Executive Director, Pennsylvania Innocence Project

Posted by Pennsylvania Innocence Project on May 14, 2019

About The Organization

The Pennsylvania Innocence Project was founded in 2008 to exonerate persons convicted of crimes they did not commit and prevent innocent people from being convicted. Over the last decade, the Project has been involved in 14 exonerations, secured the release of three individuals who are still fighting to prove their innocence, and secured new trials for two men who remain incarcerated as their legal proceedings continue. In addition to identifying and litigating cases, the Project:

  • Consults on pre-trial cases involving forensic science issues (i.e., promoting the use of DNA evidence)
  • Works to improve the criminal justice system to prevent innocent people from being convicted
  • Educates stakeholders within the criminal justice system on the reasons for wrongful convictions
  • Promotes policies and legislation that will prevent such tragedies from occurring
  • Runs clinical programs in conjunction with law schools in both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh

Learn more about their work at http://www.innocenceprojectpa.org/us/

About The Position

The Pennsylvania Innocence Project is seeking a strong, farsighted full-time leader, with a passion for criminal justice reform, to serve as its Executive Director. The ED will act as the organization’s chief executive, leading fundraiser, external advocate, and team leader, overseeing the organization’s continued growth. In addition to serving as the organization’s key external voice, the ED will manage the development and implementation of a strategic plan, working with the Board to set goals and develop an operating plan to achieve them.

Reporting to an active and engaged Board of Directors, the ED will manage the team across the Commonwealth including its two current sites (Philadelphia and Pittsburgh) and help the Project deliver on its promise of exonerating the innocent and preventing wrongful convictions in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Specific Responsibilities Include, But Are Not Limited To

External Leadership

  • Serve as the external voice of the organization, raising the public’s awareness of the fact that innocent convictions occur, enhancing the Project’s visibility, brand recognition, and credibility; acting as a thought leader and advocate for the wrongfully convicted
  • Lead the creation and execution of a comprehensive annual fundraising strategy, with the goal of raising ~$1M in year one (with additional growth to follow)
  • Work closely with funders to ensure the ongoing engagement of existing donors and cultivation of new ones; develop funding relationships within and beyond Pennsylvania’s legal community
  • In partnership with the Board, create and cultivate relationships with major donors (individuals, corporations, foundations, and government), building a broad base of support and a network of champions
  • Develop and manage strategic relationships with key partners (peer organizations, funding partners, policy makers, legal associations etc.) to deepen the Project’s reputation as a thought leader
  • Engage in and coordinate public advocacy and legislative efforts on behalf of The Project

Organizational Leadership

  • In collaboration with the Board of Directors and staff, develop the organization’s next strategic plan, with a focus on securing the future of the organization through continued growth and expansion of programs and services
  • Oversee the development and implementation of operational systems and processes that enable the team work efficiently and effectively
  • Ensure staff has clearly defined roles and goals and access to the information/resources necessary to achieve their goals
  • Coach and mentor a high-performing team, hiring and managing a team committed to the Project’s work
  • Continue to build and enhance the Project’s internal organizational culture and energize the team around a shared vision for the current and future state of the work
  • Act as primary liaison to the Board of Directors, engaging Board members in the current and future needs of the organization
  • Develop and manage the annual budget (currently ~$850K), ensuring that the organization continues to build and maintain a cash surplus while increasing its budget and impact

Candidate Requirements

The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications:

  • At least 10 years of professional experience, including experience serving in a leadership role in a mission-driven setting
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills, with the ability to develop strong relationships across a diverse spectrum of stakeholders, and to influence leaders in the private, public, and non-profit sectors
  • Excellent public speaking and communication skills with the ability to serve as a strong external spokesperson
  • Strong appetite to lead fundraising efforts with successful track record of nonprofit fundraising
  • Outstanding organizational leadership skills, with an ability to articulate a clear and inspiring vision while managing, coaching and developing a high-performing team
  • Strong critical thinking skills, with a track record of developing strategies in the face of complexity and ambiguity
  • Experience overseeing budgets, with the capacity to allocate resources strategically and manage spending against budget
  • Entrepreneurial mindset, with the willingness and ability to seize opportunities and solve problems as they arise
  • A keen intellect, with the ability to be an independent thinker and creative problem solver
  • Deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and the ability to demonstrate humility and empathy while working across a wide range of individuals
  • Authentic passion for reforming the criminal justice system, exonerating those wrongfully convicted, and helping the victims transition to freedom
  • Experience working in a legal context, and/or in the criminal justice arena is preferred but not required

Compensation And Benefits

Salary and benefits will be competitive and commensurate with experience.


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