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Hester Street - Executive Director

About Hester Street

Hester Street is a rapidly growing, mid-sized New York City-based urban planning, design, and community development non-profit with a national reach, whose mission is to ensure that neighborhoods and cities are shaped by the people who live in them. We are mission-driven urban planners, architects, and community developers working together with community-based organizations and governments to create just, vibrant, and equitable communities. We offer technical and capacity-building assistance on land use, neighborhood planning, and public and private community development projects throughout NYC and beyond.

Our vision for just and equitable cities is predicated on a radical re-imagining of what neighborhoods and cities can and should be. It’s a vision that values and prioritizes local knowledge; that confronts and addresses racial and economic injustice – past and present; that unapologetically allies with low-income communities of color; that embraces complexity, inspires creativity and fosters collaboration, and; that urgently, passionately creates the conditions in which we all can thrive. View our menu of services or learn more about our work at

About the Opportunity

Founded in 2002, Hester Street has spent over 19 years working alongside our partners and their constituencies to maximize long-term community benefit through transformational, inclusive, innovative, community-driven processes that develop skills, build power and strengthen community resilience. As our previous Co-Executive Directors ended their tenures in December 2021, the Board of Directors is seeking a progressive Executive Director (ED) to provide the visionary leadership, management, and planning necessary to ensure that the organization is strategically positioned to continue its support of community-led change, civic engagement, and large-scale participatory planning and policymaking.

Managing an initial $6MM annual budget, and over 30 employees, the ED will build on the recent rapid growth and evolution of the organization. Building alliances with a range of stakeholders including government agencies at city, state and federal levels, philanthropic organizations, community organizations, and public officials will be crucial as Hester Street continues to live out its mission. The ED will set and implement the strategic vision of the organization, continue building the infrastructure, team, and culture that will ensure its financial sustainability and define Hester Street’s identity as a meaningful place to work. Ideal candidates bring some mix of expertise in organizing, community engagement, urban planning/policy, real estate development, design, coalition building, anti-oppression, advocacy, and/or community development work, along with executive leadership experience and fundraising in nonprofit, government, or similarly situated sectors.

Areas of Leadership:

  • Vision Setting, Strategic Planning, & Implementation

  • Articulate a clear vision & develop a values-aligned strategic plan and theory of change that is led inclusively and addresses how and where the organization will grow

  • Lead the translation of the vision into specific project work, and leverage the strategic plan to develop clear organizational goals and metrics

  • Operationalize and/or develop best practice processes to execute the strategic plan, ensuring all staff understand how their work will support the strategic plan

  • Executive / Organizational Leadership

  • Lead the development of infrastructure and systems that support and optimize the organization’s recent growth and current size

  • Lead a diverse, cohesive team by thoughtfully managing staff capacity and ensuring that staff at all levels are maximizing their potential as a team and as individuals through ongoing staff development

  • Drive a positive, equitable and inclusive organizational culture through clear communication, transparent decision-making, meaningful relationship development and engaging staff to ensure values alignment across the organization

  • Develop clear, inclusive decision-making frameworks for accountability that align project planning and staffing to the strategic vision and priorities

  • Execute strategic diversity, equity, and inclusion priorities on an ongoing basis

  • Thought Leadership

  • Provide thought leadership around issues of equitable economic development, urban planning/policy, design, community-centered design, community engagement, and community-driven real estate development

  • Lead the implementation of best practices that ensure equitable project selection, evaluation and staffing, efficient project management, and that project deliverables meet the needs of stakeholders

  • Fundraising & External Relations

  • Build new and strengthen existing alliances with foundations, government agencies, and community-based partners that will help Hester Street live out its mission

  • Expand Hester Street’s impact in NYC and beyond by presenting and promoting its mission, programs, and partners ensuring high visibility to prospects and the public; serve as the organization’s chief spokesperson

  • Maintain and manage the current organizational budget to ensure financial stability and sustainability of Hester Street through strategic and diverse fundraising and development approaches

  • Ensure internal processes and communications are transparent and aligned with our organizational theory of change and values

Key Qualifications:

  • Mission Alignment: Demonstrated deep commitment to social justice work through economic development, urban planning/policy, or community development and engagement; track record and personal and professional commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion within an organization and the requisite skill to facilitate critical conversations among diverse groups.

  • Vision Setting and Strategic Planning: Prior experience collaboratively developing and executing strategic plans and managing a seven-figure budget, which considers growth and scaling; ability to inspire stakeholders around a vision and strategy as well as manage the systems and processes necessary to implement the strategy.

  • Subject Matter Expertise: Strong reputation in, or knowledge or track record of results in urban planning and policy, community development or engagement, project management, design and real estate development and/or community organizing space; demonstrated ability to be a credible voice and thought leader with staff, partners, and clients.

  • Executive / Organizational Leadership: Prior experience leading a mid-size organization or significant function including board management or liaising; general budget management; a track record building strong teams & culture, and centering equity and inclusivity in management, development, and decision making.