Work at the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Community Development Specialist

Department: Preservation
Location: Washington, DC

Job Summary:

The Community Development Specialist advocates to save historic places by applying specialized professional expertise and experience in community development for the preservation and revitalization of nationally significant historic places through our National Treasures Program, assisting in the raising of funds for National Treasure projects, and consulting as needed on related programs within the Preservation Division.

The Community Development Specialist is a persuasive public-interest advocate and experienced technical expert who tenaciously pursues strategic opportunities and solutions, in public forums and private settings, to preserve and revitalize historic neighborhoods, including the adaptive use and sustainable redevelopment of older & historic structures for the benefit of people.

This position is a subject-matter expert responsible for advising, training and enhancing team skills on community-outreach and community–development issues.  S/he will be a team-oriented professional with proven ability to carry out complex tasks as part of a multi-disciplinary team with capacity to work under pressure and meet deadlines.  This position is responsible for developing effective external working relationships with key target groups, and for providing facilitation, technical assistance and guidance on projects related to community development.  S/he will act as a specialist on teams, either as a project manager or team member, with the objective of increasing the quality and effectiveness of those groups’ outreach and interactions with targeted communities.

The Community Development Specialist spends approximately 70% of their time on National Treasures programmatic activities, including: identifying potential National Treasure projects, crafting and implementing strategic advocacy plans, and ensuring the success of selected multi-year Treasure projects as a project manager or team member.

The Community Development Specialist also is responsible for applying the National Trust’s intervention criteria to potential non-National Treasure projects, especially those related to the preservation and revitalization of historic neighborhoods, in order to recommend if it is appropriate for the organization to take action. When approved, the Community Development Specialist takes direct action outside of the National Treasures program.


Identify potential National Treasures. The Community Development Specialist will work with the Senior Field Director & Attorney and others to identify potential National Treasure projects, to vet and nominate those projects, and to define a distinct objective and role for the National Trust. Working within the process for selecting National Treasures, the Community Development Specialist will vet potential Treasures, complete nomination and budget forms, and present potential Treasures for review.

Develop and implement project plans and budgets for National Treasures. The Community Development Specialist will create and implement project plans and budgets with stated goals and objectives to ensure successful outcomes for selected National Treasure projects, especially those related to the preservation and revitalization of historic neighborhoods. This person will lead multiple project teams and will work collaboratively with National Trust staff, outside partners, National Trust Advisors, and other interested parties to undertake these advocacy campaigns.

Integrate programs in the work of the National Trust. The Community Development Specialist will work collaboratively with cross-Trust project teams to ensure successful outcomes for National Treasures, and will use their special expertise and experience in community development to contribute to other work undertaken on Preservation Priorities and by the Preservation Division when appropriate. This integration will be reflected in strategic plans, the annual work plan, and performance metrics, and will be part of evaluation cycles.

Fundraise for National Treasure projects. The Community Development Specialist will work collaboratively with Field Services and the Development Division to meet established fundraising goals for assigned National Treasure projects.

Other duties as assigned. The Community Development Specialist will complete other duties as assigned by the Senior Field Director & Attorney.


Historic Preservation & Advocacy Experience.

  • Demonstrated professional knowledge, experience, and success in historic preservation and community development is required.
  • Special technical expertise and professional experience in preservation-based community development planning, policy, and implementation is required, including, for example, stakeholder engagement, public outreach & involvement, consensus building, land-use master planning, equitable re-development techniques, real estate transactions, tax-credit and market financial strategies, private- and public-sector funding opportunities, and market and economic dynamics that influence the feasibility of rehabilitation & reuse, contextual infill, and preservation-based re-development.
  • Professional experience and/or significant volunteer activity in the non-profit and advocacy sectors and experience or interest in community development and historic preservation.
  • Demonstrated success in engaging culturally and ethnically diverse communities, constituents, and partners. Ties to diverse affinity groups, professional  organizations, or related associations.


Leadership and Management Skills.

  • Demonstrated success in working collaboratively with internal and external players, and demonstrated problem solving, project management, team leadership skills are required.
  • Demonstrated capability to work effectively within a geographically distributed organization and across internal departments and programs.
  • Demonstrated capability to develop and implement strategies with paid and volunteer staff and outside vendors.
  • Experience in working collaboratively with non-profit and for-profit partners.
  • Experience  building and managing complex project budgets.

Hands-On Experience in Advocacy.

  • At least 8-10 years of overall professional work experience, including a minimum of 5 years of professional work in advocacy for community development or historic preservation is required.
  • Demonstrated  success in building, managing, and leading complex advocacy programs and      projects to meet quantifiable outcomes.
  • Demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit, energy, and skill set.
  • Demonstrated diplomacy, teamwork, and optimism.
  • Knowledge of key-players in the community development field.

Academic and Related Qualifications.

  • Bachelor’s  degree or equivalent professional experience required; Master’s degree in a relevant field, or equivalent professional experience, in community development or historic preservation is strongly preferred.
  • Excellent verbal, written, public speaking, presentation, and electronic communication skills is required.
  • Demonstrated interest in, and commitment to, the values and goals of the National Trust for Historic Preservation is required.
  • Regular and reliable attendance required.

To Apply

Please email cover letter and resume to

Please email your resume in .doc, .docx, .pdf, .txt, .rtf, .html, or .ascii format to the address below. If you wish to enclose a cover letter, please include it in the body of your email message.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation an equal opportunity organization and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability.  The National Trust for Historic Preservation  actively seeks opportunities to include members of these groups in its programs and activities.

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