Fundraising and Advancement, Nonprofit and Social Impact, Social Justice and Advocacy

Vice President Development

  • Child Poverty Action Lab
  • Dallas, TX

1 out of 4 children in Dallas grows up in poverty.

Child Poverty Action Lab’s (CPAL) mission is to reduce childhood poverty in Dallas by 50% within a generation.  To bring opportunity to children born furthest from it, CPAL recognizes the need for aggressive investment to address a multitude of factors affecting children and families such as basic needs, housing, health, and safety.  Additionally, the complexity of intergenerational poverty within the Dallas context of siloed resources, historical disparity, and vested interests will necessarily require an unprecedented level of coordination across local stakeholders to achieve solutions at scale.  Therefore, CPAL is positioned at the intersection of public and private investment, using data and evidence to launch strategies with great potential to broaden economic mobility for children born into poverty.

CPAL’s Approach

Since its 2018 inception from the Dallas Mayor’s office, CPAL has embraced a data-centric approach to achieving the North Star goal of reducing Dallas’ child poverty rate by 50% within a single generation. Anchoring on a core belief that better data leads to better decision-making and better decision-making leads to better outcomes, CPAL’s approach toward regional transformation translates the following three operating principles into action:

  • Public institutions by far direct the greatest sum of resources intended to improve children’s outcomes. Robust data, project, and talent infrastructure within and across public institutions can unlock more funding and increase effectiveness of every dollar spent toward those outcomes. From its onset, CPAL has convened the administrative CEOs of nine local public agencies collectively representing budget authority for more than $10 billion in annual spending across the region.  This convening power has positioned CPAL to also work closely with each agency’s managerial staff and constituents to align resources and activate scalable strategies.
  • Center on evidence: A strong understanding of child poverty’s root causes, the highest-impact levers to address them, and Dallas’ current conditions inform solutions. CPAL’s commitment to rigor is most apparent in its development of an evidence-based outcomes roadmap and activation through a framework of ‘Big Bets’ across economic mobility domains and cross-cutting focal points.
  • Power with community expertise: Residents and frontline workers have actionable insights from their daily experiences that are otherwise invisible in “big data” and peer-reviewed research fact bases. By investing in diligence that prioritizes ‘on-the-ground’ experiences, CPAL improves the likelihood of any new strategy achieving a positive impact.

CPAL’s emphasis on scale, evidence, and community expertise give it authority to act across a wide range of issues, innovating and adding distinctive value through two roles.

  • CPAL’s first key role is a super-broker, connecting talent at all levels across agencies, nonprofits, and communities. CPAL matches ideas to resources, seeds collaborative projects, and creates power and agency. Consistent with leading field research on systems change and on social capital, CPAL navigates Dallas’ impact landscape to catalyze the meaningful relationships and connections essential to enduring social impact.
  • CPAL’s second key role is an action-oriented think tank. CPAL integrates research and quantitative data with the lived experiences and perspectives of residents, frontline staff, and public agency leaders in incubating projects that can achieve tangible results and have a path to scale. CPAL has developed a portfolio that grows communities’ and organizations’ capacity and demonstrates how private and public resources can together accelerate outcomes, strengthening the case for greater investment.

CPAL’s Evidence-Based ‘Big Bets’ Framework

CPAL’s Executive Leadership Council, comprised of the CEOs of every major regional public agency, has mobilized their collective resources toward scaling non-policing solutions to gun violence, deploying bond program funding to strengthen child and family resource centers around schools, and expanding home visitation programs across systems.

Selected examples of recent initiatives include:

Benefits Delivery: WIC

  • Only ~40% of eligible families access the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Benefit,  leaving more than $50M underutilized each year.
  • CPAL partnered with the City of Dallas on a human-centered design process and provides ongoing technical assistance that has achieved an increase of 52,000+ additional WIC benefits being delivered over the past 12 months.

Reproductive & Maternal Health:  Contraceptive Access

  • Dallas has the highest rate of repeat teen pregnancy in the nation.
  • 1.8 million Texas women of childbearing age cannot afford their preferred method of birth control. 
  • In Dallas, low-income teenage girls seeking birth control often wait seven months or more to obtain her method of choice.
  • Working in partnership with Dallas County’s public hospital system and a growing network of community-based women’s health clinics, CPAL has raised over $10M in philanthropic investment to launch an initiative called Trust Her that aims to ensure all women have same-day access to the full-range of contraceptive methods.

Safety: Exposure to Gun Violence

  • In 2022, gun violence overtook automobile accidents as the leading cause of death for children in the U.S. 
  • Within Dallas (and all city settings in which it has been studied), gun violence is concentrated in a small set of disinvested neighborhoods, and within these neighborhoods, such violence is even more concentrated within a small set of “micro-geographic places,” like particular streets.
  • CPAL supported the Mayor’s Task Force on Safe Communities to identify a set of community-based strategies supported by evidence, such as investment in remediating blighted properties within high-violence “micro-geographies”.
  • Last year, Dallas bucked state and national trends by reducing homicides by 13%.  Meanwhile, homicides increased in Austin by 86%, San Antonio by 23%, and Houston by 17%.


With 15 talented and dedicated staff, the CPAL team is known for its commitment to data, solutions-based thinking, and a bias for action.


The Vice President Development is a new role which will be reporting directly to the Executive Director and will serve on the Senior Management Team. CPAL is seeking a skilled, highly motivated and entrepreneurial leader. This individual will have the following responsibilities:

Strategic Partnerships, Engagement, and Fundraising

  • Cultivate, build, and maintain relationships across the philanthropic sector to expand fundraising.
  • Work closely with the Executive Director to build out CPAL’s fundraising strategy.
  • Develop alliances and relationships with business, government, educational, and nonprofit leaders in the region and statewide.
  • In conjunction with members of the Senior Management Team and the broader team, expand and diversify the funding base/pipeline to increase major initiatives and existing collaborations.
  • Identify, engage and develop strategic partnerships with local, state-wide and national organizations to position CPAL for greater impact.
  • Support the design and development of new initiatives to seize opportunities to grow CPAL’s impact and reach its goals.


  • Strategic planning for development program including national grants:
  • Prioritize which grants to apply for and organize grant application process.
  • Outsource many tasks, e.g., grant writing.
  • Actively engage with key donors for significant donation requests.
  • Operations: Knows how to set up plans and operations of a development department including:
  • Manage pipeline of donors.
  • Set up database and other support systems and processes.
  • Schedule appropriate communications cadence with donors and internal departments.
  • Manage current director of development and outside consultants.

Communications and Marketing


  • Develop presentations for overall strategy and “big” goals/philanthropic asks. 
  • Speak to public audiences.
  • Communicate to the Board and donors about CPAL’s pipeline of projects/initiatives and fundraising initiatives.


  • Ensure CPAL are internally aligned to what is happening e.g.,- external matches what CPAL program directors are focusing on.
  • Involve internal personnel in grants and pitches early in the process.

Management and Support

  • Represent the Executive Director at internal and external meetings where needed.
  • Work collaboratively and in partnership with other senior leaders on developing and executing organizational priorities and plans.
  • Shepherd other projects and assignments as requested by the Executive Director or Board.
  • Manage, create and/or refine processes and procedures to optimize the execution of initiatives.
  • Provide organizational leadership to ensure CPAL is regularly evaluating its impact and adjusting priorities and resources when necessary.

People and Team Development 

  • Manage, coach, and supervise staff who oversee projects, staff and budgets of various sizes. 
  • Partner with Senior Management Team to strengthen organizational culture to foster a work environment that embodies the values of CPAL.

Given this mission for the Vice President Development, the “Must Have” requirements for this role include:

  • Must have demonstrated development relationship-building success.  
  • Must demonstrate strategic communications capabilities.
  • Must have direct experience in working closely with an executive leadership team.  
  • Must have a passion for reducing childhood poverty.

Professional Experience

  • 10 + years in a senior management role in development, strategy, fundraising, or marketing and communications for a nonprofit, institute, or similar organization.  
  • Demonstrated experience initiating, cultivating and expanding organizational partnerships over time, particularly in the philanthropic and donor community.
  • Proven ability to build and steward strong relationships at all levels, using a combination of leadership maturity, solid communications, negotiation and influencing skills, and high emotional intelligence.
  • Strategically and analytically strong with demonstrated understanding of managing programs based on strategy, taking into account staffing, budgets, and long-term goals.
  • Ability to represent CPAL externally to board members and other potential partners.
  • Ability to create and deliver compelling written and verbal communication and work closely with agency partners. 
  • Strong interest and knowledge of, or the ability to develop an understanding of CPAL’s mission, vision.

Other desired skills for this role include:

Excellent relationship builder and influencer

Given the multitude of stakeholders across this person needs excellent emotional intelligence, cultural awareness, inclusivity, and acceptance of diversity of all dimensions. Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to collaborate and participate effectively within CPAL and with key external partners are required.  They should be an exceptional relationship builder and listener, with the ability to foster an atmosphere of collaboration, partnership and trust.

A strategic thinker with expert communications skills

To be successful, the VP Development will need be able to develop and implement high-quality, well thought out ideas and initiatives in a creative, responsible, and collaborative way. They will need to be an exceptional communicator with superb written and oral communication skills enabling them to convey the organization’s mission, programs, and results to diverse groups including philanthropic leaders, government leaders, board members, and others who are critical to the organization’s overall success.  They should act as a trusted advisor to the Executive Director and the Senior Management Team while demonstrating expertise and integrity.   

Strong organizational management capabilities

The VP Development needs to make strategic decisions based on analysis and sound judgment. Superior planning, organizational, and time management skills with attention to detail is needed. The VP Development should bring the skillset, vision, business mindset and energy to enable the organization to continue to increase its impact. They should build a positive organizational culture for diverse, inclusive and high-performing teams. They should naturally serve as a ‘key organizer,’ taking the lead on ensuring a plan is in place and appropriate action is taken.

Passion for the mission

Support CPAL’s mission to reduce childhood poverty through measurable “stackable” interventions. If possible, they should reflect the diversity of the constituents served by CPAL. In order to be successful, the VP Development will need to have an entrepreneurial mindset and will be able to pivot in a fast-moving organization with lots of moving parts.


Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university is required.


The expected salary range is $130,000 to $160,000 commensurate with experience, with PTO and standard health and insurance benefits.


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Denielle Pemberton-Heard
Chief Legal Officer and Managing Director    

Robin Goolsbee
Managing Director

Robyn Quinn
Research Associate

Heather Ferguson
Senior Search Associate

Alesha Jackson
Senior Executive Assistant

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