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NOW HIRING! Executive Director

February 14, 2020 | By Snee Howard

Job Description

Arts For Life (AFL) seeks an experienced Executive Director (ED) with a demonstrated commitment to organizational excellence to lead the organization and add to its exceptional 19-year history. Arts For Life is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting pediatric patients and families through arts education and engagement. By providing educational arts programs, Arts For Life enriches patients’ lives, nurtures their minds and spirits, and encourages positive healthcare experiences for children and their families. AFL currently serves children and their families in four chapter communities across North Carolina (Asheville, Charlotte, Durham, and Winston-Salem).

About the Organization

Arts For Life puts creativity, discovery, and joy into the hands and hearts of children who need it the very most. Every day across North Carolina, AFL’s team of staff members, volunteers, and interns brightens the lives and healthcare experiences of children and families facing serious illnesses and disabilities. By bringing visual art, music, and creative writing into hospitals and clinics, AFL helps these children and teens remember that they’re not just patients: they’re artists, musicians, and poets, with a world of possibility at their fingertips.

Arts For Life is currently headquartered in Asheville, NC and partners with four children’s hospitals and communities across the state: HCA Mission Children’s in Asheville, Atrium Health Levine Children’s in Charlotte, Duke Children’s Hospital & Health Center in Durham, and Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem. Since 2001, Arts For Life has delivered creative opportunities in art and music to pediatric patients and their family members, and in 2018, served more than 14,000 people. Arts For Life’s team consists of an 11-member board of directors, a statewide staff of 16, and teams of teaching volunteers and interns in each chapter. Arts For Life’s 2020 operating budget is $896,000, which includes a recently launched earned revenue division.

Arts For Life’s core values are creativity, compassion, learning, collaboration, and inclusion. Its organizational culture can be described as empowering and supportive, with a strong focus on its mission and clients.

The Position

AFL seeks an individual who is well prepared to provide the inspired external and internal leadership required of this role. The new ED must have proven, significant, and successful organizational leadership experience and the ability to oversee fundraising, programs, and overall operations while working effectively with both the leadership team and the board to guide the organization. The ED must also possess the talent to listen and communicate effectively and to build relationships with multiple stakeholders, including the board, staff, donors, hospital partners, media, and other community leaders.

The position requires significant travel throughout North Carolina in support of the Arts for Life mission. Arts for Life’s administrative offices are currently located in Asheville, NC, however the organization is open to the possibility of the Executive Director being located in or near any one of its current chapter cities (Asheville, Charlotte, Durham, and Winston-Salem, NC).

The incoming ED will succeed Rachel Zink, AFL’s current leader, who has led the organization since 2013. Her leadership has helped grow the organization by over 100% to reach 14,000 patients and family members annually during her tenure and has positioned AFL as a highly effective and collaborative organization statewide.

Key Responsibilities

  • Vision, Mission, and Strategy Development – Working with the Board and staff, the ED will oversee the implementation of strategic and annual planning to guide Arts For Life towards achievement of its vision and mission.
  • Fundraising and Resource Development – The ED, in partnership with the Board and Development staff, will drive fundraising initiatives for developing and implementing appropriate and diversified fundraising strategies.
  • Fiscal Management – The ED will oversee planning and budgeting systems to ensure that income is managed wisely to serve the organization’s goals and that systems and staff are in place to accurately monitor, assess, and manage the financial health of the organization.
  • Human Resources Management – The ED maintains strong internal leadership built on teamwork and collaborative decision-making. The ED will emphasize staff leadership development activities that upgrade employee skills, motivate performance, and promote staff retention. The ED will also ensure adherence to the personnel policies in all hiring and employment practices.
  • External Liaison and Public Image – As primary spokesperson for Arts For Life, the ED will inspire external partners to collaborate towards AFL’s mission. The ED must develop dynamic working relationships with diverse stakeholders including healthcare, nonprofit, business, arts, and donor groups.

Top Organizational Priorities

The Board of Directors and staff have identified the following as the highest priorities for AFL and the new ED over the next 12 to 18 months:

  • Continue to diversify and increase AFL’s fundraising effectiveness in its four chapter markets, including its earned income ventures
  • Strengthen and expand AFL’s critical relationships with its hospital partners
  • Begin a strategic planning process that addresses AFL’s parameters for growth and clarifies its funding, staffing and capacity needs
  • Foster organizational practices that support and develop its exemplary staff, including:
    • A culture of timely and transparent internal communications among board and staff
    • Practices that encourage a culture of leadership development and deep organizational bench strength
    • Regular emotional support for staff and volunteers
    • Review of AFL’s compensation and benefits plan
  • Maintain AFL’s Board effectiveness through thoughtful and strategic recruitment, vetting, orientation, and succession planning

Required Qualifications

  • A demonstrated passion for the mission of Arts For Life
  • A history of visionary leadership based on strong strategic and collaborative thinking, as well as demonstrated ability to align and build trust among multiple stakeholders around needs of the patients and families it serves
  • A successful record of senior leadership and management experience with significant accomplishments in the nonprofit and/or public sector
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills, strong interpersonal and public speaking skills, and experience with diverse populations and multiple stakeholders
  • Demonstrated experience with fundraising practices and relationship cultivation within the areas of individual, foundation, and corporate giving
  • A commitment to fostering a culture of staff trust, empowerment, and individualized staff development
  • A high degree of financial literacy and financial management experience
  • Demonstrated ability to work with and develop strong board leadership
  • A dynamic presence balanced with grace, humility, and approachability
  • A strongly held sense of integrity and professional ethics
  • An understanding of the concepts of institutional and structural racism and bias and their impact on underserved and underrepresented communities

The ideal candidate will also have:

  • Experience with or within the healthcare sector
  • A creative, entrepreneurial spirit
  • Marketing and public relations experience with an understanding of social media
  • An arts background


  • The salary range is $60 – 70,000 annually (commensurate with experience)
  • Arts For Life offers a 100% employer-paid healthcare package

Application Process

To apply, please send a letter of interest and résumé (in a single PDF document) via email only to:

Arts For Life Transition Committee

Please, no phone calls.
Application deadline: March 12, 2020

Full job description can be found here.

Inclusion is a core value of Arts For Life. In our hospital and clinic programs, we practice the idea that everyone is welcome at the art table, and that carries over to our workspace and hiring process. We are an equal opportunity employer and we do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status. We encourage people from underrepresented communities to apply.