Sterling Search Inc. has been exclusively retained to recruit for the new Executive Director for The Blind Children’s Center (The Center).
The Blind Children’s Center was founded in 1938 by Southern California Delta Gammas. Their mission is to foster the development and education of children-birth through 2nd grade-who are visually impaired in an inclusive, family-focused setting.
“When you walk in the Center, you are struck by the positive energy and nurturing aura welcoming the children and their families. The beautiful therapy rooms, classrooms, playground, and swimming pool makes this such an awesome place not only for the children and families but also for the long-tenured staff who are daily rewarded by seeing the joy on the faces of the children as they learn, play, socialize and grow.”
Each year the Center serves approximately 100 children who are blind or visually impaired and provides an array of support services for more than 350 family members. Their goal is to optimize each child’s development and opportunities to lead a meaningful life through a comprehensive program beginning with early intervention, followed by an educational curriculum specifically adapted to the needs of each student. They are committed to a family-focused approach where parents, siblings, grandparents, and caregivers are included in the educational process every step of the way.
The Center’s programs are fully inclusive with sighted children integrated in each class, providing unique opportunities for social interaction and acquisition of critical skills. Their multidisciplinary team of experts utilizes leading-edge technology to help students who are visually impaired keep pace in the sighted world. As a model program, the Center impacts communities globally through presentations, conferences, and research grants, as well as a full suite of publications for families and professionals. More than 750,000 copies of their publications have been distributed in 75 countries, and translated into 17 languages.
The Center’s current Executive Director, Lena French, MBA is a compassionate, dynamic leader who has been with the Center for 33 years and served as the Executive Director for the past five years. During her tenure she has led the Center through tremendous growth, and with the support of their renowned Program Director and Assistant Executive Director Fernanda Armenta-Schmitt, Ph.D. tripled its enrollment in the past decade through the addition of the Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd Grade Programs, augmenting the existing Infant, Preschool and Pre-K Programs.
Throughout their long history, a dedicated community of friends and supporters has sustained their vital work as the Center receives no government assistance. The Center’s funding reflects the generosity of private donors and the trust of foundations and corporations, which allows them to provide these life-changing services at no cost to their students and families. Their Founders the Delta Gammas, an international Fraternity with 150 collegiate chapters and more than 220 alumnae groups, continues to be a strong supporter of the Center which is fortunate to receive their philanthropy both in financial support as well as volunteerism.
The Center operates from financial strength and is positioned for greatness and success. The current Executive Director has built a strong infrastructure and proudly receives a 4 Star rating from Charity Navigator- reflecting its “exceptional” Financial Health, Accountability & Transparency. The Center sets the gold standard by investing 95% of every dollar directly into its model program. With a $3.3 million budget, the Center has $13 million in assets, receives $1 million of funding annually from private grants, has three successful annual golf tournaments and is focused on expanding its Major Gifts and Planned Giving programs.
The Center has a dedicated Board of Directors with leadership from a broad spectrum of industries across Los Angeles. They have 100% board participation with a $500 give or get policy, and the vision for significant growth and impact.
The Board of Directors is seeking an Executive Director who will lead a team and program ready for executing growth in revenue and continued programmatic investment. He/she will build upon the Center’s track record of success by further developing the organization’s vision, and achieving its goals for continued financial stability, community engagement and enhancing the impact of its program. The Executive Director must bring an entrepreneurial spirit and passion for, leadership capabilities for staff, board and volunteers, a capability to diversify fundraising revenues with a heavy emphasis on planned and major gifts.
This individual must possess intellectual horsepower, and be naturally persuasive, fair, and accountable. The new Executive Director will lead based on the core ethics of collaboration, self-improvement, and the drive for excellence, ensuring that the best services are being delivered to the children and families they serve.
The Executive Director reports directly to the Board of Directors. This person is charged with building on the Center’s years of success, and achieving its goals for continued financial stability program excellence and community engagement. The Executive Director is the chief spokesperson representing the organization to constituencies, both internal and external.
In addition to operational, financial, and administrative duties, the scope of responsibility includes overseeing program management, fund development, facilities, community relations, and strategic thinking and planning. The Executive Director will build, foster, and maintain a balanced organizational culture that combines the richness and relevance of programs with the efficacy of best business practices, fiscal accountability, and institutional impact.
The Executive Director will:
- Report to a governing Board of Directors and committees, executing decisions effectively and ensuring that the Board of Directors and its committees are informed of critical developments in a timely and effective manner
- Collaborate closely with the Board of Directors and staff to create vision as well as execute a new strategic planning process
- In collaboration with the Board of Directors, develop and cultivate a Board that is representative of the diverse community
- Lead, motivate, manage and develop staff to invoke passion about the mission and foster an environment committed to continuous improvement
- Manage and direct a comprehensive fund development plan that identifies major gift and planned giving prospects and donors and enhances the short and long-term diversified funding base
- Excel at initiating and fostering relationships with corporations, individuals, and foundations as potential partners and donors to the Center
- Continue to raise the public profile of the Center by serving as the spokesperson and advocate for the chapter, as well as being a visible, visionary and influential leader and fundraiser in the community
- Continuously assess community needs, evaluating partnership opportunities to promote programs uniquely suited to the mission
- Define and execute the strategy of effectively mobilizing volunteers in support of its programs
- Direct personnel to ensure that the organization is effectively structured and staffed with competent employees to manage the work across the region
- Manage and implement an effective performance management system for all employees which will include setting objectives and evaluation on an annual basis
- Oversee and execute programmatic excellence by reviewing operational benchmarks and setting timelines to achieve strategic goals. Continually review and evaluate programs and report findings to the Board of Directors
- Ensure fiduciary responsibility, sound financial management, and financial accountability for contributions, income, and all other Center assets.
- Oversee facilities, risk management and operational management
- Execute all other reasonable duties as assigned by the Board of Directors
We are seeking candidates offering the following qualifications:
- Passion for The Blind Children’s Center mission
- Entrepreneurial spirit, leadership, integrity, compassion and respect
- A minimum of 5 years of senior management experience, with increasing levels of responsibility and management of staff, preferably with direct stewardship of Boards of Directors
- A minimum of 5 years of major gift fundraising with individuals/corporations in a professional capacity
- Proven track record of management success with comparable P&L, planning, and operations responsibilities
- A demonstrated ability to plan and operate strategically, to build public support, to strengthen infrastructure, to inspire staff and the Board of Directors, and to develop effective programs
- Exceptional financial, organizational, and administrative skills
- Excellent knowledge of fiscal management, budgeting, and cash flow management
- The ability to plan, set goals and objectives, organize and follow through
The ideal candidate will demonstrate the following capabilities:
- Commitment to the mission and work of the agency with the credibility and persuasiveness to secure support from others
- A manager who leads by example and exemplifies the values and ethics of the organization
- An organized individual with strong creative and conceptual skills
- A doer who functions effectively without being autocratic or political; must be a team player who is inclusive, flexible, creative, energetic and fair minded
- A decisive and resourceful individual who will accept responsibility and take charge of results, as well as work successfully with limited resources
- A self-starter who is confident enough to express opinions, to forge ahead when appropriate and hold back when necessary, with a sensitivity to the feelings and opinions of others
- An energetic person who is emotionally mature and dependable; a collegial individual
Required: Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree preferred
A competitive compensation package will be offered to attract an outstanding candidate.
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The Blind Children’s Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer
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