Nurture and Trenton, NJ

Director, Nurture NJ

The Organization

About Nurture NJ

New Jersey’s maternal mortality rates are among the worst in the nation, ranking 47th in maternal deaths according to America’s Health Rankings. Forty-seven women die, on average, for every 100,000 live births in New Jersey, compared to 20 nationally. For women and babies of color, the statistics are even more dire. A Black mother in New Jersey is seven times more likely to die than a white mother due to pregnancy complications, and a Black baby is three times more likely to die than a white baby in their first year of life. This is one of the widest racial disparities in the nation.

First Lady of New Jersey Tammy Murphy officially launched in early 2019 as a statewide initiative committed to ensuring equity in maternal and infant health outcomes for Black and brown women, and to reducing overall maternal and infant mortality and morbidity in the state. Nurture NJ is a multipronged, multi-agency initiative that aims to make New Jersey the safest place in the nation to give birth and raise a baby. Improved maternal and infant health outcomes for the state overall will be possible when the racial inequities in health are eliminated. Health equity, in turn, can only occur when racial equity in the social, political, and economic arenas occurs.

The disparities in maternal and infant outcomes are not the result of differences in genes or behaviors but are mostly explained by the differential historical, social, economic, and health environments experienced by Black and brown women. These economic and social differences matter for health; they are determinants of health, and as long as they exist, so will the disparities in maternal and infant health.

Nurture NJ recognizes that addressing these disparities and changing outcomes will require nothing less than the transformation of health, social, economic, and political contexts, systems, and mindsets. As such, Nurture NJ has three primary objectives:

1. Ensure all women are healthy and have access to care before pregnancy, whether or not an individual is actively seeking parenthood.

2. Build a safe, high-quality, equitable system of care and services for all women during prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum care.

3. Ensure supportive community environments and contexts during every other period of a woman’s life so that the conditions and opportunities for health are always available.

About the Nurture NJ Strategic Plan

To advance Nurture NJ and achieve its strategic goals, the provides an evidence-based, comprehensive, and actionable plan focused on equity and improved outcomes for all women and infants. The Plan is designed to be an organizing force for government, private stakeholder and community partnership action focused on ensuring women are healthy before pregnancy, building a system of equitable pregnancy-related care, and designing supportive community environments and contexts for mothers and their babies. In order to achieve these proximal outcomes, and the ultimate goal of Nurture NJ, the Plan recommends transformation through nine domains of action that prioritize racial equity, community engagement, and shifts in statewide mindset and ideology.

A Note on Language:

This document and the Nurture NJ Strategic Plan use language conventions that are intended to be universal and inclusive. We use the phrase “maternal and infant health” to refer to the health of pregnant individuals, which can include cisgender females, non-binary individuals, and transgender men, and their biological infants. We do not assume that all individuals that give birth to a child will care for that child, so we refer to caregivers, partners and spouses, and the Nurture NJ Strategic Plan intends to address their wellbeing as well.

For more information on Nurture NJ and the Nurture NJ Strategic Plan, please visit

Position Overview

About the NJ Birth Equity Funders Alliance

In the fall of 2020, four New Jersey private grantmaking foundations – the Burke Foundation, Community Health Acceleration Partnership, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and The Nicholson Foundation – formed the NJ Birth Equity Funders Alliance to support New Jersey in becoming a national leader in maternal, infant and reproductive health, racial justice, and health equity. The Alliance, now also consisting of The Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation and housed at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, will create an efficient and equitable way to further the Nurture NJ efforts and ensure that community members and community-based organizations are at the heart of this work. Specifically, an initial investment will include the provision of funds for the salary for a Nurture NJ Director (“Director”).

The Director Opportunity

We are seeking an exceptional candidate to share their expertise with the State of New Jersey, leading and coordinating statewide efforts to support New Jersey in becoming the safest and most equitable place to give birth and raise a baby. The Director will advance systemic change by building an inclusive process and engaged community around the initiative. As the primary representative for the initiative, the Director will build and foster relationships across sectors, listening deeply and centering the voices of those most impacted. Through these relationships, they will align and activate individuals, communities, organizations, and state agencies to transform the systems and structures that impact mothers and infants in New Jersey.

The Director will serve as a key leader in supporting all of the activities of the Nurture NJ initiative, including implementing the Nurture NJ Strategic Plan, which seeks to reduce maternal mortality and eliminate racial disparities in birth outcomes; an annual Black Maternal and Infant Health Leadership Summit; supporting the First Lady’s Family Festival event series; and quarterly interdepartmental maternal and infant health meetings, among other initiatives. Housed within the Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), the Director will collaborate with leaders within government, community members and organizers, leading funders, and others to move this work forward and transform the ecosystem around maternal and infant health in New Jersey, including partnering with leaders of the new Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Center being developed in Trenton. The Director will report to the Executive Vice President of Economic Security at NJEDA and will work in close partnership with the Office of the First Lady.

Specifically, the Director will:

• Oversee implementation of the Nurture NJ Strategic Plan, including:

– Work with state, local, and community members to reduce maternal mortality and eliminate racial disparities in birth outcomes through policy development, innovative training, service delivery reform, and research;

– Cultivate meaningful relationships with government officials, community constituents, and other stakeholders in New Jersey and support infrastructure for power-building and engagement;

– Working with individuals at the NJEDA and the Office of the First Lady, inform the creation and development of the Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Center to ensure priorities around community engagement and equity are embedded in every decision;

– Coordinate and plan quarterly meetings, convened by the First Lady of New Jersey, among state departments and agencies to further the achievement of the strategic objectives of the Plan;

– Collaborate with the New Jersey Birth Equity Funders Alliance and its Director to ensure philanthropic activities are aligned with the Nurture NJ strategic priorities and that the work of the Alliance can in turn help to inform the implementation of the Nurture NJ plan.

– Define, collect, monitor, track, and report progress on the Nurture NJ Strategic Plan performance measurement data;

– Write and disseminate quarterly reports on the status of the Nurture NJ Strategic Plan objectives to the Office of the First Lady of New Jersey, NJ Birth Equity Funders Alliance, NJEDA, and other interested parties as appropriate.

– Develop and chair an advisory group composed of sector-specific, state, and community leaders to participate in and guide the implementation of the Nurture NJ Strategic Plan, in cooperation and coordination with existing advisory groups within the Department of Health. This will include:

* Build and regularly convene meetings of an advisory group with diverse representation, including community members, mothers of color, clinicians, birthing professionals, researchers, policy experts, and funders;

* Identify and pursue effective maternal and child health programming for replication and scaling;

* Support the development of a health inequities policymaking agenda;

* Facilitate discussions and learning opportunities for advisory group members; and

* Present and promote advisory group recommendations to the Office of the First Lady for implementation in the Nurture NJ Strategic Plan

– Provide technical assistance and support to public and private stakeholders so they can meaningfully engage with community members in order to address racial inequities in maternal and infant health;

– Coordinate initiatives to shift ideology and mindsets around racial equity, and inform the development of statewide marketing campaign to build support for racial equity in maternal and infant health;

– Represent and communicate about Nurture NJ and related initiatives at meetings, conferences, and public events in New Jersey and nationally.

Candidate Profile

The Director will possess many of the following qualifications, experience, and skills:

• Recognized leadership as a change agent and movement builder who can engage and activate a wide range of constituents toward a shared vision, leveraging an understanding of communities in New Jersey;

• Active engagement at the national or state level and familiarity with research, interventions, and evaluation related to maternal and infant health and/or health equity;

• Deep understanding of the needs and intrinsic resources of communities that are facing the biggest disparities in outcomes related to health and well-being;

• Demonstrated ability to form and manage relationships defined by respect and collaboration with public, private, and community leaders, build leadership capacity among other constituents, and thoughtfully incorporate feedback into their work;

• Proven success as an organizational leader, likely with at least ten years’ experience leading programs;

• Demonstrated ability to facilitate complex change processes and manage long-term and large-scale projects; specific experience working with and across multiple state agencies would be valuable

• Ability to synthesize complex information quickly and present to and engage diverse audiences;

• Excellent oral and written communication skills (bilingual skills considered a plus).

Compensation & Benefits

The NJ Birth Equity Funders Alliance provides a competitive salary, commensurate with experience, for this position. The Director will be eligible for a comprehensive benefits package through Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

Additional Considerations

• The position will be a two-year contract with the NJ Birth Equity Funders Alliance and the Director will function as an Executive on Loan assigned to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

• The position will be based in Trenton, NJ, with frequent travel throughout the state.

• The Director shall be advisory and he or she shall have no financial decision-making authority while working on behalf of the State of New Jersey.

• The Director must comply with all New Jersey confidentiality requirements.

• While the Director is working with the State of New Jersey, the Administration shall be mindful of any potential conflict of interest involving the loaned executive and executive branch agencies.

• The Director shall not be employed by, nor represent any entity that is a vendor to or plans to become a vendor to the State of New Jersey.

• Salary, including expenses, are to be paid by the NJ Birth Equity Funders Alliance.

• Eligible candidates must undergo and successfully complete a background investigation.

How To Apply


The NJ Birth Equity Funders Alliance has engaged Cassie Scarano and Kirstin Griffiths of Koya Partners to help in this hire. Inquiries and referrals can be emailed via To apply for this position, please submit a compelling cover letter and resume via

All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors values diversity in all senses – people, viewpoints, and approaches – and recruit staff and board members who reflect the communities in which we live, work and serve. We strive to be an organization where talented people flourish and promote a healthy work environment that respects our colleagues’ professional and personal lives.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit

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