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Executive Director

Governors Island Alliance

Governors Island Alliance Executive Director

The Alliance Board of Directors recently completed a strategic plan and now seeks a full-time Executive Director ("ED"). The creation of this ED position is the next and most important step in the creation of an independent non-profit organization. The Board of Directors incorporated in 2011 and expects its charitable status from the IRS in December. The new ED will work with board leadership and initially one full-time staff support person to sustain and promote the organization's mission: to celebrate the Island's rich history, raise funds for its historic structures and public spaces, and advocate for its appropriate reuse. This leadership position is an exciting opportunity for a high-energy, entrepreneurial self-starter to play a transformative role in the future fabric of New York City. The ED will report to the Board of Directors and will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for the Alliance's constituency, programs, development, and the execution of its mission. This position is a critical, high-profile job requiring demonstrated fundraising ability and experience working with or for government, quasi-public agencies, environmental or preservation programs, the public at large, and not-for-profit organizations. The ED must have a strong commitment to public parks, waterfront redevelopment, and the preservation of historic buildings and landscapes. The ED will be the face of the Alliance and serve as the lead spokesperson, fundraiser, strategic planner, and chief executive managing the organization and all of its programming. S/he will build a constituency of advocates of the island, create opportunities for public action on behalf of the island, and will maintain strong relationships with partner groups and funders. The ED will oversee all programs and events with an eye towards creating opportunities for public contributions to and participation in the Island's operations and growth. Public relations and outreach to the public and to City officials will also be a priority for the ED The successful candidate will be a multi-talented, high-energy individual with experience in organizational management, project management, program development, communications, fundraising and financial management.

Overall responsibility:
• Further the Alliance’s commitment to advocate for the development of the Island as a great civic space; attract money for the redevelopment of the Island; and build and inspire a constituency of active and informed volunteers, visitors and supporters.

Specific responsibilities include:
• Serve as the main face of the organization, collaborating with and supporting the Board of Directors and staff to strategize on organizational goals.
• Increase the visibility and understanding of the work and mission of the Alliance.
• Finalize the formal transition of the Alliance into an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and build an effective office system to support the enterprise.
• Maintain existing and develop new effective partnerships with corporations, foundations, networks and individuals to build the capacity of the Island’s resources.
• Maintain and increase the effectiveness of the Alliance’s corporate and individual volunteer programs.
• Implement and oversee the growth and strategic management of the organization.
• Monitor the impact and effectiveness of the Alliance.
• Provide regular reports to the Board and attend their meetings


• Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s degree preferred.
• Excellent writing, editing, and communication skills are critical.
• Solid track record of fundraising among major donors, foundations, corporations, and sponsors.
• Power and presence to advocate successfully on behalf of the organization in the public and private sectors.
• Self-starter with a bright and diplomatic attitude, strong issue resolution skills and advanced interpersonal and negotiation skills.
• Able to work independently with a minimum of supervision.
• Ability to work “on island,” and to work evenings and weekends when required.

For more information on the Governors Island Alliance please visit their website at

Governors Island Alliance has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search. Inquiries, nominations, and applications may be directed in confidence to: Jack Lusk, Managing Partner or Debbie Farrell Nelson Harris Rand Lusk 261 Madison Avenue, 11th Floor New York, NY 10016

About Organization:
Governors Island is a 172-acre island in the heart of New York Harbor, just 800 yards from Lower Manhattan and even closer to Brooklyn. Closed to all but the military for the past two centuries, the Island lay inaccessible to the city’s residents and sat vacant after the Coast Guard decommissioned it. The Governors Island Alliance (Alliance) was established in 1995 by the Regional Plan Association (RPA) with the goal to create public access to the Island and ensure its reuse in the public’s interest. Alliance planning and advocacy helped secure the 2003 transfer from the Federal Government to New York and the National Park Service (NPS), the designation of a New York City Historic District, and a commitment for 110 acres of public open space. In 2012, with City investments of more than $350 million toward phase I of an ambitious new park and public space plan and repair of essential infrastructure, the Alliance celebrates substantial progress towards its original mission -- “to reopen and return the Island to the people of New York.”

Today, with a small budget and two part-time staff housed at RPA, the Governors Island Alliance is a coalition of organizations and individuals working to celebrate the Island’s rich history, create memorable parks and public spaces, and ensure appropriate reuse of the Island and its historic structures. The Alliance works with the Trust for Governors Island (the City-controlled body that controls the Island), NPS, and elected officials to ensure that the upcoming plans for the Island set public access, open space, historic preservation, and appropriate reuse as primary goals - and that there is funding to make these plans happen. In addition to its on-going advocacy, the Alliance operates and supports events that welcome thousands of visitors every summer and its corporate and individual volunteer program helps to stretch the capacity of government and other non-profit partners that provide a growing variety of cultural and educational programming on the Island and help to build an invested constituency for the Island to ensure its future success. While there has been significant successes in revitalizing the Island for public use, a great deal remains to be done.



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