AWBI Executive Director Leadership Profile 2019 06 28 FINAL…

LEADERSHIP PROFILE   Executive Director   Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative  Atlanta, Georgia  


Few cities have experienced growth on par with Atlanta. Home to more than five million  people, Metro Atlanta is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the U.S. and has  the 10th largest gross domestic product (GDP) in the nation. According to a recent  Census report. Atlanta saw the third highest population gains in 2017 surpassed only by  Houston and Dallas. While many factors contribute to the influx, the promise of economic  opportunity is the strongest draw. In a recent study by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis,  Atlanta earned the second highest “boom rate” among big city economies, and with the  third highest number of Fortune 500 headquarters, Atlanta continues to attract employers  and employees alike. This growth is made more complex by the region’s history,  geographic sprawl and politics.   While Atlanta has a strong regional economy, it is also ranked as the worst city for income  inequality. That said, not everyone is benefiting from Atlanta’s economic boom. The  American Dream, a central feature of American mythology, is centered on the idea that if 

you work hard you can get ahead. That hard work will  translate into prosperity and wealth not only for an  individual, but for their family and community as well. But for  every Horatio Alger story of lore, there are tens of thousands  more who never have the chance to read the storybook.  Their very ability to dream is limited by the circumstances of  their birth. In fact, for all too many Americans, and for the  clear majority of African Americans and people of color,  particularly in Atlanta, the American dream has not been a 


path to prosperity but instead an endless trail of land mines, insurmountable hurdles and  broken promises.    In the City of Atlanta, a black-owned business is worth $58,085, while a white-owned  business is worth $658,264 -- 11 times more! 96% of these black-owned businesses have no  paid employees. In the U.S., closing the racial growth gap would result in 9 million new jobs  and ultimately boost the national income by $300 billion. If we grow new and legacy  minority small businesses, we create more living-wage jobs and build family- and  community-wealth. Community wealth building (CWB) provides an opportunity to address  the historic and systemic nature of racial wealth inequality in our region and is a uniquely  pertinent strategy for metropolitan Atlanta given its vast economic inequity, particularly in  communities of color in contrast with the legend of Atlanta as the Black Mecca. 


Initially established in 2011 as a nonprofit 501(c)3 entity  created and powered by The Community Foundation  for Greater Atlanta, the Atlanta Wealth Building  Initiative (AWBI) adopted The Evergreen Cooperatives  of Cleveland’s model to start and incubate local  green businesses to address social problems such as  the rising level of income inequality, high rates of  unemployment, cyclical patterns in prison re-entry or  substance use, and business inefficiency. In response  to the continuing crisis of inequity confronting Atlanta,  in the fall of 2017 the Kendeda Fund and the Annie E.  Casey Foundation, in concert with community,  municipal and nonprofit leaders, decided to re-focus  and relaunch the Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative  (AWBI). 

The goal of the Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative (AWBI) is to foster solutions designed to  close Atlanta’s racial opportunity gaps, so that all of Atlanta’s residents are able to reach  their highest potential. In pursuit of this goal, as an intermediary AWBI seeks to achieve  shared prosperity by closing the racial wealth gap through ​ thought leadership that  advances bold ideas, ​ movement building that activates people on the ground and  strategic investments that equitably deploy capital. Community wealth building lies at the  heart of our model and our core values of inclusion, collaboration, innovation, courage,  impact and sustainability undergird our work.   AWBI seeks to leverage three critical components, which when activated together have  transformative power. Those components are ​ ideas, people and capital : 


​ are advanced through thought leadership are activated through building  is deployed through strategic investments.  

● Ideas ● People ● Capital

More specifically, there is a great need for new ideas that enable us to re-imagine a  world where all people, regardless of race, place or background are able to achieve  their highest potential. Through the advancement of fresh and provocative ideas, AWBI  endeavors to change hearts and minds, influence public opinion for “the good” and  shake the very foundations of power.   We cannot just make investments. We have to change the conditions so that  entrepreneurs of color have the opportunity to own, invest in and direct resources in  their own communities. There is a great need for innovation and new ideas so that all  people, regardless of race, place or background are able to achieve their highest  potential. AWBI does this by leading research and data collection, publication of key  studies, and hosting forums that lead to broader understanding of community wealth  building strategies by the public and key partners.   When people are inspired by ideas – movements are formed. And when movements  are formed, individuals and leaders are able to achieve the sort of collective action  that is capable of deep and lasting change. Through movement building, ​ AWBI will  strengthen the infrastructure for sustained collaboration, coordination and mobilization,  while developing leaders and strengthening organizations.   Lastly, achieving a new economy will require capital strategies that are fair, inclusive  and people-centered. Entrepreneurs of color are not starting on equal footing when it  comes to raising capital to launch and grow their businesses. Integrating capital helps  level the playing field by blending grants and other investments to address disparities in  economic mobility. Through a mix of collaborative funding approaches, ​ AWBI will  deploy resources that test exciting models, leverage and pool public and private  resources, contribute to restorative policies and practices, and fund brave and daring  work – all while delivering impressive social and financial return on investment.  AWBI’s strategic approach focuses on building the capacity of existing actors and  harnessing economic drivers rooted in place and its role as a node of innovation 


utilizing data to inform its work and to promote an inclusive economy and ownership of  wealth in Atlanta. In addition, through its ecosystem strategy, ​ AWBI sparks creative,  disruptive community wealth building solutions and serves as a network facilitator  developing innovative approaches grounded in inclusion and cooperation ultimately  advocating for localized economic flows, fostering and financing broad-based  ownership, sustaining communities and rebuilding democracy from the ground up. 

THE MANDATE  The Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative believes community wealth  building strategies represent an opportunity to systematically  address Atlanta’s crisis of wealth inequality. Furthermore, it is well  documented that there are few wealth creation strategies more  potent than entrepreneurship. Black entrepreneurs in particular  have higher wealth levels and more upward wealth mobility than  do Black workers. These findings are consistent with Black  entrepreneurship reducing the wealth disparity between Blacks  and Whites.   Atlanta has a rich history of cultivating minority small business.  Accordingly, in 2017 as part of its relaunch, AWBI, with the 

support of The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Kendeda Fund and Prosperity Now  convened a Community of Practice (CoP). The CoP is a multi-sector coalition,  representing more than thirty community-based organizations, public agencies and  institutions in Atlanta, committed to systemic, collective intervention to strengthen Black  entrepreneurship and to address the wide-scale racial wealth inequality that is  pervasive in Atlanta. The Community of Practice was tasked with shaping  recommendations for a more vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem to support African 

American businesses in building community wealth.   Following the guidance of the CoP and the  principles of community wealth building, AWBI’s  initial strategy is rooted in business ownership and  enhancing the capacity of those businesses to  stabilize changing communities in Atlanta. Over  the next three years, AWBI will concentrate its  effort to align resources and access to capital to  grow a strong black business ecosystem. In  addition, consistent with place-based community  wealth building principles, AWBI’s entrepreneurial  strategy will begin in partnership with the Atlanta  Beltline. Given the Atlanta Beltline’s role as an  1

1 Frequently touted as the largest and most comprehensive infrastructure project in the Southeast, the Atlanta Beltline comprises 22 miles of previously abandoned rail lines that is being converted into walkable, bike-friendly light-rail with 33 miles of trail. The project encircles 45 contiguous neighborhoods in the heart of the city and is


economic driver – particularly in the southern communities outlining Atlanta’s inner core  – and the catalyzing force of entrepreneurship to drive social mobility, AWBI’s initial  strategy is designed to leverage the Beltline to advance the City’s black  entrepreneurship ecosystem. Specifically, we aim to begin to address racial wealth  inequality in Atlanta by leveraging Atlanta’ s strong public-private partnership culture to  build capacity for minority-owned businesses located along the BeltLine.   While the initial strategic focus of AWBI’s efforts will be on enterprise development, the  Executive Director should lead exploratory efforts to execute programming and  partnerships around additional community wealth building strategies including anchor  procurement, financing, land use and workforce strategies.  THE RESPONSIBILITIES   The Executive Director will be tasked to make AWBI’s objectives a reality, overseeing all  operational, financial and partnership management aspects of the organization.  Although much work has been done to date, the Executive Director’s first responsibility  will be to build on current success and ensure implementation of the organization’s  strategic plan as AWBI moves from concept to execution.   More particularly, the Executive Director will possess experience, knowledge and  competencies in the following areas:  Leadership Skills and Acumen - The Executive Director will be a seasoned or mid-career  professional with experience leading organizations, large departments/units and  projects of significance. She/he will not only build and lead staff, but she/he will be  expected to model the commitment to impact and team-based collaboration that has  informed the work thus far.   Board Governance - The Executive Director will serve as the principal professional  resource to the AWBI board of directors and committees. Participate in board of  directors meetings and assist the board in setting strategic direction for AWBI,  formulating policy, and developing annual work plans to achieve organizational goals.  She/he will work with the board of directors to oversee and evaluate programs, projects  and work plan initiatives.  Fundraising/Resource Development - The Executive Director will serve as the primary  fundraiser, working closely with the board to attract and increase investments in  community wealth building strategies. She/he will leverage strategic partnerships to  pool coordinated capital to invest in communities of color. The ED is responsible for  fundraising and developing other resources necessary to support AWBI’s mission.   Community Wealth Building, Racial Equity and Economic Inclusion - The Executive  Director will have a clear understanding and ability to serve as subject matter expert 

expected to generate $10 - $20 billion in economic development and 40,000 permanent jobs. With the Beltline having launched in 2003, the transformation of Atlanta’s in-town neighborhoods is well underway.


and thought leader in the areas of community wealth building, racial equity and  economic inclusion. The Executive Director will lead exploratory efforts to execute  programming and partnerships around community wealth building strategies including  enterprise development, anchor procurement, financing, land use and workforce  strategies. Additionally, she/he must champion awareness of issues pertaining to  economic development, community wealth building and racial equity.  Portfolio/Fund Development/Management and Fiscal Stewardship - Development of a  capital acquisition and deployment strategy (and team) will be an early priority,  including identifying opportunities for additional philanthropic support, investments,  lending and grant-making. Currently the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta  (CFGA) provides administrative and fiscal oversight for AWBI including personnel and  grants management. The Executive Director is tasked with working with the Board to  assess AWBI’s long- and short-term needs in connection with fiscal and management  support and the most appropriate legal and operational structure to achieve its goals.  The Executive Director will manage AWBI’s relationship with CFGA and will be  responsible for fiscal management, developing AWBI’s annual budget, in consultation  with the Board, ensuring optimum resource utilization and sound financial stewardship.  Strategic Vision/Implementation - AWBI’s board, in concert with its stakeholders, has  approved a bold strategic plan with definitive goals and strategies, consistent with the  founding vision, current success and robust ambitions. The Executive Director will guide  and direct the execution of AWBI’s strategic plan and assess the respective  implementation strategy and tactics associated with the plan’s strategic direction.  She/he must make sure AWBI’s strategy implementation align with its mission, vision and  core values and remains relevant. The Executive Director will not only be responsible for  planning and directing achievement of AWBI’s strategic and long-range goals but also  ensuring continuous assessment of AWBI’s activities to evaluate operational  effectiveness, identify strengths and weaknesses and make recommendations based  on emerging trends, expansion opportunities, and internal process improvement.   Partnership/Relationship Management, Communication & Community Engagement -  As the organization’s primary spokesperson, the Executive Director must cultivate  effective working relationships with a diverse set of stakeholders, including business and  the nonprofit, philanthropic, civic and faith-based sectors. She/he will represent AWBI as  a thought leader in the community wealth building field, facilitating field building and  learning journey opportunities for board members and other national, regional and  local entities with long-term vested interests in economic development and community  wealth building. Collaboration and relationship-building will be absolutely central to  success. Building on conversations already underway with high-value discussion  partners, the Executive Director must quickly manage, initiate and leverage a variety of  relationships. 



The Executive Director will report to 

Board of Directors of AWBI, an independent   501(c)(3)  

And manage 

● A small staff up to three people (to be developed)   ● Consultants and subject-matter experts as needed   ● Current fiscal partnership with CFGA   ● Funder relationships  

While promoting  collaborative  relationships with such  stakeholders as 

● Community of Practice (CoP)  ● Direct service providers   ● Strategic partners  

● Other national, regional and local entities with long-term  vested interests in economic development and community  wealth building  ● Corporate and civic leaders supportive of innovative,  inclusive economic development strategies   ● Foundations, individual donors, investors supportive of  economic development initiatives relevant to our mission   ● Public systems  

THE CANDIDATE The ideal candidate to lead AWBI will be an effective, thoughtful executive with the  proven ability to drive a founding vision from start-up to demonstrable impact and  possess a perennial commitment to racial equity and inclusive economic parity. ​ The  best candidates will be bold, strategic thinkers who combine the attitude of a servant  leader with the heft of demonstrated leadership success in environments requiring  effective collaboration between and among a variety of stakeholders.   Among the assets of most interest to the search committee include the following:   • Demonstrated understanding and leadership to serve as subject matter expert  and thought leader in the areas of community wealth building, economic  inclusion, racial equity   • Experience leading teams and projects of significance from implementation to  successful completion; a healthy affinity for both vision and execution  • Demonstrated success in fund development and securing large scale funding from  foundations, philanthropists and investors to support enterprise and catalytic  economic development projects 


• Possesses skills to effectively communicate AWBI’s purpose, goals, initiatives and  successes to a variety of audiences and to catalyze collective action  • A value based, solutions-driven management approach with a long-term focus on  addressing systemic racial and economic inequity despite entrenched obstacles  • A leadership style that connects high-level executive and administrative skills   • Capable of managing an active and supportive board of directors  • Managerial success grounded in best practices and the most current research  coupled with the ability to be innovative and credibly disruptive  • The heft to connect credibly with national, local and regional philanthropic, civic  and for-profit leaders and to simultaneously garner the respect of community  leaders, entrepreneurs and business leaders  • Demonstrated record of effective multi-stakeholder management and thriving in  environments that offer diversity of thought   • An exceptional reputation among peers for influence, critical thinking and  problem-solving • Ability to be self-directed; entrepreneurial experience a plus   • Strong financial acumen and high degree of comfort with accounting and analytic  tools   • Strong project management skills  AWBI has few preconceptions about the precise career path of greatest appeal, but it  will be very interested in a prospect’s own journey to success—and how that journey  might inform the Executive Director’s leadership style and effectiveness in the role.   SALARY AND BENEFITS  Competitive salary and benefits package will be offered. Salary will be commensurate  with market, operating budget and candidate's experience level.  For potential consideration, please submit a resume and cover letter to ​ by July 31, 2019.  To suggest a prospect, please email ​ ​ .  For questions, please contact our search consultant, John Holly, at ​ or 404-840-2074. 


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