Executive Director, Abby's House

Job Type
Executive Director Positions
Abby's House
Contact Name
Lela Philbrook
Contact Email

52 High Street
Worcester, MA
United States

Job Description

Abby's House Seeks an Executive Director


Abby Kelley Foster House, Inc. (Abby's House) in Worcester, MA seeks an executive director who is passionate about empowering homeless, battered, and low income women to thrive.


The Organization

Founded in 1976 by Annette Rafferty as one of the first homeless shelters for women in the US, our mission is to provide shelter and affordable housing, as well as advocacy and support services, to homeless, battered, and low-income women, with or without children. Abby's House was named after Abby Kelley Foster, a major figure in the anti-slavery and women's rights movement and an apt figure to represent the mission of the organization. We empower women to lead self-directed lives filled with dignity and hope. We provide a welcoming and safe place for women with histories of homelessness, trauma, substance use, mental illness, and domestic violence.

As the largest provider of supportive housing designed specifically for women in Worcester County, Abby's House has helped over 15,500 low-income women regain their path to independence over four decades. Each year Abby's House serves as many as 500 women (24-hrs per day, 7 days each week) from across Worcester County and beyond, providing them with safe shelter, housing, and individual advocacy.

Abby's House provides safe and secure housing through our 9-bed overnight shelter, 72 single room supportive housing units, and 7 two-bedroom apartments. We develop strategies collaboratively with women to mitigate the primary factors leading to their housing insecurity, mental and physical health issues, substance use, and economic instability. And, Abby's House ensures women have access to comprehensive wraparound services including onsite meals, food pantry, clothing, transportation, parenting support, emergency financial assistance, intensive case management, and supportive referrals to our network of more than 125+ health and social service partners.

In 2019, Abby's House successfully completed a $17M+ renovation of 52 High Street, a nearly century-old building and our largest property of supportive housing. We have designed and prepared a $5M+ renovation of our shelter to commence in 2023; it will improve the structural integrity of the building, make it fully accessible, and expand the shelter from a congregate setting with five rooms and nine beds to a non-congregate shelter with 13 rooms and 18 beds.

Abby's House operates on a $3.3M annual budget and holds $21.5M in assets. Over 3,000 individual donors provide more than 25% of our annual operating revenue. Our diversified revenue base includes rents, foundations, thrift shop income, business and civic organizations, and an endowment. We are led by a 16-member Board of area professionals, supporters, and former residents. Approximately 30 staff are employed, 50% of whom identify as BIPOC. The executive director currently supervises a senior team of five and we regularly use contractors and consultants and rely on many dedicated volunteers.


The Opportunity

Abby's House's Executive Director (ED) stands at the helm of a dynamic, mission-centric, resilient organization. They are the primary representative of Abby's House in the greater community, building public support and partnerships to benefit our women and children. The ED raises funds to invest in programming and our facilities and provide desirable jobs at a competitive wage. They serve as the collaborative leader of a team of dedicated professionals, cultivating a workplace culture of inclusion, transparency, compassion, and continual growth. And they carefully oversee the fiscal and administrative systems that support the life-changing mission of Abby's House.

The next ED will assume responsibility for a thriving, well-run organization. The Board looks forward to partnering with the new leader to determine areas of programmatic enhancements, appropriate staffing infrastructure, and organizational growth. Some of the upcoming key priorities that the next leader will oversee and guide their senior team in managing and implementing include:


  • Further embedding best practice models driven by an Integrated Model of Care within all programs to allow women easier access to supportive services.
  • Commencing and overseeing the completion of the shelter renovation, to begin the summer of 2023.
  • Continuing to invest in DEI/Anti-Racism work at all levels of organizational life, building staff, Board, and volunteer capacity.
  • Engaging in advocacy and public policy changes with other non-profit, business, and government leaders to address upstream issues of poverty and violence.
  • Actively seeking opportunities for new partnerships and funding while overseeing development needs and goals for enhanced community engagement and current partnerships.
  • Assuring that the staffing levels at the direct service and administrative levels are appropriate to support the growth in services.


Profile of the Ideal Candidate


Abby's House's next ED will be a seasoned organizational leader with significant experience as a human service professional and deeply committed to our mission. We appreciate and value diversity and unique experiences, and welcome different perspectives; our next leader will uphold these values as well. The ideal candidate will demonstrate the following capacities:


  • a nuanced understanding of the challenges facing homeless women and their children, women's empowerment, and the strength-based and trauma informed approaches to providing them with safe, welcoming housing and care
  • broad based knowledge of the housing field, including development, financing, facilities, and renovations
  • a visionary leader who thinks strategically about the role Abby's House could play long-term in ever-changing economic, political, demographic and technological terrains, and brings an open-minded approach to the work
  • a skillful and experienced nonprofit administrator who can manage a complex budget with multiple funding streams, oversee efficient systems, and has experience working in partnership with a board of directors and volunteer base
  • an innovative and experienced fundraiser who engages creatively with the community and institutional funders to leverage financial support
  • a collaborative decision maker who prioritizes inclusive and transparent practices, seeks out the widest diversity of views, listens attentively, and gracefully builds consensus among a wide variety of stakeholders
  • generous in spirit; a caring, personable, genuine, and supportive leader who strives to provide equitable, life balanced working conditions for all staff, and is experienced with coaching and leveraging talent
  • deeply committed to maintaining a welcoming, collaborative, equitable, diverse, anti-racist, and inclusive organizational culture and climate
  • a bridge-builder and trusted community ambassador who fosters collaborative relationships and is excited to serve as the primary ambassador of Abby's House in the community
  • handles risks with calmness, patience, and consistency
  • a flexible and willing team player who readily engages in the wide variety of tasks and enjoys having fun


Required and Desired Credentials and Experience

  • 8-10 years of senior level management experience
  • Minimum of a bachelor's degree
  • Familiarity with Central MA is a plus
  • Bilingual is a plus


Compensation and Benefits


This is a full-time, salaried, exempt position with a starting salary range of $135,000 - $150,000, commensurate with experience and qualifications. Abby's House also offers a comprehensive and generous benefits package that includes a contribution to health insurance, short and long term disability, low cost vision and dental plans, and full life insurance coverage. This is a place-based position.

Application Instruction

Candidates must include a resume and a cover letter that describes how their qualifications and experience match the needs and mission of Abby's House. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Send required documents to Eos Transition Partners.

Abby's House is an equal opportunity employer and embraces diversity at all levels of the organization. In keeping with our values, Abby's House is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism in all the organization's activities, programs, practices, and services. We are a trauma-informed organization, and we encourage applicants who have ample capacity for reflective thinking and learning and with lived experience who are well-grounded in their own recovery. We encourage a broad range of applicants, particularly candidates from diverse backgrounds and cultures, and BIPOC candidates and LGBTQ candidates.

This executive search is led by a Board approved Search Committee in collaboration with Eos Transition Partners consultant Nancy Jackson. All submissions will be acknowledged and are confidential, and any questions must be submitted to: njackson@eostransitions.com.