The Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) is seeking an Executive Director to build on a successful foundation of high-quality programming, leadership in a diverse network of key stakeholders, and effective policy advocacy. Working closely with the Board Chair and an independent Board of Advisors, and managing a staff of five, the Executive Director of CNAY will set the vision, strategy and priorities for the CNAY. The Executive Director will oversee finances, manage the development of the communications, advocacy, and programs, and lead the resource development, partnership development, and collaboration strategies – both internal, with other Aspen programs – and external, with the broader field.
This is a unique opportunity for an entrepreneurial and passionate leader to make an impact on improving the lives of Native American youth by leveraging national and local policy, a robust Washington, DC network, a diverse set of national stakeholders, and a dedicated and committed staff.
The ideal candidate brings experience with Indian Country, is able to successfully navigate the federal sector, demonstrates a successful track record of serving as a key external representative, raising funds and awareness, and is deeply passionate about positive outcomes for Native American youth.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
Leadership and Management:
Collaborate with the Board of Advisors to set the strategic direction of CNAY.
Align CNAY vision, goals and programs with Board of Advisor’s priorities, needs of the constituency, funding structure, and within the core mission of the Aspen Institute.
Manage and oversee allstaff, contractors, and partners to ensure high quality products and deliverables, and that all activities are within budget parameters.
Manage all relations with the Board of Advisors and the Aspen Institute management.
Recruit, manage, and retain a talented team of program staff to achieve the organization’s mission and program deliverables.
Develop, lead, and implement a strategic fundraising plan that successfully raises approximately $1M for CNAY annually.
Cultivate high level investors and donors, manage relationships with key donors and foundations, and lead strategic meetings and events targeted at foundation representatives.
Write and/or edit proposals, concept papers, project narratives and all other materials related to fundraising for CNAY to be submitted to donors.
Maintain consistent communication with funders on the progress and outcomes of initiatives.
Review and contribute to all quarterly, bi-annual and annual reports to funders.
Oversee the CNAY team’s successful design and execution of key programs.
Develop programmatic initiatives to address Native youth priorities, particularly related to suicide prevention, which is at the heart of CNAY.
Oversee the provision of technical assistance to Indian tribes and tribal organizations on issue related to best practices, grant applications, grant management and funder interactions.
Work with the CNAY team to identify knowledge, products and tools Native communities are currently using to support and improve the lives of Native youth. Share and disseminate the information across the field, with grantees and national networks.
Link Indian tribes and tribal organizations that have specific needs related to youth with appropriate resources and best practice models. Serve as a liaison and assist with problem solving.
Proactively develop partnerships with individuals and organizations that will further CNAY’s mission.
Identify, design, and implement a local and national collective advocacy, policy change, leadership, and resource connection agenda for Native youth. Manage any advocacy partnerships as necessary.
Conduct/commission research on local, tribal, state and national system-level barriers, and help create opportunities for Native youth to succeed.
Advocate for Native American youth, including with potential funders and policymakers.
Oversee the design and execution of Aspen roundtable discussions, convenings and other CNAY activities that engender connections between Native youth, tribal leaders and authorities, parents, local leaders, practitioners, policymakers, government officials and others.
Additional responsibilities as designated by Aspen’s Executive VP and the CNAY Chair.
Work with the Aspen Institute accounting and finance representatives to manage fiscal details that support the initiative.
Work with the Aspen Institute human resources, IT, and communications staff to further CNAY’s work and mission.
Additional responsibilities as needed.
Work with the Chair and CNAY team to design a media strategy and engage media partners to raise awareness and advocate for Native American youth priorities.
Build on, reinforce and sustain CNAY’s position as a thought leader and as an inventory of best practices serving Native American youth.
Design, compose and disseminate publications and tools for a variety of audiences on issues related to Native youth, current and potential policies, and best practices.
Serve as an expert spokesperson for the organization and proactively seek opportunities to speak at conferences; work with the media; provide information to policymakers and government agencies; and other outreach and educational activities.
Establish and maintain strong, trusting relationships with Indian tribes and tribal organizations.
Use social media and other online tools to highlight Native American youth and profile youth leadership in communities.
Work with the CNAY team and consultants to design and develop websites (both cnay.org and internal Aspeninst.org), to ensure the websites are up-to-date and constantly evolving/improving.
Represent CNAY at national conferences, Aspen Institute functions and across national networks and audiences.
Additional responsibilities as developed and/or designated.
Knowledge, Education & Experience:
The ideal candidate is a strong leader, a ‘self-starter’ social entrepreneur with a demonstrated ability to create and successfully manage an organization, a deep commitment to serving Native youth, and an established credibility with tribes and Native organizations. He/She will possess:
Current knowledge of:
Native American youth health issues, including relevant statistics and trends;
Federal, tribal, state and local policies related to tribal communities, particularly youth health issues and the tragedy of Native American youth suicide;
Current best practices in addressing Native American youth engagement and leadership;
Relevant resources, experts and potential partners in areas related to Native American youth well-being; and
Available funding sources for projects to address priorities of Native youth.
Experience working with Indian tribes and tribal organizations and a strong national network required.
Strong project management skills, including experience management budgets in the nonprofit sector.
Entrepreneurial spirit and drive needed to excel in a start-up environment.
Ability to work autonomously and with a small team.
Attention to detail and ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously.
Proven track record in working with philanthropy/donors required.
Bachelor’s Degree required, and Master’s Degree in a relevant field preferred and/or ten or more years experience in a policy arena, youth development and program management is required.
A history of success in strategy development and implementation.
Ability to travel at least 50 percent.
Excellent interpersonal skills, cross-cultural competencies, facilitation, presentation and public speaking skills.
Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
Exemplary partnership building skills, including the ability to lead on complex issues within and outside of organizations and across various institutions and levels of authority is essential.
Experience working with a national network of entrepreneurial leaders and providing guidance, inspiration, support and buy-in across all groups.
Ability to manage conflict and simultaneously achieve project goals.
Direct experience working with vulnerable youth and communities is preferred.
A sense of humor and ability to be flexible.
About the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners.
Founded in 2011, The Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute (CNAY), created by former US Senator Byron Dorgan with $1 million from his excess campaign funds, is a policy program dedicated to improving the lives of Native American youth. CNAY is aimed at bringing greater national attention to the issues facing Native youth through communication, policy development and advocacy. CNAY’s work focuses in four areas: youth inspiration, policy change, advocacy and building a resource platform.
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