Executive Director, NYC

Executive Director, NYC

Cradles to Crayons

New York, NY   |   October 4, 2019

About Cradles to Crayons

Cradles to Crayons (“C2C”) was founded in 2002 with the mission of providing children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school and at play.

With annual operating revenues of $12 million, C2C has served 1.7 million children since its inception. C2C is at the cutting edge of volunteer management, and through its “Giving Factory,” provides unique, hands-on opportunities for people to help other people. 65,000 volunteers of all ages have participated in activities to support children at Giving Factories in 2019 in three different cities. Headquartered in Boston, C2C opened in Philadelphia in 2007 and in Chicago in 2016. C2C is excited to open its doors in New York City for the first time in 2020.

How the C2C Model Works

C2C collects new and nearly new children’s items through grassroots community drives and corporate donations. Donations are then processed and packaged by volunteers and are distributed to disadvantaged children through a collaborative network of social service agencies and school partners. C2C supplies these items free of charge by engaging and connecting communities that have with communities that need.

C2C meets a critical need as many children 12 years old and younger live in low-income and/or homeless situations. These living conditions can have negative effects on self-esteem as poverty can lead to increased social and emotional behavioral challenges; it impacts early education since half of children living in poverty start 1st grade up to two years developmentally behind their peers; and safety may be compromised as children living in poverty have increased risk of injury.

While meeting the immediate needs of low-income children, C2C also sets a foundation for lasting change by providing meaningful, tangible volunteer opportunities to thousands of individuals and families and hundreds of corporations each year by organizing clothing collections, hosting fundraisers or working in the “Giving Factory” warehouse.

C2C earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for the last 10 years. Only 2% of charities rated have received this distinction, differentiating C2C from its peers, exemplifying the high standard of service at C2C, and indicating that C2C outperforms most other charities in America.

For more information on Cradles to Crayons, please visit www.cradlestocrayons.org.

The Opportunity

The Executive Director, NYC (“ED”) will serve as the primary leader and strategist, external champion, organization builder and internal manager for C2C NYC, building on the strong track record and success the organization has achieved since its founding in 2002. The ED will provide overall management of the market including development, programs, operations, facilities management, purchasing and budgeting for a budget of over $1+ million initially. The ED will report to the National Chief Operating Officer (COO).

As a strategic thought leader, the ED will capitalize on a strong growth trajectory and help shape how C2C reaches and impacts the NYC community. As an effective and inspirational spokesperson, the ED will cultivate corporate, foundation, individual and family funding. They will steward relationships with key stakeholders, including volunteer groups, nonprofit partners and community leaders. Additionally, they will champion the C2C brand and engage the community in securing product donations in order to serve children throughout New York City and surrounding areas.

The ED will lead and support a strong culture, inspiring and motivating staff to reach the highest standards of performance. They will lead the strategic growth and development of the market as it seeks to reach its potential in New York City and beyond. They will collaborate with the COO to develop and implement short and long-term strategic planning for C2C NYC, ensuring that budget, staff and organizational priorities are aligned with C2C’s core mission and deliverables. They will oversee the physical operation, including building out and managing a warehouse. In collaboration with the COO, they will determine programmatic direction, carefully evaluate opportunities for new programs and ensure satisfaction with current programs.  The ED will uphold and further the “One Cradles” organizational culture, one of the key components to C2C’s success as an organization.

They will collaborate with a diverse set of organizational stakeholders including the COO and the National C2C Leadership Team to maintain and enhance the overall distribution strategy by ensuring fidelity to the program model, achieving key metrics, and aligning with national standards. They will provide input in the selection and development of scalable systems to ensure operational efficiency and real-time information for effective decision-making. They will ensure that accurate and consistent data collection and evaluation of program efforts is a priority throughout the organization; will use metrics to make decisions around quality control, development of new programs, partnerships and initiatives that are tied to the strategic plan and ensure financial targets are met.

The ED will be integral in developing and implementing engagement strategies with a focus on:

Corporate Engagement: By providing meaningful and engaging volunteer opportunities to foster teambuilding, C2C’s mission and model strongly resonates with corporations. C2C NYC will work to maintain and build holistic partnerships and draw upon resources from the corporate community including volunteer hours, product support, financial and pro-bono support.

Family Engagement: C2C provides tangible and meaningful opportunities for families who share a desire to embrace the value of service to help children and families in need. Anyone age 5 years and above can volunteer at the Giving Factory warehouse and have a fulfilling service experience. C2C NYC will work to cultivate, maintain and continue to build a base of family supporters to support its mission.

Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, characteristics and skills:

Passion for the Mission 

The Executive Director, NYC must be passionate about the issue of childhood poverty and the overall mission of C2C. They must appreciate the importance of driving social change through civic engagement in a dynamic and high growth environment that has the nimbleness and creativity of a start-up.

A Compelling Ambassador and Fundraiser for C2C NYC

The ED is the public face of C2C NYC, sharing its mission and vision with the outside world and helping to increase the organization’s visibility. They will bring a propensity for engagement to the role. They are flexible, energetic, positive, creative, ambitious and experienced in establishing strong working relationships in furtherance of an organization’s mission. They exemplify leadership and inspire trust and confidence across a diverse range of stakeholders. They develop a powerful sense of shared purpose in others and motivate them to engage in the work of C2C. They live to fundraise, have successfully led development campaigns in the past, and can enthusiastically convey C2C’s goals to existing and potential new donors, including individuals, foundations and corporations. They are a media savvy communicator who brings passion for C2C’s mission as its spokesperson.

Strategic and Visionary Leadership

The ED is a strategic, tactical and entrepreneurial leader able to develop and articulate a vision for C2C’s next chapter while simultaneously executing on its current strategic priorities. Comfortable developing relationships in the corporate boardroom, this leader will also embrace the ‘hands-on’ nature of the mission and this leadership opportunity. They can develop and promote the strategies needed to advance the work of a mission-based organization, from funding to mission delivery. They can develop a strong and transparent working relationship with the COO and successfully leverage the skills and talents of a local Board to create and execute on strategic goals, while working closely with the organization’s various constituents on the plan’s implementation and evaluation. They actively and strategically seek out partnerships and build coalitions to advance the organization’s mission and strategic priorities. The ED has the drive and passion to position C2C at the forefront of the sector by staying ahead of trends, anticipating new challenges and positioning C2C to proactively respond to them.

Nonprofit Management

The ED is an executive with strong staff, operational and financial management experience. They have a track record of sound financial planning, oversight and accountability, with the ability to clearly communicate financial status to the Board. They will bring experience building and leading high performing teams of the highest degree of professionalism and guiding team members’ growth and development. The ED possesses the ability to inspire a staff at various stages of their careers and volunteers with a diverse set of skills, in order to provide a productive work environment and professional growth opportunities that result in team cohesion and camaraderie. They will understand and implement best practices in nonprofit management and planning, including compelling communication messages and effective marketing strategies, management succession, and most importantly, ensuring that overall day-to-day operations are aligned with strategic goals. They understand the importance of a robust partnership with the Board and
will ensure sound financial management practices and accountability to the Board. They will also possess the knowledge and ability to ensure that the Board is achieving its primary responsibilities of best practice governance and fundraising.

A Bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree is preferred. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of seven to ten years of executive leadership experience.


Koya Leadership Partners has been exclusively retained for this search, with the team being led by Melissa Madzel and Shavon Bell. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here.

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusiveness are core values at Cradles to Crayons, and the organization continuously strives to be a team where everyone feels welcome and supported. It is the policy of Cradles to Crayons to provide equal employment opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information and/or any other protected characteristic under applicable law. Individuals from underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital-consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.