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Yesterday, Dr. Sheila Crowley, the President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) announced that she would be retiring next year after 17 years leading the organization. Nonprofit HR is pleased to announce that we have been selected to head up the search and work collaboratively with NLIHC Board Search Committee to identify a successor. But as we’re getting that search ramped up, we also want to look back on what made Dr. Crowley such a powerful nonprofit CEO.

NLIHC is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes. Founded in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, NLIHC educates, organizes and advocates to ensure decent, affordable housing for everyone. NLIHC’s goals are to preserve existing federally assisted homes and housing resources, expand the supply of low income housing, and establish housing stability as the primary purpose of federal low income housing policy. Over the 17 years she ran the organization, Dr. Crowley was able to spearhead initiatives that brought those goals closer to reality.

Dr. Crowley joined the staff of the National Low Income Housing Coalition in December 1998. She is an accomplished social worker with a bachelor’s (1976), master’s (1978), and Ph.D. (1998) from the School of Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia. Under her leadership, NLIHC has grown into a major player in reforming current policy and advocating for housing reform. She has been the voice of the coalition in policy initiatives including federal budget reform, foreclosures, voucher programs and national policy changes, appearing before Congress to testify on the impact of policy issues on housing.

During her time as CEO, Dr. Crowley has been a perfect example of Nonprofit HR’s belief that the best organizations succeed through talent. Since she started in her role, NLIHC has grown from a staff of five to a staff of seventeen, attracting a strong group of experienced talent to help the organization succeed. The new president and CEO will be expected to continue her work and further the mission of NLIHC.


The President and Chief Executive Officer, reporting to the Board of Directors, will have an opportunity to lead and transition an established, well-respected national organization by passionately pursuing and implementing strategies that reframe priorities around extremely low income housing and economic justice issues. The new leader will masterfully leverage, expand and deepen connections and relationships across the nonprofit subsectors including health, education, and environmental issues that impact the poorest Americans.

The new leader will actively explore and seize mission-driven opportunities that impact the organization’s future, including its public policy agenda and fundraising goals. The CEO must be able to skillfully navigate strategic priorities for the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF), designed to build, preserve, rehabilitate, and operate rental homes for people with the lowest incomes. As the organization’s new CEO, it will be important to continue to position and present NLIHC as the “go to” national leader regarding the housing needs for those with the lowest incomes. As a thought-leader and articulate advocate, the CEO will drive a robust agenda that influences legislation and regulatory issues impacting the housing stability of low income people. The CEO will refine NLIHC’s strategic focus to broaden and maximize impact and ensure long-term sustainability. The CEO will advocate fervently for socially just housing policies that builds and strengthens relationships with key stakeholders, donors, members, partners, and constituents, including a committed board and highly competent and engaged staff.


The successful candidate will have an advanced degree in a relevant discipline from an accredited college or university and a minimum of 15 years of executive management experience of which at least 7 years should include experience successfully managing a nonprofit agency or significant large-scale national program. The successful candidate will also have extensive experience advocating for socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes.

The ideal leader has the ability to inspire, develop and empower staff and build a dynamic senior leadership team. The CEO will forge a solid partnership with the board and effectively manage the organization’s affairs. The new leader is a passionate and articulate advocate with demonstrated competencies to lead during an organizational transition, and has deep-rooted knowledge about community and economic development issues. The CEO must have the ability to develop, communicate and pursue a vision for the organization and have demonstrated competencies to build capacity. The CEO must be able to conceptualize and leverage programs to influence, expand and build influential relationships with multiple constituents. The ideal leader must also have proven success in fundraising, exceptional interpersonal skills, and leadership presence. The CEO will have a solid financial management and oversight competencies, experience working with a Board of Directors and managing public relations, outstanding strategic and analytical abilities, and excellent written and oral communications skills.   

Nonprofit HR has been exclusively retained for this search engagement.

For consideration, interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume, and writing samples. Your cover letter must address your experience and qualifications. Send materials to: execsearch@nonprofithr.com or mail or fax to: Nonprofit HR, Attn: NLIHC-CEO Search, 1400 I Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005, Fax: 202.785.2064. Electronic submissions highly preferred. Application deadline is December 11, 2015. Interested individuals are encouraged to apply immediately. Please visit www.nlihc.org for more information.

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