Pivotal supports young people in and from
foster care to realize their educational and career goals and
ensure their equitable access to opportunity. Pivotal envisions a community in
which every young person gets the education, career, and life they
want for themselves. Using data and evidence-based approaches,
Pivotal provides highly individualized academic and career-oriented
services to current and former foster youth at the secondary and
Pivotal is at an important inflection point as it articulates
its approach to growth and builds on the successes of its current
model and experiences gained through the pandemic. Pivotal seeks a
CEO to lead the organization through this
important moment of growth, building and facilitating a data-driven
plan that maximizes Pivotal’s unique model, is well resourced, and
is anchored in the needs of the young people that Pivotal serves.
The next CEO will join a dedicated and caring staff who are deeply
committed to supporting youth experiencing foster care in achieving
Strong candidates will first and foremost be deeply passionate
about improving the educational outcomes of youth experiencing
foster care and understands the systematic barriers they must
overcome to survive and thrive. The next CEO will be a seasoned
leader who has navigated significant growth and/or led change
management processes with a focus on continuous learning and
improvement. They will understand how to marry data and
evidence-based programming with values centered on individual
scholar experience and achievement. The next CEO will be the
external face of the organization, elevating Pivotal’s unique value
proposition, and will bring a high level of comfort fundraising and
cultivating new partnerships and donors. A trusted leader within
the ecosystem that Pivotal operates, the CEO will align and
leverage the support that Pivotal provides with services provided
at the state and local levels.
History, Mission & Key Programs
Pivotal, formerly Silicon Valley Children’s Fund, teamed up with
the County of Santa Clara to build a children’s shelter in 1989. In
2012, the Silicon Valley Children’s Fund sold the facility and
reinvested the proceeds from the sale to shift and prioritize its
focus on the unfulfilled educational needs of foster youth in the
region. One collaboration, a partnership with TeenForce, provided
internship opportunities for foster youth. In 2017, Silicon Valley
Children’s Fund merged with TeenForce to expand the services and
supports it provides to increase the organization’s ability to
positively impact the lives of foster youth. On recommendation from
its Youth Advisory Board, Silicon Valley Children's Fund and
TeenForce rebranded as Pivotal in 2018 to better reflect the
organization’s commitment to foster youth in Silicon Valley.
Pivotal’s proven program model includes the following:
High School Coaching
Through full-time staff coaches and interns in social work,
Pivotal provides intensive, one-on-one services to foster youth
starting at 9th grade through the completion of high school.
Coaches help youth to develop and implement a graduation plan, look
ahead to post-secondary options, and support them in career
exploration. By encouraging a stronger commitment to academic and
career goals, coaches help set the stage for youth to earn a
college degree or a professional education. Coaches support foster
youth through unstable home placements, school changes, and life
challenges, ensuring they maintain focused on their goals, even
amidst the chaos.
College Coaching & Scholarships
Pivotal partners college youth with postsecondary coaches who
help students navigate the college experience, succeed
academically, and gain professional experience and development.
Coaches work to close the learning gaps these young people may have
experienced in high school, moving around from school to school or
district to district. Pivotal offers college scholarships each year
to help students offset living expenses while they are enrolled in
school. Eligible students can receive up to 5-years of funding to
support their dreams of attending college.
Professional Badging & Summer
The Professional Badging Program aims to increase students’
preparation for summer internships and for eventual career success.
Pivotal provides scholars access to the professional development
training, career exploration, and hands-on experience they need to
become self-sufficient. Students explore careers and develop the
skills they need to thrive in the workplace. To prepare them for
internships and jobs, Pivotal offers their college students
professional development in a wide range of topics. Scholars can
earn two badges, one in Career Readiness and the other in Financial
Literacy. The goal is to help foster youth successfully find
employment that garners a living wage in their field of interest by
providing them with tools and strategies that will serve them
through their careers and in their everyday lives.
Pivotal’s next CEO will lead an organization focused on
supporting youth experiencing foster care through programs which
center individual student experience and improve educational
outcomes. Leveraging the efficacy of Pivotal’s existing program
model, the CEO will chart the organization’s next chapter and
identify opportunities to grow impact. The CEO will engage the
following leadership opportunities:
Strategic Growth and Sustainability
Building on Pivotal’s Theory of Change (TOC) and a newly
developed 3-year strategic plan, the next CEO will lead the
organization’s next phase of growth. They will define and refine a
vision that meets the needs of the youth that Pivotal serves,
maximizes Pivotal’s unique program model, sustains existing sources
of revenue and identifies new ones, and leverages data for
continuous improvement and innovation. The CEO will build a path
that clearly articulates a sustainable growth plan supported by
evidence, a strong revenue model, and stewardship of Pivotal’s
Fundraising and External Relations
Partnering with the Development and Communications teams, the
CEO will co-develop an external relations and fundraising plan to
broaden potential revenue streams, elevate Pivotal’s visibility,
and increase support from individual donors and foundations. The
CEO will be an active, visible, and trusted leader within the
ecosystem Pivotal operates, thoughtfully leveraging opportunities
to support scholars, promote Pivotal’s program model, and be a
vocal advocate for improving outcomes for youth scholars impacted
by the foster care system. They will serve, alongside senior
program staff, as a trusted resource and partner to the youth that
Pivotal serves, community organizations, funders, schools,
government agencies, and other collaborators to collectively
strengthen the systems that impact foster youth.
The CEO will lead a dedicated staff of 40, along with dedicated
interns and volunteers, and an operating budget of $5.5 million.
Together with the Chief Financial and Operating Officer, the CEO
will lead effective business operations that ensures Pivotal’s
financial sustainability and opportunities for programmatic growth.
They will hold an enterprise-level view of the organization, using
sound business and financial management as well as data to ensure
the organization’s overall financial health and effectiveness. The
next leader will be a clear communicator committed to transparency
and accountability to Pivotal’s TOC. They will foster effective
collaboration across departments, ensuring all staff understand and
are working toward shared organizational outcomes and goals. The
next CEO will be a seasoned people leader and ensure that the
organization has the performance management and talent development
systems and tools in place to promote staff growth and
Leadership and Culture
A holistic and proven program model and passionate and
mission-oriented staff are the foundation of Pivotal’s success.
Building on core organizational values, the CEO will model and
continue to champion a culture of collaboration, continuous
improvement, and innovation that informs programming and Pivotal
scholar success. The CEO will deepen Pivotal’s commitment to
justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI). They will work
with Pivotal’s staff-led JEDI committee to prioritize JEDI
practices internally and educate and support staff and board
through a collective journey.
In partnership with the board, the new CEO will ensure the
strong governance and financial health of Pivotal. Together, the
CEO and board will align on strategic direction and vision for the
organization and determine the best strategies for growth. The CEO
will encourage board engagement, leveraging their experiences and
relationships to identify future board members, key sources of
partnership and funding, and opportunities for continued
QUALIFICATIONS OF THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications
enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the
following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and
Organizational & Operational Leadership
- Leadership experience managing complex operations or programs
within an organization addressing education for marginalized
populations, youth services, or social services.
- Experience building sustainable and effective partnerships with
government agencies, school districts, funders, and community
organizations toward common goals and objectives.
- Success building and scaling organizational growth strategies
across programs and/or geographies.
- History of building and sustaining relationships with mission
aligned donors and experience raising significant fundraising
investments from public and private sources, including individuals
- Thoughtful, timely decision-maker with experience using data
and evidence effectively to inform strategy and promote continuous
learning and improvement.
- Effective organizational champion and partner who can elevate
Pivotal’s visibility and secure new partnerships in the youth
Connection to the Mission
- Sophisticated understanding of the barriers and interconnecting
systems that foster youth encounter when trying to access programs
and services, particularly in attaining educational equity.
- Deep commitment to social justice and demonstrated ability to
lead candid and brave conversations about justice, equity,
diversity, and inclusion.
- Familiarity with the child welfare system through professional
or lived experience as an individual who has navigated the child
welfare system and/or faced systemic barriers to educational
attainment or professional opportunities.
Values & Management Style
- An experienced manager who has built opportunities for staff
leadership and champions staff growth across a program or
- Highly relational style; ability to build relationships and
engage in healthy dialog that fosters mutual understanding and
- Strong communication skills with the ability to reach and
inspire internal and external audiences; ability to connect with
scholars, community, funders, and partners in both individual and
- Familiarity with the landscape of communities, unique assets,
and challenges across Silicon Valley.
- 10+ years of progressive leadership experience in a nonprofit,
human services, community-based organization, or educational
- A seasoned leader who weaves together data, values, and desired
impact to drive strategy.
More information about Pivotal can be found at
The salary for this position is targeted at approximately
$225,000 including flexibility to reflect candidate’s experience
and skills, and includes a comprehensive benefits package.
This search is being conducted by Allison
Kupfer Poteet, Catherine
Seneviratne, and Emily Wexler of the
national search firm NPAG.
Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest
and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s website.
All qualified applicants will be considered regardless
of political affiliation, race, color, religion, national origin,
gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, disability, or
other non-merit factors.