We’re Hiring: Director, Project Play: Southeast Michigan

In Job Posting

The Opportunity

The Director of Project Play: Southeast Michigan will lead the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan’s efforts to facilitate the implementation of Project Play: Southeast Michigan.

The goal of this initiative is: Building a Southeast Michigan community in which all children have the opportunity to be active in sports or recreation regardless of gender, race, zip code, or ability.

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, with technical support from The Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program, leads this collective impact initiative through crosssector partnerships that engage public, private, and philanthropic institutions, as well as residents, in collective action. This position is funded by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.

The Community Foundation serves as convener, cocreator and administrative backbone organization for the Initiative, working with the Aspen Institute and Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to mobilize stakeholders and develop breakthrough initiatives. Initiative change strategies focus on The Aspen Institute Project Play framework and builds upon the Project Play Southeast Michigan State of Play report released in June 2017. A threeyear Playbook for the initiative has recently been completed, which outlines the strategies currently being pursued.

The Director, Project Play: Southeast Michigan, is primarily responsible for leading, managing, coordinating and executing the Project Play’s role in Southeast Michigan’s youth sports ecosystem.

This role reports directly to the Vice President, Program.

This will include: (1) serving as the link between the Community Foundation, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, contractors (including Aspen Institute), the Southeast Michigan Youth Sports Task Force, working groups and key stakeholders, as well as the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, who is managing a parallel initiative; (2) maintaining strong knowledge of relevant community issues; (3) developing and maintaining strong relationships in the youth sports ecosystem; (4) and utilizing tools for advancing collective action, including: convening partners, building coalitions, forging common agendas, organizing media campaigns, initiating grants, and leveraging resources.

Key Responsibilities

  • Manage and/or inform Project Play: Southeast Michigan, including strategy, execution, learning, and evaluation
  • Manage and maintain the engagement of key stakeholders
  • Develop, formalize, and maintain a strong regional youth sports network involving a diverse group of citizens, professionals, community stakeholders, and elected officials, when appropriate
  • Facilitate the efforts of stakeholders to create shared agendas, common action plans, assessment systems, and sustainability strategies
  • Work with Director, Health Initiatives on areas of alignment with Project Play: Southeast Michigan and physical and behavioral health
  • Align the work of Project Play: Southeast Michigan to current and future efforts of public space/green infrastructure and the broader youth programming/development field at the Community Foundation, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, and in southeast Michigan
  • Ensure community convenings, stakeholder events and meetings are coordinated
  • Seek and secure additional support to leverage existing resources dedicated to southeast Michigan youth activity, including attracting funding from sources outside the southeast Michigan region and/or increasing flow of government funds to physical activity via policy change efforts
  • Work with communications teams at the Community Foundation and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to develop and deliver key messages about Project Play: Southeast Michigan and broader coordinated funding strategies that advance opportunities for youth to be physically active as well as reflect the foundations’ brand and brand promises
  • Oversee the Project Play Coalition and Workgroups, including developing agendas, facilitating meetings and involving the Coalition Workgroups in strategy development for the region
  • Oversee the grantmaking activities of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Fund for Youth Sports at the Community Foundation in partnership with Community Foundation Program staff, and promote/coordinate with grantmaking strategies of local and national partners
  • Manage relevant contracts and budgets
  • Assist the Vice President, Program in the coordination of work across program areas where Project Play intersects with other activities of the Foundation
  • Be knowledgeable of Foundation’s electronic grant tracking systems and assist with pulling reports and analyzing grantmaking activities as needed for communications activities
  • Assist with the development of content for Project Play publications and webbased information

Key Competencies

As the key leader for this unique collaborative, a number of special competencies are desired, including the ability to:

  • Engage peer funders in project development and investment where interests overlap
  • Analyze and develop a community network of all constituent groups
  • Influence community leadership and promote policy and system changes that benefit program goals and the local level
  • Drive identification and design of outcome indicators in partnership with evaluators
  • Build and implement vision for community capacity building and leadership
  • Assess and manage risk to the project, the Community Foundation, and key project partners when considering activities
  • Think strategically and entrepreneurially
  • Manage financial, project and operational aspects of effort, with support from Community Foundation team as backbone organization
  • Actively engage in continuous learning
  • Demonstrate a high level of cultural acuity and flexibility across a very diverse sevencounty region

Other Job Duties

  • Represent Project Play: Southeast Michigan and the Community Foundation at local and national meetings
  • All other duties, as assigned


  • Generally, travel is primarily within southeast Michigan. Some domestic travel may be required for job training and professional development.
  • It is anticipated that this position will regularly travel across the sevencounty region to work with project partners, with a home base office at the Community Foundation.

Technical Expertise, Experience, and Qualifications

Technical Expertise Desired

  • Ten years of progressively more responsible experience in youth sports, youth development or related communitybased field
  • Demonstrated domain expertise and ability to lead strategy development
  • Past experience playing, coaching and/or management experience within sports is preferred
  • Proven program development and project management experience, prioritizing multiple projects within tight deadlines
  • Extensive knowledge of the youth sport sector and culture and experience in leading and facilitating community coalitions
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain effective relationships with persons of diverse backgrounds and organizations throughout the Southeast Michigan community
  • Bachelor’s degree minimum, with Graduate Degree strongly preferred; relevant backgrounds may include sports management, planning, public administration, education, business, economics, youth development, etc.
  • Experience in communicating in a persuasive, credible manner, in person, in digital settings, and in writing and presentations
  • Strong analytical, evaluative, and managerial skills
  • Experience in the management and supervision of staff
  • Computer proficiency in all Microsoft components
  • Technology skills and the ability to apply software knowledge
  • Demonstrate consistent quality
  • Commitment to the team effort of the Community Foundation and the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation

Other Personal Characteristics

  • Solid judgment and apparent leadership skills
  • A team player who can interrelate and operate effectively with peers and other associates within a collegial, yet demanding, work environment
  • An individual who can handle a variety of constituencies, manage multiple tasks simultaneously, and thrive in a complex environment with multiple priorities
  • Impeccable integrity
  • Strong analytical skills, business intuition, and common sense with the ability to innovate
  • Strong work ethic
  • Entrepreneurial mindset with the ability to work both collaboratively and autonomously as the situation dictates
  • Strong time management skills

Benefits & Salary

The targeted salary for those entering this role is $104,000 – $130,000.

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan offers a robust benefits package including 20 days of vacation accrued monthly, 5 personal days, 11 holidays, 9 sick days accrued monthly, paid parental leave, and employer paid short/long-term disability.

The Community Foundation also offers a pension retirement program after 1 year of service which contributes 10% of salary.

Application Instructions

Please apply by August 11, 2023.

Please send your cover letter and resume to Livia Slebodnik, human resources generalist, at: 

To provide equal employment opportunities to all individuals, employment decisions will be based on merit, qualifications and abilities without regard to race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, height, weight, political or union affiliation, disability or any factor prohibited by law.

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