*The Wilmington Alliance is a Philanthropy Delaware member* The Wilmington Alliance seeks an experienced economic development leader who is passionate about driving transformative community change and is committed to dismantling social inequality to serve as its inaugural Director of Economic Development & Inclusion. Utilizing a collective impact approach, the Director will serve as a convener, bringing together local, regional and national stakeholders to drive equitable economic mobility efforts, and help build a culture of inclusion for the city of Wilmington. This is an incredible opportunity to create positive social change in one of America’s oldest and most diverse cities.
Founded in 2019 after the merger of two long-standing nonprofit organizations, the Wilmington Alliance seeks to build a more resilient and economically just Wilmington. Originally established with a focus on creative placemaking efforts, under the direction of CEO Renata B. Kowalczyk, the organization has expanded programmatically in order to address the challenges in economic mobility for BIPOC communities. Part laboratory, part convener, the Alliance seeks to be a common ground for community stakeholders to come together and solve some of Wilmington’s toughest problems. By building and nurturing networks of catalysts, pilot testing programs, and applying innovative approaches, the Alliance is changing Wilmington’s economic landscape for the better.
CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES
Like many American cities, Wilmington, Delaware, is an urban center on the rise. Wilmington is the Corporate Capital of America and a burgeoning center for technology and innovation. Home to half of the Fortune 500, the city is seeing explosive growth in the healthcare, fintech, and chemical engineering sectors in addition to having an already robust financial services base.
A majority Black city, Wilmington is home to a beautifully diverse population, yet like many American cities it has a wealth divide that runs along racial lines and impacts some neighborhoods more than others. Unsurprisingly, the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic has only served to exacerbate matters for Wilmington’s BIPOC and low-income communities.
The Wilmington Alliance and their partners know that without intervention, the city’s economic recovery will leave many of its residents behind. Leveraging a highly effective collective impact approach, the organization aims to close the wealth gap by creating pathways to opportunity for all. The Alliance seeks to build resilience and upward mobility by supporting workforce development programs that create equitable pathways to employment; co-creating initiatives that offer equitable pathways to entrepreneurship; and uplifting efforts to support existing small businesses that are primarily owned by people of color. To date, through collaborative efforts with partner institutions, the Alliance has helped create initiatives like the Second Chance Employment Collaborative, which connects justice-involved Delawareans with careers in high-growth sectors; the Equitable Entrepreneurial System (E3), which primarily coaches and supports Wilmington’s aspiring entrepreneurs of color; and Wilmington Made, which serves to strengthen the locally owned business community.
This is a pivotal moment in time for the Wilmington Alliance. With many challenges still to address, a strong foundation of support from all corners of the community, and a proven model, the organization is well-positioned to reach new heights of impact. The inaugural Director of Economic Development & Inclusion will focus on and expand the organization’s efforts around upward mobility and bring an equity lens to current and future economic development work in the region. They will take proactive steps to identify and remove the barriers to economic opportunity and advancement—particularly for people of color.
The work of the Director of Economic Development & Inclusion will be approached in several important ways. Drawing on personal expertise as well as best practices and innovations from local, regional and national landscapes, the Director will support the Alliance’s Wilmington partners in developing and implementing economic inclusion policies and practices. The Director will also identify specific gaps in the Alliance’s economic development and inclusion programming and generate solutions by leveraging existing local, regional and/or national resources to meet identified programmatic and funding needs. On the communications side, the Director will contribute to strategies that make the case for the far-reaching benefits of an inclusive economy, as well as amplify the work of the Alliance and its partners and ensure timely and sufficient reporting to funders of economic development & inclusion efforts.
Learn more about the Wilmington Alliance here.
SELECT RESPONSIBILITIES & QUALIFICATIONS
- Bring together a diverse range of partners and leverage current and new resources to co-create a more inclusive economy for Wilmington.
- Develop new strategic relationships with foundations, nonprofits, businesses, agencies, community leaders, elected officials and other key decision-makers in alignment with the Alliance’s core values and program interests; work with intention to deepen existing relationships.
- Identify policy and systems barriers to economic inclusion; develop proposed solutions for coordinated action in partnership with economic development offices at the city, county and state levels.
- Serve as a subject matter expert and resource on building inclusive economies.
- A foundation of 7-10 years of economic development experience that can be leveraged in a collective impact setting.
- Experience with, and a strong commitment to building a more just and inclusive economy for all; a commitment to building power in underestimated communities with an emphasis on communities of color.
- Experience driving positive community change through collective methodology; an understanding of coalition building and how to work effectively with diverse groups of people and communities.
- Ability to build trust and cultivate strong, authentic relationships.
- A high level of comfort navigating local and state politics; adept at coordinating with various political subdivisions to facilitate change.
- Strong project management and organizational skills.
- A strong connection to Wilmington, DE, will be considered but is not required.
Click here to learn more and to apply. Pearl Street Collective, an executive search firm committed to advancing the common good, has been retained to assist Wilmington Alliance in this recruitment. Managing Partner Maeve Clifford and Search Consultant Carolyn Morrill are leading this search. To apply, submit a letter of interest and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please review full position profile prior to submitting an application.