Rise to the Challenge, Project Director – Boston, MA

Posted on December 20, 2019

POSITION TITLE: Rise to the Challenge, Project Director
DIVISION: Community Impact
REPORTS TO: Vice President, Community Impact
STATUS: Exempt, Full-time


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 has 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, manage 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 are 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 will hire a community leader to drive this collective impact effort and ensure progress and sustainability until it achieves its ultimate goals.

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 are 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 Leadership

  • Identify, recruit, and convene an executive board that represents a broad range of stakeholder groups according to the principles included in the plan
  • Define the role and responsibilities of a YYA homelessness executive board and coordinating lead person or agency
  • Coordinate the community YYA homelessness efforts and support the new governance structure
  • Support a diverse community engagement committee that meets regularly and builds awareness and involvement in efforts to prevent and end youth homelessness
  • Oversee the convening of state, city, and nonprofit agencies to engage with the current draft of the
  • EOHHS Youth Transitional Planning protocols, adapt as necessary, align discharge policies and procedures, and include direct connections to eligible benefits programs including automatic enrollment as appropriate
  • Develop new partnerships to increase the capacity of systems to connect YYA during and after discharge to housing, health and wellbeing, permanent connections, and education and employment
  • Identify existing organizations that facilitate permanent connections for YYA and work to standardize the assessment of permanent connections and the training of providers
  • Work with housing authorities and state agencies to identify and remove policy barriers that prevent
  • YYA from moving in with families of choice to prevent or resolve their 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 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
  • Provide technical assistance and support both on-site and remotely for direct service staff of partnering organizations

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
  • Provide technical assistance to partner sites to help strengthen their performance relative to goals
  • 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

Revenue and Stakeholder Development

  • Expand both traditional (foundations) and non-traditional (social impact investors, venture philanthropy funders) funding streams for community engagement (citywide visibility campaigns, photovoice initiatives, PSA’s, and community engagement strategy sessions)
  • Develop relationships with key business and community leaders
  • Develop a “pitch” to Prevent and End Youth & Young Adult Homelessness that resonates with the business and philanthropic community
  • Convene key business and philanthropic stakeholders to discuss the issue, the plan for impact, and the overall landscape


• Proven experience including: managing YYA and/or homelessness programming, collective impact, 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 professional 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
• Travel throughout Boston required

Salary of $60,000 – $65,000, commensurate with experience.


Email: humanresources@unitedwaymassbay.org

United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley,
Human Resources Coordinator,
51 Sleeper Street, Boston, MA 02210

Click here for information on additional opportunities.