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Executive Director

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Newark, NJ, USA

Job Type

Full-Time- Hybrid

About the Role

Salary Range: $70,000 - $80,0000
Profile of the Ideal Executive Director Candidate:

The Executive Director will work in partnership with and reports directly to the UPAO Board of Directors of this grassroots organization. They will be a passionate advocate and will promote UPAO’s mission, vision, values and principles of practice for community organizing and advocacy while demonstrating compassion for residents of Newark. UPAO is in the late startup phase of the nonprofit lifecycle and will need leadership and guidance for building capacity to move into the growth phase, which is characterized by increased staffing, resources and efficient infrastructure. This will require a leader that is able to handle the day to day operations with a very small staff, while increasing capacity for expansion.

The Executive Director is the key management leader of United Parks As One. Critical aspects of the role include:

● Providing clear direction and leadership for the achievement of UPAO’s vision and mission in accordance with the organization’s values.
● Ensuring that UPAO’s mission is being fulfilled through programs, community engagement, partnerships, and advocacy.
● Assisting the Board of Directors in fulfilling its governance function.

The Executive Director in partnership with UPAO Board will finalize and implement the strategic work plan and oversee implementation of goals and action plans.

Executive Director’s responsibilities follow:

Program Administration and Staff Leadership/Development
● Develop, implement, and ensure quality of United Parks As One programs that build community in Newark parks and other open spaces.
● Lead and ensure a system of program development/creation, quality, supervision and evaluation, while guaranteeing that programs are relevant to the communities UPAO serves, and in alignment with UPAO’s mission and vision, and the strategic plan. Participates in program development as needed.
● Lead organizations discussions and assessments of potential external coalitions/strategic partnerships.
● Supervise staff and volunteers.
● Develop and grow core internal and external leadership to build the organization’s capacity to support a citywide open space network.
● Build organizational and staff capacity by developing processes ensuring the organization runs smoothly; promoting teamwork by developing, empowering, and maintaining high-performing groups and coaching leaders to develop.
● Supports operations and administration of the Board of Directors by advising and informing Board members, assisting with the recruitment of new Board members, and assisting with facilitation of Board functions.

Fund Development, Fiscal Management and Planning
● Oversee and support development, fundraising planning and implementation by identifying resource requirements.
● Work with board and consultant to research funding sources, establish strategies for approaching public and private sector sources of funds, and submit proposals.
● Ensure processes for UPAO’s budgeting, forecasting, reporting, internal controls, risk management, execution of the fiscal year plan, and meeting revenue and net income goals according to current laws and regulations and standards for effective stewardship.
● Assess, plan for and increase resourcing (financial, human and social capital) guided by organizational strategic priorities.
● In coordination with consultant Accountant and Board Treasurer, ensure financial records and processes are managed and implemented.
● Effectively communicate with the Board of Directors to provide clear, concise, regular, and accurate reports/analysis and data on revenue, expenditures, and other key financial and non-financial metrics.

Network, Community Partnerships and Advocacy
● Expand the base of the alliance both in terms of the number of park and open space groups that are active and the number of individuals and organizations actively participating in each of the groups.
● Provide technical assistance to the groups.
● Develop, manage, and enhance effective relationships with organizational and governmental partners essential for program implementation and community building.
● Serve as UPAO’s lead public spokesperson/ambassador and serve as a community representative on various coalitions/groups.
● Ensure participation and representation of park and open space groups in UPAO activities and events
● Conduct extensive outreach/education with staff and volunteers to build strong relationships with community groups, key stakeholders, and public decision makers to help achieve open space goals and enhance awareness of UPAO and its mission.
● Provide leadership and support for overall communications and social media.
● Work in cooperation with government departments and agencies in Newark to advance environmental justice initiatives and improve open spaces.
● Maintain and expand advocacy efforts related to public policy issues relevant to UPAO’s mission.
● Lead efforts to maintain and grow advocacy activities to secure the appropriate, accountable, and transparent allocation of resources to Newark parks from all levels of government, including the Newark Open Space Trust Fund.

Ideal candidates will also have the following experiences/abilities to support above described responsibilities:

Leadership and Management
● Senior level nonprofit management experience, including leading, inspiring and managing staff; managing operating budget; collaborating with nonprofit boards.
● Strong track record of strategic thinking/experience moving an organization in a strategic direction, including aligning programs, internal systems/structures, skills of staff and Board, information technology practices, and finances to support the strategy; and building external collaborative relationships.
● Extensive experience in leading and/or organizing environmental justice, open spaces and advocacy efforts.


Minimum Qualifications

●  Five to eight years of successful and progressive experience in senior leadership, advocacy, fund development, fiscal and programmatic oversight

●  Preferably a Newark resident of a neighborhood near Jesse Allen Park, Mildred Helms Park, or Nat Turner Park; not required

●  Bachelor’s Degree in a related field preferred; equivalent lived experience and/or deeply committed volunteer experience will be considered as much as formal education

●  Experience in leading people and managing daily operations within a nonprofit

●  Willingness and ability to consistently engage with stakeholders through in-person and digital engagements, including frequent travel around Newark and regular, on-site work

●  Experience in planning community-led events and/or collaborative projects that feature multiple stakeholders and interests

●  Experience organizing and facilitating community meetings

●  Ability to exercise balanced judgment in evaluating situations and making decisions, and to handle difficult or confrontational situations in a calm, consistent, and equitable manner

●  Excellent organizational and administrative skills

●  Flexibility to work significant hours during evenings and weekends in addition to regular business hours

●  Proficient with technology, including word processing, PowerPoint, spreadsheets, social media, Zoom/Google Meet

●  Ability to participate in physical activities required in the job. This includes the ability to provide direct support in leading stewardship, landscaping, and beautification projects in parks plus a range of community and park events, including transport, setup, and breakdown of event materials.

●  Driver’s license strongly preferred to support operations


Personal Attributes


●  Mission, vision & values oriented: considers them as a framework for all decisions. 

●  Visionary, charismatic, energetic, enthusiastic and creative leader with desire to promote advocacy and equity.

●  Highly inclusive: demonstrates high emotional intelligence and leads by example.

●  Demonstrated excellence regarding interpersonal, facilitation, and advocacy skills.

●  Trustworthy/Transparent: can relate to and be trusted by staff, board, volunteers, community residents and partners.

●  Strong ties with environmental justice community.

●  Encourages and amplifies community voices/perspectives.

●  Professional development oriented/capacity builder: committed to ongoing development (self, staff bord and volunteers).

●  Courage: strong communication skills; able to work through tough decisions in person and in writing.

●  Demonstrated abilities with technology and digital platforms.

●  Bilingual language skills both written and verbal with translation preferred (English/Spanish).

●  Ability to prioritize and build strong networks.

●  Strong interpersonal skills (e.g., empathy, humility, maturity, warmth/openness).

About the Company

United Parks As One is a citywide alliance of neighborhood-based park, playground, and garden advocates dedicated to the creation, stewardship, and activation of open spaces for the benefit of Newark residents and communities.

The vision of United Parks As One is empowered and sustainable park, playground, and garden communities that offer safe spaces for artistic expression, economic advancement, educational programs, environmental appreciation and stewardship, healthy living, and spiritual renewal for all age groups.

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Application Guidelines


This search is being conducted by Luo Sky Consulting Group and led by Angela M. Douglas. All submissions are kept strictly confidential. To express an interest, candidates should send a resume and cover letter via email and indicate how you learned of the position.

All applications will be acknowledged and accepted until the position has been filled. Application review will begin on December 18, 2023. No direct phone calls please.

United Parks As One (UPAO) is an equal opportunity employer and seeks to employ and assign the best qualified personnel for all our positions in a manner that does not unlawfully discriminate against any person because of race, color, religion, gender, marital status, age, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, veteran/reserve national guard status, or any other status or characteristic protected by law.

To express an interest, candidates should send a resume and cover letter indicating how you learned of the position to:

with subject heading: UPAO Executive Director

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