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Director of Development

Red Hook Initiative



Red Hook Initiative (RHI) is a community-based nonprofit organization working to improve the lives of the more than 6,500 residents of Red Hook Houses, Brooklyn’s largest public housing complex. RHI believes that the social change to overcome systemic inequities begins with empowered youth, and that change in communities should come from within. In partnership with community adults, we nurture young people in Red Hook to be inspired, resilient, and healthy, and to envision themselves as co-creators of their lives, community, and society.

Youth development, community building, and community hiring are at the core of RHI’s approach to strengthen Red Hook’s future. Our model gives young people and residents the tools, resources, and opportunities they need to interrupt the systems and barriers that perpetuate historic inequities for the community. Residents lead the way toward a more equitable, hopeful future.

RHI’s programs include:

  • Youth Development: RHI engages over 450 adolescents each year, from middle school through young adulthood, endeavoring to interrupt cycles of injustice and to build hope.
  • Building Community: Working with Red Hook youth and adults to organize, exercise leadership to drive positive change for the community, and increase social cohesion to build a more resilient neighborhood.
  • Investing in Residents: RHI hires locally and invests in residents who will improve their lives and the community in which they live. More than $1.5M was earned in the last year by people from Red Hook.
  • Red Hook Farms: A youth-centered urban agriculture and food justice program operating one of Brooklyn’s original and largest farms. Red Hook Farms cultivates affordable, fresh produce and provides STEM and nutrition education, leadership development, and employment opportunities for local youth and residents.

Over our 20-year history, RHI’s model and dedicated team have been nationally recognized for their innovative, place-based approach to social change.

Learn more about our mission, programs, and impact:

RHI’s 2021 Impact Report further highlights our work with neighborhood allies to bring Covid-19 resources into the Red Hook community through a recovery plan that is rooted in healing and aims to improve outcomes across health, education, economic mobility, and food access.


RHI is seeking an entrepreneurial and dynamic Director of Development to set a strategic vision for and provide overall direction of a diverse portfolio of private and public funders contributing to an annual budget of ~$5.8M.

Our ideal candidate is a seasoned frontline fundraiser, strategic thinker, and effective problem solver. You will be an inspiring manager able to lead our growing development team of three full-time staff and a team of consultants to continue to exceed our ambitious goals. You must be committed to our core belief that resources are used to empower the Red Hook Community members to determine their future. Building on our financial success to date, the Director of Development will be a thought partner with the Executive Director, who is also a frontline fundraiser. Together you will be able to respond to ambitious goals with resilience, empathy, integrity, innovation, and a sense of humor. Our Director of Development must have a natural ability to promote an agency-wide sense of pride in fundraising initiatives.

The majority (88%) of our revenue comes from foundations, individuals, donor-advised funds, family foundations, and corporations, with the remaining 12% coming from government sources. Growing our base of individual donors while stewarding present foundation relationships and developing new institutional funder relationships is the focus of the work. The Director of Development will report to the Executive Director and work closely with the Board of Directors, senior leadership team, and development staff to lead RHI into our next chapter of growth. When considering fundraising, at RHI, we take the long view. Successful fundraising outcomes will be rewarded with additional development department staff and increased compensation across the department.


Vision, Strategy, & Leadership

  • Serve as a thought partner to the Executive Director and meaningfully participate in all staff and Leadership Team and planning meetings; engage RHI staff by promoting principles of philanthropy through an antiracist lens.
  • Manage a development team, including the Senior Manager of Individual Giving & Special Events, Volunteer & Partnerships Manager, Development & Communications Associate, as well as a team of consultants and vendors. Provide individualized, weekly supervision to direct reports to support professional growth.
  • Create and implement an annual organization-wide development revenue strategy and growth plan defining team tasks and benchmarks with input from RHI’s Executive Director, Board of Directors, Leadership Team, and development staff.
  • Develop annual team expense budgets to support team capacity and infrastructure to achieve all revenue goals.
  • Work closely with the Chief Program and Policy Officer and Chief Administrative Officer to ensure all development initiatives are linked to programs/programming cycles and are executed as efficiently as possible.
  • Develop and refine strategies to leverage existing resources and tap into new networks of supporters best suited to meet emerging programmatic and organizational needs.
  • Utilize RHI’s donor database (Salesforce) to identify patterns and trends of donor acquisition, retention and reactivation that inform fundraising strategies and tactics.
  • Analyze monthly revenue reports, modify approaches based on fundraising projections, and provide monthly reports and forecasts to the Executive Director.
  • Chair the Board of Directors’ Fundraising Committee with the preparation and facilitation of bimonthly meetings.
  • Prepare bimonthly development updates for the Board of Directors, attend all meetings (including additional ad hoc committee meetings such as the Governance and Finance Committees), and provide thought partnership on board relations.

Institutional Funding

  • Lead a grants management pipeline of nearly 150 institutional supporters and supervise a part-time grant writer to prepare for the timely submission of all grant proposals, narrative reports, and financial reports.
  • Oversee grant planning, including grant schedule, research of new grants, and relations with institutional funders.
  • Work directly with the grant writer to conceptualize and draft compelling proposals for institutional funders (foundation, corporate, and government), including complex proposals that require working closely with the Operations & Finance team.
  • Work in collaboration with the Operations & Finance team to develop a seamless government grants pipeline to co-manage the evaluation of new contract opportunities and the submission of grant proposals and reporting. Ensure that there is a consistent voice across private and government proposals.
  • Keep detailed and accurate records of all funder communications and grants management updates in Salesforce.
  • Prepare and lead RHI staff in key funder site visits and relay periodic programmatic updates.

Individual Giving & Major Donors

  • Supervise RHI’s Senior Manager of Individual Giving & Special Events to identify, qualify, and prioritize individual donor prospects through research, screening, and discovery meetings.
  • Create annual goals and an engagement plan for 40+ of RHI’s major donors and prospects based on organizational priorities, the individual’s interests, history of giving, and other relevant criteria.
  • Provide logistic, moves management strategy, and tactical support and advice to the Executive Director when and where she is the lead.
  • In collaboration with the Executive Director, successfully engage, cultivate, solicit, and steward a portfolio of major donors and prospects.
  • Engage, activate, and support the board and other key volunteers as ambassadors, connectors, cultivators, and, where appropriate, askers, for RHI.
  • Partner with RHI’s Senior Manager of Individual Giving & Special Events to ideate and produce our signature annual gala, Taste of Red Hook, which brings in over $350K each year through corporate sponsorships, major gifts, ticket sales, and a silent auction.
  • Work with development staff to foster strong relationships with the culinary community in Red Hook.
  • Work with RHI’s board and development staff to produce two successful annual fundraising initiatives – a holiday giving campaign and summer appeal.
  • Oversee a calendar of cultivation events and opportunities in partnership with the Senior Manager of Individual Giving & Special Events.
  • Co-manage event planning committees and relationships with vendors and consultants.
  • Lead the strategy development for special anniversary or capital campaigns as needed.

Volunteer Programs

  • Supervise RHI’s Volunteer & Partnerships Manager to develop and implement engaging and productive volunteer opportunities which engage over 200 individuals and corporate groups each year.
  • With support from development staff, create a volunteer-to-donor pipeline based on prospect research and trend analysis.

Communications & PR

  • Supervise Development & Communications Associate in the creation of an annual communications strategy to continuously elevate RHI’s profile across new audiences and ensure regular, tailored, and timely communications, clear and compelling messaging, and brand consistency across the organization.
  • Leverage email, website, social media, and print publications to engage followers, subscribers, donors, and stakeholders with relevant programmatic updates, fundraising appeals, and volunteer opportunities.
  • Write and produce RHI’s annual Impact Report and special program reports as directed.
  • Ensure that website and social media content is engaging, up-to-date, and in sync with broader fundraising messages and goals.
  • Oversee the creation of presentation materials and funding proposals as well as prepare reports or other information required by donors.
  • Support development staff and Board of Directors to generate press lists, generate press advisories and releases, and pitch stories to members of the press.


The Director of Development should possess the following competencies, skills, and personal attributes:

  • · Strategic + Entrepreneurial Leader

A big-picture and strategic thinker able to set a long-term view and build a shared vision with staff. A track record of achieving organizational objectives with the ability to focus on near and long-term goals. Entrepreneurial, resilient, and flexible with a willingness to lead with an eye toward growth and unlocking new opportunities.

  • · Subject Matter Expertise

A deep expertise in development, volunteers, and communications informed by best practices in the field and prior work experiences. Familiarity with the unique political, economic, housing, and community issues of Red Hook, Brooklyn, or other NYC communities similarly situated and facing common issues and challenges.

  • · Relationship Builder + Effective Communicator

Superior interpersonal skills with a natural ability to effectively communicate and build authentic and positive relationships among a variety of constituents with diverse backgrounds including private and public funders, board members, volunteers, staff, participants, and stakeholders.

  • · Team Builder + Collaborator

Demonstrate commitment to an interdisciplinary, collaborative, and accountable team approach to work. Possess the skills, sensitivity, and personal confidence to tap into the power that each member of the team brings to the mission, lead with empathy, and develop a performance culture among a diverse group of individuals.

  • · Change + Project Manager

Adept at applying sound management practices to help team members embrace change and succeed through periods of transition. Able to effectively manage and balance multiple projects and competing priorities and to remain flexible and adaptable to changing events and circumstances.

  • · Decision Maker + Problem Solver

Able to envision and implement proactive measures to mitigate conflicts and intervene in helping team members find positive solutions to diffuse a broad range of difficult and/or complex situations.

  • · Commitment to RHI’s Mission + Organization Values

Passion for fueling the organization’s mission through fundraising initiatives and maintaining programmatic excellence for the benefit of the Red Hook community. Demonstrate a strong alignment with RHI’s core values and commitment to DEI and engage in practices that promote a positive work environment, respect differing opinions and perspectives, and ensure the fair and equitable treatment of staff in all interactions and employment matters.

  • · Ethics + Integrity

Demonstrate a strong commitment to high standards of honesty, ethics, and integrity in all areas of RHI’s work.

Experience + Education

  • Bachelor’s degree required, master’s degree in nonprofit administration, business, or related field preferred.
  • Seven to ten years of progressively responsible leadership experience in a nonprofit organization, government agency, school, or philanthropy of which at least three (3) years were at a senior leadership level overseeing a relatively large team of managers and professional staff, as well as a diverse portfolio of programs and/or contracts serving low-income youth and/or communities.
  • Extensive experience in fundraising with a focus on youth and/or community development or grassroots organizations.

Employment data show that women and people from underrepresented groups apply to jobs only if they think they meet 100% of the criteria. If you meet many but not all the criteria and feel you may be a good fit for the role, we encourage you to apply.


RHI actively engages individuals from all backgrounds and is committed to embracing diversity across all areas and aspects of the organization. We firmly believe that an atmosphere of civility and mutual respect toward individual differences and embracing an inclusive and equitable environment is indispensable to building a successful organization, contributing to a positive and meaningful employment experience for staff, and advancing the best possible outcomes for the clients served by RHI’s programs. We are also committed to community hiring and supporting the job prospects of Red Hook residents.

As an equal opportunity employer, RHI is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified individuals and does not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and expression, disability, age, marital status, military status, veteran status, pregnancy, parental status, genetic information, or any other characteristic or basis prohibited by applicable law.


RHI strives to offer employees a competitive compensation and benefits package that reflects its core values and commitment to its staff. The salary range for this leadership role is $115,000 to $125,000 and will be commensurate with the candidate’s competencies and experience. Additionally, RHI provides a comprehensive benefits package which includes medical, dental, and vision coverage, an employee assistance program (EAP) which includes 12 counseling sessions per year, 403b retirement plan, flexible spending accounts for out-of-pocket health, dependent and commuter expenses, life insurance, and a flexible hybrid work schedule, including 24 PTO days and “Summer Fridays,” when possible.

This leadership role is based on-site at RHI’s main program office in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The ideal candidate should be within reasonable commuting distance to our main program office or a resident of Red Hook or one of its neighboring communities in Brooklyn.

How to Apply:

Please send a thoughtful cover letter and resume to Please includeRHI Development Director in the email subject line.

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