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 an Executive Director to lead a new 501(c)(3) organization. So far we have received support from the Ford Foundation, Hudson Webber Foundation, Compton Foundation, and a group of donors affiliated with GDI.
In the next phase, the Executive Director will also have the opportunity to explore whether and how DRP can support the reparations movement nationally.
Dignity Restoration Project (DRP) is searching for an entrepreneurial social justice advocate to lead a first-of-its-kind reparations fund addressing historical injustice in Detroit’s housing and financial sectors. The initiative is a frontrunner within the national movement around reparations and could serve as a blueprint for other kindred efforts across the country. The inaugural Executive Director will lead the organization with support from GDI’s staff who have been embedded in DRP over the past 12 months. DRP is seeking an experienced and visionary leader to play a pivotal role in the development of both the Detroit and national reparations movement. The ideal candidate would refine and execute the current vision and strategy. This is an opportunity to make a significant impact on the lives of individuals impacted by racial injustice in housing practices.
Vision & Strategy
- Refine the vision + strategy of DRP for impact in Detroit (near-term focus) and nationally (medium-term)
- Develop strategy for narrative change
- Develop and implement fundraising strategy
Implement and Operationalize the Vision & Strategy
- Coordinate operations across work streams: fundraising, cash transfer, narrative interventions; stakeholder engagement, etc.
- Set up and manage operating systems for cash transfer, including management of contractors that will administer cash grants to beneficiaries
- Procure and manage contractors that will deliver narrative interventions
- Design beneficiary experience, including communications approach and navigation of benefits
- Develop a public voice in Detroit and nationally on relevant topics (reparations, property tax justice, housing)
Board Management and Coalition Building
- Manage DRP Board engagement and staff board meetings
- Develop and maintain external relationships with philanthropic, local government, and other relevant stakeholders
- Minimum of 5 years nonprofit leadership experience, especially on topics of racial justice, housing, and/or reparations
- Track record of successful fundraising campaigns
- Exceptional collaborator who can wield informal and formal authority
- Visionary and creative leader who can inspire others
- Entrepreneurial–ability to find solutions without waiting for instructions and when no playbook exists.
- Exceptional communicator who can connect with diverse audiences (beneficiaries, donors, partners) in diverse formats (public speaking, op-eds)
- Seasoned facilitator who can solicit input from diverse stakeholders and synthesize insights into a plan of action
- Detroiter or strong knowledge of current and historic Detroit quality of life issues including housing, employment, poverty, etc.
Compensation and Benefits
The salary range for this position is $125,000–$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 you 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.