Director, Emerging Initiatives: United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey

United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey’s (United Way) mission is to end poverty and expand opportunity for all. We are focused on new approaches to harnessing the collective power of our region to help individuals and families break the cycle of poverty, and new ways of engaging and investing in the communities we serve. We deploy several tools to that end, including:

Convening local and national leaders to build and execute high-impact strategies to reduce economic insecurity in the region.

Motivating individual, corporate, and institutional philanthropy.

Investing in evidence-based programming to increase opportunity and employment, ensure financial empowerment for families, and resource high quality early education.

Measuring progress and strengthening the nonprofit sector in data/evaluation, leadership, and organizational effectiveness.


The Director of Emerging Initiatives will play a key role in leading the development of its most ambitious, early-stage projects, with the potential to make a tangible contribution to the alleviation of poverty in Philadelphia.

The Director reports directly to the Chief Development Officer and closely supports the Chief Impact Officer and Chief Executive Officer to ensure that new United Way Initiatives are built to maximize impact, collaboration, and financial viability. The Director also works regularly with the broader Mission Delivery, Business Operations, and Finance Departments to ensure that the full organization is aware of and engaged in high potential opportunities.

The Director is an at-will employee of UWGPSNJ. The organization’s primary work location is in Center City, Philadelphia and offers a hybrid work environment.

1.     Stakeholder / investor management (60%): Support the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Development Officer to identify, acquire, and cultivate relationships with key investors for new, high-impact initiatives: Responsibilities include:

a.     Prospecting: research potential investors and donors, including analyzing profiles and preferences, supporting leadership to design prospective investor tables, and representing UW in meetings and networking events.

b.     Pitch development: working across Mission and Development to lead the creation and maintenance of compelling pitch decks and presentations on United Way emerging initiatives, including developing storylines, crafting core content, and tailoring based on specific investor interest areas.

c.     Relationship management: supporting UW leadership to build and maintain relationships with critical stakeholders, including leading regular scheduling and updates, responding to inquiries, and compiling feedback and engagement.

2.     Project management (35%). Know on a day-to-day basis the current state of all emerging initiatives, and own responsibility for moving them forward. Responsibilities include:

a.     Setting project goals and timelines: supporting UW C-suite to define where initiatives should be by when – with specific objectives and KPIs.    

b.     Project execution: build the internal infrastructure to get and keep initiatives moving through the pipeline, including building detailed plans, assigning action items, identifying any resource requirements, and managing potential risks / mitigation strategies.

c.     Executive communications: ensure that key stakeholders are aware of the status of emerging initiatives, including coordinating meetings, creating progress reports, and presenting/supporting C-suite leadership to present.

3.     Initiative design (15%). Support the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Impact Officer to design impactful, locally tailored solutions to reduce poverty in greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey region. Responsibilities include:

a.     Strategy development: support the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Impact Officer, and Mission department Managing Directors to develop the vision and strategy for UW’s most impactful emerging initiatives, including managing subject matter experts / external consulting teams, collecting feedback, and defining next steps.

b.     Material development: convert the strategy into clear, professional deliverables for internal and external review, including solution summaries, budgets, impact measurement plans, etc.

c.     Cross-departmental & organizational coordination: work closely with Managing Directors in the Mission department and across other support functions to ensure that emerging initiatives are clearly understood, properly resourced, and align with existing UW work.


Education: Master’s degree preferred; 8-10 years of experience or related graduate experience strongly preferred.

Commitment to poverty alleviation and equality: Experience – lived, professional, and/or academic – that advances United Way’s mission and improves its practices, with an advanced understanding of racial inequity and strategies to build inclusive and equitable solutions.

Project management: proven experience managing and coordinating simultaneous projects with different timelines, objectives, partners, and funders, and successfully prioritizing across tasks.

Business development / non-profit fundraising: Proven experience supporting the development of new business, either in the for profit or nonprofit sectors.

Detail oriented: close attention to detail, with the ability to produce materials that are ready for external presentation with limited review / oversight from UW leadership.

Executive communication: exceptional written and verbal communications skills, with an ability to present to high-level stakeholders (e.g., c-suite, board).

Strategic thinker: proven ability to think strategically about project design and development, including creating compelling, concise visions tailored to different audiences.

Fluency in tools: extensive experience in the Microsoft suite – with focus on PowerPoint and Excel – designing pitch decks, analytical models.

Collaborative: ability to work with cross-functional teams (e.g., finance, HR, development, business operations) and a diverse range of people.

Comfort with ambiguity: comfortable in uncertain, rapidly changing environments, with the ability to structure projects and information.

UWGPSNJ promotes a culture of inclusion and seeks talented staff from diverse backgrounds. UWGPSNJ does not discriminate based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected factor.

How to Apply