The Vietnamese American Initiative for Development (VietAID) is the first grassroots community development corporation (CDC) founded and operated by Vietnamese refugees and immigrants in the U.S. VietAID’s mission is to build a strong Vietnamese American community in Boston and a diverse and vibrant Fields Corner neighborhood (which has one of the largest Vietnamese concentrations on the East Coast, as approximately 11% of Dorchester’s 90,000 residents are Vietnamese.)
Overview of the Organization and Programs
Since its founding, VietAID has worked to promote renewal of the Dorchester/Fields Corner communities through stronger civic engagement, development of affordable housing and commercial space, providing small business technical assistance and micro-enterprise, and offering high-quality child care and youth programs to serve youth from all segments of the community.
The primary programs are:
- Affordable Housing: VietAID has pursued a transit-oriented neighborhood revitalization strategy that has built 120 affordable rental housing units, rehabilitated 20 home ownership units, six business condos, 30,000 square feet of office space for nonprofits, and developed an anchor community center. VietAID has also mobilized more than $50 million in direct capital investment specifically into Fields Corner.
- Early Childcare Education: Au Co Preschool provides childcare to 58 children. Most of these children are from low-income families. A large percentage are either in the care of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families or are in families experiencing homelessness.
- Youth Programs: VietAID provides after-school support and summer camp for over 150 youth. Viet-AID’s Scholarly Program for Youth (VSPY) helps elementary and middle school students from Dorchester develop academic, social and cultural competencies necessary to succeed in school and to become responsible members of the community. The VietAID Leadership Alliance (VALA) provides volunteer, leadership and academic assistance to high school youth and partners with VSPY to implement college readiness programming for 7th-12th grade students.
- Social Service programs that enable the immigrant community to learn English, buy a home, or access resources in the community.
- A vibrant community center that hosts daily senior services, dance classes, martial arts classes and special celebrations such as the annual TET event, and is the home to a variety of organizations serving the Vietnamese community. Commercial tenants include Vietnamese cultural organizations and other nonprofit organizations that have partnered with VietAID on several initiatives.
VietAID has an annual budget of approximately $1.8 million. The agency derives approximately 35% of its total revenue from CDC real estate project developer fees, 35% from childcare services contracts, 20% from grants and individual donors and 10% cash flow from real estate properties.
VietAID currently employs approximately 15 full-time, 12 part-time, 4 contract and 17 volunteer staff members.
VietAID is overseen by a board of directors currently comprised of seven members. The VietAID board of directors is in a time of transition. The board is in the process of rebuilding, recruiting new members and is working with a consultant to become a more effective governing body.
VietAID is at an important juncture in its organizational history. In spite of the unplanned executive transitions in recent years, VietAID has continued to deliver valuable, quality programs and staff have remained highly committed to the organization and mission. An interim executive director is in place and has been instrumental in solidifying the agency and supporting the board and staff in their continued growth and development. During this transitional period, the board has been able to put crucial attention toward exploring the future leadership needs of VietAID and how they can best support this leadership.
VietAID has contracted with TSNE MissionWorks to manage its executive transition. After undergoing a full organizational assessment, resulting in key strengths and operational and strategic priorities, the board has identified the need for a committed, collaborative leader who can cultivate and nurture community relationships, develop and support staff, and contribute to ongoing board development.
The next Executive Director of VietAID will have the unique opportunity to further strengthen the organization and address the following key initiatives:
Strategic Opportunities and Challenges
- Managing effectively and efficiently the daily operations of a mission-driven, $1.8 million nonprofit, and engaging and empowering a team of dedicated, committed staff.
- Building a stronger community reputation and stakeholder relationships to establish community connections and presence.
- Establishing a strong and mutually supportive partnership with the board to help strengthen its governance capacity and broaden and diversify its membership.
- Improving operations through organizational development planning and enhanced finance, HR and evaluation protocols.
- Developing strategic management practices of the agency-owned community center and implementing long-term plans for its needed physical upgrades.
- Engaging in a strategic planning process to determine the current focus of the agency’s dual mission to serve the Vietnamese community and develop the Fields Corner neighborhood.
- Executing a broad-based fundraising program across a range of funders to increase and expand the organization’s current donor base and forge new funding and program partnerships.
The ideal candidate is a passionate and highly-relational visionary who cares deeply about VietAID’s mission and the community it serves. The next executive director must be a consensus builder, with the ability to be inclusive and then decisive with a drive to move the organization forward. S/he will possess the interpersonal communications skills and ambassadorial presence to build successful relationships with funders, stakeholders, staff, government officials and the community. The organization’s next leader will have the opportunity to bring renewed energy and vitality to an established organization with a strong foundation. Lived experience and credibility with the Boston Vietnamese community is essential.
Skills and Experience
- Politically Astute Networker and Collaborator – The ideal candidate will demonstrate a proven track record of building and maintaining strong collaborative relationships with community residents, groups, leaders and like-minded organizations; be an honest, direct and responsive partner to ensure that relationships are productive and mutually beneficial toward sustaining VietAID.
- Experienced Nonprofit Manager – The ideal candidate will have significant professional experience in supervision and management of staff, budgeting and strategic financial management and efficiently aligning and maximizing resources.
- Experience Working with Boards of Directors – The ideal candidate will be skilled in working effectively in partnership with boards of directors to carry out the mission of the organization and set strategic direction.
- Strategic Planner and Implementer – The next executive director must provide strategic vision and insight, working collaboratively with the board and staff to chart a strategic direction for VietAID that considers the diverse community it serves. The next leader must also develop annual plans and budgets in support of VietAID’s strategy, holding all accountable for achieving agreed-upon goals.
- Effective Fundraiser – The new executive director must execute a broad-based fundraising program across a range of funders, including corporations, foundations, government agencies and individuals, with particular skill and experience in fundraising events. The new leader must be eager, poised and proactive in enhancing and solidifying his or her role in fundraising and utilizing available relationships, including those with board members, to achieve significant financial results.
- Team Builder – The ideal candidate will have experience working in an inclusive work environment and be able to inspire, develop and empower staff and create a productive team-based culture. S/he will be able to build and maintain a climate of trust and respect where each worker feels appreciated for her or his strengths and contributions.
- Program Knowledge and Facilitation – Ideally, VietAID’s next leader will understand social justice pedagogy and have prior experience in program development and facilitation to provide targeted support and learned insight to the program team.
A master’s degree in social justice or a related field, or equivalent work experience, and a minimum of three to five years of successful senior nonprofit management experience and senior executive leadership in an organization committed to social justice, community engagement or social services are preferred. Strong written and verbal communication skills in English and fluency in Vietnamese desired.
This search is being conducted by TSNE MissionWorks and led by Transition Consultant Doris Roach. All submissions are confidential.
Please include a resume and a cover letter with salary requirements, where you learned of the position and a description of how your qualifications and experience match VietAID’s needs. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
Salary is commensurate with experience, within the framework of the organization’s annual operating budget.
VietAID does not and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, sex, color, disability, national origin, religion, creed, age, marital or parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship or residency status, or veteran status. This policy applies to all areas of employment including, but not limited to, hiring, job assignment, opportunities for training and development, pay, benefits, promotion and demotion, layoff and termination.