The Opportunity:

Across the nation, only 8% of high-performing low-income students with the academic record and test scores to succeed at the nation’s most selective colleges and universities ever submit an application to attend. At EMERGE, we believe that talent is universal, but opportunity is not. Grounded in this belief, EMERGE empowers and prepares high-performing students from underserved communities to attend and graduate from selective colleges & universities across the nation.

The primary goal is to increase in the number of students in the Houston and surrounding areas who successfully attend and graduate from top-tier colleges and universities. The Director of Grants & Communication will develop and execute strategies to increase institutional giving to support and advance the mission of EMERGE and will build meaningful relationships with key community benefactors.

If you are an excellent relationship cultivator and master multi-tasker who is passionate about expanding college access to students from low-income communities across the city of Houston, we are looking for you!

The Role:

EMERGE is seeking a master of written communication who is a creative, collaborative, and results-oriented individual to serve as Grants & Communications Director (DGC). The DGC will collaborate with the EMERGE program team and executive leadership to write compelling grant applications, funder proposals, and grant reports, and will create a streamlined system and process to track application and report deadlines and renewal applications. The DGC will also manage and oversee and serve as the point person for org-wide external communications and marketing and will report directly to the Managing Director of Development. This role will serve as the liaison to and work in collaboration with external partners including a branding consultant, graphic designers, website developers, and others as needed to produce, elevate and professionalize EMERGE’s marketing collateral, website, brand, messaging, etc. with the ultimate goals of elevating the brand, visibility and impact of EMERGE and to generate funds to support EMERGE’s growth and expansion.

A successful DGC will need to be able to build a deep understanding of EMERGE’s core values, mission and vision in order to create communications that represent EMERGE’s authentic voice. Simultaneously, the DGC will need to bring or build familiarity with mainstream concepts and language of the education field in order to effectively elevate EMERGE’s messaging and promote EMERGE’s work in a crowded education innovation field.

The grants/development function of this role will require a detail-oriented taskmaster with strong project management skills to secure, manage, and retain philanthropic funding from local, national, and regional institutional philanthropic entities. This includes grant writing, prospect research, and grant management comprehensive of writing reports, tracking prospects, data management and the timely submission of compelling grant applications, proposals and impact reports with a strong pulse on renewal application deadlines and cultivation/retention tactics and strategies.

The communications/marketing function of this role will require a strategic thinker who can lead EMERGE leadership and external partners/consultants in the development of a plan and execution of a comprehensive communications strategy inclusive of external communications, public relations, media relations, marketing, social media, brand management, and stakeholder engagement to raise and solidify EMERGE’s profile, support the proliferation of our work, and invest key stakeholders and constituency groups in EMERGE’s success.

Key Responsibilities:

In collaboration with the Managing Director of Development, the DGC will:

Grants Management

  • Prepare, submit, and manage the grant application process, creating/writing thorough and compelling grant applications and reports.
  • Stay abreast of the work of the program teams and broader organizational priorities to gather compelling information, stories, learnings, and data to shape applications and grant reports.
  • Coordinate the submission of grant reports and other requirements for all grants received working with staff to create a comprehensive and compelling narrative about our work backed with supporting data.
  • Create and maintain an annual calendar of grants and reports as well as prospective grant funding opportunities.
  • Lead prospect research efforts of institutional funders.
  • Support the development of an annual fund development strategy and plan for institutional funders.
  • Provide project management support for EMERGE’s fund development strategy and annual plan, with particular focus on institutional funding. Keeping EMERGE leadership and board of directors informed through regular reporting.
  • Monitor and track progress to goals.
  • Stay abreast of the philanthropic landscape through consistent monitoring of key journals, blogs, websites, social media platforms, and engagement of informal networks.
  • Support the identification and development of cultivation plans for new grant opportunities to support EMERGE’s programs. Taking the lead on prospect research of philanthropic institutional funders.
  • Other Duties as Assigned.

Donor Communications

  • Develop talking points, prep documents and PPTs, and supporting materials for ED/MDoD and other senior leaders to effectively cultivate and steward philanthropic relationships.
  • Work with external graphic designer to create/produce an Annual Report and EMERGE One-Pager.
  • Oversee the production of EMERGE’s quarterly newsletter and work with the team to gather compelling story ideas and photos to draft and format content in Constant Contact.
  • Prep and draft quarterly personalized donor email updates for major funders for ED/MDoD.
  • Assist with drafting donor follow up emails + materials.
  • Write donor stories and profiles to feature on website and social media.
  • Oversee our annual refresh of thank you letters.

Communications + Marketing

  • Write compelling communications that capture interest of target audiences across a variety of mediums and channels, including email, digital, video, graphic, and visual communications.
  • Responsible for writing, editing, messaging, and maintaining consistency in materials.
  • Support the Leadership Team with the development of key messages, talking points, and scripts for key external audiences.
  • Monitor brand execution across all materials and platforms.
  • Lead and help ensure org-wide implementation of EMERGE’s messaging with a focus on effective storytelling.
  • Oversee our digital marketing and engagement initiative - EMERGE on the Reel – which is a monthly live discussion via Zoom webinar with key stakeholders including students, staff, community partners and donors to elevate their stories and impact of EMERGE.
  • Create and execute social media strategies across platforms, including creating engaging content, posting, keeping profiles up-to-date, monitoring pages, and tracking and analyzing metrics.
  • Maintain current website keeping it current and error-free and oversee migration to new website platform.
  • Lead marketing strategy and execution and work with contractors to develop and professionalize marketing collateral suite and address photography and videography needs for effective storytelling and marketing.
  • Identify vehicles for sharing EMERGE’s work and build investment in the organization across a variety of stakeholder groups including things like e-newsletters and monthly blog posts.
  • Write and develop compelling and informative collaterals and materials.
  • Craft responses to inquiries from key stakeholders on behalf of the organization and senior leaders.
  • Identify opportunities for EMERGE’s work to be shared with stakeholder groups via panels, conferences, etc.
  • Support with PR and media relations requests.


    • 5+ years experience in grant writing, development, communications, or marketing with proven ability to deliver strong measurable results.
    • Grant writing experience in education space a plus.
    • Strong and persuasive written communications.
    • Able to work independently and meet deadlines.
    • Able to work with individuals from diverse backgrounds and adapt to change.
    • Ability to think high-level and strategically.
    • Strong project management skills.
    • Able to meet multiple deadlines in a fast-paced environment.
    • Ability to work in a team environment, assisting and call on team members as necessary.
    • Ability to analyze and interpret data.
    • Exceptional interpersonal skills.
    • Proven track record of developing written content that has exponentially grown subscriber base and/or donations to organization.
    • Bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, marketing, or related field preferred.

    The Person:

    The foundational work and thus primary skill set essential for this role is strong and persuasive written communications, high-level strategic thinking, and strong project management. We are looking for a natural self-starter with strong writing and storytelling skills who excels in creating and maintaining organizational systems and processes. To be successful, you must be able to organize, prioritize and track a large volume of projects and tasks; possess exceptional attention to detail and a high bar for quality; and be a critical thinker who displays sound judgment in prioritizing actions based on outcomes. The Director of Grants & Communications must be able to backwards plan complex projects and support stellar, high-quality execution. Must be able to work with a diversity of personalities and backgrounds and be able to understand and translate a diversity of communication styles into clear, consistent, and inspiring messaging of EMERGE’s work.


    • Ability to build and cultivate lasting relationships with diverse groups and focus on superior donor engagement and customer service.

    Time Maximizer

    • Meet professional obligations through efficient work habits such as meeting deadlines, honoring schedules, coordinating resources and meetings in an effective and timely manner and demonstrate respect for others.
    • Self-starter, anticipates needs and able to take initiative when necessary.
    • Conscientious about priorities, display good time management and positive attitude.

    Critical & Creative Thinker

    • Able to evaluate situations using a logical thought process to draw reasonable conclusions to effectively problem-solve and determine the best solution.
    • Ability to examine and evaluate data in order to present development and prospect reports on a regular basis.
    • Strong analytic ability and inductive thinking which are frequently required to devise new approaches to situation where previously accepted solutions have proven inadequate.

    Detail- and Process-Oriented

    • Ability to build systems and processes that keep the project working smoothly no matter the situation.
    • Able to produce high-quality work without error. Has a proven track record of high attention to details.


    • Motivated and determined to meet and exceed fundraising goals. Strategize and develop action plans and deploy team to go above and beyond. Relentless in the pursuit of increasing major gift donors.


    • Ability to effectively tell the EMERGE story through various platforms.
    • Ability to craft a narrative that is both informative and emotional.
    • Excels at the art of writing overall.


    • Mission aligned and excited about the work and organization knowing the work supports a mission of empowering and preparing high-achieving students from Houston’s most underserved communities to reach their full potential.

    Who we are:

    At EMERGE, we live by our Core Values:

    • Equity grounds us
    • Diversity defines us
    • Talent mobilizes us
    • Meaningful relationships fuel us
    • Results distinguish us

    Founded in 2010, EMERGE is a developmental, college-access organization changing the life trajectories of hundreds of students across the Houston area. Since its inception, EMERGE has grown from serving 14 students across four high schools, to serving over 1,500 high school students across five school districts. We also serve over 1,200 college scholars at over 100 selective colleges and universities across the country.

    The EMERGE nonprofit is a partner to EMERGE Houston ISD, EMERGE Spring Branch ISD, EMERGE Spring ISD, EMERGE Aldine ISD, and EMERGE Klein ISD.

    As the EMERGE’s impact has grown, our nonprofit team has grown to 30 staff members. This team includes SISD, SBISD, AISD, and KISD Program Managers, our Curriculum and Training staff, the College Success team, and our internal business functions. You will be joining an energetic, passionate team of individuals working to propel Houston’s top talent upwards and onwards.

    What we offer:

    At EMERGE we offer a competitive salary and benefits package.


    We provide compensation that takes into account each candidate’s experience and responsibilities. Yearly increases are based on your contribution to the organization along with external market factors. The salary range for this role is: $75,000 - $90,000.


    • We offer Medical, Dental, and Vision insurance.
    • We provide Short-term and Long-Term Disability insurance, along with Life Insurance.
    • We offer a 403b plan that employees can opt into.
    • Each employee has 27 Paid Time Off days for the year. EMERGE is closed for 18 holidays.

    Application Deadline: June 15th, 2021