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Rising to the Challenge Project Director

Boston, MA

Relocation expenses: Not paid

Full time, Contract
1 - 2 years of experience
High School Diploma

Published on 21 May 2021

Expires on 21 May 2021

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Rising to the Challenge Project Director

About United Way:

We are the Uniters. We bring people together to solve problems.  We identify the most pressing issues in our community, and we bring together the people we think can solve them. United Way funds agencies that, working together, can address the nuances of complex problems like homelessness or the academic achievement gap. We create programs and initiatives to fill unmet needs. We deploy volunteers and socially responsible companies as the engines of change and the feet on the street, delivering hope to people in need. We raise funding through generous donors who understand that social change cannot happen without it.

As a results-driven organization, we embrace Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as integral to our success at all levels of our organization and our work. We are part of a diverse community that includes agency partners and participants, donors, leadership, and vendors.  We strive to uplift and empower people that reflect the full diversity of our region, especially people of color, women and non-binary people, LGBTQIA+ persons, foreign-born people, multi-lingual residents, and all people regardless of socioeconomic background, ability, age, political affiliation, religion, and immigration status. To learn more, visit our website to read the diversity, equity, and inclusion statement:

STATUS: Exempt – Full time, 1-year grant-funded position with possible opportunity to renew


Rising to the Challenge is a collaborative action plan to prevent and end youth and young adult (YYA) homelessness in Boston. It is the culmination of work from April 2018 to March 2019, with participation from over 240 community members representing more than 110 public and private offices and organizations. The plan includes action steps designed to meet the housing, education, employment, health, and social and emotional needs of Boston’s youth and young adults under age 25. Foundational funding for this Plan’s housing recommendations is provided through the HUD Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program, with a goal to increase the number of housing opportunities for YYA experiencing homelessness, and the City of Boston has committed $1M towards services needed for YYA experiencing homelessness.

The City of Boston invited United Way to lead the implementation of the community engagement process and outcome monitoring for the plan. Through this role, United Way will develop the communication strategy among key partners, managing partners and stakeholders to drive the plan forward, and work collaboratively with City agencies. Additionally, United Way will convene community partners and funders, track outcomes, and lead a funders committee to identify new resources to support the five core strategies of the plan. The monitoring of action steps identified under these strategies is divided among the key partners - United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley and the City of Boston’s Health and Human Services cabinet and Department of Neighborhood Development. United Way’s Project Director will be integral to driving this collective impact effort and ensuring progress and sustainability until the plan’s goals are achieved.

Ending homelessness for the YYA currently living on the streets or in the shelter system, who are likely the most vulnerable, is decidedly within our reach. Homelessness is associated with trauma, reductions in employment and educational achievement, negative health outcomes, increased justice system involvement, and premature death, but YYA is strong and resilient. In one national study, “every additional day of waiting [for a housing placement] was associated with a 2% decrease in a youth’s likelihood of staying stably housed.” The need to act is urgent.


Collective Impact Support

  • Support the Rising to the Challenge Executive Committee that represents a broad range of stakeholder groups according to the principles included in the plan
  • Support a diverse community engagement committee that meets regularly and builds awareness and involvement in efforts to prevent and end youth homelessness
  • Bring partners together to implement solutions to identified barriers. These may include new marketing strategies, app-based solutions, single sign-up forms for multiple programs, automatic enrollment protocols, or advocacy around regulation and policy changes.
  • Establish and maintain communication systems between all partners

Project Management

  • Work with key partners to identify the financial, technical, and logistical support necessary to implement the YAB 3.0 framework included in the plan
  • Identify and enlist agencies and partners to provide technical assistance to front line staff, supervisors, and other key stakeholders contributing to the plan
  • Work with partners, including the Boston Youth Advisory Board, to design and pilot initiatives as appropriate
  • Stay abreast of current research, public policy, and community relationships related to opportunity youth
  • Support the expansion of both traditional (foundations) and non-traditional (social impact investors, venture philanthropy funders) funding streams for community engagement and plan initiatives

Performance Management

  • Evaluate the state of engagement for community stakeholders and begin the engagement process in service of the plan recommendations
  • Establish a protocol to ensure fidelity and continuous improvement for systems, partners, and youth
  • Responsible for monitoring the performance of the partners relative to the goals for the project term
  • Proactively identify areas of challenge and problem-solve with partners to course correct
  • Responsible for evaluating the effectiveness of pilot initiatives including participation metrics, program quality and satisfaction metrics, and system-level metrics and use learnings to make recommendations for the future


  • Proven experience including managing YYA and/or homelessness programming, program development, and evaluation
  • Strong knowledge of YYA population, including subpopulations and positive youth development framework and diversity, equity, inclusion work
  • Experience coordinating multi-organization initiatives with diverse stakeholders
  • Ability to manage multiple, complex projects
  • Excellent communication and relationship-building skills required: including listening skills, written and oral communication skills, facilitation skills, and presentation skills
  • Experience analyzing and using data to inform and improve program performance and outcomes
  • Empathy, flexibility, and ability to contribute effectively as part of a team
  • Homelessness among youth disproportionately affects people of color and LGBTQ youth; we strongly encourage applications from people with these identities or who are members of other marginalized communities
  • Preference will be given to candidates who have lived experience relevant to the work
  • Microsoft Office skills and database management experience

Flexibility with virtual work through at least June 2021, recognizing that this position will be expected to eventually travel throughout Greater Boston once it is safe to do so.



United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley,

Human Resources Manager,

 9 Channel Center Street, Suite 500, Boston, MA 02210.


For information on additional opportunities, please access our Web Site at

United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley is committed to hiring individuals who

reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.