THE ORGANIZATION AND OPPORTUNITY
This is a time of challenge and opportunity for social justice in America. As society is increasingly divided over policy, ideology and facts themselves, leaders struggle to break through the clamor and develop messages that move hearts and minds to action. The Opportunity Agenda, founded in 2006 as a project of Tides Center, was created for moments such as this.
The Opportunity Agenda is a non-profit communications lab that helps social justice leaders shape narratives in a way in which advocacy and facts alone, often cannot. It works with leaders, organizations and movements to tell a better story, move people to action, and drive lasting policy and culture change. Through active partnerships, The Opportunity Agenda conducts and translates research, disseminates communication guidance, trains spokespeople, engages with news outlets, and collaborates with artists and entertainers to reach and move large audiences.
Established 13 years ago to fill a gap in the social justice space, The Opportunity Agenda is now a respected, formidable non-profit with a $5M budget, and approximately 25 employees. It is the leader in helping established and emerging social justice leaders and institutions use narrative strategies as a primary tool for social change. Its three current focus areas are Economic Opportunity, Criminal Justice Reform and Immigration Rights. Racial justice and equity is the current which runs through all of the work.
The annual Communications Institute has trained leaders from around the nation on an array of communication skills including framing and narrative development, utilizing public opinion and media research, broadcast and print interviewing, and understanding social media. Open source communication tools are used by established and emerging leaders to develop value-based messages that mobilize and expand constituencies. A creative strategies approach also unlocks the social change power of culture. By convening, connecting and supporting artists, media makers and advocates, The Opportunity Agenda amplifies the impact of their creative strategies and illustrates to movement leaders why creativity must be part of their toolkit.
The staff is comprised of committed leaders with a passion for justice and a commitment to lasting change. Diversity, equity and inclusion are fundamental values of the internal organization as well as the fabric of its external work. The Founding President, Alan Jenkins, announced earlier this year that he would step down from his post in the summer of 2019.
The next President will build upon the organization’s reputation and success and take it to its next level of impact and growth. A successful candidate will have a deep and personal commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. They will have an understanding of this critical moment in time and the ability to both support and lead the social justice sector with the vital communication and social justice expertise required. The President will also continue to move the organization toward programmatic excellence and operational independence. Currently a program of Tides Center, the next President will complete the transition into an independent 501(c)(3).
The President will:
Provide Leadership and Vision.
- Inspire confidence with staff, partners and the community, and set the organization’s strategic direction.
- Anticipate trends and opportunities and act as a catalyst, initiating and leading change.
- Lead the spirit and the substance of the work to ensure foundational principles of racial and social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion undergird every aspect of the work.
Expand the Reach and the Impact of the Organization
- Actively seek collaboration through partnerships with emerging and established nonprofit, governmental, cultural, business, and other strategic entities and leaders.
- Be a visible leader in and beyond the social justice community and expand the reputation of the organization through formal and informal communications and mainstream media appearances.
- Measure and communicate the impact of the work to elevate its presence.
Grow and Diversify Funding
- Inspire confidence and build upon existing relationships with key foundations and other funders.
- Diversify and expand the funding portfolio from institutional, individual, and major donors, and corporate supporters.
- Develop a systematic process for engagement and revenue generation with corporate partners when these opportunities arise.
Manage the People and the Business
- Drive accountability and results with clear goals and responsibilities which align the entire organization toward its critical objectives.
- Ensure ongoing programmatic excellence and rigorous program evaluation.
- Foster organizational values of equity, mutual respect, and diversity as an organizational and societal strength.
- Ensure efficient and effective operations through sound fiscal practices and the highest legal, ethical, and professional standards throughout the organization.
Develop Organizational independence
- Cultivate a strategic partnership with the Steering Committee, seeking counsel, advice, and oversight as needed to develop organizational policy, strategic planning, emerging issues, and appropriate solutions.
- Identify new members, in partnership with the steering committee, who expand the skills, experiences, and resources of the organization.
- Oversee the recruitment and seating of a Board of Directors and the eventual transition to an independent 501(c)(3) organization.
- Work with and support the steering committee to ensure non-profit governance best practices.
EXPERIENCE AND PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS
The ideal candidate will have the following personal assets:
- A visionary leader with an established reputation and strong relationships in the social justice sector.
- Demonstrated commitment to The Opportunity Agenda’s mission, vision, values, and articulated theory of social change.
- Thought leadership regarding the effective use of communications to drive social change, and fluency with digital and social media platforms as instruments of change.
- High emotional intelligence and a track record of success in working across a wide spectrum of diverse communities.
- The ability to inspire others to action with outstanding verbal and written communications skills and media-readiness.
- An understanding of relevant emerging trends in social movements, the media landscape, demographics, framing theory, and policymaking.
- Familiarity with a range of social change actors including advocates, organizers, policymakers, researchers and cultural leaders.
- A successful track record of fundraising on a national level.
- A mindset of learning, moving forward and continually improving.
- Demonstrated success in effectively leading change and organizational growth through strategic planning, staff leadership, and financial management.
- The ability to engage, manage, motivate and unite people around common goals and strategies, and to drive teamwork and results.
- Integrity, a positive attitude, modesty, and a sense of humor.
- A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree is desired.
The President reports to The Opportunity Agenda’s Steering Committee and to the organization’s fiscal sponsor, Tides Center.
The Opportunity Agenda is located in New York, NY. Significant travel is required and it is possible for the next President to split time between New York and another city in the Northeast.
For potential consideration or to suggest a prospect, please email OpportunityAgenda@boardwalkconsulting.com or call Crystal Stephens or Patti Kish at 404-BoardWalk (404-262-7392). For the current status of this and other searches, please visit www.boardwalkconsulting.com.