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Desert AIDS Project, Director of Grants

The Client

Established in 1984, Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.) has earned a national reputation as one of the most comprehensive AIDS service providers. It is one of only a handful of HIV agencies operating an on-site medical clinic, dental clinic, sexual wellness clinic, a full range of client support services, and a comprehensive HIV education and prevention program. D.A.P. provides the opportunity for improved community health and well-being through its framework of services, advocacy, and education.  D.A.P., a recently certified Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), has a dedicated 150-person staff, a 16-member Board of Directors and a fiscal 2014-15 annual operating budget of $22 million.


The mission of Desert AIDS Project is to enhance health and well-being.

Community Service Values:

  • Everyone has a right to a decent quality of life.
  • Everyone is worthy of respect and equal consideration
  • All efforts to fulfill our mission have the ultimate aim of being useful in improving people’s lives, particularly the lives of those most in need.
  • Bias – because of race, religion, class, gender, ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, etc. – has no place at Desert AIDS Project.
  • Fairness demands that everyone affected by an issue should have the opportunity for either direct participation or representation in planning, implementing, and evaluating the work conducted by Desert AIDS Project.
  • Our work is not about the power or turf, but about the public good.

Guiding Principles:

  • We will be excited by what we do, by the challenges we face and the opportunities we create.
  • We will surround ourselves with people dedicated to assisting us in achieving our mission and upholding our principles.
  • The diversity of our people, their skills, and experience is one of our agency’s greatest assets. We are committed to leveraging this asset as a source of strength.
  • We will always listen first, and then act with openness, honesty, and integrity so that our relationships flourish.
  • We will provide effective, accessible, and responsive services, and we commit to evaluating our effort so that changes can be made when it is in the best interest of those we serve.
  • We will set demanding targets and make tough decisions and take considered risks to achieve them, and pursue partnerships to obtain resources that enable us to do so.
  • We will provide our team with skilled management and quality training opportunities
  • We will commit ourselves to excellence to ensure that Desert AIDS Project is the provider of choice, employer of choice, and investment of choice in the communities we serve.
  • We will embrace change to positively improve services, outcomes, and the community while remaining true to our mission.

The Position

Reporting to the Chief Development Officer, the Director of Grants works to effectively secure and renew grants and contracts for funding from public and private institutional sources to support the capital and programmatic needs of Desert AIDS Project. This is accomplished through their own authorship of submissions as well as through mobilizing the talent and skills of a grant writing and grant support team that includes two senior grant writers and a grants coordinator.

Specifically, the Director will be responsible for the following:

Operational Leadership – The Director works in close collaboration with the Chief Development Officer to fulfill the position’s purpose and that of direct reports through effective leadership.  The Director:

  • Develops in-depth understanding of D.A.P.’s programs, service delivery models, strategic goals, and grant funding needs and priorities;
  • Oversees thorough and productive research to identify new prospects and conducts final evaluation of opportunities in terms of mission match, funding need, departmental capacity and return on investment;
  • Creates and implements optimal strategies for solicitation of prospects and cultivation of current funders to broaden the prospect pool and meet revenue goals; serves as primary communication contact for funders for most awards; builds productive, lasting external funding partnerships by establishing and nurturing professional relationships or mobilizing others, as appropriate;
  • Facilitates proactive response to inquiries by funders to include leading and preparing colleagues for site visits and monitoring visits;
  • Edits and approves submissions authored by direct reports and, when requested, that of the Chief Development Officer and other colleagues;
  • Directs and supervises the evolution of and adherence to a comprehensive, strategic and achievable submission calendar  and grants database (currently GrantTracker Plus) that tracks essential data and accommodates priority requests by other departments seeking certifications, accreditations, gifts or other outputs that can benefit from the department’s skills;
  • Builds productive working relationships with inter-departmental colleagues to promote exchange of information and compliance with terms and conditions of both active funding arrangements and key prospective funding opportunities;
  • Establishes and cultivates external relationships with Board Members, volunteers, consultants, community partners, vendors, and others who play a key role in the success of the department;
  • Ensures compliant receipt, acknowledgment and recording of award agreements in collaboration with Finance Department and other staff as appropriate;
  • Coordinates with other departments to clarify roles and responsibilities for monitoring financial and programmatic progress toward reporting requirements during funding periods, and ensures those tasks assigned to oneself and direct reports are completed;
  • Facilitates an effective methodology, workflow and procedure for the ongoing gathering, updating and organizing of consistent and confident quantitative and qualitative data that should support submission requirements;
  • Prepares monthly reports to the Chief Development Officer and other ad hoc reports as requested;
  • Initiates, prepares for, leads and/or participates in intra- and inter-departmental meetings affecting grants management;
  • Conducts evaluation of progress toward personal goals and that of direct reports, celebrating areas of strength, identifying areas in need of improvement, developing informed response and leading course correction;
  • Supports Chief to manage expenses in alignment with departmental budget; and
  • Retain and manage relationship with contracted grants specialists as needed.

Grantwriting & Awards Management – The Director is expected to retain assignments for writing and reporting while supervising the priorities and outcomes of other grant writers.  For their assignments, the Director:

  • Serves as senior grant specialist for key public funding such as that awarded from HRSA, the State Office of AIDS, the County of San Bernardino for Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grant funds and County of Riverside for funds awarded by the Housing Authority, Economic Development Agency, Department of Public Health and Department of Mental Health.
  • Serves as Ryan White Program Administrator and liaison to Ryan White Program Staff ensuring that D.A.P. remains in good standing and provides a prompt, high quality and comprehensive reply to all requests, policy changes, etc.;
  • Leads project management for the submission of annual Service Area Competitions and Non-Competing Continuations to retain D.A.P.’s Federally Qualified Health Center status as well as any special submission such as Change in Scope requests.
  • Serves as senior grant specialist for foundation and corporation giving that require executive-level courting and management;
  • Acquires a thorough understanding of submission guidelines and instructions and is able to effectively communicate those to others;
  • Conducts project management to collect needed information for a competitive submission, including but not limited to budget inputs, data to support needs statements or project descriptions, outputs and outcomes, work plans and supporting documentation;
  • Composes high quality, well-informed, evidence-based and competitive letters of interest, proposals, reports and other communications;
  • Ensures preparation of complete submission packages, anticipating all risks posed by submission and assuming responsibility for completing the task in a timely fashion;
  • As appropriate, fields pre-award and post-award correspondence by funders or, alternatively, fields notifications by others when funders have made contact and coordinates and documents a response (to include site visits);
  • Prepares acknowledgement letters and coordinates other required correspondence to accept award;
  • Reviews and understands all conditions of award and is able to effectively communicate those to others;
  • As directed, notifies affected colleagues and provides education on conditions of award to support their roles and responsibilities to achieve successful implementation of grant-funded activities; and
  • Maintains organized, complete and accessible paper and electronic files.

Human Resources

  • Provides leadership to direct reports (Grant Writer(s) and Grants Coordinator) for allocation of time and talent;
  • Participates in recruitment activities as necessary;
  • Supervises occasional sub-contractors/consultants and/or volunteers;
  • Monitors staff schedules and leave requests;
  • Assesses need for and supports linkage to professional development; and
  • Conducts ongoing performance feedback, annual performance evaluations, job description reviews and recommends rate adjustments as appropriate for direct reports.

Professional Requirements

The ideal candidate will have:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in a related field;
  • A minimum 10 years of demonstrated success and increasing responsibility raising funds for a nonprofit organization through government grants and/or funding contracts;
  • A minimum three years leading others in a supervisory/management role for the purposes of fundraising or similar outcomes;
  • Recent activity in successful grant writing with history of evolving skill and familiarity with pre-award (seeking and securing) and post-award (implementing and reporting) activities;
  • A valid state driver’s license and access to a car for reimbursable travel.

Personal Characteristics

Our client is seeking a team leader who can:

  • Build connections with all types of individuals by being present, suspending judgment and establishing trust;
  • Work efficiently and accurately in a fast paced environment with competing priorities and often unexpected or quick response deadlines;
  • Establish and maintain professional boundaries with staff and clients at all times;
  • Excel at being detail-oriented;
  • Handle stressful situations in a calm and respectful manner;
  • Embrace new learning and proactively adapt to transitions;
  • Succeed while working independently as well as when working as a team;
  • Effectively communicate with a diverse group of stakeholders.

The Desert AIDS Project is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to fostering diversity within its staff.  Applications are encouraged from all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, religious creed, medical/physical/mental conditions, Veteran status or age.


Desert AIDS Project is offering a competitive compensation for this position with a comprehensive benefits package that includes medical, dental, vision, life, long-term disability, short-term disability, FSA, tax deferred retirement investment, life insurance and paid leave.


This is a high profile opportunity for an experienced professional to make a major contribution to HIV prevention as well as to HIV education, prevention, and access to care in the Coachella Valley.  This individual will be a member of a management team which is recognized nationally for its leadership.  S/he will have the personal satisfaction of contributing to an effort of enormous public importance and of profound humanitarian merit.  Desert AIDS Project is located in Palm Springs, CA, a unique and progressive desert community located 111 miles east of Los Angeles with 354 days of sunshine a year. 


To apply, please send a résumé and cover letter via e-mail to:

Joseph McCormack, Managing Partner
Michelle Kristel, Partner
McCormack + Kristel
1775 E. Palm Canyon Drive
Suite 110-202
Palm Springs, CA 92264
Phone    323.549.9200
Fax:         323.549.9222

All inquiries or referrals will be held in strict confidence.

Please note that your education, dates of employment, compensation and other information provided will be verified prior to employment. 

McCormack + Kristel works only with equal opportunity employers.  We strongly encourage people of color, of diverse gender identities, women and non-LGBT persons to apply.