues

In addition to the above, the Executive Director is expected to undertake such other duties and responsibilities as the board may determine as necessary or appropriate. 



Applicants must have direct non-profit experience (either as an employee or board member) and demonstrated expertise in the following:

  • Fundraising
  • Staff and budget management
  • Working with a board of directors
  • Creating an action plan to move from vision to reality

The ideal candidate will also demonstrate the following:

  • Experience in a leadership role
  • Direct experience within the Philadelphia nonprofit, public, and philanthropic sectors
  • High-energy, compelling person with vision and skills to mobilize others toward a common goal
  • High emotional intelligence and excellent listening skills
  • Exceptional communications skills - both written and oral
  • Proven experience working with diverse populations, including experience building bridges to develop relationships, trust, and credibility
  • Ability to synthesize perspectives of diverse stakeholder groups to build consensus and then act
  • Flexibility in reaction to changing landscapes and new opportunities; highly comfortable navigating through change
  • Ability to understand the unique interests and motivations of multiple stakeholders
  • Ability to operationalize strategy and ideas



The Community Design Collaborative has a comprehensive benefits program, including paid time off, health benefits, and a retirement plan.

Starting salary is $85,000-$105,000 commensurate with qualifications and experience.

How to apply:

The deadline for applications is June 30, 2020 at 5:00pm.

To apply, send a resume and a 1-2 page cover letter that succinctly describes your experience, process and/or approach to management, fundraising, and implementing a strategic vision to jenn@cdesignc.org.

Well-qualified applicants will receive a communication from the search committee with a possible follow-up questionnaire.

Philadelphia, PA
Due Date: 
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Posted by Heidi.SegallLevy on May 20, 2020 - 6:42pm