Chief Development Officer

California, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Sep 17, 2020
Oct 16, 2020
Employment Type
Full Time

At First Place for Youth, we are committed to creating a community that fosters equity of experience and opportunity, and ensures that youth and staff of all backgrounds feel welcomed and included. Our culture of openness, collaboration and belonging make it a great place to work!


First Place for Youth is the largest agency in California dedicated exclusively to providing access to affordable housing and resources for transition-age foster youth and has grown to become a nationally recognized model. Founded in 1998, First Place seeks to help foster youth build the skills they need to make a successful transition to self-sufficiency and responsible adulthood. We take a dual approach to our mission, providing results-driven direct service to young people who need support in pursuing their goals and advocating for public policies that will improve the lives of foster youth nationwide. 

Through its flagship program, My First Place™, and other supporting programs, First Place supports current and former foster youth at a critical time in their lives when they are learning to support themselves. We currently operate programs in six California counties (Alameda, San Francisco, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Solano, and Los Angeles). In Fiscal Year 2019, we served 1,715 youth overall and provided housing and intensive support services through the My First Place program to 654 youth.

First Place for Youth envisions a future where all foster youth in the United States can make a successful transition to adulthood by achieving self-sufficiency, therefore eliminating the disparities between these youth and their non-foster care peers. To realize that vision, First Place for Youth launched the My First Place Network to partner with diverse, data-driven providers throughout the United States to bring our program to more young people across geographies. By expanding geographically, we expand our impact and deepen our understanding of the program’s effectiveness. Currently we have four network partners in Boston (MA), New York City (NY), Cincinnati (OH), and Mississippi.

We are looking for equity-minded applicants who represent the full diversity of California and who demonstrate a sensitivity to and understanding of the diverse socioeconomic, cultural, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ethnic backgrounds present in our community. When you join the team at First Place, you can expect to be part of an inclusive, innovative and equity-focused community that approaches youth services as a matter of social justice that requires broad collaboration among staff, youth and community partners. 



The Chief Development Officer serves as a key leadership team member and an active participant in making strategic decisions affecting First Place for Youth. The Chief Development Officer (CDO) will be instrumental in engaging the Board, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and the executive management team in the creation and implementation of a long-term private fund development strategy that can sustain and strengthen all fundraising and development needs for the entire organization. 

The CDO will help forge new relationships to build the organization’s visibility, impact, and financial resources. Additionally, the Chief Development Officer will design and implement a comprehensive plan for developing key external alliances by cultivating individual and philanthropic support. They will lead and manage the communication and marketing strategy for the entire organization to rigorously engage new foundations, corporations, and individual donors, growing resources both in California and nationally, and securing funders to provide a deep investment in program expansion, as well as policy and evaluation efforts.  

The CDO will have primary responsibility for establishing and implementing the infrastructure needed to grow a $27M budget through the solicitation of major gifts, federal and state grants, special events, and corporate and foundation support. The annual private development target will range between $5-8M, annually.

This position reports to the CEO, supervises all Development Team staff and serves as a development resource throughout the organization. The CDO is responsible for fundraising efforts statewide, including Los Angeles, and provides support to Affiliate national partners in developing fundraising plans and strategies. This position requires a results-oriented leader whose passion for First Place’s mission is matched with strong tactical leadership, outstanding interpersonal skills, crisp decision-making in the face of complex challenges, and a proven track record of non-profit fundraising.



Oakland, CA


Position Competencies:


• ACADEMIC QUALIFICATION – the amount of knowledge required would typically be acquired in a bachelor’s degree and membership in a professional fundraising association.

• ORGANIZATIONAL MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE – At least five years of experience serving as a member of the executive leadership team, providing guidance on organization’s development strategies and successfully implementing the overall vision, strategy, and organizational development priorities. Ability to manage multi-site, statewide organization. Experience developing creative structures of support/accountability among peers and teams. Strong administrative skills. Ability to multi-task, see many sides to complex issues, and perform at high standards with a collegial team.

• FUND DEVELOPMENT – At least 10 years’ nonprofit development experience with demonstrated success securing $500K+ grants from local and national foundations and corporations. At least five years' experience managing Individual and Major Donor relationships. Experience matching funding sources with program need. Considerable experience creating, leading, and aligning development strategy with finance/budget, human resources, program development, organizational development, etc.

• PEOPLE, PROJECT, AND PROGRAM MANAGEMENT SKILLS - Exemplary people management skills, strategic leadership abilities, and the ability to link the development of people with achievement of organizational outcomes. Effective team leadership skills. Cross-functional collaborative capacity. Ability to either take direction or work independently as the situation requires. Strong supervisory skills and proven success supporting staff development and empowerment. Demonstrated experience organizing, managing, and evaluating events, campaigns, or productions.

• FIELD KNOWLEDGE - Understanding of social service systems, with particular emphasis on the foster care system and services for young adults and young parents.

• LEADERSHIP – Flexible, energetic, and outcomes-oriented self-starter who brings a creative approach to solving problems. Capacity to interact effectively with First Place’s many constituencies including staff, Board members, community partners, individual and institutional donors, and community supporters. A leader who can positively influence both strategic and tactical fundraising.

• CULTURAL COMPETENCIES - Model a responsibility to self-awareness and awareness of others to recognize that individuals bring unique backgrounds, beliefs, values, and world-views. View racial and cultural differences as assets to the organization. 

• DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION - Committed to First Place for Youth’s dedication to thread accountability across all efforts to support and sustain a racially equitable organization. Demonstrate a passion of advancing organizational DEI objectives and influencing others to approach all work with an equity lens. Promote processes and communication that encourage organizational cultural competence and inclusion.

• STRONG COMMUNICATION SKILLS – Exceptional oral and written communication skills including the demonstrated ability to research, assimilate, and analyze information, compose reports and correspondence, and present proven data in a clear and inspiring manner.  

• DECISIVE NATURE - Well-honed ability to independently anticipate and analyze situations, define problems and objectives, recognize viable alternatives and formulate rapid solutions, with understanding of the inherent risks and the implications of making tough decisions. 

• COMPUTER SKILLS – Strong capacity for using Raiser’s Edge. Proficiency with Microsoft Office applications, including MS Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Project, and Outlook. Experienced with database systems. 

• AVAILABILITY – Maintain a flexible work schedule to meet the demands of executive management.

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