Executive Director, Friends of the Rail Park

Posted by Friends of the Rail Park on January 12, 2018

Friends of the Rail Park (FRP) is a 501(c)3 organization that drives the vision behind the transformation of historic rail lines that traverse Philadelphia into a 3.1 mile linear park that will connect 10 adjoining neighborhoods, cultural institutions and Fairmount Park together. The park has three distinct sections – the Viaduct, the Cut and the Tunnel- which reflect the history of the city’s development and rail transportation’s role in it. Construction of Phase I of the Viaduct section will be completed in early 2018. Friends of the Rail Park is seeking its first Executive Director to work closely with an active Board of Directors, city government, other civic groups and other interested individuals to advance FRP’s vision and mission.

Friends of the Rail Park formed in 2013 as an advocacy group, as a result of a merger of two smaller advocacy groups initially formed in 2003 when the vision for the Rail Park was first articulated. Currently an all-volunteer organization, FRP brings together a diverse community of stakeholders and future park users with the belief that more people will use, benefit from and support the park if they are active participants in its creation. Hence, FRP seeks to work collaboratively with government and civic organizations, cultural institutions, and individuals and communities to secure public support and financial resources for the park, lead its design process and programmatic agenda. An institutional funder has generously committed $550,000 over three years to capitalize the organization. FRP will use this support to leverage other funders and donors to also contribute to the organization.

The Rail Park will be a continuous three-mile linear park and recreation path that connects and enlivens the social, historical and environmental fabric of Philadelphia’s communities.

Mission Statement
Friends of the Rail Park is the City’s partner to create, activate and enhance the quality of the Rail Park in order to engage diverse residents, bridge communities, and promote inclusivity among Philadelphians and visitors.

FRP will pursue three goals over the next three years:
1. Build FRP’s organizational capacity to be the go-to leader for the Rail Park.
2. Secure public support and financial resources.
3. Accelerate development of and secure commitment to the entire Rail Park.

FRP recently developed an organizational plan that provides the strategies and approach for advancing these.

$120,000 or commensurate with experience, with benefits aligned with nonprofit industry standards.

Background of ideal candidate
A dynamic and experienced professional with a history of accomplishment in the nonprofit or public sectors that combines financial and operational management, board development and relations, fundraising, community engagement, public advocacy, and external relationship advancement and/or government relations. Being adept at navigating the political and philanthropic landscape of Philadelphia is a must.

Professional Characteristics
1. At least 10 years successful tenure in a leadership role, in a nonprofit or public sector organization, incorporating operational, fundraising and external relations functions in which s/he played a direct role in organizational growth is preferred.
2. High-energy person with vision and the capacity to mobilize others towards a common goal. Ability to operationalize ideas is a must.
3. Entrepreneurial person capable and comfortable growing an organization and adept at risk analysis.
4. Skilled in working in a collaborative manner to build relationships and teams with multiple external stakeholders, to include capacity to understand interests of small nonprofits, larger institutional nonprofits, civic organizations and public sector decision makers. Ability to navigate complex relationships and lead negotiations is a must.
5. Effective communicator to multiple and diverse internal and external audience.
6. Demonstrated ability in fund development, to include being the face of an organization in stewarding funder and donor relationships.
7. Managerial expertise including budget management and working directly with a volunteer governing board to include board engagement and board education.
8. Proven experience working with diverse populations, including experience in building bridges to develop relationships, trust and credibility. Great listener able to bring together and synthesize diverse perspectives.

Summary of key deliverables
The Executive Director will lead and facilitate the board of directors and staff in pursuit of the following goals.
1. Establish FRP as the go-to leader of the Rail Park.
2. Build a diverse, sustainable revenue base able to meet FRP’s needs and goals.
3. Establish systems and infrastructures and hire staff (as needed) for the new organization.
4. Foster positive long-term relationships with key partner organizations, funders, and stakeholders.
5. Engage the community in the design process of the Rail Park.
6. Lead and oversee the Rail Park’s programmatic agenda.
7. Manage the board of directors such that members are engaged at a strategic level and contributing towards FRP’s goals.
8. Establish and nurture an advisory board.

Key Responsibilities
1. Key stakeholder relations and communications
a. Cultivate relationships and advocate for the entire Rail Park with public sector decision makers and other key stakeholders
b. Nurture and grow FRP’s relationship with the Department of Parks and Recreation and Center City District
c. Serve as key spokesperson for FRP together with the Board Chair
d. Foster media relations and represent the organization at regional and national meetings and events
2. Community Engagement and Public Outreach
a. Embed community engagement as a guiding principle of the organization
b. Conduct a highly participatory and visible design and program charrette for future phases of the Rail Park
c. Engage and generate interest of key stakeholders
d. Enhance and grow the membership program
3. Resource Development
a. Identify, pursue and secure expanded base of operating revenue and capital funds
b. Steward and expand relationships with funders
c. Develop a major donor program
4. Programs
a. Work with the Department of Parks and Recreation and neighboring communities (via the advisory board) to establish guidelines for programs
b. Lead and oversee programming
5. Organizational Management
a. Recruit and manage staff
b. Oversee fiscal management of organization, reporting regularly to the board regarding the financial status of the organization
c. Work with the Treasurer and board’s finance committee to ensure an annual budget, fundraising plan, and independent audit
6. Board Relations
a. Nurture a positive, open and collaborative relationship with the Board and its committees
b. Participate in soliciting and recruiting additional people to the board
c. Arrange opportunities for board education and engagement

Reports to the Board of Directors through the Board Chair

Direct Reports: Community Outreach Manager

1. FRP is an equal opportunity employer that values diversity and practices inclusion.
2. Freedom from illegal use of drugs, and freedom from use and effects of use of drugs and alcohol in the workplace.
3. This profile is intended to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by the Executive Director. It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities and qualifications required of the Executive Director.

Application process
Interviews will be arranged as soon as a group of qualified candidates is assembled. Resumes and a one-page cover letter that conveys why you are well suited for this position and how it fits into your career should be emailed as soon as possible to: FRP@fairmountinc.com. No paper copies, please. Applications should be emailed by January 17, 2018.

Confirmation of receipt of the application will be sent by return email. Interviews of preferred candidates will be arranged forthwith. No phone calls, please.

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