The Overton Project
Position Type: Full-Time (Paid)
Primary domain: Other
City: New York
Postal code: 10012
State: New York
Country: United States
Founded in 2012 by New York venture capitalist and Birmingham native Jared Weinstein, Overton is a multi-strategy social investment entity dedicated to building a more prosperous Birmingham. We care passionately about solving Birmingham’s most pressing challenges and we do that through supporting and scaling compelling solutions and compelling leaders who are closest to the problems they are tackling.
At the scale of Birmingham, with a city population of 212,000 and a metropolitan area of 1.1 million, we believe there is a strong interaction and correlation between investments in the built environment and investments in human supports.
Without a physical environment that is clean, safe and pedestrian-friendly, residents do not interact in that space, limiting the type of density, connection and civic engagement that spur intellectual capital and commercial activity.
Without a socioeconomic environment that supports childhood development, educational attainment, and workforce participation, upward mobility can be elusive and families remain trapped in poverty, living in unsuitable housing and unsafe neighborhoods.
On one side of the organization, Overton commits philanthropic capital to critical social investments focused on education and workforce development. We feel that it is critical to support vulnerable populations that reside in the urban core.
Our portfolio of philanthropic investments has supported outcomes such as computer science literacy, high school completion, college readiness and regional job creation. An example of investments include Breakthrough Collaborative, Microsoft’s TEALS program and Venture for America.
On the other side of the organization, Overton commits at-risk capital to vehicles such as real estate, venture, and growth equity to either enhance the impact of our programmatic investments and/or enhance our mission by activating economic activity and inclusive prosperity.
Overton is seeking a Managing Director to lead its efforts focused on the urban transformation of Birmingham, Alabama. This position is based in New York City, with significant travel to Birmingham.
About the Overton Project
Founded in 2012, Overton is a multi-strategy, multi-disciplinary social investment entity dedicated to building a more prosperous Birmingham, Alabama.
We care passionately about solving Birmingham’s most pressing problems and we do that through supporting and scaling compelling solutions and compelling leaders who are closest to the problems they are tackling. We help expose local changemakers to new models while providing national partners the local ecosystem network and philanthropic support to effect maximum impact in Birmingham.
Our portfolio of philanthropic investments has supported outcomes such as childhood literacy, computer science literacy, high school completion, college readiness and regional job creation. Sample portfolio programs include Breakthrough Collaborative, Venture for America, Microsoft’s TEALS, Birmingham Talks and Endeavor.
Birmingham’s transformation and our theory of change
Birmingham is a city that finally — after a challenging half-century — has the energy, urgency and capacity to capitalize on a shift in city leadership and an urban renaissance to lay the groundwork for transformational change.
For decades, Birmingham has been recovering from a seismic socioeconomic shock, not solely from the Great Recession (like many American cities) but from globalized industrial forces and the social upheaval of the Civil Rights movement. The very Southern centrality that catapulted Birmingham to industrial success in the 19th century contributed to its challenges in the second half of the 20th century.
Today, Birmingham’s recovery is led by its sustained diversification to modern sectors including healthcare, automotive and finance. Birmingham is also experiencing an intense urban renewal, with downtown Birmingham becoming an attractive place to live, work and visit. In 2015, the City posted an all-time high of nearly $1.1 billion worth of metropolitan economic development projects. And, in 2017, Birmingham garnered attention as a top travel destination, winning prestigious nods from WSJ, NYT, Conde Nast, Lonely Planet and The Washington Post.
However, this progress is uneven across the city. As the downtown experiences rapid gentrification, over 28% of Birmingham’s residents live in poverty. Structural racism persists, at least to some degree, in Birmingham. Decade-long white flight has effectively re-segregated the Birmingham public school system and resulted in an urban population that is predominantly African-American, with many still in persistent generational poverty.
Suddenly, a tale of two cities has emerged in Birmingham. Less than a mile from a suddenly dynamic downtown, neighborhoods struggle with abandoned homes and vacant lots. Within the same neighborhood, restaurants are winning James Beard accolades while low-income populations can’t access fresh produce. As UAB produces world-class drug discoveries, the infant mortality rate for African-Americans nears 3X the national average.
Our work seeks to close this gap. At the scale of Birmingham, with a city population of 212,000 and a metropolitan area of 1.1 million, we have a unique opportunity to deploy capital across an interconnected continuum of issue areas and return profiles. A segment of the entity commits philanthropic capital to solve intractable problems across education, workforce development, food security and other significant local issue areas. A complimentary segment utilizes return-positive vehicles (such as real estate) to enhance the impact of our programmatic investment. We are constantly fine-tuning this approach and borrowing from national best practices.
Your key responsibilities
The Managing Director will be responsible for supporting the organization’s growth and portfolio initiatives through a range of responsibilities and activities. We are looking for you to excel at the below:
Birmingham-based citywide research, including (i) consistently updating a local landscape analysis, including identifying and connecting with local and national practitioners in relevant priority issue areas and (ii) consistently conducting research on current, relevant Birmingham issues and priorities among the Mayor’s Office and key citywide stakeholders, such as regional philanthropies and civic players.
Source and select new initiatives, including (i) leading national research of outcomes-driven organizations that are expanding to new markets, (ii) conducting partnership diligence with select organizations, and (iii) managing Birmingham-based stakeholders in assessing the viability of expansion.
Effectively manage national replication process in Birmingham, including (i) coordinating stakeholder conversations, meetings and visits, (ii) ensuring clear communication and alignment between internal Overton stakeholders and external partners, (iii) driving next steps, and (iv) working with our legal team and others to codify partnership agreements and stand up operations.
Managing stakeholder relations, including (i) representing Overton across city partners, nonprofit organizations, and national relationships (ii) leading planning and management of external grant proposals and annual reports (iii) preparing materials for advisory board meetings and reports.
Provide meaningful value to portfolio efforts by (i) assisting initiative-level general managers in accelerating community-level outcomes across their target population, (ii) connecting mutually supportive efforts across the portfolio.
Contribute to Overton’s growth and development through a variety of initiatives such as (i) building an efficient back-end operations, policies and processes (ii) consistently exploring new innovative partnerships for the organization across various subject-level experts and thought leaders.
We are looking for a creative analytical mind who is entrepreneurial and willing to invent new ways of investing across a better Birmingham. Candidate ideally would have:
At least five years combined work and graduate school experience
Passion for impact investing, the future of cities and innovative finance
Experience in futures of cities work, urban innovation, working closely with municipal and/or federal government partners, and/or data-driven philanthropies
Experience in a role with significant analytical responsibility required (e.g. management consulting, investment banking, investing roles across real estate, venture or growth equity)
Excellent ability to deliver quantitative and qualitative data in a compelling way, and the ability to quickly research, synthesize and summarize key lessons on unfamiliar topics
Capacity to work independently while having the flexibility to regularly incorporate the feedback of others into work processes
Advanced expertise in Microsoft Excel, including financial modeling, and PowerPoint
Your key attributes
A successful hire will possess the following capabilities:
Passion for social impact financing and government innovation: Genuine, demonstrated interest in this domain, which serves as a motivator for continued learning and developing insight.
Creative, conceptual and strategic thinker: Convertor of big visions first into strategies and then into tactical actions. Able to clearly synthesize and frame complex insight.
Self-starter that thrives in ambiguous environments: Ability to navigate ambiguous environments autonomously and push forward projects and work amidst uncertain contexts.
Adept relationship builder manager: Savvy developer of relationships across the public, private and civic sector. Ability to drive alignment on community-level outcomes.
Translator between private sector and civic sector: Strong ability to help various audiences digest complex ideas and resonate across various levels of subject-level expertise and approach.
Exceptional clear communicator: Develop powerful and clear oral/written communication and presentation materials that help support the fast acceleration of portfolio initiatives and partnerships.
Drive for excellence: Expects personal performance and team performance to be nothing short of the best. Acts like an owner and holds themselves accountable to achieving a high bar.
$90k - 100k
Posting Expiration Date:
How to Apply:
Please send a resume to [email protected]. In lieu of a cover letter, please enclose a document which answers the following two questions in a maximum of 250 words each:
Pick a national organization that you would like to bring to Birmingham, explain their theory of change, why you are compelled by their work and the value they can bring to the city.
Pick a city whose urban transformation you witnessed (it could be your hometown, it could be a city you love reading about) and talk about a tool a local leader used to drive at a specific community outcome that you found fascinating. Explain the tool, the results achieved and why you find it compelling.
Our review of applications will begin immediately.
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