Executive Director, National Council on Independent Living (Washington, DC)

  • Closing / removal date: The deadline to apply has been extended to March 15, 2021

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) is currently seeking an Executive Director to succeed Kelly Buckland upon his retirement in May of 2021. NCIL encourages all qualified applicants to apply for this exciting opportunity to lead one of the nation’s premiere organizations for disability rights and independent living.

NCIL is the longest-running, national, cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities. Founded in 1982, NCIL represents thousands of organizations and individuals including: individuals with disabilities, Centers for Independent Living (CILs), Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs), and other organizations that advocate for the human and civil rights of people with disabilities throughout the United States.

The Executive Director will lead a complex grassroots organization that is led by its membership and Governing Board. The ability to work with a mission-driven board, members, and grassroots stakeholders is key. The Executive Director will also direct a dedicated, passionate staff of ten and administer an annual budget of nearly $2M. NCIL’s revenue comes from a variety of sources, including membership dues, donations, and grants and contracts. Ensuring NCIL’s continued success with advocacy and policy, resource development, and operating high-quality, accessible programs and events will be critical.

NCIL approaches disability rights through the Independent Living perspective, that disability is a natural aspect of human life and that the barriers people with disabilities face are rooted in ableism and discrimination. NCIL is also committed to becoming an anti-racist organization, intent on confronting and undoing the harm of racism and injustice entrenched in disability rights, IL, and society-at-large. The next Executive Director must be committed to these same priorities to continue NCIL’s path towards justice and equity. We also believe that a diverse staff enables us to better understand and serve our members, audience, and community.

NCIL has a tremendous amount of momentum and excitement thanks to its current leadership and years of successful advocacy. This is an outstanding opportunity for the right leader as NCIL approaches a new strategic plan and its 40th anniversary in 2022. We hope you will consider applying and share this announcement with qualified candidates that you know.

The following job announcement details the responsibilities and required qualifications for the position, as well as instructions to apply. Applications must be received by the close of the business day, March 15, 2021.

Position Title: Executive Director

Responsible to: NCIL President


  1. Serve as the Chief Executive Officer of NCIL; promote the mission and goals of NCIL within the board, membership, the Independent Living community, and the general public.
  2. With the President, enable the Governing Board to fulfill its governance function and facilitate the optimum interaction between committees, the Governing Board, and membership.
  3. With the President, provide direction and leadership to the Governing Board, membership, and the Independent Living community through the promotion of the independent living philosophy.


Governing Board:

  1. With the President, develop agendas for Governing Board meetings and Executive Committee meetings.
  2. Ensure that the President and the Board are kept fully informed on the fiscal and operating condition of NCIL.
  3. Work with the President to ensure that the committees are structured to function effectively.


  1. Work to ensure the consistent achievement of NCIL’s mission and financial and organizational objectives.
  2. Ensure that NCIL member’s concerns and/or issues are addressed in a timely fashion.
  3. Work with the President and Board to ensure that NCIL regularly develops and implements an organizational strategic plan.
  4. Serve as chief spokesperson for NCIL; ensure that NCIL is represented at all national policy meetings, including legislative meetings, coalition meetings, hearings, and other activities, and see that NCIL is properly presented to the community.
  5. Make certain that the independent living philosophy, consumer control, and values and mission of NCIL are carried out in all of its activities.
  6. Cultivate and maintain relationships with potential funders, donors, sponsors and project partners.
  7. Ensure that the flow of funds permits NCIL to make steady progress towards the achievement of its mission and that those funds are allocated properly to reflect NCIL’s present needs and future potential.
  8. Administer, and assist with the development of, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Policies, and Bylaws, as needed.


  1. Manage the recruitment, employment, and release of personnel who report directly to the Executive Director and oversee the recruitment, employment, and release of personnel who are supervised by the Operations Director.
  2. Ensure that job descriptions are developed and current, that regular performance evaluations are conducted, and that sound human resource practices are in place.
  3. Ensure that an effective management team, with appropriate provision for succession, is in place.
  4. Encourage staff and volunteer development and education and that the organization’s programs and projects are managed by effective, capable staff.
  5. Maintain a climate that attracts, keeps, and motivates top quality people – both professional and volunteer.


Education and Training:

  • A minimum of three years management experience in the nonprofit field.
  • Understanding and experience in the rights of people with disabilities, and, specifically, Independent Living and the Rehabilitation Act and Amendments.
  • Direct experience in fiscal management and budget administration.
  • Experience with successful resource development through grants, contracts, and donors.
  • Knowledge of personnel and/or human resources management.
  • Demonstrated experience in community, public relations, and policy work.
  • Personal experience with disability preferred.
  • 4-year college level degree preferred.


  • Personal investment and commitment to intersectional work and cross-movement systems advocacy with other marginalized groups.
  • Commitment to, and experience in, anti-racist work and advocacy.
  • Experience with grassroots organizing.
  • Experience with consumer controlled and peer-led organizations.
  • Experience with membership-elected, non-profit governing boards.
  • Effective communication skills.
  • Experience with building funding relationships, partnerships and knowledge of grants management.
  • Represent NCIL at national and state disability events.
  • Experience with computers and emails or alternate communication method(s) to achieve high volume of correspondence with internal and external partners and stakeholders.

Position Location & Requirements

  • This is a full-time position.
  • The Executive Director position is located in Washington, DC.
  • The anticipated start date is May 17, 2021.

Compensation & Benefits

  • Commensurate with the experience and qualifications of the selected candidate, the salary range for the position is $130,000 – $145,000 annually, with the possibility of a performance-based bonus.
  • NCIL employees receive a generous benefits package, including paid vacation and sick time, 9 paid holidays, an end-of-year holiday break, 2 floating holidays, parental leave, and more. The package also includes health, dental, vision, life insurance, short and long term disability insurance, and eligibility for a 403(b) tax-deferred retirement account.
  • A relocation stipend may be available, depending on the total compensation package.

TO APPLY: Qualified applicants should submit a detailed professional resume, at least three professional references, and a cover letter to directorsearch@ncil.org.

Application Deadline: Close of Business March 15, 2021

The National Council on Independent Living is an equal opportunity employer and makes reasonable accommodations as appropriate for people with disabilities.  Women, people of marginalized gender identities, people of color, people with disabilities, and members of low-income, disadvantaged, and LGBTQ communities are strongly encouraged to apply.