Chief Executive Officer

Making Waves Foundation
Richmond, California
Jan 10, 2019
Feb 09, 2019
Job Function
Education / Teaching
Focus Areas
Position Type
Full Time
Experience Level

Making Waves Foundation

Chief Executive Officer

Richmond, California

Since 1989, Making Waves Foundation has provided educational opportunities that change young lives.

Today, Making Waves remains committed to providing underserved and historically underrepresented students access to a quality education that will propel them to a successful and rewarding future.

What began in 1989 as Making Waves Education Program, an after-school tutoring and mentoring program for 46 5th graders, evolved by 2007 into two branches supporting college access and success: Making Waves Academy (MWA), a public charter school serving 5th through 12th grade students; and CAP, a college success program that serves as a critical bridge between college acceptance and college graduation by providing coaching and scholarships. MWA has grown to serve 950 primarily socio-economically disadvantaged students from Richmond and the surrounding West Contra Costa County area, providing access to an educational experience that allows them the opportunity to gain acceptance to college, graduate, and achieve their goals. Serving MWA graduates and other students of need throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, CAP currently supports nearly 600 low-income college students through the successful completion of their degrees, as quickly and with as little debt as possible.

In a unique approach to educational equity, Making Waves was an early pioneer of the to-through-and-beyond model, which takes students on a guided journey from middle school through college and the completion of a college degree. Making Waves’ objective is for students to build sustainable, meaningful lives by becoming successful contributors to the workforce and their communities.

Making Waves Foundation is in a time of unprecedented growth, expanding the MWA Lakeside campus in Richmond, California and pursuing an ambitious goal to become a K-college education program in three high-need cities in Contra Costa County.

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit private operating foundation, Making Waves Foundation provides financial, intellectual, and material resources to support Making Waves Academy and CAP. Specifically, it has three main functions: supporting the operation and growth of MWA by acquiring, developing, and managing its facilities; promoting college success through operation of CAP; and providing development, marketing, and communications services to both.

Making Waves Foundation seeks candidates for the newly created role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The CEO is responsible for interpreting and implementing all aspects of Making Waves Foundation’s mission in collaboration with the Board of Directors and senior leadership team. Providing inspiration and direction to a total staff of approximately 65, the CEO is charged with overall strategic leadership for Making Waves Foundation and partners with the Executive Committee of the Board and senior colleagues to define, maintain, monitor, and enhance the Foundation’s highly successful programs and services, as well as to ensure expansion and diversification of philanthropic support thereof. Notably, s/he must provide targeted leadership in refining operational infrastructure, systems, and standards during this period of remarkable growth, implementing and shepherding corresponding best practices. Combining elements of both traditional chief executive officer and chief operating officer roles, the CEO will provide high-level, strategic leadership via the executive office while also leading granular, day-to-day operations.

Required qualifications and experience:

- Demonstrated passion for and commitment to the mission and goals of Making Waves, as well as a working understanding of issues relevant to charter schools and addressing the achievement gap in education.

- Bachelor’s degree; advanced degree preferred.

- Minimum of 15 years of experience in progressively responsible nonprofit leadership positions. Substantive philanthropic leadership experience at a foundation (private operating, family, medium-sized or large) or other charitable enterprise or a breadth of experience in the nonprofit sector is necessary.

- Demonstrated ability to provide management oversight, leadership, and direction with at least 10 years of significant supervisory experience, including creating and managing a budget.

- Must be highly attuned to the cultures of charitable organizations and steeped in philanthropic best practices, preferably including direct experience in donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship. Ability to leverage finite resources and to build and manage philanthropic relationships.

- Highly developed strategic leadership skills, including demonstrated accomplishments while working with cross-functional teams. Skill at goal setting and measuring success, and agility in addressing alternate program directions to meet goals when necessary.

- Demonstrated track record of guiding a complex enterprise through change and transformation, translating vision and strategy into operational terms, and focus on implementing operational administrative efficiencies and systems optimization. Deep experience in building organizational capacity, infrastructure, systems, efficiency, sustainability, and culture.

- Strong understanding of real estate and the ability to manage multimillion-dollar budgets and challenging logistical projects.

- Extensive experience working with or serving on a board of directors or trustees, including board development, the establishment and/or maintenance of good governance models, and leveraging overall board capacity for organizational benefit.

- Strong track record of fiscal accountability and comfort with fiduciary responsibility.

Making Waves Foundation has retained Diversified Search to assist in this confidential search process. Inquiries, nominations, and applications (current resumes and cover letters) should be directed electronically to:

Gerard F. Cattie, Jr.

Managing Director

Founder and Practice Leader – Development & Philanthropy

Diversified Search

The Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Avenue, 49th Floor, New York, NY 10174 | 212.542.2587

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