President & CEO of Dix Park Conservancy | Raleigh, NC

Dix Park Conservancy is seeking an individual who possesses the leadership skills and experience to nurture a strong, diverse set of relationships; inspire professionals and volunteers; and develop and grow the organization to optimize fundraising and community impact. All with the goal of partnering with the City of Raleigh to implement the master plan for Dix Park and create a signature, world class destination park – a park for everyone, built by everyone.

The President & CEO reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for the organization’s consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives.

The Opportunity | Dix Park Conservancy

Dix Park Conservancy (DPC) has the unique opportunity to support the City of Raleigh in the transformation of 308 acres into a public space that will enhance the daily lives of community residents and become a crown jewel for North Carolina. This nationally and internationally significant urban park development, proximate to the state capital of Raleigh, NC, has a historic legacy as the former site of a mental health hospital, plantation, and civil war activity. In 2020, the City of Raleigh and Dix Park Conservancy signed a long-term Memorandum of Agreement affirming the continuation of the public-private partnership created to support Dix Park. The goal of the partnership is to create a world class acclaimed park that will be beloved by all citizens and a tourism destination that welcomes people from across the state, region and nation. Dorothea Dix Park, with its rolling landscape, surrounded by neighborhoods, schools, a university, and its adjacency to downtown Raleigh offers tremendous potential as a public space that nurtures bodies and souls, as well as improving the community and state.

The Conservancy, a nonprofit, will be the City’s community partner and sole philanthropic partner, with a mission to ensure the creation and long-term success of Dorothea Dix Park as a place for everyone – a transformative public space for community, health, and celebration that will enrich our quality of life in North Carolina.  In this role, the Conservancy is committed to broad and diverse community engagement and outreach efforts with a variety of stakeholders including local and state government elected officials and staff (especially, the City of Raleigh); grassroots organizations; private donors; a large board; multiple community advisory boards; design professionals; and the community at large.  DPC touches on public policy impacts outside the confines of the park, including economic development, public health, mental health, affordable housing, and transportation. The City of Raleigh owns and operates Dorothea Dix Park.

An aspirational project, the creation of Dix Park is guided by a master plan created by the renowned landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.  Approved unanimously in 2019 by the Raleigh City Council, the plan includes:

  • A public green space actively used today by a growing number of children and adults;
  • A 12- to 14-acre grand plaza and adventure play area in the design phase;
  • Enhancement and expansion of Rocky Branch Creek (a creek that flows along Western Blvd.) as a waterfront for Raleigh; and
  • Rehabilitation of the historic chapel on the site.
  • Link to master plan:

Following five years of planning, design, and early implementation, DPC seeks a President & CEO who will take the park to the next level with strong fundraising, community engagement, and leadership skills.  With $5.43M+ already raised toward the $6M needed for this year’s first essential projects, DPC is well on its way to success. 

The Position | President & CEO

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the President & CEO will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for DPC’s staff, programs, expansion, and execution of its mission. The President & CEO will work in partnership with the Executive Committee, Board, City of Raleigh and community leaders to ensure success of the master park plan. Specific responsibilities for this position include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

Leadership & Management:

Dix Park Conservancy is innately complex because it is a partnership with the City of Raleigh. Its board is large and there are multiple volunteer committees. It needs a clear governing structure, effective operations, metrics and reporting. The responsibilities of the President & CEO in this area include:

  • Ensure consistent quality of finance, administration, fundraising, communications, and operating systems; recommend timelines and resources needed to achieve the strategic goals.
  • Actively engage and energize DPC volunteers, board members, partnering organizations, and funders.
  • Sustain and enhance partnership with City of Raleigh, establishing relationships with the funders, political and community leaders.
  • Lead and manage the DPC organization effectively and build its capacity. The President & CEO will be responsible for recruiting and training staff and volunteers, and for setting performance standards, metrics, and accountability. 
  • Provide leadership for constructing a membership organization.

Fundraising & Communications:

The President & CEO must have the financial acumen to raise the public and private dollars to develop the park and craft a revenue/appropriations model that can sustain it. S/he must keep fundraising and master plan timelines moving; track multiple work streams, external programming, and hundreds of volunteers; and produce strong metrics and reporting. In addition, the President & CEO must have knowledge of large donor fundraising, as well as retail (community, small dollar) fundraising.  The responsibilities in this area include:

  • Coordinate efforts for the Campaign for Phase Now, future Capital Campaign and City Bond Campaign; work with leadership and staff in implementing best campaign practices and report campaign progress.
  • Cultivate strong working partnerships with DPC leadership, City of Raleigh and the greater community.  These relationships will be critical to the success of the Dix Park master plan and the DPC Campaign for Project Now, Capital Campaign and City Bond Campaign.  These partnerships need to exhibit trust and open communication and include sharing of best practices.
  • Develop a strong infrastructure for fundraising by strengthening ties with the local community and the Conservancy’s greater community, working effectively with the City of Raleigh and businesses, and by creating methods that enhance donor relations and utilize the DPC board to accomplish fundraising goals.
  • Collaborate with the board on all development activities and prepare reports reflecting associated activities.
  • Deepen and refine all aspects of communications—from web presence to social media to external relations -- with the goal of raising visibility and brand of the Park.
  • Oversee all public relations, media and community relations, publications, communications, marketing, and social media initiatives.       
  • Encourage and maintain sensitivity to the historic legacy of the site; keep an eye on economic inclusion of benefits of park development on historically underrepresented communities and surrounding neighborhoods. Recognize the need for diverse programming, board memberships, standing, vendors, and community partnerships.

Qualities and Qualifications

All candidates should have proven leadership and relationship management experience. Concrete demonstrable experience and other qualifications include:

  • Track record of effectively building and leading a non-profit or other organization; ability to point to specific examples of having developed and orchestrated strategies that have taken an organization to the next stage of growth
  • Excellence in organizational management with the ability to coach, manage, and develop teams, set and achieve strategic objectives, and manage a budget
  • Past success working with a board of directors with the ability to cultivate existing board member relationships
  • Proven track record with fundraising and capital campaigns and the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders
  • Experience in organizational visioning and creative planning preferred
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills; excellent computer skills; a persuasive and passionate communicator with excellent interpersonal and multidisciplinary project skills
  • Action-oriented, entrepreneurial, adaptable, and innovative with proven success in business planning
  • Ability to work effectively in collaboration with diverse groups of people and balance strong working relationships between public and private partnerships
  • Passion, idealism, integrity, positive attitude, mission-driven, and self-directed
  • Knowledge of NC – its geography, politics, and people—is desirable
  • Understands and promotes the value of the natural environment of Dix Park and its impact on the health and wellness of the greater community

Procedure for Candidacy

Dix Park Conservancy has retained Capital Development Services to assist with professional recruitment.  Nominations, expressions of interest, and applications can be submitted via email to or candidates can apply online here.  As an accelerated search, applications will be reviewed immediately upon receipt and interviews may be conducted on a rolling basis.  The position offers excellent salary and benefits.

Candidates should include a cover letter, a resume, and a list of three references.  All material will be kept confidential.  Additional inquiries may be directed to Capital Development Services, 336-747-0133 x 208.

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