Executive Director

End Date
Jun 24, 2019

The Executive Director (ED) position is a unique leadership opportunity for an individual with experience, initiative, and an entrepreneurial spirit along with a strong appreciation for dance and the health and welfare of those in the Chicago dance community. The ED will provide the vision, strategic direction, fundraising leadership, and management expertise at the highest levels to shape the organizational identity and strategic growth, in accordance with its mission and vision.

The ED will direct and supervise CDU’s part-time staff, consultants, interns and volunteers; manage the implementation of all CDU programs and activities; and be the chief spokesperson to represent the organization broadly. The ED will be expected to maintain a strong, visible presence in the community, strengthen current funding relationships, and develop new, diverse sources of funds that ensure the organization will achieve sustainable growth and financial stability. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

▪ Vision, Strategic Planning, & Program Development
o Guide the continued evolution of CDU into a dynamic, well-branded organization, in accordance with its mission & vision; be consistent in articulating CDU’s mission and vision and encourage staff and Board of Directors (BOD) to do the same.

o Foster the vision set forth by the organization and support artistic programming as determined by the BOD.

o Lead institutional discussion and decision-making about CDU’s long-term objectives, target audiences and key constituencies.

o Cultivate and manage relationships and oversee discussions with potential strategic programming partners.

o Ensure the development and implementation of metrics evaluation and regular reporting for CDU outcomes and accomplishments.

o Take direction from BOD and facilitate goals and initiatives established by the BOD.

▪ Organizational Development and General Management
o Access, monitor, and manage CDU’s infrastructure – its human resources, operations, facility management, financial systems, information technology systems, processes and procedures, and make necessary improvements for optimal efficiency.

o Facilitate the ongoing development and management of interns, volunteers and supplemental staff personnel; inspire a spirit of collaboration and cohesion; identify strategies to maintain high morale and facilitate unity around a common purpose.

o Ensure the financial sustainability of CDU and provide oversight to all financial aspects of the organization, including budgetary processes, audits, cash flow management and financial analysis; work with the BOD to ensure sound financial structures are in place and that reporting systems are accurate.

o Oversee agreements between CDU and outside organizations.

o Position requires strong organizational skills and expertise in Microsoft Office suite, QuickBooks and additional online platforms. (e.g. Doodle, Basecamp, etc.)

▪ Fundraising/Development
o Serve as the primary point of contact for CDU’s fundraising initiatives; establish and maintain personal relationships with key donors, partners, and stakeholders in order to encourage ongoing support.

o Cultivate a donor pool that extends beyond CDU’s current base.

o Develop innovative approaches to fundraising including corporations, foundations and government grant writing, individual appeals, donor cultivation, events and digital campaigns.

o Evaluate philanthropic capacity of donor community in order to craft fundraising strategies that increase engagement and giving.

o Work with BOD to actively participate in fundraising activities related to CDU including prospect research, proposal development, funder stewardship, and reporting.

▪ External Relations, Marketing, and Communications
o Serve as primary spokesperson for CDU, proactively cultivating relationships with cultural leaders/institutions, and with key decision makers throughout the community and citywide, articulating CDU’s vision and galvanizing the community around the organization.

o Identify opportunities for CDU’s growth and greater participation/engagement; diversify and expand CDU’s audience.

o Forge relationships within the community (e.g. dance community, health education programs, donors); communicate regularly with key CDU stake holders.

o Implement a comprehensive marketing and public relations plan based on CDU’s mission and vision to promote CDU’s programming that includes regular communication with the community, press, funders, and stakeholders

o Ensure that CDU’s brand identities are used effectively and consistently.

o Position requires expertise in media relations and event promotion.

o Position requires strong verbal communication skills both as the leader of CDU and when representing CDU in the community.

▪ Focused Programs and outreach: Current and Future

  • o The Dancers’ Fund
  • ▪  Serve as primary contact for grant applicants.

  • ▪  Manage disbursement of funds to grantees.

  • ▪  Create a plan for growth of the fund and ongoing fundraising throughout the year.

  • ▪  Create a strategic plan for dissemination of information regarding eligibility and criteria for accessing The Dancer’s Fund.

  • o Dance for Life
  • ▪ Serve as primary contact and project manager for event.

  • ▪ Work closely with Programming Committee to fulfill DFL.

  • ▪ Activate and support volunteers who work on Dance for Life.

  • ▪ Facilitate and support activities of volunteer committees.

  • ▪ Coordinate event logistics, fundraising, and PR/marketing.

    o Additional fund raising initiatives throughout the year

  • ▪ “Next Generation” Performances

  • ▪ AIDS Run/Walk

  • ▪ Identify new opportunities

    o Develop and support awareness initiatives that require a CDU presence

Reports To: The Board of Directors

Qualifications and Skills: To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.


• Bachelor’s degree required, advanced degree or equal professional experience preferred

Experience & Skills:

  • Minimum of 3-5 years of leadership experience within a non-profit organization

  • Experience working with a BOD and interacting directly with directors and board committees

  • Experience leading and facilitating organizational initiatives

  • Experience with diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives

  • Experience working with a broad range of constituents and fostering civic engagement

  • Experience working with foundations, corporate giving programs, donors, and prospective donors

  • Experience writing and managing successful grant proposals

  • Experience developing collaborations with outside organizations

  • Occasional evening, early morning or weekend work may be required

Communication Skills:

  • Ability to read, write, proofread, speak and comprehend English with accuracy and fluency

  • Ability to write professional business correspondence

  • Ability to effectively present information to and collaborate with others

Computer Skills and Abilities:

  • MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) 
  • QuickBooks