Raw Art Works (RAW) was founded in 1988 and in 1994 opened a space in Lynn, Massachusetts, with a group of passionate art therapists and resident artists who shared the belief that good things happen when kids feel they are a vital part of a creative community that truly cares. Youth at RAW are welcomed into a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment the moment they step through the door. The relationships they create at RAW sustain and strengthen their ability to navigate a challenging and often unfair world.
RAW’s mission is to ignite the desire to create and confidence to succeed in underserved youth. As a youth arts organization rooted in art therapy, RAW believes that all kids should be seen and heard and that everyone has a story to tell. A variety of free programming is offered—from painting to filmmaking—for more than 400 kids ages seven to 19 each year. RAW uses art to ask kids what is really going on in their lives, giving them the tools to create in unexpected ways and to envision new possibilities for their future. An orientation to trauma-informed care provides a grounding to work with many of RAW’s youth who have experienced undue stress in particularly challenging environments.
In 2015 RAW closed a two-year $2 million capital campaign and program expansion campaign in honor of its 25th anniversary. The campaign enabled RAW to add 4,400 square feet of space to the existing 10,000-square-foot building. New programming was added to include a fully outfitted print shop, using spoken and written word as an art form, and an arts-based employment program where teens develop leadership and transferable workplace skills. Additional space and technological capacity were added to Project Launch, the mentor-based college access program, as well as to the award-winning film school Real to Reel. In 2018 RAW announced the creation of a fund for the future, an endowment seeded by a $5 million gift.
All of RAW’s seniors graduate from high school and more than 95 percent attend college or a workforce development program. RAW staff and a team of one-to-one mentors offer endless support and structure to help find the right path for each RAW teen. Project Launch helps seniors write strong resumes and essays as well as complete job, college, and scholarship applications. Staff members work with parents and guardians to help them understand college costs and the financial aid process. For teens for whom college is not the right choice, Project Launch assists in finding career training opportunities. It also provides life skills workshops on topics such as how to dress for an interview, manage time properly, organize finances, and cook healthy meals. Project Launch is more than a post-high school preparatory program—it offers real-life opportunities designed so youth can strengthen their abilities to navigate in the adult world.
Through an artistically expressive and technical exploration of cinema, RAW’s Real to Reel Film School students creatively engage in the art of visual storytelling. RAW teens can validate their own stories and experiences through the creation of honest and often deeply personal films. From pre-production through post-production, students learn the responsibilities of preparing, shooting, finishing, and exhibiting a film. They learn what it really means to say, "I am a filmmaker." In the process of learning how to make films, students gain a larger understanding of the role popular media plays in their lives and how it affects both their identity and their worldview. While some students pursue filmmaking after high school, that is not necessarily the goal. Real to Reel focuses on 21st century skill building—important life skills that translate far beyond the film industry. Students from the program have continued on to many different career fields, from engineering to photography to art therapy.
Now in her 31st year, RAW is led by Executive Director Kit Jenkins, who oversees a program, operations, and fundraising staff of 25 people and an annual operating budget of $2.3 million. RAW is governed by a strong and highly committed 13-member board of directors led by Chair Bruce Herring. The board, which is comprised of a RAW alumna and leaders in business, education, law, and the arts, believes in its mission and generously dedicates time, expertise, and resources to help RAW achieve its goals and vision for the future.
Over the past two decades, the City of Lynn, Massachusetts, has been transformed by the arts and cultural advancements pioneered by RAW, other artists in the community, and a large network of nonprofit organizations. The effect of this has propelled the entire community’s economy, educational outcomes, healthcare access and treatment, public safety, and neighborhood development. The arts have created conversations that transcend socioeconomic differences to build affirming and transformational connections and confidence in the city’s potential.
Lynn sits just 10 miles north of Boston, along the Atlantic coast. With a population of nearly 90,000 residents, Lynn is the largest city in Essex County. The original “Shoe Capital of the World,” Lynn is steeped in American history. It enjoyed wealth and prominence throughout the industrial revolution and well into the 20th century, which attracted immigrants from around the world to call Lynn home. Today, Lynn is a city in the midst of change. It is densely populated and culturally diverse. One of Lynn’s highest priorities is the integration and delivery of early education and social services to children and families. The vision is for the youth and families of Lynn to live in a nurturing community that respects the unique situation of each child and family. This is accomplished by tailoring services to meet their diverse needs through a system of supports, including public, private, community, health, and faith-based programs.
Lynn offers an eclectic mix of outdoor recreational activities, art galleries, cultural entertainment, and sporting events. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike, bike, or bird watch in the 2,200-acre Lynn Woods Reservation, the second largest municipal park in the country after New York City’s Central Park. Lynn’s rich history can be experienced at the Lynn Museum and Historical Society. Visitors and residents can enjoy art exhibits at the Galleries at Lynn Arts, take in a concert at the historic Lynn Memorial Auditorium, golf at Gannon Municipal Golf Course, dine at one of its many ethnic restaurants, or explore the natural dunes and beach roses on Nahant Beach Reservation’s coastline.
Sources: ci.lynn.ma.us; lynnareachamber.com
The Director of Development (DOD) will have a rewarding opportunity to lead the next phase of philanthropic support for RAW. The DOD will nurture and grow a robust philanthropy program that looks beyond RAW’s current status to envision and sustain an organization striving for ever greater community impact while adhering to long-term capitalization and short-term operational goals. Directing all aspects of fundraising and adept at in-person solicitation (both institutional and individual), the DOD will be responsible for just more than $2 million in revenues. This individual will be charged with developing and implementing strategies and plans to deepen relationships in all segments of the philanthropic community.
The successful DOD will take a leadership role both within the organization and externally, interacting frequently with current and prospective supporters to establish beneficial relationships. Reporting to and partnering with the Executive Director, the DOD will be a member of RAW’s Leadership Team, offering input and advice on organizational issues and advancing organizational goals. The DOD will manage a four-person team, currently including the Development Manager, Grants Manager, Grant Writer, and Development Associate. The DOD will also work collaboratively with the program staff and board of directors. Demonstrating a high degree of versatility and resiliency, the DOD will focus intensely on achieving fundraising goals and will prioritize relationship building while executing the hands-on work required to continue strengthening the development capacity of the team.
Roles and Responsibilities
Fundraising Leadership and External Affairs
Develop and guide the implementation of RAW’s overall fundraising strategy.
Utilizing data-driven analytics, work with the Program Director to increase programmatic growth goals for both short- and long-term timeframes.
Build intradepartmental collaboration to enhance institutional and individual fundraising strategies.
Work with the Leadership Team to educate and collaborate with program staff in matters of proposal building, reporting, and site visits, deepening RAW’s culture of philanthropy.
Develop and implement, in collaboration with the Development Manager, the organizational communication strategy targeted to supporters, including creating a thought leadership approach, such as op-eds, longer pieces placed in journals, and social media posts.
Become a highly visible presence at RAW and community functions, acting as an advocate for RAW’s artistic and community impact and facilitating connections with donors and prospects.
Serve on event committees, attend board and donor events, and participate in local collaboratives, as identified.
Stay current and advise on developments in the philanthropic, economic, cultural, and political environments that impact fundraising trends, goals, and strategies.
Donor Identification, Research, Cultivation, Solicitation, and Stewardship
Oversee the development and implementation of ongoing stewardship of major donors using a moves management framework to create specific, individualized action plans and goals.
Build trust and relationships with a portfolio of key institutional and individual donors and high-level prospects, with the end goal of personally soliciting gifts.
Craft and deliver written and verbal grant or gift requests from major donors and prospects.
Devise and implement strategic steps to build RAW’s donor pipeline.
Ensure the successful execution of fundraising and donor events and oversee segmented post-event follow-up with donors.
Collaborate with the Executive Director to further develop the planned giving program.
Embrace other donor identification, research, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship responsibilities as needed.
Departmental Administration and Oversight
Design and organize a departmental work plan to achieve annual operating goals for individual donors, foundations, corporate sponsorships, government grants, special events, and future campaign goals.
Establish and ensure consistent standards of excellence across all written and digital materials and external communications produced by the development team.
Prepare and monitor development revenue and expense budgets, regularly reporting on development goals and progress to the Executive Director and board of directors.
Oversee the proper maintenance of donor and prospect records and database.
Supervise and mentor the development team by setting clear expectations, providing motivation, assisting in their professional development, and maintaining the highest levels of professionalism.
Assess and refine current development practices to ensure maximum efficiency and results.
Serve as an advisor and liaison to board committees as designated by the Executive Director.
Traits and Characteristics
The successful DOD will be a skilled fundraiser, proactive leader, and outstanding relationship builder with the ability to pursue RAW’s ambitious goals with resiliency and determination. This individual will enjoy frequent interaction and collaboration with others, demonstrating leadership skills tempered by diplomacy. The DOD will be self-directed with the versatility to manage multiple priorities in a fast-paced environment, balancing tasks and projects with a sense of urgency. The DOD will possess outstanding interpersonal and communication skills that inspire collaboration and the ability to articulate compelling verbal and written messages for support to diverse audiences. With a curious spirit and open attitude, this individual will actively represent and model a culture of philanthropy and gratitude, explicitly and implicitly. Highly organized and goal driven, the ideal candidate will bring a passion to positively impact RAW’s success complemented by well-developed skills and an efficient best practices approach.
Additional competencies for the ideal DOD include:
Teamwork and Accountability – The ability to build diverse and meaningful relationships, create active participation to accomplish goals, and respond conscientiously to a variety of internal and external stakeholders.
Customer Focus and Influencing Others – The capacity to demonstrate appreciation for the diverse views and needs of a multitude of constituents and build rapport with community, business, and philanthropic leaders.
Planning, Organizing, and Prioritization – The dexterity to establish realistic timelines and ascertain top priorities for optimum productivity of development efforts.
A bachelor’s degree is required. Qualified candidates will have at least five years of progressive experience with increasing responsibility in a fundraising leadership role. A strong track record in donor identification, cultivation, and solicitation at all funding levels is required. Superior written and verbal communication skills, the ability to collaborate effectively with board members and senior colleagues, and previous management of a development team are required. A sense of humor, commitment to a positive team culture, and affinity for RAW’s mission are a plus. Strong computer skills are necessary, including Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), donor database software, media (traditional, electronic, and social), and advanced tools for donor prospecting and research.
Compensation and Benefits
RAW provides a competitive salary and benefits, including paid time off, health care contribution, short- and long- term disability coverage, and term life insurance. Added benefits include being at the forefront of change in improving the lives of kids throughout the region and serving as a national role model for program impact.
Applications and Inquiries
Please submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred) to: