The Dignity Restoration Project (DRP) is a racial justice initiative that seeks to compensate and restore the dignity of Detroiters who lost their homes due to unlawful property tax assessments. Black homeowners were paying 6x the property tax rate of white homeowners, due to unlawfully inflated property tax assessments. DRP seeks to mobilize resources to compensate the hardest hit households in Detroit – low income residents who lost their homes to property tax foreclosures despite being exempt from paying property taxes in the first place.
DRP has three goals: (1) Halt discriminatory property tax administration, by drawing attention to this local and national issue; (2) Compensate households who were foreclosed on, starting with the hardest hit; and (3) Change the narrative about the foreclosure crisis, acknowledging the trauma and restoring dignity.
The Global Development Incubator (GDI) initiated an exploratory phase in September 2022 to validate the viability of the concept. With that foundational work nearly complete, we are now recruiting for fundraising leadership. So far we have received support from the Ford Foundation, Hudson Webber Foundation, Compton Foundation, and a group of donors affiliated with GDI.
Leadership and Partners
The Dignity Restoration Project was developed through the work of Prof. Bernadette Atuahene, a property law scholar focusing on land stolen from people in the African Diaspora. Prof. Atuahene initiated the Project and will continue to serve as a member of the DRP board. The DRP board also consists of a number of local Detroit community leaders and residents affected by the property foreclosure crisis. Sarida Scott serves as the local project lead, working in partnership with Chintan Maru, Managing Director at GDI. GDI will continue to serve as an incubator, thought partner, and organizational capacity provider. DRP is also partnering with SPARQ, a behavioral science “do tank” from Stanford, to develop a research approach and process for evaluating the impact of the project. This diverse set of accomplished partners brings additional expertise and depth to the project.
The Project is planned in phases. Phase I fundraising will include operations support and compensation funds for approximately 2,000 beneficiaries, an amount approximated at $10 million dollars. We are planning subsequent fundraising rounds, building momentum in Detroit and establishing an exemplar for the country.
Dignity Restoration Project (DRP) is searching for a motivated and experienced individual to manage the fundraising for a first-of-its-kind reparations fund addressing historical injustice in Detroit’s housing and financial sectors. DRP is a frontrunner within the national movement around reparations and could serve as a blueprint for other kindred efforts across the country. The Development/Partnerships Director will lead the fundraising effort, including developing and maintaining critical relationships.
The ideal candidate will creatively and energetically design and implement a fundraising strategy that will ultimately compensate thousands of Detroiters. This is an opportunity to make a significant impact on the lives of individuals impacted by racial injustice in housing practices.
Specific responsibilities include:
- Develop and lead fundraising strategy and implementation plan for compensation fund.
- Manage a portfolio of private foundations and high-net-worth donors and prospects, developing and implementing tailored cultivation and solicitation plans.
- Engage and mobilize volunteers to engage in effective solicitations and other fundraising activities, particularly major donor engagement.
- Research and apply to foundations for grant awards for various programs as needed; manage all aspects of post-award grants including reporting requirements.
- Evaluate progress toward goals and provide regular reporting to DRP leadership.
- Establish systems, processes, and tools to maximize fundraising capacity including overseeing a donor management database.
- Work closely with the Board of Directors and GDI leadership to ensure consistent messaging and involvement in the plan.
- Lead and collaborate with Board of Directors and GDI leadership on the management and planning of fundraising events.
- Coordinate with the GDI Communications team regarding any necessary messaging or materials.
- Perform other related duties as requested.
- Passion for racial, economic and social justice, along with a commitment to DRP’s mission, vision, and values.
- 5-10+ years of fundraising experience, including experience closing major gifts and grant writing.
- Knowledge and experience in all aspects of philanthropy, including giving trends, benchmarks, and best practices; research; fundraising techniques and strategies; data analytics; and development operations such as gift processing, prospect and donor research, and fundraising reporting.
- Ability to develop and implement comprehensive fundraising strategies that include a range of funding sources.
- Possess the skills to work well with others.
- Have the desire to get out of the office and build external relationships when appropriate.
- Be a “self-starter” and goal driven to initiate donor visits and fundraising calls.
- Be organized and exhibit “follow through” on tasks and goals.
- Excellent written and oral communication skills with the ability to translate program information to diverse stakeholders ranging from residents, local and national philanthropic leaders to high-net-worth donors.
- Possess a deep respect for the affected residents and potential beneficiaries.
- Motivated by DRP’s mission to compensate and restore dignity to affected homeowners.
- Familiarity with donor database entry and protocol.
- Working knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite.
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent relevant experience; CFRE a plus.
Compensation and Benefits
The salary range for this position is $90,000–$140,000 with benefits.
If you believe you can clearly demonstrate your abilities to meet the relevant criteria for the role, please attach your detailed CV and a cover letter, outlining your interest in this position and why they would be a good fit. Please note that the cover letter is considered an important aspect of the application and will be evaluated against the qualifications above. Applications that do not include a cover letter will not be considered. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
Dignity Restoration Project is an equal opportunity employer and we are committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace.