For nearly 30 years, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Cook County has been training everyday people to stand up for children who have experienced abuse and neglect in an overwhelmed and extremely under-resourced foster care system. Without a helping hand from CASA of Cook County volunteer advocates, these children might fall through the cracks and never be given an opportunity to find a place to call home. In FY17, CASA served over 240 children and aims to grow and significantly increase the number of children it serves in the near term.
CASA is seeking an experienced Executive Director (ED) who will work with the Board of Directors (Board) to develop the strategic direction of the organization and coordinate with staff to implement the plan in order to achieve the organization’s goals. The ED will be responsible for the overall success and growth of the organization including: strategic and operations planning, financial management, program governance, fundraising, staff leadership and board relations. The ED will serve as CASA’s lead in relationship development with the Chicagoland community, including the legal and corporate sectors, judicial and social service entities related to CASA’s core mission as well as its volunteer base.
Qualities and Characteristics
Ability to work well with people of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
Ability to work collaboratively.
Flexibility and ability to compromise.
Honesty and integrity.
Active listening skills.
Ability and willingness to express appreciation to others.
Openness to constructive feedback.
Strong interpersonal skills.
Ability to lead, follow, take initiative or take direction and the judgment to know when each is appropriate.
Ability to delegate both responsibility and authority appropriately.
Efficient time management skills including the ability to prioritize effectively.
At least five years of experience in a director-level management role, oversight of a nonprofit organization or related experience. Previous executive director experience preferred.
Proven financial acumen including profit and loss (P&L) responsibility
Proven experience with staff management and development, including performance planning and reviews, career development, and improvement planning.
Demonstrated experience working with boards of directors in a productive and positive manner.
Demonstrated commitment to the betterment of disadvantaged children.
Proven experience in successfully managing fundraising and resource development activities.
Proven experience in successfully developing and managing individual and corporate relationships with potential and existing supporters.
Proven ability to work effectively with a diverse group of stakeholders, including staff, volunteers in all capacities, local and national CASA chapters and more.
Excellent oral and written communication skills.
An advanced degree is preferred with proven success as a leader and fundraiser for a non-profit or similar organization is preferred.
1. Finance and administration
Oversees overall operations of all CASA programs.
Maintains awareness of licensing and other legal requirements to ensure that programs meet the minimum requirements to be a member in good standing of the National CASA Association.
Initiates the organizational budget draft in collaboration with the Finance Committee for presentation, review and approval by the Board on an annual basis.
Ensures that organization’s financial and cash flow expectations stay within budget.
Prepares and presents periodic financial reports to the Board.
Works closely with the President of the Board and the Executive Committee in between board meetings, providing dashboard reports and other information as requested to monitor performance.
Ensures organization’s use of and adherence to accepted bookkeeping and accounting best practices.
Responsible for all aspects of financial management including processing and payment to vendors, reconciliation of bank statements, payroll, reimbursements, etc.
Coordinates the annual audit with the external CPA firm.
Prepares annual report.
Facilitates and participates with the Board in the strategic planning process. Facilitates staff buy-in and support.
Responsible for developing and implementing a fundraising strategy that includes corporate, major and individual donor programs, as well as events.
Develops donor strategies and cultivation.
Maintains relationships with corporate and major donors.
Integrates the Board into donor cultivation.
Develops theme and provides input into donor appeals.
Initiates and ensures the execution of fundraising activities.
Collaborates with the Board and the Events & Fundraising Committee to ensure that the organization’s fundraising goals are achieved.
Oversees Foundation/Government grants process, reviews all proposals and reports to funders, participates in site visits, maintains relationships with funders.
Provides oversight to all CASA special events, assists event chairs with task and timeline planning and event budgets, executes vendor contracts. Manages a development pipeline report that is available to the Board as needed.
3. Program development
Collaborate with Program Director and Recruitment & Training Director to:
Ensure maximum program effectiveness.
Develop and maintain an engaged, informed advocate volunteer base, including onboarding, continuing development and expertise.
Identify a short- and long-term strategic vision and plan to effectively increase the number of advocate supervisors and volunteer advocates with the ultimate goal of providing an advocate for each case in the Cook County foster system.
Develop a clear comprehension of CASA’s programs and organizational interdependencies within the family welfare community that facilitates opportunities for improvement as well as synergies and collaboration to increase CASA’s program reach
Act as CASA’s spokesperson within the family welfare community and the Chicagoland community in order to increase CASA’s visibility and position as an expert in its area of expertise
Attend in-service and continuing education opportunities in accordance with national, state and program guidelines
4. Staff and volunteer management
Supervises two to three direct report Directors as well oversees a small, growing office staff.
Responsible for ensuring that all CASA staff are properly supervised, given timely performance reviews, and receive the appropriate training and mentoring.
Successfully positions as the leader of CASA and a trusted advisor to both staff and the Board.
Responsible for the management of the benefit package for the program (health insurance, etc.) and actively seeks best practice opportunities to enhance benefits.
Actively recruits and retains CASA volunteers.
Assists with the monthly newsletter.
Facilitates and attends Board and staff meetings.
Actively participates in volunteer in-service, swearing-in and recognition activities.
Represents the Cook County CASA programs to the National CASA Association and other funders.
Guides and supports staff members on special projects.
Responsible for maintaining high visibility in the public relations sector with the community and other agencies in order to effectively promote CASA.
Ensures that the lines of communication are open and that appropriate relationships are fostered between the Board, staff, volunteers, the court and other agencies.
Serves as the official spokesperson to the media.
Oversees media/social media/marketing policies and practices and approves all press releases.