Executive Director - The AjA Project

Job Type

Full Time


Minimum: $60,000
Maximum: $70,000



Start Date


Application Deadline



San Diego
United States



Are you ready to lead San Diego County’s oldest and most dynamic participatory photography organization for marginalized youth and their communities? Do you want to be a part of an inspiring movement that supports young people in becoming change makers in their own lives? Do you have experience working with creative, arts-based non-profits that deliver high-quality, high-impact programs to young people from diverse cultural, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds? The person we are looking for leads from a strength-based approach, and believes that youth and their communities possess the skills and ability to create their own change. If this is you, please, read on!

The AjA Project’s Board of Directors is looking for an Executive Director to lead this 18-year old, grassroots nonprofit located in the heart of City Heights. This mission-driven professional is responsible for the fundraising, organizational/people leadership, and community/partner relations of the organization. With a driven staff of eight and a budget of $500,000, AjA has a 16-year presence in City Heights and has collaborated with numerous artists, community partners and organizations to create high quality arts programming proven to positively impact youth and their communities.


The AjA Project is an acronym for the phrase Autosuficiencia Juntada con Apoyo, meaning “supporting self-sufficiency.” The mission is to provide photography-based educational programming to displaced and under-served youth; students think critically about their identities, develop leadership skills and become agents of personal and social transformation. Since its founding in 2000, AjA has provided long-term, community-based programming for over 3500 individuals, and has shared visual narratives with over 3 million viewers through large-scale public exhibits. For more information, please visit www.ajaproject.org.


  • 4-year college degree required; arts, education or social services field of study preferred
  • Proven familiarity with San Diego funders and revenue opportunities preferred
  • Possesses a high degree of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, motivation and social skills
  • Experience working in arts-based organizations
  • Minimum five years experience in a similar sized non-profit organization or larger, preferably those which have experienced growth and change
  • Experience working with the populations and communities AjA serves
  • Experience in conflict resolution and navigating difficult conversations highly preferred
  • Proven ability to influence and build consensus along the path of program creation and partnership strategy
  • Experience obtaining donations from private and corporate sources
  • Experience hiring staff, including supervisor and manager positions, as well as coaching and providing support using specific approaches/models
  • Experience managing and having ultimate oversight of a program/department’s P&L
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills and the ability to speak passionately in the community about the organization and mission
  • Ability to effectively use a personal computer, Microsoft Office Suite, and information technology systems

Areas of Responsibility

Fundraising & Development: 60%

  • Identify and pursue long and short-term funding opportunities to meet the needs of the organization, including new earned revenue opportunities 
  • Engage in fundraising and development activities to secure new sources of funding from government, corporate, individual contributors and family/community foundations
  • Organize, mobilize, and support Board giving and fundraising efforts
  • Strategize, write and submit grant opportunities and continuously seek new foundation opportunities

Organizational/People Leadership: 30%

  • Oversee finance and ensure compliance with legal and contractual responsibilities; review and present monthly financial statements; work with Finance to prepare year-end financials for audit review, including general ledger review and funds allocation
  • Monitor AjA’s revenue projections and keep the Board updated monthly
  • Inspire, lead and grow a diverse staff with innovative ideas; harness their creativity to propel the organization forward
  • Practice an engaged leadership and management style; cultivate innovation by embracing and leveraging differences and unique ideas through active listening and compassionate communication
  • Provide timely and accurate reports to the Board
  • Identify and cultivate Board prospects
  • Drive the development of current and long-term organizational goals and objectives, as well as policies and procedures for AjA’s operations; establish plans to achieve goals set by the Board and implement policies, with Board input
  • Work with Programs to co-design, monitor and evaluate programs and public art projects, as well as build proposals for new opportunities

Community & Partner Relations: 10%

  • Represent AjA at local and national arts and non-profit convenings, and network within and across multiple communities
  • Set long-term strategies for marketing campaigns and communications in order to achieve AjA’s 5-year strategic plan
  • Identify and expand upon existing opportunities for strategic collaborations with partners across academia, NGO, businesses and more


This position is full-time exempt, with a base salary of $60,000 - $70,000 and eligibility for a performance-based annual bonus. AjA offers a great benefits package including medical/dental plans, paid time off, including holidays, a flexible work schedule, and more. Limited travel is required for this position. This position is subject to a criminal background check. AjA is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

4-year degree

How To Apply


Please visit the recruiter’s site at https://mission-edge.workable.com/ to apply and upload your cover letter and resume. Open until filled. Please, no phone calls.