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Chicago Literacy Alliance
Executive Director

Posted: September 25, 2017

How to Apply: Applications, which include both a cover letter and resume please, should be sent to

Description: The Chicago Literacy Alliance (CLA) is recruiting for a new Executive Director to lead at an important time in the organization’s history.  The CLA is an association of more than 100 organizations helping to meet literacy needs for people of all ages and backgrounds. With the retirement of its founding Executive Director, the CLA Board of Directors has launched a search for an experienced leader who is passionate about the cause of literacy, believes in the mission of CLA, and sees the future for the organization as one that is rich with opportunity and potential.

The CLA has grown exponentially since its founding five years ago. Currently, the CLA is made up of 118 member organizations, an expansive shared physical space in downtown Chicago, dedicated staff, and programming that is popular among its members. The time is right for the CLA to embrace a new set of aspirations including:

  • Achieving new levels of excellence in organizational management
  • Measuring mission impact and telling the story of return on investment
  • Becoming the lead voice and advocate for improved literacy rate in Chicago and beyond

It is an exciting time to be part of the CLA, and the staff and board are eager to realize current goals and pursue new opportunities. It is anticipated that the work of the organization over the next few years will be pursued with continued vigor and in its ongoing collaborative spirit. The Executive Director will play a critical role in the CLA’s ability to succeed and all are dedicated to attracting a like-minded leader eager to convene, inspire and make things happen.  

The CLA is still young and there is an opportunity for the new leader to make their mark on the organization and an impact on the community, which it serves.  

The Opportunity

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director is the “face of the organization” and the primary liaison to each of the top executives of all member organizations. He or she also has management oversight of the CLA staff, making sure operating plans are in place, ensuring appropriate information and resources, and monitoring progress across the organization. The Executive Director of the CLA works with the Board of Directors on resource development, short-and-long term planning, and key decision-making.  Specific duties of the Executive Director include:


Leadership and Management – (40%)

  • Lead for organizational excellence and continuous improvement of:  member relations; operations; facilities; programs; development; marketing; public relations; communications; finance and administration; and advocacy
  • Coach, develop, and retain the CLA staff team; continue to embrace a culture of high performance, personal development, and coordination, including oversight of several direct reports and a total of nine employees
  • Operate collaboratively and support ideas from the whole team; support organic communication with members and be deliberate about building community
  • Actively engage CLA board members, volunteers, partner organizations, donors and funders
  • Serve as a convener, finding common ground and identifying opportunities for collaboration among stakeholders in support of the CLA mission and plans
  • Together with the Board Chair, develop, maintain and support a strong board of directors
  • Regularly revisit the strategic plan to ensure buy-in by all stake holders and to incorporate key metrics

Fundraising and Development Communications – (40%)

  • As philanthropy is vital to the CLA, be an active leader/participant in fundraising activities that generate about 75 percent of the annual budget
  • Lead an expansion of philanthropic activities to include more strategic fundraising, incorporating new approaches, systemizing processes and growing the donor base, all to position the organization for increased levels of giving from diverse sources
  • Through relationship management strategies, develop a more robust individual giving program that attracts support at all levels, including major gifts
  • Develop and implement communications strategies and content that support fundraising activities and effectively “tell the story” of the CLA to the donor/funder audience
  • Engage the board in fundraising activities and leverage board and volunteer relationships to garner new revenue opportunities

Advocacy – (20%)

  • Plan for and operationalize an advocacy agenda that will include identifying issues for which CLA can advocate on behalf of the community and government officials/agencies; over time, influence policy
  • Reach out and establish relationships that build partnerships with new members and partners, community leaders, government officials and peers
  • Be an external presence that enthusiastically communicates CLA highlights and generates interest in and support for the CLA

We are eager to hear from you. If you are interested in learning more about the opportunity, wish to refer a qualified candidate or are interested in applying for the role, please reach out to Margie DeVine of the nonprofit search firm DeVine Consulting. Margie may be reached by cell at 773-892-2993.  Applications, which include both a cover letter and resume please, should be sent to   

Salary and benefits are market competitive and offered commensurate with experience. The CLA is an equal opportunity employer.  Read the full job description here.