Executive Director Position Description



THE POSITION: The Executive Director leads, coordinates, and manages the administrative duties, program activity, and the external relations and fund-raising responsibilities under the guidance of the Board of Directors. These responsibilities include the mission of Pilgrims of Ibillin with the Mar Elias Educational Institutions (MEEI) in Ibillin, Israel, and the several Peace Building Initiatives in the West Bank, Israel, and Gaza.

THE DESCRIPTION OF PILGRIMS OF IBILLIN: Pilgrims was formed in 1992 at Grosse Pointe Memorial Presbyterian Church near Detroit. It was there that Father Elias Chacour came as an “Ecumenical Scholar” and shared his dream for a school with the Rev. Bruce Rigdon and the congregation. The church responded with support for the mission of Father Chacour, creating a “supporting organization” with a board of directors as an outreach ministry of the church. Pilgrims received stand-alone 501(c)(3) tax-status in 2007 and since then has been an independent nonprofit organization. There have been three very effective Executive Directors, Don Griggs, Bob Sawyer, and Joan Deming. The mission has thrived and continues to effectively carry out its strategic ministry.

THE VISION:  The vision of Pilgrims of Ibillin is to foster peace and justice in Israel and Palestine through education.

THE MISSION: The mission of Pilgrims of Ibillin is to support the Mar Elias Educational Institutions and other mission partners that cultivate a just peace in Israel and Palestine. Pilgrims of Ibillin provides support through financial resources, education, and Peace-Building Programs.



  • Develop the annual operational plan for the work of Pilgrims, guide its implementation, and assist in developing other planning documents such as a strategic plan.
  • Oversee the financial affairs of Pilgrims, with guidance from the accounting firm and members of the Board;
  • Arrange, with the Board Chair, for all meetings of the Board of Directors;
  • Make arrangements as needed for the variety of special events of Pilgrims;
  • Supervise any additional staff members or short-term employees;
  • Help select, orient, and guide volunteers who serve in the mission, and in particular those who serve at MEEI;
  • Keep up-to-date records of all actions on program and policy of the Board of Directors and legal documents;
  • Provide for reporting as needed to states requiring registration of charities.


  • Coordinate the several ways that Pilgrims serves MEEI, including student visits to the U.S., consultation in strategic planning, and the use of funds for scholarships, special programs, and capital improvements;
  • Guide or lead the educational programs about Israel and Palestine such as the Pilgrimages, seminars, and student visits;
  • Help arrange for any special visits of leaders who serve in those partner organizations that are supported by Pilgrims, especially the visits of Archbishop Emeritus Elias Chacour.

External Relations and Fund-Raising

  • Arrange for all publications (both print and electronic) of the Pilgrims, including the newsletter, letter updates, the website, social media presence, and the informational brochure.
  • Lead fundraising efforts and guide the Board of Directors in securing sufficient funds to meet the mission goals of Pilgrims;
  • Suggest external fund-raising firms that may assist Pilgrims in drafting private and governmental grants;
  • Care in a personal way for donor relationships and make strategic calls on fund-raising prospects;
  • Arrange for specific fund-raising initiatives including the annual Christmas letter, responses to critical situations, and find resources for specific needs and projects;
  • Keep an up-to-date data base of the constituency of Pilgrims, in coordination with the accountant’s donor records;
  • Maintain cooperative and cordial relations with senior officers and Board members of affinity organizations;
  • Maintain regular communication with the senior officers of those schools and organizations that we support; generally this responsibility will require at least one trip per year to Israel and Palestine with time for one-on-one meetings.


  1. University level education with preference for a Masters degree in a related field such as education, Middle East studies, or ministry;
  2. Experience at the management level in a not-for-profit service agency;
  3. Ability to raise major gifts from individual donors, private foundations, and government agencies
  4. Ability to manage the wide-range and complex affairs of a non-profit mission agency
  5. Ability to work wisely with congregational, denominational, ecumenical, and interfaith groups engaged in ministry in Israel and Palestine
  6. Ability to work and effectively communicate across cultures, with particular awareness of the unique situation of Palestinian Christians.
  7. Ability to use standard office technology and Internet-based media.
  8. Ability to communicate with clarity in both written and spoken English.

THE CONTEXT OF THE MISSION: The mission of Pilgrims is carried out in the extremely complex environment of Israel and Palestine. This setting, while in constant flux, has consistently been difficult for the Palestinian citizens of Israel and those living in the West Bank and Gaza (Occupied Territories).  This mission of Pilgrims of Ibillin is to help secure a just peace for the region and assist Palestinian people to live with dignity and have opportunities to pursue lives filled with opportunity, security, and fulfillment.


  1. The compensation is based on the expectation that the Executive Director will work ¾ time or more, and the range will be in the low $40,000’s. The arrangement will be by contract, and no pension or medical coverage will be available. However, this arrangement can be negotiated.
  2. The were will be ample room for vacation, depending upon the schedule of activities and meeting deadlines, but a full month, perhaps taken at different times during the year is granted.
  3. Pilgrims has no central location and office, and therefore it is the expectation that the Executive Director will be able to work from home. Other arrangements can be discussed.
  4. While there may be some freedom in arranging the best staff configuration, it is expected that the Executive Director will have a part-time administrative assistant available from 15-20 hours per week depending upon the need and work style. A set amount will be budgeted for this appointment each year.
  5. The position is demanding and there is an abundance of work. Clear priorities will need to be set, and there is the expectation that the workload will be shared with some volunteers, primarily from the Board of Directors.
  6. It is expected that there will be time to be oriented to the position during the second half of 2017 with some compensation, and the regular appointment will begin in January of 2018.

If you are interested in applying for this position or have further questions, please contact:

Bob Sawyer, Vice President • 533 Steeple View Ct., Winston Salem, NC 27101
rsawyertz@gmail.com 336-727-1387.

Applicants, please send a letter with resume and three references to Bob Sawyer at address above.

Application Deadline:  June 30, 2017

Contact Us

Executive Director:

The Rev. Joan Deming
608-241-9281 office/home
608-235-1046 mobile

Order Books and DVDs:

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To donate by check, make payable to Pilgrims of Ibillin and mail:
     Pilgrims of Ibillin c/o Jitasa
     1750 W Front St, Suite 200
     Boise, ID 83702

Pilgrims of Ibillin is a 501c3 nonprofit and donations are deductible under US tax law. Our tax # is 38-3243253.
To be added to our NEWSLETTER snail-mail or email lists, send an email with your request to joan@pilgrimsofibillin.org.