Date Posted: September 23, 2021
Closing Date: This position will remain open until filled.
The Organization: Disability Rights and Resources (DRR)
Reports to: Board of Directors
Location: Birmingham, AL, USA
Status: Full-time, exempt
Annual Salary: $75,000 to $100,00, plus benefits. Commensurate on qualifications and professional experience.
About Disability Rights & Resources (DRR)
Disability Rights and Resources’ mission is to empower people with disabilities to fully participate and live life on their own terms. Founded in 1980, DRR achieves this goal by grounding itself into the independent living movement and serving as a disability resource and referral center — thereby promoting full inclusion, equal opportunity, and participation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of community life. As Americans with a disability, these consumers of DRR’s services have every right to make their own choices affecting their own lives. As a consequence, these consumers play an integral part in guiding the path of the DRR. Along with its service offerings, DRR also promotes equal access and disability rights through its advocacy and public awareness activities.
Headquartered in the historic Civil Rights District in Birmingham, Alabama, DRR provides services to residents of 20 central Alabama counties. Staffed by a small team of a dozen dedicated and passionate people, the majority with a disability, they bring a wide range of knowledge and experience to their workplace. As a 501(c) (3) organization, DRR is a United Way agency and receives funding from the Administration on Community Living, City of Birmingham, the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation, the Alabama Department of Senior Services, the Alabama Council on Developmental Disabilities, Alabama Department of Public Health and several federal agencies and fees and donations. Click to view our Brochure
DRR and the Philosophy on Independent Living
Independent living is based upon peer relationships and principles of integration, consumer control, cross-disability, and equal access. All DRR’s services are community-based and non-residential in nature.
DRR believes advocacy is at the core of independent living, so they work to promote equal access within the Center and in the community. DRR also believes consumers, not professionals, or family members, or other influencers, set their own independent living goals. Consumers are offered the option of developing an independent living plan, which they may also elect to waive such a plan and just receive services.
DRR’s Core Services
- Information and Referral: Finds answers to any and all questions about living with a disability. Provides information about disability rights, resources, groups, or programs that may help a person with a disability, a family member, or a business.
- Independent Living Skills: Informs people with disability about the skills they may desire to be independent everyday and/or to live on their own. Examples of skill areas include, but are not limited to budgeting, cooking, running a home, communication, transportation, building relationships, and even how to speak up for oneself.
- Advocacy: Teaches how to advocate for oneself and have their voice heard while acting for change that offers equal opportunity for people with disabilities. DRR can also help consumers with disabilities to contact their government officials, write letters or make phone calls, travel to Alabama’s state capital, Montgomery, for special events or just figure out how to stand up for one’s rights as a person.
- Peer Support: Provides peer-to-peer relationships where a peer can mentor an individual with a disability on best practices; provides a forum for problem-solving solutions by sharing successes and building relationships with other individuals with disabilities who may share an individual’s needs/concerns. Individuals learn about new topics, such as healthy living, couponing, and job skills, while making new friends and being part of a team.
- Transition into the Community: Offers assistance in helping individuals with disabilities to relocate from institutional housing to independent housing with a specific focus on finding housing, setting up utilities, and arranging and getting support from others.
- Nursing Home Diversion: Helps to prevent entering a nursing home by identifying problems and offering solutions that may threaten one’s independent living situation.
- Youth Transition Services: Helps individuals ages 14-21 who are in school or have just exited school to better understand their disability and discover what is important to them and how to set their own personal goals.
- Home modification: Helps people with disabilities by making their homes more accessible. For example, by adding a grab bar in a bathroom or a ramp at the front door. Geographic and income limits do apply.
- Employment Assistance: The Disability Rights & Resources Employment Network Program provides services that assists those receiving SSI or SSDI, and between the ages of 18 and 64 to meet their employment goals.
- Work Incentives Planning Assistance (WIPA): The goal of the WIPA program is to enable beneficiaries with disabilities to receive accurate information and use that information to make a successful transition to work.
DRR is on sound financial footing with assets at approximately $1.6 million. DRR owns its state-of-the-art universal designed headquarters debt-free. The 2021/2022 budget is $1,831,900. Funding percentages are approximately: federal (87%), state (4%), United Way of Central Alabama (7%) and other sources (2%). The largest funding sources are Administration on Community Living (federal), Housing & Urban Development (federal), Work Incentives Planning and Assistance WIPA, (federal) and United Way (private). The organization’s largest category of expenses are salaries and related personnel costs, which make up approximately 54% of the total budget. Approximately 15% of the budget are expenses related to contractors in the agency Home Modification programs. The organization undergoes an annual audit, performed by an independent CPA firm who also prepares the annual 990 IRS return.
Executive Director Position Scope and Responsibilities
Strategic & Programmatic Leadership:
- Ensure that the philosophy of independent living for people with disabilities is at the forefront of every facet of DRR’s mission and programing.
- Provide strategic and operational leadership while working closely with Board of Directors in governance of the organization and in keeping them informed and engaged with DRR.
- Ensure the development, implementation, and execution of a long-range strategic plan that achieves DRR’s mission via forward movement with consistent and timely progress.
- Ensure programmatic impact and sustainability through effective program administration.
- Maintain effective relationships with a variety of external organizations including, but not limited to, the professional disability field, federal, state and local governmental agencies, corporations, the National Council on Independent Living’s (NCIL) and other associations and organizations that are aligned with DRR’s goals and objectives.
Take a leadership role in identifying issues and opportunities for collaboration across the disability field and create forums to address these issues
Revenue Generation, Fundraising and Management:
- Provide executive leadership on all revenue generation and resource development programs and activities and provide hands-on support where needed.
- Ensure the organization’s financial stability and sustainability by maintaining healthy cash flow, successful grant solicitation and optimal performance against budget.
- Promote a culture of innovation with appropriate financial risk taking commensurate with the organization’s financial position.
- With a concierge mentality, develop relationships with consumers to ensure that services offered are commensurate with their individual desires and needs.
- Play an active role in successfully soliciting funding from federal, state, local government funders and private funders by building ongoing relationships, crafting the case for financial support, presenting the appeal, and assuring compliance with grant and contract requirements.
- Ensure that all funds are responsibly and prudently allocated to reflect the needs of the organization and support the achievement of the mission.
- Ensures maintenance of agency’s facility with a focus on ADA compliance in a safe and pleasing work environment.
- Directly supervise, mentor, recruit, onboard, and build a highly effective team to support and manage daily operations in accordance with the mission, objectives, established procedures and applicable laws and regulations.
- Cultivate an environment of diversity and inclusion throughout all facets of the DRR’s community.
- Ensure department and individual job descriptions are clearly defined and developed, regular performance evaluations are held, and sound human resource practices are in place.
- Foster a culture that encourages full contribution, engagement, and development of staff.
- Maintain a climate that attracts, motivates, and retains a diverse staff of top-quality employees.
- Develop and maintain positive and effective relations with the Board Chair, and all other members of the Board of Directors.
- Ensure that the Board of Directors is kept fully informed of the opportunities, challenges, and operations of the organization at all times.
- Serve as lead liaison between the Board and the staff.
- Assist with the successful identification and recruiting of new board members from time to time.
Public Relations and Marketing:
- Provide executive leadership on all public relations messaging and marketing efforts and serve as the public face and spokesperson for the important work of the organization.
- Lead DRR in public, private and governmental relations.
- Serve as a public “ambassador” for the organization on city, state, national stages.
- Collaborate with existing partners such as United Way and the City of Birmingham and National Councils on Independent Living.
Cultivate and establish sound working relationships and cooperative arrangements with the organization’s wide range of stakeholders and other organizations focused on disability thereby promoting systems change and advocacy on issues of importance.
The successful candidate should ideally possess a majority of the following core qualifications and professional experiences:
- Must have first-hand knowledge of and/or a proven track record working within the disability community.
- Must have a belief and commitment to, and an intimate understanding of, the world of independent living and its philosophy. Must be able to model and articulate the independent living philosophy.
- Must have thorough knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act and WIOA’s directives as they pertain to independent living and other disability related legislation.
- Must have demonstrated successful grant writing and grant writing oversight experience having worked with or within local, state, or federal government offices.
- Must have a minimum of five years management experience in business administration, community development, rehabilitation administration, human services, or a related field.
- Must have a positive and influential reputation within the disability realm.
- Experience advocating and effectively engaging political leaders on a state and national level.
- Experience working with, and supporting, a volunteer Board of Directors while helping them to prioritize objectives in terms of mission attainment and resource allocation.
- A proven track record in achieving strategic priorities through collaboration both inside and outside of the organization.
- A proven track record of building, managing and leading effective teams with the ability to attract, retain, grow, and inspire an impactful staff of similar size and scope.
- A proven business acumen as one that recognizes finite financial resources and can prioritize allocation among many worthy programs and organizational efforts via clear operating metrics.
- Experience in public relations and branding campaigns with a focus on educating the general public on a cause or service.
The successful candidate should:
- Have a deep understanding of the broad range of disability experiences and be able to articulate the positive benefits of independent living.
- Be a visionary with decisive leadership skills while still maintaining an “open door” policy and practicing superb listening skills.
- Have the ability to effectively engage political leaders on a state and national level.
- Be an engaging and enthusiastic servant leader with strong interpersonal skills who can inspire and motivate staff to performance excellence and serve as a catalyst for collaborating with community partners.
- Possess a true commitment to innovation by motivating, encouraging, and supporting staff to continually grow as individuals.
- Have the entrepreneurial skills to nurture the culture and history of DRR while creating an environment that meets the challenges of tomorrow by seeking out new partnerships, industry alliances and funders.
- Be an effective and transparent communicator who can speak both inside and outside the organization with a sensitivity to individuals from various cultural and economic backgrounds.
- Have the ability to build consensus within a wide spectrum of stakeholders to include the Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, funders, legislators, external partners and the public.
- Possess the intellect to understand the broad issues regarding ADA laws and regulations and disability rights.
- Value the contributions of all staff and possess the ability to assemble a cohesive team.
- Above all, be a passionate believer in the mission and the potential of DRR and the important benefits of independent living for all Americans with disabilities.
People with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. Agency will provide reasonable job accommodations/modifications to staff with disabilities, upon request.
- A bachelor’s degree is required.
- An advanced degree in a relevant field is preferred.
Full-time residence in the Birmingham area is required as the success of this position is externally facing as DRR’s Executive Director embraces a leadership role within the community.
Birmingham is a major city with a small-town feel. The city offers its citizens a wonderful place to both live and work. Its attractions and its history can be gleaned from such informative web sites as InBirmingham and Birmingham Business Alliance.
Executive Search Conducted by:
Wendy S. Pangburn
Please electronically send a cover letter addressing your specific qualifications with respect to the essential requirements outlined about along with a chronologically organized resume to: