The Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative believes community wealth building strategies represent an opportunity to systematically address Atlanta’s crisis of wealth inequality. Furthermore, it is well documented that there are few wealth creation strategies more potent than entrepreneurship. Black entrepreneurs in particular have higher wealth levels and more upward wealth mobility than do Black workers. These findings are consistent with Black entrepreneurship reducing the wealth disparity between Blacks and Whites.
Atlanta has a rich history of cultivating minority small business. Accordingly, in 2017 as part of its relaunch, AWBI, with the support of The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Kendeda Fund and Prosperity Now convened a Community of Practice (CoP). The CoP is a multi-sector coalition, representing more than thirty community-based organizations, public agencies and institutions in Atlanta, committed to systemic, collective intervention to strengthen Black entrepreneurship and to address the wide-scale racial wealth inequality that is pervasive in Atlanta. The Community of Practice was tasked with shaping recommendations for a more vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem to support African American businesses in building community wealth.
Following the guidance of the CoP and the principles of community wealth building, AWBI’s initial strategy is rooted in business ownership and enhancing the capacity of those businesses to stabilize changing communities in Atlanta. Over the next three years, AWBI will concentrate its effort to align resources and access to capital to grow a strong black business ecosystem. In addition, consistent with place-based community wealth building principles, AWBI’s entrepreneurial strategy will begin in partnership with the Atlanta Beltline. Given the Atlanta Beltline’s role as an economic driver – particularly in the southern communities outlining Atlanta’s inner core – and the catalyzing force of entrepreneurship to drive social mobility, AWBI’s initial strategy is designed to leverage the Beltline to advance the City’s black entrepreneurship ecosystem. Specifically, we aim to begin to address racial wealth inequality in Atlanta by leveraging Atlanta’ s strong public-private partnership culture to build capacity for minority-owned businesses located along the BeltLine.
While the initial strategic focus of AWBI’s efforts will be on enterprise development, the Executive Director should lead exploratory efforts to execute programming and partnerships around additional community wealth building strategies including anchor procurement, financing, land use and workforce strategies.
The Executive Director will be tasked to make AWBI’s objectives a reality, overseeing all operational, financial and partnership management aspects of the organization. Although much work has been done to date, the Executive Director’s first responsibility will be to build on current success and ensure implementation of the organization’s strategic plan as AWBI moves from concept to execution.
More particularly, the Executive Director will possess experience, knowledge and competencies in the following areas:
Leadership Skills and Acumen - The Executive Director will be a seasoned or mid-career professional with experience leading organizations, large departments/units and projects of significance. She/he will not only build and lead staff, but she/he will be expected to model the commitment to impact and team-based collaboration that has informed the work thus far.
Board Governance - The Executive Director will serve as the principal professional resource to the AWBI board of directors and committees. Participate in board of directors meetings and assist the board in setting strategic direction for AWBI, formulating policy, and developing annual work plans to achieve organizational goals. She/he will work with the board of directors to oversee and evaluate programs, projects and work plan initiatives.
Fundraising/Resource Development - The Executive Director will serve as the primary fundraiser, working closely with the board to attract and increase investments in community wealth building strategies. She/he will leverage strategic partnerships to pool coordinated capital to invest in communities of color. The ED is responsible for fundraising and developing other resources necessary to support AWBI’s mission.
Community Wealth Building, Racial Equity and Economic Inclusion - The Executive Director will have a clear understanding and ability to serve as subject matter expert and thought leader in the areas of community wealth building, racial equity and economic inclusion. The Executive Director will lead exploratory efforts to execute programming and partnerships around community wealth building strategies including enterprise development, anchor procurement, financing, land use and workforce strategies. Additionally, she/he must champion awareness of issues pertaining to economic development, community wealth building and racial equity.
Portfolio/Fund Development/Management and Fiscal Stewardship - Development of a capital acquisition and deployment strategy (and team) will be an early priority, including identifying opportunities for additional philanthropic support, investments, lending and grant-making. Currently the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta (CFGA) provides administrative and fiscal oversight for AWBI including personnel and grants management. The Executive Director is tasked with working with the Board to assess AWBI’s long- and short-term needs in connection with fiscal and management support and the most appropriate legal and operational structure to achieve its goals. The Executive Director will manage AWBI’s relationship with CFGA and will be responsible for fiscal management, developing AWBI’s annual budget, in consultation with the Board, ensuring optimum resource utilization and sound financial stewardship.
Strategic Vision/Implementation - AWBI’s board, in concert with its stakeholders, has approved a bold strategic plan with definitive goals and strategies, consistent with the founding vision, current success and robust ambitions. The Executive Director will guide and direct the execution of AWBI’s strategic plan and assess the respective implementation strategy and tactics associated with the plan’s strategic direction. She/he must make sure AWBI’s strategy implementation align with its mission, vision and core values and remains relevant. The Executive Director will not only be responsible for planning and directing achievement of AWBI’s strategic and long-range goals but also ensuring continuous assessment of AWBI’s activities to evaluate operational effectiveness, identify strengths and weaknesses and make recommendations based on emerging trends, expansion opportunities, and internal process improvement.
Partnership/Relationship Management, Communication & Community Engagement - As the organization’s primary spokesperson, the Executive Director must cultivate effective working relationships with a diverse set of stakeholders, including business and the nonprofit, philanthropic, civic and faith-based sectors. She/he will represent AWBI as a thought leader in the community wealth building field, facilitating field building and learning journey opportunities for board members and other national, regional and local entities with long-term vested interests in economic development and community wealth building. Collaboration and relationship-building will be absolutely central to success. Building on conversations already underway with high-value discussion partners, the Executive Director must quickly manage, initiate and leverage a variety of relationships.
The ideal candidate to lead AWBI will be an effective, thoughtful executive with the proven ability to drive a founding vision from start-up to demonstrable impact and possess a perennial commitment to racial equity and inclusive economic parity. The best candidates will be bold, strategic thinkers who combine the attitude of a servant leader with the heft of demonstrated leadership success in environments requiring effective collaboration between and among a variety of stakeholders.
Among the assets of most interest to the search committee include the following:
Demonstrated understanding and leadership to serve as subject matter expert and thought leader in the areas of community wealth building, economic inclusion, racial equity
Experience leading teams and projects of significance from implementation to successful completion; a healthy affinity for both vision and execution
Demonstrated success in fund development and securing large scale funding from foundations, philanthropists and investors to support enterprise and catalytic economic development projects
Possesses skills to effectively communicate AWBI’s purpose, goals, initiatives and successes to a variety of audiences and to catalyze collective action
A value based, solutions-driven management approach with a long-term focus on addressing systemic racial and economic inequity despite entrenched obstacles
A leadership style that connects high-level executive and administrative skills
Capable of managing an active and supportive board of directors
Managerial success grounded in best practices and the most current research coupled with the ability to be innovative and credibly disruptive
The heft to connect credibly with national, local and regional philanthropic, civic and for-profit leaders and to simultaneously garner the respect of community leaders, entrepreneurs and business leaders
Demonstrated record of effective multi-stakeholder management and thriving in environments that offer diversity of thought
An exceptional reputation among peers for influence, critical thinking and problem-solving
Ability to be self-directed; entrepreneurial experience a plus
Strong financial acumen and high degree of comfort with accounting and analytic tools
Strong project management skills
Competitive salary and benefits package will be offered. Salary will be commensurate with market, operating budget and candidate's experience level.
Please view the complete leadership profile at http://atlantawealthbuilding.org/join-our-team/.