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Chief Executive Officer

California, United States
$225,000.00 - $225,000.00
Closing date
Jul 13, 2022

View more

Position Type
Social Services, Youth
Employment Type
Full Time

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 post-secondary levels.

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 their dreams.

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 Internships

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 $10M+ endowment.

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.

Organizational Management

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 retention.

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.

Board Relations

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 organizational growth.


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 experiences:

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 and foundations.
  • 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 services ecosystem.

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 organization.
  • Highly relational style; ability to build relationships and engage in healthy dialog that fosters mutual understanding and trust.
  • 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 group settings.

The Basics

  • 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 institution.
  • 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.

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