Roots & Wings

Executive Director

To Apply

Roots & Wings has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search. Inquiries, nominations, and applications may be directed in confidence to:
Anne McCarthy, Chief Operating Officer
Harris Rand Lusk
260 Madison Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10016

Please email your application to Anne McCarthy at amccarthy@harrisrand.com  Please put “Roots & Wings ED” in the subject line of your emailed application

Roots and Wings is a well-respected nonprofit organization based in Morris County New Jersey dedicated to helping youth aging out of foster care.  Founded in 1999, by Irene DeGrandpre, a CASA volunteer and New Jersey Hero honoree, Roots & Wings began as a community-based volunteer operation that has developed into the only non-profit organization in the region providing holistic services to these youth between the ages of 18 and 25 years of age.

Each year about 700 young adults age out of the foster care system in New Jersey. Aged out foster youth are among the most underserved, disconnected and statistically vulnerable populations in our society. Typically, these young adults have no support system and lack the education, financial resources, life skills and self-esteem to make it on their own causing them to be at high risk for homelessness, human trafficking, substance abuse, and incarceration.  Roots & Wings aims to break this cycle.

Although not a trauma treatment center, Roots and Wings practices trauma informed case management. In 2018, it received the National Aging Out Institute’s Award for providing the best holistic support to aged out foster youth by providing safe housing, case management, education support, counseling, and life skills to help these young adults move toward self-sufficiency through two programs: RISE a residential program and FLY, a community based program that provides our services to aged out foster youth who are not in need of housing. Clients leave Roots & Wings having broken the cycle of poverty, abuse, and despair that research shows often continues generation after generation absent intensive intervention.

A committed funding community of private foundations, individuals and corporation supports the work of Roots & Wings. To expand services to more aged -out foster youth in need and to continuously improve its positive impact on the long term success of these young adults, Roots and Wings is implementing new program approaches and scaling for substantial growth.  Helping lead this growth will be the next Executive Director.

The Position:
Roots and Wings is seeking a highly skilled professional with nonprofit experience, business acumen and a passion for service as its next Executive Director. This is a remarkable opportunity for an outstanding leader to join a highly regarded organization and lead a committed and passionate staff, volunteers, and other stakeholders to bring the agency to its next level.

The Executive Director will be a compelling and proven leader driven by a passion for Roots and Wings’ mission. The ED will be a highly visible member of the community representing the organization throughout New Jersey and beyond.  Inspired by a genuine passion for helping young people who age out of the foster care system to achieve self-sufficiency, the ED will be a strategic leader who, in collaboration with the Board, will set and articulate a clear vision for the organization and spearhead the development and implementation of strategies to assure the continued operational and financial health of the organization and spearhead its growth in the near term consistent with the organization’s strategic plan.

In collaboration with staff members, the ED will ensure excellence and quality in the content and delivery of Roots & Wings programming and services, and will drive positive outcomes as programs, systems and staff continue to evolve as the organization grows.

The ED will lead Roots & Wings forward with consistent achievement of its mission, strategic vision and financial objectives while ensuring the organization’s external presence, internal controls and fiscal policies are aligned with its mission and vision.

Excellent interpersonal, communication and negotiation skills are critical.  The ED must be comfortable and tactful in communicating with the individuals who benefit from Roots and Wings’ work as well as with corporate executives, local business leaders, elected officials, public agency administrators, funders, and the community.  They must be able to work closely with the Board and staff in a transparent, honest fashion that promotes inclusiveness, cooperation, and teamwork.  In addition, they will be bright, diplomatic, analytical, creative, of the highest integrity, and possess sound judgment as well as a sense of humor, humility, and compassion.

Specific Responsibilities Include:

Strategy and Vision

  • Develop long term strategy and vision in collaboration with board and staff for the organization and programs, as well as the action plans required to achieve the strategy.
  • Ability to road map and establish key targets for the organization.
  • Set and communicate organizational priorities and appropriately allocate human, financial and operational resources to achieve those priorities.


  • Serve as the spokesperson for Roots & Wings among donors, foundations, community leaders, industry groups, etc. increasing both visibility and influence.
  • Set priorities decisively, delegate responsibilities and assure accountability to ensure results.
  • Lead the organizations’ operations, culture, values, talent and financial performance.

Board and Stakeholder Communications

  • Serving as a thought partner to the Board of Trustees, collaborate with them to solidify organizational vision and positioning and maintain effective communication lines.
  • Work closely with the board and staff to develop and implement the strategic plan and integrate volunteer activities to achieve the mission
  • Inform the Board of matters that may significantly impact the organization or require Board action

Operations Support & Execution

  • Ensure effectiveness and sustainability through innovation and evaluating quantitative and qualitative analytics.
  • Ensure all official organizational records, client records, and documents are maintained in compliance with federal, state, and local regulations.
  • Ensure operational efficiency through organization of all aspects of operations and the utilization of technology

Development Efforts

  • Visible in the community and actively engage and energize external stakeholders; increasing funding streams to support programming.
  • Drive and manage fundraising efforts and cultivate relationships with current and prospective donors; deepen relationships throughout New Jersey and beyond.
  • Actively engage external stakeholders to garner new opportunities for partnerships
  • Work proactively with the board and staff to fundraise

Financial Performance

  • Develop annual operating budget for Board approval and provide board members with regular reports of organizational progress and financial status.
  • Grow revenue to support the organization, enhance and expand programs and reach.
  • Achieve financial objectives, ensure financial best practices and record keeping are consistently implemented and timely; oversee annual audit
  • Negotiate contracts, leases, and agreements and supervise building management

 Personnel Management & Planning

  • A leader who champions a spirit of collaboration to advance organizational goals and build a shared sense of purpose among staff.
  • Maintain a climate that attracts, motivates and retains highly qualified individuals.
  • Model and drive human resources best practices – coach/motivate to encourage high level performance.
  • Assess organization structure to ensure the right talent is in the right position to achieve objectives and plan for succession.
  • Champion a culture of collaboration and open communications across the organization and specifically with the Program Director.
  • Establish working relationships with a broad base of constituents including staff, donors, Board Members, volunteers, and the public.


  • In collaboration with the Program Director, identify innovative solutions to providing support to aged out foster youth that align with our mission and continuously improve outcomes
  • Ensure program effectiveness through evaluating quantitative and qualitative analytics
  • Responsibly increase the number of aged out foster youth we serve through our programs


  • An advanced degree in a relevant field of study/practice, with at least 10 years of senior management and executive experience with at least 5 years of those years in a non-profit
  • Unwavering commitment to quality programs and data-driven program evaluation.
  • Strong financial and business acumen, including an understanding of operations; experience in a 24/7 operation not required, but a plus.
  • Strong fundraising skills, grant making, marketing and public relations experience that generates revenue growth.
  • Good understanding of housing issues and potential challenges not required, but a plus
  • Excellence in organizational management with the ability to coach staff; manage, and develop high-performance teams; set and achieve strategic objectives, and manage a budget.
  • Experience working with a Board of Directors.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills; a persuasive and passionate communicator with excellent interpersonal and multidisciplinary project skills.
  • Action-oriented, entrepreneurial, adaptable, and innovative approach to business planning; experience in scaling up a business a plus.
  • Ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders and cultures and work effectively in collaboration with diverse groups of people.
  • Passion, idealism, integrity, positive attitude, mission-driven, and self-directed.
  • Proficient and/or the ability to quickly come up to speed, in computer software tools and systems including Office 365, SalesForce, Quickbooks, Mailchimp, and Classy.

Salary range is $125,000 – $130,000.  For more information about Roots & Wings please visit rootsandwingsnj.org.

All positions at Roots & Wings are filled without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, HIV/AIDS status, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law.  All are encouraged to apply.

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