Available Position (Company name withheld)

Director, Center on Immigration and Justice

Location: new york, NY

Department: Center on Immigration and Justice

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Executive


The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is an independent, non-partisan, nonprofit organization that combines expertise in research, technical assistance and strategic communications to build and improve justice systems that ensure fairness, promote safety and strengthen communities. Vera works with others who share this vision to tackle the most pressing injustices of our day – from mass deportations, racial disparities and the loss of public trust in law enforcement to the unmet needs of the vulnerable, the marginalized and those harmed by crime and violence.

Vera's Center on Immigration and Justice (CIJ) works with government, nonprofit partners and communities to improve government systems that affect immigrants’ lives. In recent years, CIJ has focused on two objectives across a range of programs: increasing immigrants’ access to legal services, and improving relationships between immigrant communities and law enforcement. Given the myriad ways immigrants are increasingly targeted and criminalized in this country, there is a need and opportunity for Vera to deepen and expand its areas of focus for driving impactful change.

For more than a decade, Vera has been recognized for foundational work in support of three key immigration and justice movements: (1) reducing over-criminalization of immigration and the use of mass incarceration in the immigration system; (2) ensuring immigrant families and communities are afforded the same safety and justice as other persons in the United States; and (3) building sustainable, government-funded legal access and representation models in the immigration context. While these remain core areas around which Vera is ideally positioned to continue to catalyze and lead change, Vera also seeks to explore new ways to build on  its expertise and reputation in the field and to evolve its programming to address the increasing criminalization of immigrants and develop new partnerships in the field (like its groundbreaking Safe Cities program).

For more information on Vera Institute of Justice, please visit vera.org.


Vera is seeking a visionary Director who will partner with leadership and staff to determine how to build on the organization’s successful history in the field of immigration justice. The Director will help imagine the CIJ of the future, one that will continue to play a critical role in expanding access to legal information and counsel and also develop new and transformative privately-funded programs to enhance the mission. Reporting to Vera’s Director of Programs and Strategy, who is a member of Vera’s Executive Leadership Team, the Director will work in partnership with CIJ’s Director of Research and join a peer group of directors across six programmatic units of the organization.

Responsibilities will include:

  • In collaboration with Vera Leadership, CIJ’s Director of Research and other CIJ staff, develop a vision for the next three to five years and implement the strategy for how CIJ can best accomplish that vision using Vera’s many tools for driving justice reform
  • Cultivate and inspire a culture of innovation and creativity that results in new fundable ideas and initiatives
  • Provide leadership for CIJ; fuel and leverage the power and potential of high-performing staff to ensure that CIJ is maximizing impact
  • Establish a strategic fundraising strategy; personally cultivate, maintain and nurture relationships with major individual/institutional donors and solicit support as needed
  • Initiate new projects and programs that can catalyze change and build on core strengths, while ensuring consistency with strategic direction
  • Sustain, build and advance CIJ’s relationships with partner organizations, policymakers, funders and others


The ideal candidate will have the following personal competencies and characteristics:

Strategic Leadership and Vision

The Director will be a strategic visionary who, with CIJ and Vera leadership, will set and articulate a bold and forward-thinking vision for Vera, in the immigration space. With a track record of field and people leadership, the Director will be able to build on the existing foundation of CIJ programs by creating a cohesive strategy for long-term impact and helping it hone its place and voice in the dynamic immigration justice field. The Director will have the maturity required to communicate clearly, act thoughtfully and lead effectively. They will have keen analytical skills and the ability to consider multiple perspectives, think critically, evaluate risk, identify potential answers to complex problems and explain and justify recommendations to diverse audiences. The Director will be politically astute and exercise good judgment in a range of situations. Unquestionably, they will have a demonstrated commitment to race equity and immigrant justice.

Operations and Team Management

The Director will have the skills and aptitude to lead a high-performing team and engage with a variety of strategic partners. They will also have operational and financial management experience and be able to manage complex, multi-million dollar project budgets. They will be committed to guiding team members’ growth and development. The Director will inspire a staff with a diverse set of skills, providing a productive work environment and professional opportunities that will result in team cohesion and camaraderie. The Director will understand the importance of collaborative decision-making, including with the Center’s Director of Research and Vera leadership.

Fundraising and Relationship Building

The Director will bring the expertise and mindset to build strong relationships with current and potential donors and play an active role in identifying, recruiting and maintaining a diversified group of donors. The Director will have experience initiating funding opportunities with government and foundations in order to enable execution and financial support of new programs and initiatives under a bold and transformative three to five-year strategy. Successful candidates will ideally have experience lobbying on budgetary and agency matters and working with advocacy organizations, government officials at the state or local level and others to catalyze change.

Immigration Expertise and Passion for Vera’s mission

The Director will be deeply committed to advancing immigrant justice, and to the missions of racial justice and ending mass incarceration. The Director will have the ability to serve as a credible, respected and inspirational voice in the field. They will bring a proven ability to think transformationally and design and implement successful, innovative and bold strategies for sustainable and scalable reform. Ideal candidates will offer deep content knowledge around the issues related to immigrant rights and criminal justice, as well as an understanding of the immigration landscape and key players, including government stakeholders and policymakers.


Trisha Sutrisno of Koya Leadership Partners has been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role, please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Based on experience, and including excellent benefits, Vera believes in compensating its staff members at or above market.

Vera is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment status or caregiver status.

Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. Vera values diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depends on a diverse staff to carry out their mission.




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