The AjA Project: Photography Programs for San Diego Youth

Executive Director

Reports to: Board of Directors

Location: San Diego

Position: Salary

Status: Full Time / Exempt

The AjA Project is seeking a dynamic, collaborative, and mission-driven Executive Director. Building from AjA’s thriving program and partnership model, the Executive Director is responsible for the planning, organization, staffing, motivation, direction, and management of the organization. The AjA Project values a spirit of self-reflection and demands a commitment to intra-organization and community collaboration.

The AjA Project is a 501(c)3 visual-arts organization that uses photography-based educational programs to transform the lives of underserved youth and adults. Our creative modality is participatory photography, a reflective arts-based tool that is designed to validate and empower the participants’ perspective. Utilizing participatory photography methods and an assets-based model, AjA’s programs have provided a safe environment for youth to improve their academic and social development, build cultural literacy and use art to advocate for change.



  • Ensure alignment of The AjA Project’s programs with its mission, vision and goals.
  • Lead organizational direction against strategic plan.
  • Mobilize and motivate staff; build an organizational culture that attracts, retains, and supports a diverse group of highly committed and talented staff.
  • Lead and coordinate the work of each department to ensure tracking with AjA’s mission, vision and objectives in the most efficient manner.
  • Ensure timely and cost-effective implementation and oversight of programs, finances, operations, and policies.
  • Preserve an organizational infrastructure that strives for long-term sustainability and quality service delivery.
  • Represent AjA at local and national arts and non-profit convening and network within and across communities.
  • Serve as chief media liaison for The AjA Project.


  • Plan, lead and execute development efforts including grants, individual gifts, partner contracts, Board events and annual campaigns.
  • Develop a staffing structure that supports increased fundraising capacity.
  • Organize, mobilize, and support board giving and fundraising efforts.
  • Lead donor cultivation and stewardship efforts.


  • Review and co-develop organizational and program budgets, cash flow projections, profit and loss statements, fund allocation systems and fundraising reports for submission to the Board of Directors.
  • Continually work toward growing and diversifying AjA’s revenue streams to cover program and operational expenses.
  • Monitor AjA’s revenue projection and execution strategy.
  • Monitor the balance of restricted and unrestricted funds to ensure sustained operations.


  • Identify and strengthen opportunities for strategic collaborations with partners across academia, NGO, business, districts, among others.
  • Leverage partnerships to support organizational impact and grow AjA’s fee-for-service revenue stream.


  • Work with Program Department to co-design, monitor and evaluate programs and public art projects.
  • Develop and oversee strong process and procedure to ensure quality program delivery, impact and partner (granter/contractor) satisfaction.
  • Work with Program Department staff to conceptualize and build proposals for public art projects.


  • Maintain a productive and mutually supportive relationship with the Board of Director’s.
  • Coordinate efforts with Board of Directors on oversight of policy, finances, budget, and program.
  • Partner with Board of Directors on strategic Board member recruitment.



  • Bachelor degree required (nonprofit management, social sciences, education, arts), advanced degree or certification preferred.)
  • Minimum 4 years experience in organizational leadership and management in program. development, implementation and evaluation, and financial management for: youth arts, youth development; education services; or participatory methods.
  • Demonstrated track record in fund development (grants, individual contributions, and contracts).
  • Ability to effectively lead a cross-functional team.
  • Strategic big picture thinker that can align organizational activities to achieving organizational mission, vision and strategic plan.
  • Strong writing skills with experience in effectively communicating mission, vision and impact to multiple audiences.
  • Dynamic public speaking skills with experience in successfully communicating organization mission, vision and impact to diverse audiences and donors.
  • Articulate and persuasive communicator, adept at building consensus and fostering sound relationships with a range of internal and external stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated experience working with diverse communities.
  • Values collaborative work environments.
  • Bilingual or multilingual preferred.
  • Advanced computer skills including MS Word, Excel, Outlook, Quickbooks, Powerpoint.


Starting salary range is $50,000-60,000. To apply, email your cover letter, resume and a list of 3 professional references that can verify your organizational leadership skills. Your cover letter should include answers to the following questions:

  • Describe your experience in organizational leadership.
  • Propose your creative vision for using participatory photography and visual arts for individual development and social change.
  • Discuss your accomplishments in leading teams of diverse staff members.
  • Highlight your success in developing/securing new partnerships, funders and individual contributors.


Please submit the above to by December 14th, 2017

*Only candidates that meet the qualifications may be contacted 
*The AjA Project is an equal opportunity employer and does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status.