Posted on September 7, 2012
Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS
Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS - Executive Director
The mission of the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) is to raise funds and grant those funds to organizations which fight HIV/AIDS by providing preventative education programs targeted to populations at risk of infection, treatment and direct care services for people living with/ impacted by HIV/AIDS and that support public policy initiatives which add resources to private sector funds.
Established in 1984, Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) was the industries' response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic when there were few resources or effective treatments available to those infected with or affected by the disease. Beginning with volunteers from fashion, interior design, furnishings and architecture, supporters of DIFFA now come from every field associated with fine design. For many years, Heart Strings, a traveling review produced by DIFFA in Atlanta, toured the country, raising critical dollars for AIDS education and prevention, public policy and advocacy and, to a lesser extent, clinical trials. Since its founding, DIFFA has mobilized the immense resources of the design communities to provide over $40 million to hundreds of AIDS organizations nationwide. Under stable professional leadership since 1995, the organization continues to be among the top 50 HIV/AIDS funders, distributing $1.2 to 1.5 million in grants annually.
DIFFA has been a pioneering leader in the cause marketing field, utilizing traditional for-profit methods to raise funds for HIV/AIDS. DIFFA develops marketplace programs that provide companies an opportunity to merge care and commerce in the promotion of products, the profits of which - wholly or in part are channeled directly to DIFFA. These passive revenues turn consumers into donors, allowing them to fight AIDS through the personal and professional routines of their daily lives. In addition to event corporate sponsorship income, DIFFA has a core group of loyal supporters who are major donors. The Angelo Donghia Foundation, for example, has made a three-year $150,000 student design initiative commitment in connection with Dining by Design.
With gross revenues averaging $3.5 million annually, DIFFA has a modest five person New York headquarters staff and $750,000 operating budget. DIFFA has four active chapters in Dallas, Seattle, Kansas City and Chicago, as well as numerous community partners nationally who benefit from the organization's signature Dining by Design event, as well as nearly 40 smaller local events annually.
DIFFA is governed by a 22-person Board of Directors, 7-9 of whom are scheduled to rotate off the board in 2013. There is a $10,000 give or get requirement.
The Executive Director (ED) reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for supporting the Board in the development of the vision, strategy and strategic plan for the organization that will include a new business model for funding and for the successful implementation of that plan. The Executive Director will lead the organization and increase its visibility, funding, and programs both within NYC and nationally. The ED will manage national staff; including but not limited to:
- Director Community Relations and Operations
- Director Special Events
- Finance Assistant
- Receptionist-Office Manager
Staff and administrative personnel engaged with other DIFFA Chapters also report to the ED but the ED is not directly in charge of their daily activities and duties. These staff members are required to provide any and all information requested by the ED; including but not limited to budgets for approval, minutes of meetings and any activities which may have an effect on the Foundation as a whole.
Specific duties and responsibilities include the following:
Development – Working with the Board of Trustees and the appropriate board committee to create and implement a well-conceived development/fund raising plan to achieve short term objectives. Leading the initiative by marshaling the resources of the board, soliciting private donations (individuals, corporations and foundations), conducting financially successful events, and when applicable seeking appropriate grants. Creating and implementing a new business model that is not event-driven.
Communications – Working with the Board of Trustees and the appropriate board committee to create and implement all communications strategies and goals, policies and procedures.
Public Relations – Serving as the principal spokesperson, except in circumstances deemed appropriate for the Foundation to be represented by its Chairman or Co-Chairman of the board, with a wide range of responsibilities including:
- Promoting and maintaining effective relationships with public officials, and media;
- Promoting DIFFA and the fund raising activities through pamphlets, brochures, newsletters, news releases, and other media coverage;
- Approving prior to release all public statements and media coverage relating to DIFFA or to the sponsored fund raising activities or programs to insure accurate representation to the general public.
Grant Management – Vetting (in cooperation with the committees of the Board), applications for grants which fulfill DIFFA’s Mission. Overseeing the distribution of grants, contracts and completion memorandum which ensure that Foundation standards are met.
Financial Management – Overseeing the administration of financial policies and procedures including development and preparation (in cooperation with the Treasurer and Finance Committee) of an annual budget, monthly income and expense reports, reports, including balance sheet comparisons for each quarterly board of trustees meeting and a six month budget-to-actual report. At the final meeting of the fiscal year, creating a balance sheet comparative, budget-to-actuals, fundraising projections to actual, an audit-comparative and a national and chapter salary and overhead budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Human Resources – Overseeing and administering all human resources policies and procedures including assessment of staffing needs, development of detailed job descriptions, qualifications standards, performance standards, hiring, training and evaluation of all staff.
In short, this hands-on ED will be responsible for DIFFA’s overall operations and financial stability, as well as the management and leadership over full-time and volunteer staff.
- The candidate of choice will be a seasoned and well-rounded executive with at least 10 years of professional experience in management, marketing and communications. P & L responsibility in a business or non-profit organization is essential. Experience within the related design industries would be of significant value.
- Experience working with a Board of Directors and making optimum use of this important talent pool, as well as partnering on the development of a strategic vision and implementing a strategic plan is important.
- The ability to fundraise by cultivating individual, corporate, and foundation donors and to develop and implement successful programs by diversifying DIFFA’s sources of revenue is critical for success.
- Professional or volunteer leadership experience with non-profits and/or the profit sector, with a record of success in building high performance teams is required.
- The ability to expand the capacity of the organization without increasing overhead is critical to mission accomplishment.
The ideal candidate will demonstrate:
- Executive leadership
- Community outreach and familiarity with New York City and the design industry (considered valuable but not required)
- Corporate and/or design connections within the NYC design and business communities considered valuable
- Refined communications skills and ability to influence constituencies
- Hands on, action oriented leadership style
- Effective management of small teams, resources, and processes within a service or cause-oriented organization
- A goal-driven and results-oriented personality
- Energy and passion for the mission
- Well-developed administrative and organizational skills with an ability to effectively multi-task
DIFFA would most benefit from an individual who can provide disciplined, sensitive, mature, hands-on leadership, who can connect with the community and inspire and motivate others to action.
Compensation & Benefits
Our client is prepared to offer a highly competitive salary based upon the experience of the successful candidate. A generous benefits package includes employer-paid healthcare with a $50 employee contribution and long term disability. In addition to accrued vacation, employees are given the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day off.
Our client is willing to consider basic relocation expenses for the extraordinary candidate they are seeking.
The Executive Director position is an exceptional opportunity for an individual who seeks to have a positive, direct, and meaningful impact upon an organization important to New York City and beyond. DIFFA has survived the diminished interest in HIV/AIDS with the loyal support of the design industry and remains one of the top funders of HIV/AIDS while potentially exploring funding new areas of interest and emerging issues. The new Executive Director, working with the Board of Directors, will have the opportunity of leading this long-established and respected funder though its next phase of growth and development, an endeavor of profound and far reaching humanitarian merit. Increases in responsibility and compensation are directly tied to the growth of the organization.
To apply, please send a résumé and cover letter via e-mail to:
Joe McCormack, Managing Partner
McCormack & Associates
1775 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Suite 110-202
Palm Springs, CA 92264
All inquiries or referrals will be held in strict confidence.
Please note that your education, dates of employment, compensation and other information provided will be verified prior to employment.