Director of CityWide Initiatives

Type of Position:   Full Time

Salary:   $70-90k, commensurate with experience

Job Type:    In-person, Hybrid

Application Post Date:   November 24, 2021

Application Deadline:   December 31, 2021

About Our Organization

Founded in 1999, Cool Culture is a New York City based nonprofit that seeks to amplify the voices of families and strengthen the power of historically marginalized communities through engagement with art and culture, both within cultural institutions and beyond. The organization currently partners with 50,000 diverse families, more than 400 Early Childhood Centers and Department of Education schools, and 90 cultural institutions in New York City. Through this collaboration, Cool Culture promotes arts and culture as a means to build awareness and inclusion, strengthen family engagement and early childhood education, and activate leadership in our communities.

We are a small and resourceful team that wear multiple hats, understand the importance of being agile and nimble in achieving our mission, and seek clear direction while also being comfortable with ambiguity. The ideal candidate must have a practice that is informed by a racial equity framework, and a deep understanding of equity and social justice that is actively integrated into their practice. They should bring experience partnering with BIPOC communities with demonstrated success cultivating community-centered, socially justice-aligned supporters. In line with this experience they should enjoy working in an environment that privileges collaboration and interdependence over hierarchical structures and autonomy.


Cool Culture programs operate at the citywide and neighborhood level. We support a network of families, early childhood centers, Title I schools, cultural institutions and artists in cultivating storytelling, relationship building, and healing through arts and culture. We believe the exchange of individual diverse stories provides a larger narrative for addressing systemic inequities.

Our CityWide Programs bring together a unique network and innovative programming for families that affirms NYC’s diverse cultures and increases participation in the arts and culture. Initiatives include the Family Pass (free access to 90 cultural institutions for families with children ages 0-6), Bring the Cool family festivals, Cool Pops (pop ups at museums), Virtual Tours, and a forthcoming digital app.

Our We Are All Curators suite of programs harness the power of the arts and culture to: 1) to lift up the curator in all of us by making meaning through creative expressions, to critique dominant narratives and conditions impacting families and their communities, and to support families and partners in activating creativity for justice.

Job Position Summary

The Director of CityWide Initiatives implements a vibrant vision for authentic engagement with our cultural and community partners that include over 450 early childcare centers and Title I schools, close to 100 cultural partners (museums, zoos, historical societies, gardens), artists, government officials, and university staff and students. They are adept at working with diverse people in varied settings while centering those most affected by inequity, and will 1) devise and implement strategies to strengthen relationships with key stakeholders to strengthen widespread partner engagement; 2) build strategic alliances that sustain programs and create new initiatives that amplify the voices of families and strengthen their communities; and 3) engage our partners at the neighborhood and citywide level to bring the identities, interests and activism of families from across the city into a larger narrative about  policies needed to achieve systemic change and greater equity.

Specific responsibilities of the Director of CityWide Initiatives are: 1) bringing our network of cultural partners, universities, artists/cultural workers, and other community leaders into equitable collaboration; 2) working collaboratively with partners to enhance their capacity to serve families in our network and understand each others assets; 3) continual visioning of new opportunities for partnering; and 4) creating materials and reports that lift up emergent narratives and the power of deep partnerships related to:

  • CityWide activities include management of the Family Pass program, visitor portal (that provides up-to-date information on museum access during the pandemic), and digital platform for families to exchange impressions and analyses of their museum experiences.
  • Curators for Educators Educators from the early childcare centers and public schools enrolled in our Family Pass Program are invited to participate in our Seminars + Dialogues Series. The series cultivates practices for family engagement in art and culture by igniting curiosity, fostering cross-cultural relationships, and encouraging critique of and solutions to issues facing the children and families with whom they work. The series: 1) celebrate the storytelling and artistic practices in our daily lives and cultures; 2)  examine social narratives that create divisions and isms in our society; and 3) foster imagination and advocacy related to creating equity.
  • CityWide Family Festivals including Bring the Cool!: These family festivals that bring together Family Pass users from across the city for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon of art and cultural activities hosted in collaboration with our museum, artist and other partners.
  • New programming such as:
  • Culture Clubs – a project envisioned as a self-directed model for families to organize their own art and cultural outings together.
  • Community Curators – an artist residency program using a cohort model composed of people identifying as Black, indigenous and/or a person of color wanting to build their knowledge of artmaking, community engagement, and cultural movements for the purpose of engaging families in their communities to collectively envision a more just world.

The Director of CityWide Initiatives supervises a Program Manager with whom they co-design and co-facilitate programming, receive support from the departmental Program Assistant, and works closely with the rest of the Program Team, particularly our Director of Programs to support continuity across program visioning, short and long term planning, and assessment. They will regularly collaborate with our Development, Communications, and Operations Teams as part of Cool Culture’s commitment to transdisciplinary learning and planning, and specifically to assist with developing funding ideas, proposals, reporting, and compliance. As well, they work with teaching artists, other consultants and volunteers who provide varied assistance across our programs.

Roles & Responsibilities


You have at least 7 years experience effectively:

  • Building authentic relationships and collaborating with varied stakeholders to identify, enact and achieve common goals
  • Incorporating in-depth analysis of issues of structural racism and patriarchy
  • Developing/facilitating equity-based programming for young children and their caregivers, families, educators, and/or artists
  • Drafting policy to achieve more sustained outcomes for BIPOC, LGBTQia, immigrant, and low income people
  • Supervising staff and supporting their individual development
  • Developing or managing program budgets
  • You have significant knowledge of NYC’s art and cultural landscape (trends, best practices, activism) and its political landscape (community councils, council members)

In addition:

  • You have strong oral and written communication skills, with proficiency/fluency in Spanish, Haitian Creole, Mandarin or Cantonese is a plus
  • You have an excellent command of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Excel and/or Google Apps
  • You are adaptable, responsive, proactive, and comfortable with change
  • You enjoy working in an environment that privileges collaboration and interdependence over hierarchical structures and autonomy, and embrace the ethos that good ideas can come from anywhere.
  • A visionary thinker who is attentive to details, proactive and entrepreneurial
  • You have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or equivalent experience
  • Experience working collaboratively on advocacy initiatives within government agencies or policy organizations is a plus
  • Firsthand experience as an artist or cultural worker is a wonderful plus

This full time position is open until filled. The annual salary range for this role is 70-90k and commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits package included. Currently remote due to COVID restrictions. Offices are at 80 Hanson Place, Suite 605, Brooklyn, NY 11217.

How to Apply

  • Please email with the subject line “Director, CityWide Initiatives (Your Name)”
  • Include as attachment(s), answers to the application questions below, as well as a resume and cover letter. Number your responses according to the question number and please limit your response to 200 words each.
  1. Briefly tell us about a time when you led an equity-based community building project or program you designed and facilitated. What was your approach and some of your core practices, and why?
  2. Tell us about how you work with others. What is your approach to collaboration, what do you find challenging, and how do you exchange feedback?
  3. In what ways have you worked to address issues of equity, structural racism and patriarchy, as well as your own privilege,  in your work practices and products?
  4. Why are you interested in working with an organization seeking to “amplify the voices of families and strengthen the power of historically marginalized communities through engagement with art and culture, both within cultural institutions and beyond.”

Cool Culture has a mission-driven commitment to principles of equity and diversity, is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, gender/ gender identity/ gender expression, age, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, HIV serostatus, disability, or marital status. BIPOC folk, womxn, immigrants, LGBTQ+, and members of other historically marginalized groups are strongly encouraged to apply.