Kramden Institute is seeking its next collaborative, strategic Executive Director who is excited by the opportunity to help a nationally recognized team scale up to help underserved children, adults and families cross the digital divide. Candidates should have a keen interest in providing access to technology that improves lives, along with the vision, energy, leadership and business management skills to move the organization to new heights of service. The Executive Director will support an experienced staff and strong volunteer culture centered on providing the technological tools and education that prepare Kramden Institute’s clients to thrive in a digital world.
About Kramden Institute
Kramden Institute was founded in Durham, NC, in 2003 by Mark and Ned Dibner, a father and son who set out to address the need of classmates in Ned’s middle school who lacked access to computers. Using donated equipment, Mark and Ned refurbished 42 computer systems and gave them to students on the school’s honor rolls who could not afford home computers. Kramden Institute was formed around a critically important mission that was not being addressed elsewhere in the community: providing technology tools and training to bridge the digital divide. Kramden’s innovative structure combines its 501(c)3 nonprofit mission with a business model that partners with the corporate community to provide computers at no cost to qualified recipients while earning income from the sale of refurbished equipment and keeping tons of materials from being sent to the landfill.
On its 18-year journey from a residential basement to its new 15,000 square foot building in Durham, Kramden has partnered with hundreds of schools, nonprofits and military aid organizations, awarding more than 42,000 refurbished computers to low-income families in 83 of North Carolina’s 100 counties as well as to children of servicemen and women on the state’s military bases. In 2014 Kramden began to offer educational programs for members of the community who lack basic computing skills. Since then, more than 7,500 children and adults have completed Kramden’s computer classes, taken part in STEM after-school programs, or enrolled in a workshop, technology camp or computer skills certification program.
Kramden Institute is governed by a 10-member Board of Directors. The Executive Director will lead a team of four direct reports (Director of Programs, Director of Technical Operations, Director of Development, and Office Manager) who manage eight long-tenured staff members. Volunteers are pivotal to Kramden’s success. Thousands of volunteers, including a dedicated group of Super-Geeks and corporate-sponsored Geek-A-Thons for up to 200 volunteers at a time refurbish computers to be given away or sold at deeply discounted rates to qualified recipients. Equipment that cannot be reused or re-sold is recycled, keeping up to 150 tons of e-waste per year out of landfills.
The 2021 budget is set at just over $1 million representing 63% in earned income, 18% in corporate and private foundation grants, 12% in program revenue, 4% in individual philanthropic funding, and 3% from other sources. In August 2021, Kramden publicly launched a $1 million Campaign for Tech Equity to complete renovation of its new facility and restore reserve funds used to purchase the building. Nearly two-thirds of the campaign goal has been raised and the campaign team, working with moss+ross as campaign counsel, has its sights on a path to success.
Kramden’s new Executive Director will join a team of passionate professionals who find fulfillment and joy in what they do. Key attributes for the next leader include a spirit of inclusion and empowerment, integrity and honesty, a strategic and collaborative management style and a drive to understand the needs of the individuals and communities that Kramden Institute serves.
More specifically, the Executive Director will:
Kramden’s past trajectory of growth has evolved incrementally and steadily. The new facility and deep experience of the staff makes this an ideal time for more intentional strategic planning. The Board and staff are looking for a new Executive Director who is skilled at bringing key stakeholders together and creating a process to continue growth and maximum service impact.
Digital inclusion and bridging the digital divide are at the core of Kramden’s work. As an organization, they seek to further promote ways for diversity, equity and inclusion to operate within Kramden. The next Executive Director should have experience helping an organization address these values.
Kramden and the movement to make access to technology equitable will not succeed without defining the need in terms of a larger social context. The organization’s next leader has the opportunity to help policymakers, funders, and the general public understand the impact of digital inclusion and the important role Kramden plays. The new Executive Director should be comfortable and competent in the role of public speaker and an experienced networker who can advocate effectively for Kramden’s mission.
With a steady earned-income stream and strong relationships with corporate and foundation partners, Kramden is in a fortunate financial position. The capital campaign has shown that there is still significant untapped opportunity. The new Executive Director will play a critical role in fundraising, partnering with the Director of Development and the Board to ensure that existing donors receive appropriate stewardship while seeking larger commitments and identifying new sources of income and revenue, including annual giving and government grants. The Executive Director must be an effective fundraiser, comfortable with asking for large gifts with an understanding of both the art and the science of fundraising. Because the sale of refurbished and surplus equipment also plays such an important role, an understanding of methods for growing sales would be an advantage to the organization.
Finance and Operations
Board of Directors
To apply: In one document please submit a cover letter (including how you learned about this opportunity) and resume and send via email to:
Search Committee Chair
Salary range: Up to $100,000 plus benefits, commensurate with experience and abilities and reflective of salary levels in Triangle-area nonprofit organizations.
Five references will be required of finalists. A short presentation and writing samples may also be required from semi-finalists or finalists. Academic, credit, and criminal checks will be conducted before a final offer is made.
The consulting firm of moss+ross has been retained to assist with the search.
Kramden Institute, Inc. does not discriminate against race, color, religious affiliation,
gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, physical appearance, national origin, language,
educational background or veteran status.
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