Hit the Books

Executive Director

To Apply

Hit the Books has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search. Inquiries, nominations and applications may be directed in confidence to:
Debbie Farrell, Senior Director of Leadership and Development
Harris Rand Lusk
122 East 42nd Street, Suite 3605
New York, NY 10168
Email a cover letter explaining your interest in leading Hit the Books,
together with your resume to:


Please write “HTB” in the subject line of your emailed application

Hit the Books (“HTB”) is a new charitable organization that aims to bring educational resources to the Harlem community through a sports-based youth development approach, with tutoring and mentorship at its core, and mixed martial arts as the ‘hook’. HTB will provide afterschool educational programs, mentorship opportunities, and mixed martial arts classes in order to help kids progress outside of the classroom physically, intellectually, and emotionally. HTB hopes to expose its students to educational and professional opportunities that may otherwise pass them by, fostering an environment of educational equality. In addition to enhancing the educational resources available to impacted communities, Hit the Books hopes to develop into a ‘community within a community’ where kids feel safe and view the gym as a second home.

Hit the Books seeks to hire and support an ambitious, mission-inspired Executive Director (“ED”) with creative ideas and a work ethic that can successfully launch and scale HTB in New York City, beginning with a pilot program in Harlem. While HTB will initially target youth ages 10-15 (most formative years) in Harlem, where testing scores, graduation rates, nutrition levels, and general resources available are significantly below that of the greater New York area and nationwide averages, there will be opportunity to expand into other neighborhoods.

This is a rare opportunity for a hardworking, inspirational, and business-minded individual to bring to market their own ideas of how to transform the lives of underserved kids through a Sports-Based Youth Development approach.

Reporting to the Board, the ED will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for planning and launching Hit the Books, including the methodology and construction of an educational framework for this start-up sports-based youth development organization. The ED must be a passionate and effective communicator who can inspire kids and families, the community and funders. In addition to launching the pilot program in Harlem, the ED will need to build a positive personal and organizational reputation within the city’s complex educational arena. The ED will receive support from a fundraising board and from established NYC leaders who have offered to serve in advisory capacities.

Principal Responsibilities:

Program Planning & Strategy

  • Develop and refine HTB’s education/literacy, coaching/mentorship program.
  • Find and cement local school partnerships and pilot HTB in Harlem.
  • Conceive of and develop methods to measure, track and evaluate HTB’s impact, performance and outcomes, and communicate these to the board, funders, and other external constituents.
  • Integrate sports into the program by working closely with HTB’s Head of Martial Arts.

Leadership & Management:

  • Foster strong, long-term relationships with key partner organizations, funders, and stakeholders, including political and education leaders in Harlem, and the media.
  • Work with nearby universities and/or other organizations to fill HTB’s need for volunteer coaches, tutors and mentors.
  • Secure in-kind resources and branding by building long-term partnerships with individuals and institutions—educational, athletic, analytical, wellness.
  • Represent the organization at regional and national meetings and events.
  • Work closely with the Board on partnerships, events and activities, and to ensure HTB’s legal compliance including filings, budgets, and audits.

Communications and Development

  • Devise communications strategies for kids, families, volunteers, partners, and the community, that build a strong external presence and relationships that garner new opportunities.
  • Create a marketing strategy—web, social media, external relations.
  • Create a strategy to publish and communicate program results with an emphasis on the successes of the pilot program as a model for replication.
  • Support the Board’s efforts to generate revenue and corporate sponsorships; seek out additional donors and build ongoing fundraising activities.
  • Work with the Board to identify potential grant partners (foundation, corporate, government); plan and track applications and reports.
  • Build and execute engagement and recognition plans for volunteers and donors.


  • Advanced degree with at least 8 years of organizational management; Afterschool or sports-based youth development program experience preferred.
  • Proven ability to articulate issues that impact youth who experience trauma.
  • Strong marketing, public relations, and fundraising experience.
  • Credible and passionate champion for HTB; capacity to inspire kids and families.
  • Unwavering commitment to quality programs and data-driven program evaluation; ability to translate outcomes into effective brand-raising and fundraising strategies.
  • Entrepreneurial mindset and solid organizational management skills.
  • Ability to coach and manage volunteers and set and achieve staffing objectives.
  • Superb written and verbal communications skills; grant-writing experience preferred.
  • Excellent interpersonal and multidisciplinary project expertise
  • Action-oriented, adaptable, and innovative approach to business planning.
  • Ability to work effectively in collaboration with diverse groups of people.
  • Self-disciplined, self-directed, and maintains a positive attitude.

Salary and Benefits: This is a full-time, remote-working position that offers a base salary in the range of $100,000-$150,000; an opportunity for a generous, discretionary performance-based bonus; and benefits (medical and dental insurance, retirement with match). For more information, visit HitTheBooksNYC.org

Hit the Books is an equal opportunity employer. They celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.

122 East 42nd Street, Suite 3605, New York, NY 10168