New Neighborhoods, Inc. (NNI), located in Stamford, Connecticut, is a regional not-for-profit housing corporation dedicated to creating sustainable communities, and a leader in developing and managing safe and affordable housing and adding value to partnerships with municipalities, public agencies, and fellow community development and supportive service organizations.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Stamford undertook major economic revitalization efforts by attracting corporate and banking institutions away from New York City. This success, however, came with costs to lower-income communities in the form of housing displacement. NNI was born out of the need to house those displaced individuals and families, at a time when there were few comprehensive community revitalization organizations servicing smaller cities like Stamford. In 1967, responding to the need for affordable housing during Stamford’s transformational downtown urban renewal program, the Council of Churches and Synagogues (now the Interfaith Council) sponsored the creation of NNI.
In 2017, as NNI celebrates its 50th anniversary, the organization is proud to be the longest standing nonprofit real estate developer in Stamford and Fairfield County, and remains unwavering in its belief that economic success and independence can be achieved through permanent residence. NNI’s mission will continue to be at the forefront of creating sustainable communities by developing, redeveloping and preserving quality housing that strengthens low- and moderate-income families, allows seniors to age with dignity, provides stability for the formerly homeless and affords all residents opportunities to realize their dreams.
President & CEO of New Neighborhoods, Inc.
Reporting to the board of directors, and working closely with the staff and key constituents to promote the organization’s mission, the CEO has overall responsibility for the strategic, programmatic, financial and management operations of the organization. The CEO is the organization’s primary representative to the broader community and as such plays the following roles: brokering partnerships with government, nonprofit and for-profit organizations; raising funds from foundations, individuals and corporations; representing NNI and advocating for its vision at the local, regional and national levels; and presenting at conferences and workshops.
The ideal candidate will be a seasoned affordable housing development professional with nonprofit experience, and a proven track record in overseeing multiple portfolios and the complexity of finances. The new CEO will provide strategic leadership; revisit, refine and implement the strategic plan and vision; leverage the organization’s assets, reputation and experienced and talented staff; reenergize the organization’s housing development pipeline, and its community and alliance partnerships; implement a robust staff development program; lead the exploration of geographic expansion; drive fundraising efforts; and maintain and develop a strong relationship with the board of directors.
S/he/they will be passionate about promoting and supporting the continued development and exemplary management of affordable housing in the region. The ideal candidate must have a professional background that demonstrates the following attributes and abilities: political savviness; the ability to be a change agent, following healthy analysis and engagement; a solid business acumen; an ability to quickly form and maintain relationships with a diverse group of stakeholders – residents, government officials and agencies, financiers, grantmakers, collaboration/alliance partners and other community members.
NNI Organizational Areas of Focus
As the pioneer of low- and moderate- income housing in Fairfield County, NNI has developed and overhauled more types of housing than any other nonprofit in Connecticut: co-ops, condominiums, family rentals, senior citizen apartments, high-rise, low-rise, rehabilitations, preservation, conversions, new construction and modular. NNI’s three main areas of focus include:
- Housing Development: The organization works to develop and preserve affordable housing in more than 650 affordable rental and ownership housing units in Stamford, Norwalk, and Danbury, and has a 48-unit development in the pipeline in Bridgeport. In response to the critical shortage of affordable housing, NNI strives to build on its existing portfolio of 600 units of housing by adding up to 200 additional units of affordable ownership, rental and supportive housing in Fairfield County over the next several years.
- Property Management: NNI is an asset and property manager for low- and moderate-income rental units. NNI properties provide an affordable housing option for the elderly who have lived and worked in Stamford and for a growing workforce who are otherwise priced out of the housing market. NNI manages 444 units of low- and moderate-income family, supportive, and senior rental housing and has enabled countless families to become home owners.
- Tenant Advocate Program (TAP): Through TAP, NNI goes beyond housing development to provide opportunities and necessities for its resident individuals and families. TAP links and encourages tenants to engage with existing community resources, to set goals, and work towards achieving self-sufficiency and economic independence.
The organization has a year-round staff of 22, and is governed by a 10-member board of directors. For the fiscal year ending December 31, 2016, total revenues were $8.8 million and total portfolio property value of $78.5 million. Learn more about New Neighborhoods, Inc. at http://www.nnistamford.org/
Opportunities and Challenges
Over the past year, NNI experienced a transition from a long-standing CEO to an interim leader, and the staff and board have stepped up during the transition. The organization has focused on maintaining its high standard of property management and community support. In addition, earlier this year, an Asset Management Plan was developed with the assistance of a recognized expert in the industry (capital needs; life expectancy; repairs and maintenance schedule), and a three-year transition and business plan was also developed.
In order to support this important transition in leadership, NNI’s board engaged the services of TSNE MissionWorks to facilitate an executive transition process that would be thoughtful and inclusive. Participants in the process included the entire NNI staff, board and several community partners/stakeholders. NNI’s strengths, challenges, priorities and more were identified through this process, and this information will inform NNI’s next leader and the goal of increasing the organization’s impact for the communities it serves and for its partners who provide support.
NNI now seeks a new leader who can build upon the organization’s recognized assets to address and meet the continued and growing need for affordable housing in the region. Organizational priorities identified include the following:
- Revitalizing the housing development pipeline
- Delivering strategic communications to increase public awareness; being the key voice for affordable housing in Fairfield County
- Facilitating staff professional development; further strengthening the board of directors
- Ensuring sustainability by diversifying and being open to new directions for funding sources; strengthening and expanding collaborations and alliances
- Expanding on the organization’s consulting services as an SME to other nonprofit organizations
Profile of the Ideal Candidate
The successful candidate will have a strong understanding of and passion for promoting and supporting affordable housing and housing development, and have a vision for NNI’s role. The CEO will be a systems thinker and understand the big picture and affordable housing’s role in promoting: social good and change; diversity, equity and inclusion; and economic justice.
The new CEO will have a demonstrated ability to achieve what is often a challenging goal – meeting the organization’s mission, while also operating a sustainable business/revenue model. S/he/they will be a strategic thinker, a problem solver, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a coalition/team builder. S/he/they will be well-organized, results-driven, committed to staff development, an inspiring leader, and a transformative communicator who clearly and often identifies and broadcasts NNI’s impact.
The board of NNI seeks candidates for the CEO role with the following experiences and abilities:
Senior Leadership, Strategic Thinking and Planning
- Senior management experience, including leading, inspiring and managing a diverse staff; managing a significant operating budget; collaborating with the board; promoting board engagement and recruitment; and working with a diverse group of funders and community stakeholders.
- Strong track record of strategic thinking and moving an organization in a strategic direction including: aligning mission, the business model, internal systems and structures, and skills of the staff and board, and creating/enhancing/evaluating/aligning programs to support that strategy.
- Demonstrated ability to be a thought leader in the field of affordable housing and public policy.
- Accomplished public speaker who has served as the primary spokesperson for an organization.
Community Collaborations and Alliances / Public Relations and Strategic Communications
- The skills and ability to listen, convene, facilitate and connect in a way that brings together and expands the reach and scope of NNI through a wide diversity of community organizations and institutions, champions and contributors.
- Promoting visibility and support for the organization through ongoing community networking and interaction with foundation representatives, academic leaders, nonprofit agency representatives, community and business leaders, and affordable housing finance and development communities.
- In association with senior staff and the board, represent the organization in the public policy and advocacy arenas. Broaden reach of organization’s work at the local, regional, and national level. Experience working with the media and an organizational communications plan that is strategic, proactive and inclusive of emerging communications platforms (e.g., social media).
- Work with the board to craft and implement an annual fundraising plan and meet annual fundraising goals. Cultivate and solicit foundation, corporate, and individual donors in collaboration with the staff, board, and other resources.
- Provide leadership to ensure the success of the organization’s special events.
- Experience in facilitating public and private partnerships and collaborations.
Financial Management and Planning
- Strong experience in understanding and managing multiple projects, and developing budgets of numerous properties and programs, both those currently in existence and in development.
- Oversight of all regulatory reporting, contractual obligations and donor/funder restrictions, and ability to maintain appropriate internal policies and procedures ensure such compliance.
- Ability to manage communication with the board to provide regular comprehensive reports on revenue, expenditures and other key financial and non-financial metrics.
Board and Policy Development
- Manage relationships and communications with the board of directors and advisory board.
- Work with the board on strategic planning, policy development, financial management, and fundraising.
- Help to plan and schedule board and committee meetings, develop agendas and background materials, facilitate meetings, and ensure maintenance of minutes and related records.
- Assist with identifying potential new board and advisory board members and assist in new member recruitment and orientation.
Operational Management and Staff Development
- Recruit/hire, supervise, mentor, direct and evaluate senior staff in the performance of their duties.
- Ability to identify and nurture ongoing professional development opportunities for staff.
- Strengthen the organization’s infrastructure, through a culture of learning, growth, accountability and excellence. Committed to diversity in its staff and board and volunteers.
- At least 10 years of progressive, senior-level relevant nonprofit, staff management and affordable housing experience, including at least five years leading, inspiring and managing a diverse staff.
- Understanding of and successful experience in affordable housing development and management, nonprofit accounting, governmental compliance requirements, and grants management.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
- Bachelors’ degree required. Master’s in business, public administration or related field preferred.
Personal Characteristics and Leadership Attributes
- Effective listener; Excellent Communicator; Open-Minded
- Relationship/coalition builder; approachable; fair; passionate
- Strongly committed to equity, diversity and inclusion
- Self-confident, diplomatic; honest; sense of humor
- Well-organized, results-driven and inspiring; sense of humor
- Enthusiastic, focused, driven; visionary; entrepreneurial
This national search is being conducted by TSNE MissionWork’s Executive Transitions Program with Transition Consultants Catherine Bradshaw and Michael Negrón. All submissions are confidential.
Electronic submissions sent via this link are preferred.
Candidates should include a resume and a cover letter, the latter expressing your passion for the mission and fit for the role at New Neighborhoods, Inc. Along with salary expectations, please include how you learned of the opportunity and attach any other relevant information (e.g., published articles). All applications will be acknowledged. Applications will be accepted until the position has been filled. Applicants are encouraged to submit their candidacy within 30 days of the position posting date.
New Neighborhoods, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer and actively seeks a diverse pool of candidates.