The Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (“RMAPI”) was
established in 2015 in response to the exceptionally high poverty
rates in the city of Rochester. Rochester ranked No. 2 nationwide
among similarly sized cities with a poverty rate of 32.9%.
Initially backed by state funding, RMAPI was launched as a
multi-sector community collaborative effort to reduce poverty and
promote self-sufficiency of residents in Rochester and Monroe
County. Local and state government officials, employers, service
providers, funders and community members living in poverty made the
decision to unite efforts under RMAPI to identify and execute the
systemic changes necessary to make meaningful reductions in the
percent of people living in poverty. While all involved sectors
recognized that there is not a “magic bullet” program or government
initiative that would lead to a meaningful reduction in the
community’s historic poverty rate, the path forward was less
Since its launch, RMAPI has made great strides in understanding
the scale and complexity of the underlying issues that contribute
to persistent poverty. Research, data analysis, focus groups and
community-wide collaborative conversations led to the
identification of three principles to guide all future work:
1. Address Structural Racism – end the activities and actions
that continue racial inequality in public policies, institutional
practices and other cultural norms.
2. Build and Support our Community – help to rebuild struggling
neighborhoods with quality employment opportunities, health care,
and schools, making them safe, healthy and livable.
3. Address Trauma – help to heal people and neighborhoods
suffering from repeated traumatic experiences like abuse, addiction
and violence by providing trauma-informed supports and
To accomplish this work, the RMAPI community decided to adopt a
“collective impact” framework model. Collective Impact is an
approach to problem-solving that recognizes that “no single
organization has the ability to solve any major social problem at
scale by itself.” The RMAPI initiative employs a staff of seven,
including the Executive Director, and exists to provide guidance
and support to partners involved in the collective impact effort.
The term “partners” refers to the individuals and organizations
that have come together to reduce poverty under this initiative,
including government, employers, service providers, funders and the
community members impacted by poverty (together known as the
“Collective”). In effect, the staff of RMAPI serves as the backbone
of the Collective by facilitating, organizing and amplifying the
work of the Collective, providing the “connective tissue” between
the efforts of all involved. The following groups have been
formed within RMAPI to best advance the work of the Collective:
• The Steering Committee, comprised of 40 community leaders who
guide the initiative’s vision and overall strategies. The Executive
Director reports to the co-chairs of the Steering Committee.
• The Executive Committee, comprised of a subset of Steering
• The Community Advisory Council, comprised of community
residents who help inform, support and guide the work of the
• Working Groups, comprised of frontline stakeholders who
develop specific strategies and implementation plans that make
RMAPI’s goals a reality. There are currently four working groups:
Policy, Employment, Evaluation and Data, and Funding Alignment.
• Community Partners comprised of various government agencies,
community members, and organizations that are critical to
implementing RMAPI’s strategies
RMAPI staff is frequently referred to as the “backbone” of the
initiative, an impactful term that underscores the fact that RMAPI
staff doesn’t “own” the work of the initiative – the “Collective”
owns it. The annual budget of the backbone organization is
approximately $700K, funded by a combination of government,
community and foundation grants. RMAPI is housed at the United Way
of Greater Rochester which serves as fiscal agent for the
THE OPPORTUNITY – “There is nothing new about poverty. What is
new, however, is that we have the resources to get rid of it.” –
Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Making a difference” is a goal shared by many but realized by
few. The next Executive Director of the Rochester–Monroe
Anti-Poverty initiative will have the opportunity to realize this
goal on a grand scale. The Executive Director will be taking over
this collective impact initiative at just the right inflection
point for measurable success. Staff is fully engaged and focused,
the collective is committed to the long-term success of the
initiative, and local government support is re-energized. While the
impact of Covid-19 will be felt in the community for years to come,
individuals and organizations are now working together in
unprecedented ways to resolve systemic blocks to building a
stairway out of poverty.
After taking the helm, the successful candidate will lead RMAPI
through the next phase of its mission to reduce poverty and
increase self-sufficiency; moving from consulting and involving the
community and partner organizations to collaborating with and
empowering them to eliminate structural racism, help people and
neighborhoods recover from sustained trauma, and rebuild
communities to safe, healthy and livable standards. To best
accomplish this next stage in RMAPI’s evolution, we are seeking an
individual who possesses a rare balance of strategic leadership,
motivational leadership, project management savvy, and courageous
The next Executive Director will independently recognize
opportunities for collaboration across internal RMAPI partners and
external organizations that share similar goals. RMAPI doesn’t
exist to offer programs. RMAPI exists to leverage the efforts of
many people and entities to eliminate barriers to employment and
living wages for impoverished members of our community. The
Executive Director will be in the unique position to serve as an
“orchestra leader,” integrating the efforts of many in a
consistent, persistent manner to reduce poverty in our community.
While the Executive Director’s efforts will be bolstered by many,
only a gifted strategist will recognize and capitalize on potential
opportunities by convening the right players, identifying
attainable initiatives, advocating for policy changes and funding,
and deftly holding like-minded professionals accountable for
results without possessing the organizational authority to do
The Executive Director of RMAPI will also be called upon to take
the lead in advancing the agenda of the Policy Working Group. The
Executive Director will be supported by the efforts of the working
group but will be in the best position to strategically convene
other relationships internal and external to the RMAPI Collective
to advocate for change together.
The Executive Director of a collective impact initiative
achieves success almost exclusively through the efforts of others.
The Executive Director must possess the capacity to motivate others
to a high degree of engagement and action. The Executive Director
must be a master storyteller, equally gifted at captivating
community members at kitchen tables, corporate leaders in board
rooms, and politicians in Albany. The Executive Director will
delight in sharing small and large “wins” internally and
externally, evangelizing for the community’s success at every turn.
The successful Executive Director will come to RMAPI with an
established reputation for transparency. The combination of
transparency, community involvement and motivational storytelling
will build the trust and high energy level from the community that
is critical to the long-term achievement of RMAPI’s mission.
Project Management – Focus, Facilitate and Assess
At present, RMAPI has a long list of potential initiatives and
not enough time, funding or human capital to vet and execute them
all. The next Executive Director will be tasked to develop a
community impact strategy map based on the current mission and
guiding principles of RMAPI, and to team with the Working Groups
and the impacted community to identify actionable initiatives in
support of the strategies outlined in the map. The Executive
Director will team with the Evaluation and Data Working Group to
identify measurable goals for each initiative owned by the working
groups. Lastly, the Executive Director will develop a dashboard to
measure and regularly report results against goals to the Steering
Committee and the community. The successful candidate will team
with staff to eliminate barriers to the achievement of goals by
collective impact partners, holding them accountable to results
along the way. Keeping the Collective focused and informed on the
attainment of selected goals is one of the biggest challenges
facing the Executive Director.
RMAPI’s partner organizations have learned to be more
comfortable with the concept that decisions are often made, and
action must be taken, with imperfect information. Fail fast, learn,
and move on. RMAPI’s next Executive Director will be a lifelong
learner, with an intriguing blend of confidence and humility;
humble enough to know that the Executive Director needs the input
of others for RMAPI to succeed, but confident enough to know that
“perfect is sometimes the enemy of good” – consult with subject
matter experts, review available data, and then decide on a path
forward without the luxury of certainty.
WHY YOU? WHY NOW? WHY HERE?
If you are an innovative, thoughtful strategic leader with a
reputation for motivating others to achieve audacious goals you
won’t find a better opportunity to put those skills to use than in
the service of improving people’s lives here in Rochester. This
opportunity should be of particular interest to experienced
organizational leaders, vice presidents, chief operating officers
and/or chiefs of staff who want to make a difference but are
fatigued with fighting through layers of bureaucracy and uninspired
leadership. RMAPI’s staff is talented and passionate, RMAPI’s
partners have shown unwavering financial, intellectual and physical
support for the work at hand, and Rochesterians who are impacted by
poverty are fully engaged in the future success of this grass-roots
effort. Achieving audacious goals is in Rochester’s DNA; we are the
home to the legacies of trailblazers like Susan B. Anthony and
Frederick Douglass. We are one of the most generous communities in
the country by all measures, from possessing the highest number of
not-for-profit organizations for a city of our size to the largest
amount of per capita giving in the nation. We are ready to take a
stand against poverty with you.
Within the first twelve to eighteen months, the Executive
• Within three months, meet one-on-one with each member of the
Steering Committee and the co-chairs of each Working Group and the
Community Advisory Council to gain an understanding of why they are
involved and their vision for how their involvement can best be
leveraged to meet RMAPI’s mission.
• Engage in group meetings and focus groups with identified
community “voices” from the African American, Latino “single female
heads of households” and faith groups as identified by staff as
part of RMAPI’s Communication Engagement Strategy.
• Team with the Steering Committee and RMAPI staff to develop a
one-page collective impact strategy map that will be used to focus
and communicate RMAPI ideas and initiatives to all stakeholder
levels. Strategies included on the map will support the work
defined in RMAPI’s aforementioned Guiding Principles.
• Work with the Policy Working Group, the Employment Working
Group the Funding Alignment Council and staff to identify one to
three tangible initiatives that will support RMAPI’s guiding
principles of addressing structural racism, addressing trauma,
and/or building community strength. Initiatives focused on targeted
populations of single female heads of households and the working
poor (for example, those employed as home health aides) will be
prioritized. Ideas and their execution should be supported and
endorsed by impacted members of the community, including the
Community Advisory Council and community “voices” as defined in the
Communication Engagement Strategy.
• Leverage input from the Evaluation and Data Working Group to
define measurable goals for the aforementioned identified
initiatives, including data-driven definitions of impacted
populations for each initiative.
• Team with the Evaluation and Data Working Group to develop a
dashboard to track progress against identified initiatives.
• Take a leadership role in leveraging the time, talent and
treasure of each Steering Committee member to minimize and/or
eliminate roadblocks to the execution of identified
• Develop and execute a clear communication plan across all
stakeholder groups so information is shared regularly and on a
timely basis. Stakeholder groups include the Steering Committee,
the Executive Committee, Working Groups, staff and the impacted
community. The communication plan should include internally focused
communications like meeting minutes, and externally focused
communications like sharing progress against goals and with the
• Work with staff and the Data and Evaluation Working Group to
assess the impact of COVID-19 on those living in poverty. Guide the
Steering Committee through any resultant re-prioritization of goals
• Directly lead, motivate and manage RMAPI staff
• Take ownership for keeping the Steering Committee and
Executive Committee informed, active and engaged. Identify
opportunities to utilize the talent of individual Steering
Committee members as needed.
• Team with staff, the United Way as fiduciary, and the Steering
Committee to identify the optimal deployment of resources under
management to meet RMAPI’s mission and guiding principles.
• Lead the advocacy effort on initiatives identified by the
Policy Working Group, identifying and leveraging optimal resources
to accomplish RMAPI’s policy agenda.
• Recognize and take the lead to identify and act upon synergies
with regional organizations outside of RMAPI who share the similar
goals. “Own” the identification and execution of ad hoc initiatives
that develop from joint meetings and initiatives.
• Identify and minimize roadblocks to the scalability of
successful RMAPI initiatives. Current examples include the adult
mentoring program, and the employer pledge initiative.
• Regularly celebrate RMAPI successes within and outside of the
Collective, encouraging others within the Collective to “own” and
share those successes with their own organizations and the
The successful candidate will possess the following:
• A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or
university. A master’s degree in business, public policy, political
science, social work or other degrees relevant to RMAPI’s mission
• Prior experience in a leadership role or as a member of the
senior management team of an organization of at least a comparable
size and complexity, including responsibility for setting the
strategic direction of the organization and managing others through
influence. If prior experience was acquired outside of the
not-for-profit or government sectors, leadership experience should
be supplemented by prior experience serving on one or more
• Prior industry experience must include a positive track record
for reducing poverty, improving employment metrics, and/or
initiating policy changes within or on behalf of marginalized
• Preference will be given for candidates with experience
working within a Collective Impact or comparable
• Preference will be given to candidates from Rochester, NY who
meet the requirements for the role. If not from Rochester, the
selected candidate must relocate to Rochester within 90 days of
• Proven experience managing complex projects to a successful
conclusion, including goal setting, data analysis, result
measurement, and holding stakeholders accountable for results.
• A reputation for a transparent and direct management style
with prior organizations under management.
• Candidates who have personal “lived experience” as a member of
a marginalized community are strongly preferred.
• Examples of creating mutually beneficial collaborations across
• An entrepreneurial spirit, as evidenced by a track record for
making courageous decisions in the face of imperfect
• A reputation for listening that stems from insatiable
curiosity and the humility of knowing that there is much to learn
from the input of others.
• Unquestioned professional and personal integrity.
This description is not meant to be an all-inclusive list of
duties and responsibilities but constitutes a general definition of
In support of the ADA, this job description lists only the
responsibilities and qualifications deemed essential to the
position. RMAPI and the United Way of Greater Rochester as fiscal
agent is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our policy prohibits
discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, creed,
national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation,
disability, genetic predisposition, veteran status or status as a
member of any other protected group or activity.
HOW TO APPLY/MAKE INQUIRIES:
This retained search is being conducted exclusively by Patty
Phillips of Clarity Recruiting and Career Management, Inc. for the
Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative. All applicants must
contact Patty directly, as all applicants and inquiries, regardless
of how sourced, will be forwarded to her attention.
If interested, please submit a cover letter and resume to:
email@example.com. In your cover letter, please explain the
basis for your interest in the position and highlight relevant
experience for the role.
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