Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Safe Passage Project Hiring Executive Director


The Safe Passage Project, founded and directed by Prof. Lenni Benson at New York Law School, is hiring an Executive Director!  From the position announcement:

Safe Passage Project (http://www.safepassageproject.org) is a young, well-respected not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure no child faces immigration court without a knowledgeable lawyer. U.S. immigration law provides options for child refugees fleeing abuse, violence, and persecution. Without counsel children may not know their rights nor be able to obtain relief from deportation. Safe Passage Project staff recruits, trains, and mentors pro bono lawyers who represent these children throughout New York State. In addition some staff members provide direct representation.  

Originally created as a clinical program at New York Law School (“NYLS”), Safe Passage Project incorporated as a separate not-for-profit organization in 2013. While maintaining a strong relationship with NYLS, Safe Passage Project also partners with lawyers, law firms, and alumni from many other law schools. Safe Passage Project now has an annual budget of $1.2 million and a staff of over 10 full- and part-time employees (including a staff social worker), and currently works with over 300 volunteers, both lawyers and nonlawyers. In 2015 we assisted over 550 youth with support from The Robin Hood Foundation, the Americorps Program, and other foundations and individual donors. Safe Passage Project has a supportive Board of Directors, many with legal knowledge with deep commitments to the mission. Our Founder, Lenni Benson, is a nationally recognized professor of immigration law at NYLS, and served as chair of the Immigration and Nationality Law Committee for the Association of the Bar of the City of New York from 2012 to 2015. Our Board Chair, Pam Foster, is the Managing Director for Program Operations and Associate General Counsel at The Rockefeller Foundation.

The Position:

Having outgrown its origins as a law school clinic, Safe Passage Project is seeking to create a powerful new program model and to launch a new chapter with the help of a dynamic, dedicated leader who will serve as the new Executive Director (“ED”). Safe Passage Project has grown rapidly since 2013 in response to a dramatic increase in the number of youth needing assistance and representation in immigration court. The new ED will need to rise to these challenges and opportunities with strategic skills in fundraising, management and building support from many different stakeholders.

The successful candidate will be an intelligent self-starter and strong fiscal manager aligned to the mission of Safe Passage Project. The ED must be able to represent the organization skillfully in the community; build partnerships; advocate on behalf of Safe Passage Project, its clients, and its mission; and work closely with the Board and the organization’s supporters. We seek someone who can bring long-term stability, who can both manage and inspire staff, and who will maintain flexibility as the needs of our clients and volunteers change. The ED will be responsible for maximizing resources (raising significant financial support every year), managing staff and volunteers, and serving as the external (and internal) face of the organization.

Specific Responsibilities:

●      Champion the mission of Safe Passage Project to ensure that no child faces immigration court alone, acting as the internal and external face of the organization.

●      Lead fundraising activities, supported by the Associate Director, Operations and Development, maintaining close relationships with foundations, individuals, sponsoring organizations, corporate donors, and government agencies as well as identifying new funding sources.

●      Strategize how best to meet the needs of Safe Passage Project clients and Safe Passage Project pro bono volunteers, supported by the Associate Director, Legal Services.

●      Oversee fiscal management, including working with staff, accountants, and the Board’s Finance and Audit Committees to develop, adopt, and manage the operating budget.

●      Oversee and manage the multiple grants Safe Passage Project currently operates, including city, state, and federal grants as well as grants from private funders.

●      Work collaboratively with the Board of Directors, staff and key volunteers in developing strategic plans and proper governance.

●      Represent Safe Passage Project on advocacy issues at the city, state and federal level.


●      Seven to ten years progressive management experience, ideally in a legal services organization.

●      A focus on not-for-profit legal work and/or immigration law is strongly preferred.

●      Proven skills in building partnerships, developing new funding sources, and leading new initiatives, including experience with grant applications.

●      Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal.

●      Experience with engaging and supporting individual and organizational volunteers to increase their interest in the organization and its mission.

●      Strong fiscal skills with experience in creating and controlling operating and program budgets of comparable size or greater and in complying with grant requirements.

●      Working knowledge of technology used in legal service delivery and in fundraising.

●      A demonstrated record of leadership and success in strategic planning, organizational development and problem solving.

●      Strong people skills necessary to developing successful professional relationships.

●      J.D. preferred.

●      New York City experience and familiarity with some of the communities we serve is preferred.

●      Spanish fluency is strongly preferred.

●      Experience working with young or start-up organizations is preferred.

To apply please submit a cover letter, resume and two references to Megan Eiss-Proctor atrecruiting@safepassageproject.org

Applications reviewed upon submission. Applications will be accepted until May 27, 2016 or until the position is filled.



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