Director of Community Investment

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CenterState CEO is looking for an experienced and motivated professional to join its Economic Inclusion Team. The Director of Community Investment (DCI) will play a critical role within place-based economic and community development efforts within target Syracuse neighborhoods, helping implement strategies that lead to community prosperity. More specifically, the DCI will manage and support a team that is facilitating business and real estate plans and projects that create economic opportunities and improve quality of life for neighborhood residents. These plans and projects will be community driven, with our team serving to align the resources and energy of business with the goals and aspirations of neighborhood leaders and residents. To this end, the DCI and their team will be responsible for working within cross-sector partnerships between neighborhood and business leaders, along with partners in local government, philanthropy, and economic development. 


Organizational Overview:

CenterState CEO

CenterState CEO is an independent and forward-thinking economic development strategist, business leadership organization and chamber of commerce dedicated to the success of its members and the prosperity of the region. CenterState CEO’s work occurs across four major portfolios: Business and Economic Development; Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Research Policy and Planning; and Economic Inclusion.


Economic Inclusion at CenterState CEO:

The Economic Inclusion(Inclusion) portfolio at CenterState CEO, formed in 2015, is dedicated to creating thriving communities through increased prosperity for all Central New York residents. To do this work, the Inclusion team convenes and supports partnerships that bring together business and community leadership to address issues of poverty and economic disparity in the region. The work ultimately seeks to translate economic growth into economic opportunity, increased wealth, and improved quality of life within low-income communities. Economic Inclusion currently manages initiatives in the realms of Workforce Development, Small Business Development/Entrepreneurship; and Neighborhood Revitalization. Beyond its programmatic work, Inclusion seeks to pursue systems changes and advocate for public policies that advance the goals of economic inclusion.


The Community Prosperity Partnership:

Community Prosperity is a strategic partnership between the Allyn Family Foundation and CenterState CEO. The partnership seeks to foster strong neighborhoods, where all individuals can access opportunities, build wealth, and enjoy a high quality of life. We seek to do this by disrupting concentrated poverty in Syracuse neighborhoods by empowering residents to fulfill their full potential, while contributing to the wellbeing of their families and the revitalization of their neighborhoods. Through this partnership, Allyn and CenterState CEO work together to develop and manage a portfolio of strategic investments towards these ends.  Beyond investment, we provide our community partners with program support, technical assistance, research, communications and other resources to help drive impact, communicate and learn.


Summary of the Position:

Business and real estate develop are the building blocks of economic development. Too often, however, the tools and resources in these fields are not available to historically marginalized and low-income communities. The DCI will help bring challenging business and real estate plans and projects to fruition within specific Syracuse neighborhoods and empower individuals from historically marginalized communities to participate in and benefit from economic development.


S/he will manage a team that includes program directors and managers, dedicated to place-based neighborhood-economic develop partnerships, as well as Up Start, a neighborhood-based entrepreneurship program. In this role, s/he will serve as a resource to these staff, helping advance their projects by fostering a supportive work environment that provides strategic guidance, technical assistance, and connections to resources from business, economic development, and government. The DCI will also manage their team in a way that allows for collaboration within its members, among stakeholders, and in alignment with the broader Economic Inclusion team and its partnerships. Ideally, this individual will have a high level of knowledge and experience related to business development, real estate development, real estate financing, while demonstrating a deep, authentic commitment to the core values of Economic Inclusion.


The DCI will operate as an extension of the Community Prosperity partnership between the Allyn Family Foundation and CenterState CEO. The DCI will report directly to CenterState CEO’s Vice President for Economic Inclusion – and will meet regularly with the Director of Community Prosperity at the Allyn Foundation. The DCI will also work closely with CenterState CEO’s Business and Economic Development portfolio – and be supported by advisors that include partners in local government and leaders in business and economic development.  


CenterState CEO, and its Economic Inclusion team in particular, rely on a highly collaborative and creative approach.


Duties and Responsibilities:



  • Manage and support a team of program directors and staff, who are working to facilitate community development plans and projects in several distinct low-income Syracuse neighborhoods;
  • Serve as a “resource broker” by developing and managing a network of regional economic development and business partners to connect to and/or help develop and implement neighborhood-driven plans/projects;
  • Support program directors and economic development partners by offering guidance and feedback, access to economic development tools, and technical assistance around topics including but not limited to:
    • Real estate financing;
    • Local and regional economic development funding opportunities and incentives; and
    • Best practices in community development and smart growth urban planning principles. 
    • Provide direct technical assistance on projects and to businesses, as needed;
    • Work with staff to develop a deep understanding of each of the neighborhoods and their commercial corridors where the work is taking place;
    • Foster a collaborative environment for program directors to be connected to each other, sharing lessons learned and supporting each other in addressing challenges;
    • Develop and implement tools to support program directors such as communication strategies, data collection and analyses processes, and professional development;
    • Develop and maintain an economic development toolkit/clearing-house for neighborhood program directors to support community development efforts;
    • Develop a system for tracking mixed-use/commercial properties that are currently vacant, in foreclosure, tax delinquent, for sale, or otherwise potentially accessible for benevolent commercial development across several neighborhood corridors;
    • Support the VP of Economic Inclusion in fund development activities; and
    • Maintain regular communications with the City of Syracuse’s office of Neighborhood and Business Development, Onondaga County, Home HeadQuarters, and other partners as needed.



Directors are responsible for report writing, grant writing, and presentations to funders. They also may represent their work at national organization meetings etc. Directors typically manage multiple staff and contracts. Directors are responsible for engaging in ongoing strategic conversations with the VP of Economic Inclusion, fellow Inclusion directors, other Senior Staff members at CenterState CEO, and strategic partners such as the Allyn Family Foundation and the City of Syracuse.



Job Requirements

The DCI will demonstrate the following:

  • A commitment to the mission of CenterState CEO and the values of Economic Inclusion;
  • Experience and skill in management, operations and administration;
  • A “team-oriented” approach, in which s/he is motivated by the success of the organization and the accomplishments of her or his colleagues;
  • The ability to be task oriented while also flexible in a dynamic environment;
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to navigate different work styles.
  • Some combination of experience in economic development, real estate, and/or business/entrepreneurship is highly valued;
  • Experience working in diverse and/or low-income communities is highly valued;
  • Grant experience is preferred but not required.



  • Position start date is ASAP.
  • The position is full time with benefits. Salary will range from the low-to-mid $80K’s.
  • The position is grant funded for a minimum of two years.
  • The DCI will report directly to the VP of Economic Inclusion.
  • The DCI will directly manage three or more employees.


Application Instructions

  • Interested applicants should submit two items to CenterState CEO’s Vice President of Human Resources, Nancy Premo: a résumé and a one page document describing your vision for developing a more inclusive and prosperous community within greater Syracuse. The latter is a chance to demonstrate your values, understanding of our work, and skills relative to critical thinking and communication.  These documents should be sent to
  • Applicants should submit all materials by February 8, 2019.