A House on Beekman: Executive Director - Position Description
A House on Beekman is a flourishing, faith-based, education-focused nonprofit operating in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the South Bronx. Its founder and current executive director, Sara Miller, moved to the South Bronx in 2008, while still in college, believing that with prayer and perseverance she could learn to be a good neighbor. Sara made many new friends in Mott Haven, including a group of four pregnant mothers with whom, in 2011, she founded the first of A House on Beekman’s programs, Babies to Three. Eight years later, we are in the process of launching a program for high-schoolers that will be the sixth in a seamless series of programs spanning cradle to career. The five existing programs are: Babies to Three, Pre-K (3s and 4s), After school (elementary), After school (middle school), and Summer Camp.
For family reasons, Sara Miller is moving to Texas by June 2020 (or earlier, if that works well for transition purposes). While we are very sorry to see her go, A House on Beekman’s Board of Directors looks forward to identifying and welcoming a new Executive Director (ED) who will help us continue to build on our strong foundation by ensuring operational continuity, supporting strategic program expansion, and securing the funds necessary to ensure the long-term financial health of the organization.
A House on Beekman’s programs are led by two talented, experienced directors: Sloan Hedrick, who oversees programs that serve children (and their families) from infancy through second grade, and Derek Smith, who oversees current programs covering third grade through middle school. Derek is also leading a “soft launch” of our high school program this academic year, which will be followed by a full launch in the 2020-2021 academic year. Sloan and Derek lead an experienced, highly motivated staff of 16 full-time and 11 part-time employees, along with numerous volunteers (including 100 volunteers serving our summer camp). You can learn more about our other valued team members here.
A House on Beekman’s finances have gone from strength to strength in the last three years, as indicated in the chart to the right. We look forward to continuing this strong growth over the coming years. We have asked that our existing major donors prayerfully consider pledging for the coming two years at levels in excess of what they gave in 2018/2019, so that our new ED has the benefit of strong financial support during a period of transition. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Our Vision for Growth
Over the next five years, we will finish building a seamless web of programs that serve the children and youth of our neighborhood--and their families--from infancy through high school and beyond. As educators, we will continue our commitment to effective programing with an eye towards maximum impact and service. We aim to triple the number of students we serve, which will require that we double (at least) our current budget over the next five years and secure quality space for growth. We will offer our supporters opportunities to go deeper with us and to find more ways to come alongside our students and neighbors in relationships of growing understanding, respect, and commitment. In all of this, we hope to remain faithful to the vision that calls us to this ministry and to the One who makes all things new.
Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for A House on Beekman’s programs, staff, community relationships and finances. The ED will have two direct reports, Sloan Hedrick and Derek Smith, who will be strong and knowledgeable partners and will play a vital role in introducing our new ED to our programming and goals. As with any transition from a founding ED to another leader, transferring trust and affirming continuity of mission are key priorities of the Board’s, and both Sloan and Derek will assist with this process. The ED must be a proven servant-leader, able to learn from staff while motivating them to “bring their best selves to work.” She/he must be a builder; respectful of our organization’s strengths; and committed to working, in partnership with the Board, to develop a culture of thoughtful goal-setting, measurement, accountability, and adaptation. The new ED must be able to solve complex problems, both those involving human relationships and those involving operational issues such as securing additional space in our crowded, gentrifying neighborhood to enable us to keep growing. She/he must also be a gifted fundraiser with strong financial management skills.
Mature Faith: A House on Beekman is grounded in a sense of calling, reflected in our vision of “joining God in the renewal of the South Bronx.” Sara Miller modeled deeply committed Christian discipleship even in her college years and has been strongly supported by individuals and communities of faith who are inspired by her example to give generously and pray faithfully for this ministry. Sara is unique, and our new ED will be unique in a different way, but there should be a fundamental continuity from one leader to the next, grounded in active Christian faith and practice. We expect to hire a mature, professing Christian who has a history of active participation in congregational worship and outreach. Our new leader must be able to communicate about matters of faith in a manner that is relatable and inspiring, and also be able to establish strong relationships with those of other faiths (and those without religious affiliation) who share our conviction that the children of our neighborhood deserve to thrive.
Multicultural Competency: Mott Haven is a bilingual and multicultural neighborhood. It is experiencing the pressures of gentrification, the burdens of which fall most heavily on the poor. To succeed, our new ED must identify deeply with our students, their families, and our other neighbors, and must be intentional about maintaining and building trust across languages, races, and cultures. A large number of our children speak Spanish at home, and we believe it would very helpful if our next leader were fully bilingual. At the same time, our new ED must be able to move comfortably among -- and communicate effectively with -- those who speak only English.
Passion for Human Flourishing: Our new ED must demonstrate a deeply rooted conviction and passion for human flourishing. AHOB requires management, but beyond a mere manager we are looking for a servant-leader who sees the sacred potential of each individual in relationships with staff, students, families, neighbors and donors. Our new ED must exhibit integrity, patience, good listening skills, and thoughtful speech, while simultaneously expecting the messiness of human brokenness that inevitably and often occurs in our work.
Proven Leadership Skills: Our new ED must have at least five years of experience leading a team and provide specific examples of having developed and implemented strategies that helped an organization or program grow to a new level of excellence.
Highly Effective Fundraiser: Our new ED must be an experienced fundraiser, able to connect deeply with our existing major donors and to tap new individual, institutional and public resources. Specifically, the new ED must know how best to establish and maintain new relationships with larger foundations and the charitable arms of major corporations. Ideally, the new ED will also be able to connect with those in political office who are able to direct discretionary grants to our organization.
Strong Financial Management Skills: Our new ED must be able to work with our Board of Directors to establish annual budgets and three-year strategic plans that include quantifiable financial goals. The ED must keep the board apprised on a regular basis of performance against the goals that have been established in the annual budget and strategic plans. In addition, the ED must be aware of and proficient in overseeing best practices in cash management, and must work well with our outside bookkeepers and accountants.
Strong References: We expect candidates for this position to provide three strong references. One of those references must be a pastor or other congregational leader in the faith community to which the candidate currently belongs. A second reference must have personal knowledge of the candidate’s work history and be able to attest to the candidate’s proven leadership ability and effective communication skills. Preferably this reference would come from a supervisor or, for instance, a member of the board of directors of an organization where the candidate previously worked. A third reference should come from a long-time friend or colleague who can speak to the candidate’s character and resilience.
Educational Qualifications: Candidates for this role must have at least a four-year college degree. A graduate degree in a relevant field (e.g. Education, Business, Social Work, Psychology, etc.) would be a plus. Evidence that the candidate has continued to study and implement best practices in the candidate’s field of work is highly desirable.
Writing Sample: Finalists for the ED position will be asked to submit a writing sample of at least 1,500 words.
Healthy Outlook and Personal Support Network: We are looking for a candidate who is practicing self-care, since without it this position has a strong risk of burnout. Good humor, curiosity, spontaneity, and a solid personal support network are all strong pluses.
To apply, please email your cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your cover letter should speak to your interest in this position and the aspects of your career and personality which make you well-suited to lead AHOB into this next season. We look forward to hearing from you!