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Executive Director / Artists Working in Education (AWE)

  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • TypePaid
  • TermFull time
  • CategoryExecutive Management
  • Post DateFeb 23, 2018

AWE’s mission is to provide youth in the Milwaukee area with arts enrichment programs to enhance human potential, advance learning and cultivate community. AWE is a dynamic nonprofit organization that seeks exceptional candidates with an interest in utilizing their unique talents to support our mission. Our staff, artists and educators are collaborative, action-oriented and believe in the potential of youthand Milwaukee neighborhoods. We learn, work, create and take risks together to push the boundaries of what is possible for youth in Milwaukee.

Founded in 1998, AWE has been a pioneer in providing art experiences to children and their communities. AWE has received a Milwaukee Area Nonprofit Excellence Award (2001), the Governor’s Award in Support of the Arts (2002) and is a finalist for LISC Milwaukee’s MANDI Cornerstone Award (2018), in addition to being a principal partner on two NEA Our Town grants (2016, 2017). Learn more at

Through our Truck Studio and Artist-in-Residence programs, we are focused on these key points of impact:

  • Access to the arts
  • Employment & professional development for artists
  • Youth voice
  • Community collaboration

Position Summary

The Executive Director reports and is accountable to the Board of Directors, and is responsible for the organization consistently achieving its mission, goals and objectives. This person provides leadership in developing program, fundraising, organizational and financial plans together with the Board of Directors, committees and staff.

The Executive Director of AWE is responsible for providing support to the Board, leading, mentoring and managing staff, and for coordinating professional and community relations. It is understood that all aspects of this position description are to be carried out in alignment with AWE’s mission, in partnership with and under the leadership of the Board of Directors.


This position has a salary range of $56,000-$66,000 DOE. AWE offers a competitive benefits package that includes health premium reimbursement, disability insurance, life insurance and an employee sponsored IRA.


The Executive Director should:

  • Possess a passion for the arts and community arts education.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to advancing racial equity and social justice.
  • Be committed to working in a team environment with the staff, board members and community members.
  • Find opportunities to mentor and grow skill base of staff members
  • Exercise situational leadership skills ranging from task management to strategic leadership.
  • Work effectively with a Board of diverse individuals.
  • Possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills that are reflected in an ability to interact professionally with all levels of AWE, including community, funders, Board and staff.
  • Possess organizational skills to oversee administrative tasks, as well as manage work efficiently and effectively. This includes working on several projects simultaneously, each at a different level of development.
  • Possess significant knowledge in relevant fields and issues that currently affect AWE.
  • Address changes and challenges in a positive and graceful manner.
  • Be familiar with the use of electronic databases and systems in a nonprofit organization.



  • A minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in a related field is required and Master’s Degree is preferred.


  • Minimum of three years in nonprofit sector
  • Minimum of two years supervising staff and contractors to achieve objectives and providing essential personnel functions such as performance evaluation and training.
  • Successful grant writing from 2K - 50K
  • Ability to work with diverse constituencies and work closely with Board to achieve objectives.
  • Strong connection to and understanding of the Greater Milwaukee nonprofit community, including a strong grasp of major issues facing the sector.
  • Exceptional ability in financial management, fundraising, marketing management, public speaking, written communication and interpersonal relations.

Key Duties

1. Chief Executive–Board Partnership

Work with the Board President to:

  • Keep the Board informed of organizational condition to ensure success.
  • Develop and implement a long-range strategy and annual goals, along with the Board, to further AWE’s mission.
  • Identify key issues for Board deliberations.
  • Oversee administration of Board meetings and actions.
  • Track all recommended Board actions and maintain a reporting process to the Board.

2.  Leadership and Management of AWE Programs and Operations

  • Develop an annual plan of work for AWE to be approved by the Board: 1. The plan will describe how AWE will achieve its mission during specified time period. 2. The plan will include operational goals, implementation activities, performance measures and a supporting budget. 3. At each regularly scheduled Board meeting, clear, concise reports to the Board will be provided that assess the accomplishment of the plan.
  • Develop, implement, and monitor policies determined by the Board; provide regular, clear and concise reports on the impact of policies.
  • Track and evaluate program effectiveness in partnership with Program Directors and report the outcomes to board members, funders and other key stakeholders.
  • Ensure that the financial affairs of AWE are conducted in accordance with policies and guidelines established by the Board and generally accepted accounting principles.
  • Ensure that an optimal level of communication exists to promote smooth development and implementation of AWE projects and services.
  • Ensure that sound risk management policies are in place.

3.  AWE Staff Management

  • Recruit, develop, supervise and evaluate a diverse staff that meets the needs of AWE’s mission; maintain an environment that is conducive to the talent.
  • Ensure that effective mechanisms are in place to determine staffing needs and organizational capacity.
  • Develop and implement appropriate personnel policies and procedures.
  • Provide adequate staff support for all AWE programs, operations and committees.

4.  Professional/Community Relationships

  • Serve as an effective spokesperson for AWE within relevant community and professional networks and stay informed of new initiatives and best practices.
  • Cultivate relationships with the diverse organizations, agencies and neighborhood stakeholders connected to AWE and its programming.
  • Pursue opportunities to represent AWE’s work in local and regional media.
  • Work with the Board and the Board President to identify, establish and maintain relationships with other professional/community organizations that align with AWE’s mission.

5.  Fundraising

  • Be responsible for achieving and exceeding annual fundraising goals.
  • Oversee the fundraising plan and work with staff and Board leadership to implement.
  • Solicit, cultivate and maintain positive donor corporate/foundation relationships.
  • Manage grant research, application and reporting.
  • Assure that funds are disbursed in accordance with contract requirements and donor designations.

6.  Financial Management and Fiduciary Oversight

  • Work with staff, Board, and Executive Committee in preparing a budget; see that the organization operates within budget guidelines.
  • Successfully maintain, analyze, and communicate AWE’s financial position and be responsible for developing and maintaining sound financial practices.
  • Manage and oversee cash flow to permit the organization to carry out its mission.
  • Conduct official correspondence of AWE and jointly execute legal documents with designated officers.
  • Maintain records and documentation that meet all federal, state and local agency requirements.


To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume and three professional references to Adam Carr, board president of AWE, by email: Review of applicants will begin on March 12th and continue until the position is filled.

EOE Statement

AWE is an Equal Opportunity Employer. It is our policy to make all personnel decisions without discriminating on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, sex, physical disability, mental disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship status, national or ethnic origin and any other protected status.

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