Brooklyn, New York
In 1996, a group of New York City artists, educators, and activists founded Groundswell with the belief that collaborative art making combined with the sanctity of personal expression and the strength of community activism, would produce enduring and powerful outcomes. Now twenty-six years later, Groundswell has completed over 600 murals throughout New York City while working with youth and teaching artists in collaboration with hundreds of community-based organizations and government agencies. This collaborative process facilitates dialogue within communities across New York City and also encourages young people to engage in various forms of self-expression and social activism.
Groundswell's Social Justice Framework
We believe in the creative process of making socially engaged visual art that ignites social change.
We create exciting, nurturing learning environments for young people that spark curiosity, political awakenings, and collective solution-building.
We build confidence, work in service of their ideas, and foster critical thinking and communication skills to encourage youth to actualize their vision for a more just and equitable world.
Groundswell is seeking a charismatic, innovative and strategy-oriented Executive Director to provide ongoing vision to lead and manage all aspects of the organization in line with its mission and core values. Reporting to the organization’s Board of Directors, this person will have ultimate oversight over a $1.8M annual budget and a team of 19 staff members. They will also be expected to cultivate, build and maintain Groundswell’s relationships with a wide range of existing and new stakeholders, which include corporate and non-profit institutional funders, educational and art institutions, grass roots organizations, elected officials and government sponsors and partners.
This person will be a dynamic and inclusive leader, willing to take risks and create bold strategies, with the ability to build and manage strong and effective teams. The ED should also be an excellent communicator and storyteller who will amplify Groundswell’s visibility and serve as the chief advocate and fundraiser of the organization.
This is a unique opportunity to be a part of an innovative mission focused on engaging diverse communities and young people to promote identity, creativity, and cultural literacy through art.
Strategic Vision and Leadership
- Provide strategic vision to Groundswell in service of its mission and lead the organization into its next phase of development and impact.
- Ensure that Groundswell’s vision and values are expressed in every aspect of the organization, including its culture, personnel, and programs.
- Provide inspirational leadership to staff by creating and rewarding professional development and growth opportunities.
- Partner with the Board to identify, cultivate, recruit and retain Board members who are highly engaged and willing to leverage and secure personal and professional networks and resources.
- Build and nurture good relationships with all Board members evidenced by open communication and responsiveness to issues affecting Groundswell’s strategic direction.
- Support Board Chair in actively engaging all Board members to contribute their financial resources and skills to furthering Groundswell’s mission.
- Seek innovative and lasting funding opportunities and corporate partnerships to increase mission visibility and strengthen programmatic impact.
- Ensure that the flow of funds permits Groundswell to make continuous progress towards the achievement of its mission and is allocated properly to support present needs and future opportunities.
- Provide strategic guidance on branding, messaging, and marketing strategies to raise awareness of Groundswell’s mission and increase support from major donors, foundations, and government agencies.
- Cultivate and maintain positive relationships with all stakeholders including but not limited to, elected officials, community leaders, grassroots organizations, educational and art institutions, and new and existing individual funders.
- Seek effective ways of engaging Groundswell’s artists and youth alumni in the ongoing growth of the organization.
- Serve as a thought leader and advocate for Groundswell’s principles both within and outside of the organization.
Strengthening infrastructure and operations
- Provide direction and vision to the organizational talent structure while ensuring all staff have clear roles and responsibilities.
- Continue to promote a culture rooted in values of comradery, innovation and flexibility while ensuring the development and management of a high performing and effective organization.
- Facilitate cross-departmental collaboration and strengthen internal communications across staff
- Ensure clarity and consistency throughout the organization's strategy, operational methods, and data collection processes to support the continued development and management of a professional and efficient organization.
- Oversee the financial status of the organization, including: developing long and short range financial plans, monitoring the budget and ensuring that sound financial controls are in place; set financial priorities accurately to ensure the organization is operating in a manner that supports the needs of the program and staff.
- A passion for working with young people is a must; experience in arts, education, youth development, community organizing, and related mission-adjacent spaces preferred.
- An inspiring, persuasive, and dedicated leader who is passionate about effecting change.
- A fundraiser with a track record of cultivating and soliciting significant gifts from major donors and diversifying fundraising revenue; strong social, professional, corporate and foundation contacts in NYC area considered a plus.
- Experience strengthening an internal infrastructure to support a mission.
- A track record of success in building and empowering high-performing teams where vision and values are a driving factor in decision-making.
- Excellent leadership and managerial skills that encourage creativity, collaboration, and growth.
- An empathetic people-person with excellent interpersonal skills and ability to build strong, transparent, and trusting relationships with multiple constituent groups.
- Cultural competency and ideological alignment with Groundswell’s social justice values of anti-racism and equity is a must.
- An extrovert who enjoys getting out in the community and is able to galvanize excitement for the Groundswell mission from the outside world.
- A creative and innovative mindset; a leader who is willing to have a vision and not be afraid to change the way things have been done.
- A charismatic and compelling communicator who can work effectively with a variety of internal and external stakeholders.
This position description is based upon material provided by Groundswell, an equal opportunity employer. Equal employment opportunity and having a diverse staff are fundamental principles at Groundswell, where employment and promotional opportunities are based upon individual capabilities and qualifications without regard to race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation/preference, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status or any other protected characteristic as established under law.
Compensation & Benefits
This is an outstanding opportunity for a leader to join a highly respected organization. Groundswell is prepared to offer a very attractive compensation package, including a competitive base salary of $150,000-$175,000, as well as:
- Health, Vision, and Dental Insurance
- 401K Retirement Plan
- Flex Spending Account
- Vacation, Sick, Family & Sabbatical Leave
- Professional Development Stipend