Executive Director

New York City
Cave Canem Foundation, Inc. offers a generous salary and benefits package.
May 02, 2019
May 17, 2019
Position Type
Full Time
Degree Level
Willingness to Travel
up to 25%
Experience Level


To apply, submit a cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information for three professional references to Cave Canem Foundation, Inc., by email to: jobs@ccpoets.org with “Executive Director” as the subject line. Applicants who do not submit a cover letter will not be considered. Materials must be emailed by the closing date: May 10, 2019.

Cave Canem Foundation, Inc., founded in 1996, is one of the most important organizations for U.S. literary arts and letters and offers the premier space for the cultivation of African American poetry. 

We seek an Executive Director who will build on the organization’s successful 20+-year history and, in conjunction with the Board of Directors and staff, expand the organization with a vision towards Cave Canem Foundation, Inc.’s 25th anniversary in 2021. 

The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for the organization's consistent achievement of its mission to cultivate the artistic and professional growth of African American poets. The Executive Director, with the Board of Directors, will help lead Cave Canem Foundation, Inc. to long-term financial sustainability and continued cultural advancement.


The Executive Director serves as the face of the organization to stakeholders, partners, donors, and funders. The Executive Director is expected to be a strong advocate for Black poetry and Cave Canem Foundation, Inc. within the arts and humanities communities. Serving as a strategic thought partner with the Board of Directors, the Executive Director uses their administrative acumen to ensure that the organization remains fiscally sound and operationally optimal. The Executive Director develops and implements yearly business plans that energize the organization’s constituents; achieves the organization’s mission, goals and objectives, currently raises a budget of over $631,161; and leverages the organization’s human, financial and technological resources. 


The successful candidate will be a visionary leader and effective communicator with exceptional interpersonal skills; will possess requisite experience in arts administration and have a proven track record securing various types of institutional funding and executing development strategies (grant writing, friend-raising, individual giving and major gifts).

The candidate will have the leadership experience and drive necessary to guide Cave Canem Foundation, Inc. through healthy strategic growth, in anticipation of its 25th anniversary in 2021. 

The candidate will have a Bachelor's degree and a minimum of five years of senior-level professional experience, ideally in a non-profit organization, with progressive management or oversight of an organization’s fiscal and development budgets. In demonstrating administrative adeptness, the candidate will be able to lead, organize and support a staff, manage a national board and budget, and liaise with peer and funding entities; be capable of developing and achieving sustainable operational and financial strategies that can support operations and innovative programmatic initiatives.


General Operations and Management

  • Ensure effective functioning of day-to-day operations (front office in Brooklyn, NY) and related administrative activities.
  • Be responsible for the recruitment, employment and release of all staff with regular personnel updates given to the Board of Directors.
  • Supervise and evaluate staff; support staff’s efforts and develop and enrich their professional skills.
  • Ensure regular review of marketing and programming efforts in order to expand Cave Canem Foundation, Inc.’s visibility.
  • Promote and attend Cave Canem Foundation, Inc. programs and events in collaboration with staff. 
  • Ensure compliance with federal, state and New York City laws and regulations for governance and operations, including those governing bylaws and labor practices.


  • Successfully procure private foundation grants and charitable gifts; effectively fundraise and solicit gift upgrades from a broad range of donors and supporters. Preferred experience with endowment fundraising and planned giving.
  • Work collaboratively with the board fundraising committee to support each board member’s individual fundraising efforts; help plan and execute campaigns and special fundraising events in coordination with the Cave Canem board.
  • Partnering with the board, help to propel fundraising strategies that yield significant increases in private support in conjunction with Cave Canem’s 25th anniversary.

Financial Management

  • Overall responsibility and accountability for maintaining sound fiscal policy and practices, including timely and proactive budget preparations and management, adherence to regulatory and audit controls, sufficient and effective reporting, both internal and external. Manage cash flows and financial data for budgeting decisions.
  • Ensure that staff and programming keep within the allocated financial resources.
  • Work collaboratively and provides timely reports to the board Finance Committee.
  • Evaluate fundraising efforts to date; consider feasibility of new revenue streams including earned income, sponsorship and foundation support.

External Relations and Communications

  • Stay current with the literary field, specifically African American poetry and poetics.
  • Partner with the Board of Directors, Artistic Directors and staff to clarify and define Cave Canem Foundation, Inc.’s public image, brand, visibility and reputation as a leader in the literary field.
  • Support the efforts of the Board of Directors and its committees.
  • Oversee the organization’s brand, web and social media communications.
  • Be an active member of regional and national literary consortia such as LitTap, LitNet and The Poetry Coalition, and collaborate with Cave Canem Foundation Inc.’s numerous literary partners. 

Cave Canem Foundation, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. 

Cave Canem Foundation, Inc. is committed to building a culturally diverse community and strongly encourages applications from female-identified candidates and candidates of color. 

To apply, submit a cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information for three professional references to Cave Canem Foundation, Inc., by email to: jobs@ccpoets.org with “Executive Director” as the subject line. Applicants who do not submit a cover letter will not be considered. Materials must be emailed by the closing date:  May 10, 2019.