History

DRi works with and for the non-profit sector because we believe in the important work done everyday by the sector’s extraordinary institutions.

DRi was founded in 2001, when two veterans of some of the most recognized non-profits in the world elected to offer their leadership, management, communications, fundraising, and marketing expertise to non-profits across the U.S. Jennifer Dunlap and Nancy Racette had each spent more than 2 decades building organizations, hiring top-level talent, and designing and managing transformative strategies for some of America’s most successful organizations, such as the American Red Cross, CARE, the United Way, the Easter Seals Society, and Girl Scouts of the USA. They partnered to establish a firm that would provide high-quality and high-value executive search and development consulting services to help non-profits build the resources they needed to grow, thrive, and excel.

Having spent more than 25 years inside non-profits that responded to local community needs and domestic and international disasters, saving the lives of children and adults around the globe, Jennifer and Nancy regarded the work of these organizations as essential to a functioning world. They looked at the non-profit environment to which they had devoted their professional lives and saw a need for a consulting firm that could help organizations take a comprehensive and strategic approach to recruitment, governance and leadership, and resource generation.

In the 16 years since, DRi has provided these services for more than 340 non-profits of every size and in every sector. DRi was proud to create the fundraising plan for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Foundation in its very first assignment. Soon after, we were proud to help AARP write the initial business plan for the enormously successful AARP Foundation. But we—and our clients—understood that plans are only as good as the people who implement them. So since our very first days in business, we have provided both development consulting and executive search: sharing our own expertise and identifying cutting-edge leaders who work at our own high standards.

In 2001, DRi opened its first office in the Washington, D.C. area, where we worked with many of the national offices of our non-profit clients. In 2007, we opened offices in New York, NY and Austin, TX, pairing our expertise and proven process with dedicated local contacts and services for clients located from coast to coast—from Silverado, CA to Orchard Park, NY. In 2016, DRi celebrated its 15th anniversary with the opening of four new regional offices across the country: DRi West Coast; DRi Mountain West; DRi Midwest; and a new office in Boston, MA to expand DRi Northeast.

Along the way, DRi has prided itself on applying our knowledge of the non-profit sector to develop an innovative, holistic approach to executive search that you won’t find anywhere else. We are the only executive search firm to employ a dedicated Candidate Stewardship manager—an extra layer of care that protects our clients’ reputations among all candidates, whether or not they are selected for a position.

While DRi’s commitment to the non-profit sector has stayed the same, our development consulting and executive search services have grown. Today we partner with accomplished leadership coach Cindy O’Kane to offer executive support not just to new leaders, but to all Board members and executives seeking opportunities for professional growth. We have been joined by Chuck Crowe, the founder of Raising Impact, who has designed a major gift portfolio development service to help our clients quickly build revenue to invest in sustainable fundraising and high-impact programs.

DRi is committed to the future of the non-profit sector. Contact us to find out how we can work together to build it.

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