Vice President, Advancement


Knoxville, Tennessee



Knox Area Rescue Ministries seeks to rescue the poor and needy of the Knox area by providing recovery services in Jesus’ name.  They deliver programs and services designed to serve the needy and homeless  with the ultimate goal of breaking the cycle of brokenness in their lives. This means providing safe shelter, food and other daily needs, recovery programs, job training opportunities, and most of all, overwhelming biblical hospitality.


Their new Vice President of Advancement will be charged with cultivating revenue streams and avenues for fundraising, working proactively with the CEO and President to ensure the vitality and health of the organization’s budget while advancing its mission. This position is responsible for building and fostering positive and productive relationships among individual donors, and foundations, as well as corporate, church and community leaders, ensuring they are vested in the work of KARM. He or she is also responsible for the development and execution of marketing plans that will engage with target audiences to enhance the brand, increase donor retention, and significantly grow income over the next few years.


In 1960, five local pastors began looking for ways to meet the needs of Knoxville’s growing homeless population. They envisioned a ministry that would share the love of Jesus Christ by meeting the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of hurting and homeless men who found themselves lost and forgotten in a busy world.


On December 8th of that year, they opened the doors of the Knoxville Union Rescue Mission, located on Fifth Avenue in the heart of Knoxville’s downtown. With a new facility and staff fully in place, the young ministry began the slow, yet steady work of rescue and transformation, extending the hands and heart of Jesus Christ to all who walked through its doors.


Today, over 60 years later, Knox Area Rescue Ministries (KARM) serves up to 750 meals daily and shelters nearly 400 men, women and children each night. KARM’s mission is to rescue the poor and needy in the Knoxville area by providing recovery services in Jesus’ name. Emergency services provided by KARM are the essential first step to helping the homeless out of their crisis and introducing them to the One who can bring real restoration. KARM serves a variety of people, including the homeless, the working poor, the mentally ill, veterans, those persons dealing with drug or alcohol addictions, and people escaping family violence—men, women and families of all ethnic backgrounds.


Indeed, the face of homelessness has changed since KARM opened the doors in 1960. No longer is it only the bent, broken older man stumbling down the sidewalk. Rather, it is also the faces of hungry, frightened children and parents overwhelmed by their circumstances, women in crisis, and teens who have aged out of foster care with nowhere else to go. The need is even more critical today because whole generations are in danger of becoming enslaved to poverty and addiction.


While KARM is unapologetically a Christian organization, no one seeking help is denied services for not participating in Christian services or professing faith in Jesus Christ. Living out the Christian faith by fulfilling the biblical mandate to care for “the least of these” drives all that the organization does each day. KARM is the largest homeless service provider in East Tennessee and the only 24 hour emergency shelter in the region. The mission strives to work in partnership or collaboratively with other area service providers to facilitate optimal service delivery to those in need. Professional affiliations include membership in the Citygate Network and the Evangelical Council on Financial Accountability (ECFA).


KARM’s FY21/22 budget is $11.2 million, 62% of which comes from private, direct donor support (including churches and a few grants). Another 38% comes from income-producing businesses that include its 22 KARM Thrift Stores and a catering enterprise. 89% of their revenue is spent on program services—things that directly impact and benefit their guests and residents.


KARM participates annually in the Best Christian Workplace Institute (BCWI) survey. This past year, KARM’s results reached the “Flourishing” range of employee engagement. At a score of 4.32 out of a possible 5.0, KARM is in the top 4% of rescue missions’ BCWI surveys (average engagement score for rescue missions is 4.01).

Under the direction of an 18-member Board of Directors, the team of 82 full-time employees is led by 18-year CEO, Burt Rosen, and a leadership team consisting of Danita McCartney, President; Cynthia Russell, VP/Serenity Ministries; Steve Clabough, VP/Operations; Todd Gilbert, VP/Programs; David Strom, VP/Information & Technology; and Michael Patterson, VP/People & Culture.


The ministry includes an 85,000 square foot campus at 418 N. Broadway as well as Serenity their long-term residential recovery for women located in East Knoxville. They currently have nearly 500 active volunteers and almost 1000 church partners, and serve 5000 different guests each year.


The following equation represents KARM’s emphasis and is currently in use in all KARM materials:




Rescue, at its simplest point of definition, comes in the form of an immediate response to men, women and children who are in crisis and need a life preserver to pull them to safety. Rescue is provided through a needed meal, safe shelter, a clean bed, and the services of KARM’s staff and volunteers, offered with overwhelming biblical hospitality.


A relationship with God and healthy Christ-like relationships with others are vital to moving forward toward restoration. Relationship building is woven into the fabric of every ministry opportunity, and is integral throughout Crossroads, LaunchPoint, residential recovery for women at Serenity, and Berea, a co-ed residential development program.



Restoration is the ultimate desired result for those who come to KARM in need...restoration to God, self, family and community. When one is rescued and then develops healthy relationships, true restoration becomes possible. Hope is awakened and visions for a new life become attainable.


KARM Rescue

KARM provides emergency shelter to nearly 400 men, women and children each night who have nowhere else to turn—offering a safe place from the elements to eat and rest with loving staff and volunteers who listen, help and pray with and for them. Providing immediate emergency shelter for families, KARM then works with other family service providers in the East Tennessee area to find additional resources or housing.


NaNew’s Courtyard, named after someone with special ties to KARM, was opened as a safe outdoor space for KARM guests when they weren’t inside the facilities. The courtyard provides water, restrooms, phone chargers, bag storage and permanent shaded seating areas. NaNew’s Courtyard has become a safe outdoor extension of KARM for those on the street.



Crossroads Welcome Center is the starting point for guests—a welcoming place where staff and volunteers determine guests’ needs and help them access area resources. Its objectives are simple: meet guests where they are and introduce them to the resources, services and opportunities that will help them break the cycle of homelessness. Crossroads connects numerous agencies into a strong support network for their guests.



LaunchPoint restores hope by reconnecting individuals to the dreams he or she once had but were lost when their life went off track.


Once KARM guests have their emergency needs met, the four-week LaunchPoint program helps them find hope and stability. As part of this program, students learn to take small steps that result in forward movement, and they begin to see that making wise choices can lead to a new life journey. On that journey, they can discover God’s purpose for their life, develop a life plan with realistic goals, and learn to implement this plan in manageable steps.


During LaunchPoint graduation ceremonies, each student receives a certificate bearing the following words in recognition of their important steps on a new life journey:


For COURAGE in the Face of Doubt, HUMILITY in the Presence of God,

and STEADFAST FOCUS on the Restoration of Hope Available to All.


Most graduates have moved on to employment and independent living or are moving forward to break their cycle of homelessness.


Berea at KARM

KARM’S innovative 9–12 month Berea program ushers people into God’s presence through the dignity of work, the value of learning and the joy of serving. Berea has transformed KARM into a Work-Learn-Serve-Live campus environment, where students are either in class, working or performing community service. Upon completion, students have realistic short and long-term goals and Biblically-based plans for their future, supported by training and skills for employment—helping them break the cycle of homelessness.


Berea is a co-ed residential program where students learn to live within a healthy community. This community allows for support, encouragement and accountability that unites them in their goal to move forward.



For more than 30 years, Serenity has been a light in the darkness for women in crisis. Serving up to 33 women (and women with children), Serenity offers a 12- to 18-month biblically-based residential program for those seeking a safe place to find rescue; to understand the root causes of their problems and to recover and enjoy a restored life of freedom from addiction, domestic violence and homelessness.


From the moment a woman enters Serenity, volunteers and staff begin preparing them for the day they will leave. KARM has learned that one of the most important keys to successful recovery is for the person to truly understand they are a unique creation deeply loved by God.


The team at Knox Area Rescue Ministries considers itself to be healthy, passionate and excited about the future. Theirs is a “grace-based” environment, and they are an organization that is financially sound, committed to living out their core values, and positioned for growth. KARM is one of only 25 Rescue Missions across the entire country that has been “Certified Excellent” (out of 300+ member missions) by Citygate Network. In awarding their Certificate of Excellence, Citygate Network recognizes KARM as a model of effective programming and operations, exemplifying the best of what rescue ministries can be in their service to God and to those in need.


Their theme during the pandemic was, “Emerge Stronger. Fearless, Faithful and Focused,” and that pretty well describes where they are today. They hold a respected place in the community and have evolved over the years to meet the ever-changing needs of the homeless. They are known as the “expert” in homeless service and response, as the place where hope is ignited in Knoxville and where people have the opportunity to meet Jesus! Their most critical needs include additional space to expand programming (they just completed a $1.2 million renovation project) as well as restarting their men's recovery program.


The new VP will join a cohesive, “high trust” leadership team and inherit a small portfolio of mid and major donors upon which to build personally. More importantly, they will lead a strong advancement team toward the goal of serving their current donors even better and growing their overall donor base. KARM’s current individual donor file—not including churches and foundations—consists of:

  • Major—335 ($5,000+)

  • Mid—2,655 ($500–5,000)

  • General—32,991 ($0–500)


They do not take city, state, or federal funds, nor do they accept monies from the United Way.


The ideal candidate will likely be currently serving as a rescue mission or social services provider's VP of Development or hold a senior-level development role at a local, regional or national nonprofit. He or she will need to be visionary (progress-focused and inspirational) and have a servant heart (humble and protective) when it comes to leading their team, meeting with donors, serving their clients and setting the overall strategies for fundraising. Terms like proven leader, strategic planner, relational, team developer, bold, and creative/innovator will describe this person.


He or she will be a leader, not a manager, moving things forward while understanding the details and respecting the history. They will need to have demonstrated development success, be a spiritually mature Christian who is able to work well across all departments and with the community, and have a passion for ministry and for those KARM serves. As CEO Burt Rosen puts it, they “must have a passion for God’s Word bearing fruit in the lives of people.”


Position Title: Vice President, Advancement


Reports To: President

Direct Reports: Stewardship Managers, Development Assistant, Director of Community Engagement, Mid-Level Donor Manager, Donor Database Specialist, Director of Communications & PR

Location: Knoxville, Tennessee



The VP, Advancement serves as a key leadership team member and an active participant in making strategic decisions affecting KARM. In partnership with the CEO and President, this position is responsible for all fundraising and development activities. Forges new relationships to build KARM’s visibility, impact and financial resources. Designs and implements a comprehensive plan for developing key external alliances by cultivating individual and philanthropic support. Has primary responsibility for establishing and implementing the infrastructure needed to grow an $11 million budget through the solicitation of major gifts, churches, grants, social media, direct mail and special events.



  • Works with the President and CEO and leadership team in setting annual goals and budget

  • Creates an annual resource development plan based on meeting budget goals

  • Prospects and creates relationships with new major donors and community engagement that align with KARM’s Christian faith

  • Works with existing donors, sponsors and community partners to further expand current relationships

  • Adjusts strategies as needed to meet annual budget goals and forecasts

  • Completes research and writing as directed by President and CEO

  • Maximizes efforts by development team, leadership team and volunteers to meet the development goals set forth in the annual budget through advertising, donations, grants and events

  • Administers and reports on the progress of meeting resource development goals by the development team that assists in raising funds

  • Directs development team to coordinate partnerships and relationships with other community resources to expand awareness on KARM’s organizational mission

  • Strategically organizes the annual President’s Gathering to secure major donor pledges

  • Manages the management contract with direct mail and mid-level cultivation vendors

  • Oversees the donor database so that all mailings are timely, records are updated daily, and research is completed for timely field calls

  • Manages grant applications and compliance

  • Ensures confidentiality of prospect/donor information

  • Leads and motivates the development division staff

  • Leads and generates income-producing initiatives, including but not limited to major donors, mid-level donors, direct mail, events, grants, web/social media and capital campaigns

  • Represents KARM professionally and in accordance with fundraising standards to the public, donors, volunteers, and program guests

  • Models Christian conduct and behavior to all constituents

  • Performs other duties as assigned



  • Commitment to Christian faith; spiritually mature

  • Commitment to KARM’s mission and agreement with their Statement of Faith

  • Willingness to live out their Guiding Values of being God Dependent, Biblically Grounded, People Centered, Church and Volunteer Rooted, Excellence Minded and Dedicated to the Homeless, Poor and Needy for Christ's sake

  • Bachelor’s degree with at least ten (10) years nonprofit experience

  • Fundraising background required

  • Capital Campaign background preferred

  • Multi-media experience strongly preferred

  • Grant writing experience required

  • Must be able to meet short deadlines

  • Effective communicator, writer and editor

  • Proficient in public speaking

  • Demonstrated ability to handle confidential information according to procedures

  • Ability to easily adapt to change and enjoy working in a fast-paced environment

  • Excellent management and interpersonal skills

  • Excellent organizational abilities

  • Demonstrated proficiency in grammatical and writing skills, general office skills, and organization of details, including telephone skills, filing, record keeping and time management

  • Proficient in office protocols and practices

  • Proficient in Microsoft applications

  • Proficient in the use and development of spreadsheets, data organization and analysis

  • Flexible work schedule (weekends, evenings), as night and weekend events are sometimes required


Compensation & Benefits

  • Salary: Commensurate with experience and size of organization

  • Benefits: Health insurance (medical, dental, vision) with company premium contribution, STD, LTD, life insurance and AD&D; 401(k) retirement plan with company match; self-pay supplemental insurance options (accident, hospitalization, cancer, etc.)

  • Vacation: Ten (10) days vacation, five (5) personal days, seven (7) days sick time, plus holidays

  • Relocation: Yes, negotiable

  • Travel: Minimal


Knoxville is the county seat of Knox County in the eastern part of Tennessee. As of the 2020 census, Knoxville's population was just over 186,000, making it the state's third largest city after Nashville and Memphis. The Knoxville Metropolitan Area had an estimated population of 869,046 in 2019.

Knoxville—which celebrated its 225th anniversary in 2021—is a city with a number of cultural amenities ranging from arts and entertainment to sports and cuisine. The city and its surrounding metro area schools are consistently ranked as some of the best in the nation, and there is a strong magnet program as well as a number of private school options available. It is also home to the University of Tennessee and a number of other prestigious colleges.


Major corporations headquartered in the area include the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)-the nation's largest public power provider, Pilot Flying J-the nation's largest truck stop chain and sixth largest private company, and The H. T. Hackney Company-the nation's fourth largest wholesale grocer, as well as Regal Cinemas, Clayton Homes, Ruby Tuesday, Weigel’s Convenience Stores, and major operations of Discovery, Inc.


In October 2021, the median listing home price in Knoxville was $295K, trending up 13.5% year-over-year. The median income in the region is $56,623 and the city is ranked #46 on the U.S. News & World Report “Best Places to Live in the USA” list.

To learn more about the work of KARM, please visit their website at To download a copy of their latest Annual Report, click here.