- Position Type
- Full Time
Boston CASA, a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to ensure a safe and permanent home for court-involved children in Suffolk and Middlesex County, seeks a visionary executive to lead the organization into a successful new chapter, building on the foundation of nearly thirty years of success. Since 1982, Boston Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) has made a difference in the lives of abused and neglected children in our community.
The organization fulfills its mission by recruiting, training and supervising volunteers from the community who are appointed as a child's guardian ad litem (GAL), to protect and promote their “best interest.” Boston CASA advocates are appointed by juvenile court judges to be the eyes and ears of the court in complicated abuse and neglect cases. CASA volunteers work to be a unifying force on behalf of children – gathering information, communicating with all parties, and ensuring that children in foster care have a caring and consistent adult speaking up for them and making sure they are receiving the care they need and deserve.
The search for a new Executive Director provides an opportunity to bring new energy, vision and creativity to an organization that is poised to expand its reach and impact through expansion of its proven and successful program. The Executive Director will partner with the Board of Directors, staff, the Juvenile Court Department, and community partners to refine the strategic vision and lead the implementation of the strategic plan. She/he be a passionate voice in conveying the need for CASAs, the impact on children’s lives, the need for systemic change addressing the needs of foster children and the reasons volunteers and funders should support the work. This position calls for a leader with outstanding strategic, fundraising and management skills, along with an enterprising spirit and a strong commitment to Boston CASA’s mission.
The Executive Director reports to a Board of Directors and oversees a staff of 11 employees. Its annual budget is approximately $1 million.
Background and Current Situation
CASA volunteers come from all walks of life and have a variety of professional, educational and cultural backgrounds. They are selected on the quality of their objectivity, competence, and commitment, and undergo a rigorous application, screening and training process.
For many abused children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives in which foster parents, social workers, lawyers, teachers and mental health providers can change frequently. A child with a CASA volunteer is more likely to find a safe, permanent home, is half as likely to re-enter the foster care system and is more likely to succeed in school.
The CASA model was first introduced in 1977 when a Seattle Juvenile Court Judge, concerned about making drastic decisions with insufficient information, conceived the idea of citizen volunteers speaking up for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom. From that first program has grown a network of nearly 1,000 CASA and guardian ad litem programs that are recruiting, training and supporting volunteers in 49 states and the District of Columbia.
Boston CASA was created in 1982 and initially funded by the Suffolk County Juvenile Court. In January 2012, Boston CASA became an autonomous non-profit and hired its first Executive Director. Since 2012, Boston CASA has grown exponentially, increasing its staff from one to ten and its operating budget to $1M (FY20). Currently, 146 volunteers are assigned to serve 209 children. In 2014, Boston CASA began partnering with the Attorney General’s office on an Older Youth Mentoring Initiative created to address how to best support older youth aging out of the foster care system in Massachusetts.
For more information about Boston CASA, please visit its website https://bostoncasa.org/
The Role of the Executive Director
The new Executive Director will inherit a highly regarded organization on the brink of making a substantial leap in its size and impact. Raising the profile of the organization, increasing its revenues, diversifying the sources of that revenue, strengthening its management and engaging in strategic partnerships are key priorities for the incoming Executive Director. More specifically, the new Executive Director will:
Provide strategic and visionary leadership.
- Provide overall leadership for the organization and identify and address areas challenging Boston CASA’s evolution and growth.
- Thoroughly understand Boston CASA – its history and culture; governance structure, staff, Board, funding streams, programs, outreach, community network, political landscape and constituencies.
- Interpret, own and implement current staff work plans with an eye focused on scale, organizational development and financial sustainability; ensure that goals and objectives are clear with regular check-ins to assess progress or impediments; through collaboration with staff, prioritize and balance workflow with intended outcomes.
- Stay abreast of developments and trends in the foster care/child welfare arena; consider and introduce ideas that advance Boston CASA’s agenda.
- Maintain a climate that attracts, retains, motivates and develops a diverse, high-quality staff, volunteers and Board; create an environment that embraces collaboration, innovation, accountability and diversity of opinion.
Raise the profile and visibility of the organization.
- Expand the public’s understanding of Boston CASA’s brand and work so that its mission, values, outcomes and stories are consistently and effectively conveyed through the website, social media, and printed collateral.
- Conduct public speaking and community outreach with the goal of building support for Boston CASA; serve as an empathic advocate and knowledgeable spokesperson on issues related to foster children.
- Assume an active working role with various local collaboratives that move system-change activities forward; develop and cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with other nonprofit organizations, community leaders, the Juvenile Court and state and local government to deepen the services and partnerships necessary to fully support the needs of foster children.
Increase the resources of the organization.
- In collaboration with the Development Director, create an annual fund development strategy; review all current fundraising activities and segmentation by donor type to determine how resources are being allocated; refocus, if needed, to ensure energies are prioritized on activities with greatest ROI.
- As Fundraiser-in-Chief, personally drive the cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of new and existing major donors and grants; ensure appropriate staffing is in place to support fund development strategy; provide coaching and support to Board members to assist in their fundraising activities.
Improve infrastructure and operations to support program growth and impact.
- Ensure that day-to-day operations and programs are professionally and efficiently organized and administered; ensure proper administration of contracts, including compliance with relevant employment laws and other legal requirements; maintain and strengthen the organization’s infrastructure including IT systems, financial controls and related business processes to sustain and improve service.
- Review current organization structure to assess that senior management has the appropriate training and resources to effectively lead their teams and advance operational and strategic goals; provide continued assessment of staff to ensure advancement, productivity and performance.
- Review all internal communications, systems, controls, processes and procedures; ensure that Boston CASA’ maintains a solid operational foundation; provide leadership toward implementation of continuous improvements in organization’s processes and technology that ensures effective delivery of donor/volunteer centric services.
- Maintain the organization’s fiscal health, make sure it adheres to a sustainable financial plan based on a Board-approved annual budget and that financial performance positively tracks budget and operating plans; foster an atmosphere of transparency and accountability in matters relating to the organization’s financial condition.
- Establish metrics and dashboards ensuring programs meet objectives and that data is captured and analyzed for program evaluation purposes.
Nurture and facilitate Board development and learning.
- Become familiar with Boston CASA’s governance policies; develop, recommend and implement policies, fundraising and program goals and objectives; provide ongoing communication to the Board on critical matters related to Boston CASA.
- With the Board Chair and Executive Committee, coordinate the efforts of regular and ad hoc committees; develop meeting agendas, schedules, retreats and other activities with the Executive Committee; ensure that all committees achieve objectives; encourage Board members’ appropriate involvement in Boston CASA’s range of activities. Assist the Board in identifying and recruiting new Board members whose talents, backgrounds, commitment and interests are congruent with the needs and mission of Boston CASA.
The Executive Director will be a visionary but pragmatic leader possessing the following key qualifications and characteristics:
- A commitment to the mission of Boston CASA; an understanding of the needs and challenges of foster children, either as a nonprofit leader in a related field, a current or former CASA, public official or nonprofit board member, with eight+ years of management experience.
- A strong track record in attracting financial support, whether as a nonprofit executive or board member, or from the commercial sector, from individuals, foundations or businesses; a strong partnership/relationship builder.
- Decisive and resourceful, with the organizational sensitivity to gain the support and confidence of the Board and staff at all levels; a team builder and collaborator, confident and competent, with strong skills in management and leadership; one who trusts and empowers the senior management team; understands the subtleties of recruiting, motivating, directing and retaining a diverse group of personalities with different work styles.
- One who is creative and can identify and convey the synergies and mutual benefits that come from collaboration; a contributor who works well with diverse stakeholders, partners and collaborators; politically savvy.
- Outstanding oral and written communication skills.
At Boston CASA, we don’t just accept difference - we celebrate it, support it, and thrive on it for the benefit of our team and the communities we serve. Boston CASA is an equal opportunity employer and as such, we do not discriminate against any team member or candidate because of race, creed, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, national origin, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy, or any other basis protected by law. We encourage all to apply because we believe a diversity of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.