Friends of the Rail Park – Executive Director

Website Friends of the Rail Park

About Friends of the Rail Park

Friends of the Rail Park (FRP) is a 501(c)3 organization that drives the vision behind the transformation of historic rail lines that traverse Philadelphia into a 3.1 mile linear park that will connect 10 adjoining neighborhoods, cultural institutions, and Fairmount Park. The park has three distinct sections – the Viaduct, the Cut and Tunnel – which reflect the history of the city’s development and rail transportation’s role in it. Phase I of the park, an elevated quarter mile, opened in June 2018 as the only public greenspace in the Callowhill/Chinatown North neighborhood.

As the supporting nonprofit organization, FRP leads the conversation about the Rail Park through engaging Philadelphia communities, producing programming, advocacy work, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the park. FRP works closely with Center City District and Parks & Recreation as the key partners stewarding the Rail Park.

Vision: The Rail Park will be a continuous three-mile linear park and recreation path that connects and enlivens the social, historical and environmental fabric of Philadelphia’s communities.

Mission: Friends of the Rail Park is the City’s and Center City District’s partner to create, activate and enhance the quality of the Rail Park in order to engage diverse residents, bridge communities, and promote inclusivity among Philadelphians and visitors.

FRP will pursue three goals over the next three years:

  1. Establish FRP’s organizational capacity to be the go-to leader for the Rail Park
  2. Secure public support and financial resources
  3. Accelerate development of and secure commitment to the entire Rail Park

FRP recently developed a fundraising strategy that outlines goals over the next 3 years and provides the strategies and approach for implementing these goals. An institutional funder has generously committed $550,000 over three years to capitalize the organization; 2020 marks the third year of this grant period, and FRP is looking for an Executive Director with a proven track record of fundraising who can grow and diversify resources to ensure the financial health of the organization.

FRP will continue to use this support to leverage other funders and donors to also contribute to the organization.

Overview of Executive Director Position

FRP is seeking an Executive Director to work closely with an active Board of Directors, Community Engagement and Programs Manager, government officials, communities, and partners to advance FRP’s mission and to secure public support and financial resources that will enable FRP to lead the Rail Park’s design process and programmatic agenda.

Summary of Ideal Candidate

A dynamic and experienced professional with a history of accomplishment in the nonprofit or public sectors that combines fundraising, financial and operational management, external relationship advancement and/or government relations , community engagement, public advocacy, andboard development and relations. Being adept at navigating the political and philanthropic landscape of Philadelphia is a must as is a commitment to values of race, equity, and inclusion and a demonstrated interest and engagement in parks and public spaces. Must be entrepreneurial in nature and comfortable working in a start-up environment.

Professional Characteristics

  1. At least 5 years successful tenure in a leadership role, in a nonprofit or public sector organization, incorporating operational, fundraising and external relations functions in which s/he played a direct role in organizational growth.
  2. Demonstrated ability and track record in fundraising, to include being the face of an organization in stewarding funder and donor relationships.
  3. High-energy person with vision and the capacity to mobilize others towards a common goal. Ability to operationalize ideas is a must.
  4. Entrepreneurial, highly organized individual capable and comfortable growing an organization and adept at risk analysis.
  5. Skilled in working in a collaborative manner to build relationships and teams with multiple external stakeholders, to include capacity to understand the interests of small nonprofits, larger institutional nonprofits, civic organizations and public sector decision makers. Ability to navigate complex relationships and lead negotiations is a must.
  6. Effective communicator to multiple internal and external audiences.
  7. Managerial expertise including budget management and working directly with a volunteer governing board to include board engagement and board education.
  8. Proven experience working with diverse populations, including experience in building bridges to develop relationships, trust and credibility. Great listener able to bring together and synthesize diverse perspectives.

Summary of Key Deliverables

The Executive Director will lead and facilitate the board of directors and staff in pursuit of the following goals:

  1. Establish FRP as the go-to leader of the Rail Park by solidifying relationships with partners and developing long-term strategy for realizing the 3-mile vision.
  2. Build a diverse, sustainable revenue base able to meet FRP’s needs and goals.
  3. Enhance systems and hire staff for the new organization.
  4. Foster positive long-term relationships with key partner organizations, funders, and stakeholders.
  5. Engage the communities along the site in the design process of future phases of the Rail Park.
  6. Lead and oversee the Rail Park’s programmatic agenda.
  7. Work with the board of directors such that members are engaged at a strategic level and contributing towards FRP’s goals

Key Responsibilities

  1. Resource Development
    • Identify, pursue and secure expanded base of operating revenue and capital funds
    • Steward and expand relationships with funders
    • Develop and implement a major donor program
  1. Key stakeholder relations
    • Strengthen and steward relationships with Center City District and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department
    • Build and strengthen relationships with city and state leaders
  1. Communications
    • Serve as key spokesperson for FRP
    • Foster media relations and represent the organization at regional and national meetings and events
    • Enhance digital communication avenues, including website and social media platforms
  1. Community Engagement and Programming
    • Supervise and work closely with the Community Engagement and Program manager
  1. Organizational Management
    • Manage staff and develop staff management policies and handbook
    • Oversee fiscal management of organization, reporting regularly to the board regarding the financial status of the organization
    • Work with the Treasurer and board committee to ensure an annual budget, fundraising plan, and audit
  1. Board Relations
    • Nurture a positive, open and collaborative relationship with the Board and its committees
    • Participate in soliciting and recruiting additional board members
    • Arrange opportunities for board education and engagement


Reports to the Board of Directors through the Board Chair; supervises Community Engagement and Program Manager.


Salary will be in the $80,000-$100,000 range (commensurate with experience and qualifications), with benefits aligned with nonprofit industry standards.

Application Requirements & Deadline

Please send resume and Letter of Interest to jobs@therailpark.org no later than December 20, 2019.

Anticipated Start Date

February 1, 2020


FRP is an equal opportunity employer that values diversity and practices inclusion.

This profile is intended to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by the Executive Director. It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities and qualifications required of the Executive Director.

To apply for this job please visit therailpark.org.

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