Posted on July 3, 2012
Spark Program - Philadelphia Executive Director
Spark seeks an entrepreneurial leader with education, management, and fundraising acumen in Philadelphia to launch and lead our regional office and programs. Interviews begin in May 2012 with an expected start date between August 15th – October 15th. Spark is launching in Philadelphia in partnership with the Wharton Program for Social Impact at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Executive Director (ED) is the overall leader for Spark Philadelphia, responsible for creating a vibrant and effective apprenticeship program that works to address the high-school dropout crisis, in which 38% of all Philadelphia students drop out of school. The ED is responsible for building a team, maintaining and growing a sustainable fundraising base in Philadelphia, ensuring the high-quality implementation of Spark’s programs, and charting a vision for the long-term growth of Spark Philadelphia. The ED reports to the Chief Operating Officer in Spark’s national office, and works closely with Spark’s national leadership team and with the Wharton Program for Social Impact to determine strategic choices to maximize Spark’s impact and sustainability. This role is based in Philadelphia, with an estimated 5-8 days per year spent at other Spark offices (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago) for trainings, staff development, and key events.
Spark is an award-winning youth apprenticeship program. Spark works to increase high-school graduation rates with a unique apprenticeship program, focused on at-risk middle-school students. In partnership with district and charter schools, Spark creates one-on-one apprenticeships in real workplaces, where youth explore careers and develop the skills and motivation to succeed academically. Funded by a number of major foundations, including the Packard Foundation and Cowell Foundation, as well as leading companies like Cisco and Gap, Spark is demonstrating a powerful new approach to the high-school dropout crisis, one that draws in new resources by turning workplaces into learning places.
Spark was awarded the prestigious Draper Richards Kaplan Fellowship in 2008, given to five early-stage non-profits from around the world with the highest potential for “broad social impact.” In 2010, Spark won the Ashoka Fellowship, one of the top honors for social innovation worldwide. With this and other support, Spark is building a foundation for national scale. Spark’s programs have been operating in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2005, in Los Angeles since January 2010, Chicago since 2011, and will launch in other locations in coming years. In Philadelphia, Spark will create an estimated 125 apprenticeships during its pilot year in 2013.
Spark has managed rapid fundraising growth in the past two years, moving from a regional to a national organization, with a 2012 budget of approximately $2.4 million. The Executive Director is responsible for raising funds from Philadelphia-based sources to sustain and grow programs, toward an estimated $350,000 budget in 2013. In this and other areas, the ED will have strong support from Spark’s national team, including Chief Advancement Officer, COO, CEO, and Chief Program Officer.
Spark’s Core Values:
Self-Actualization: Empowering people to confidently pursue their interests and live their values, driven by intrinsic motivation.
Community: Fostering connections among people and organizations to meet individual and shared goals.
Democracy: Collaboratively involving all stakeholders in decision-making.
Transparency: Encouraging honest communication and actively seeking feedback for understanding and growth.
Positivity: Planning for and expecting the best from every situation and person, and finding the opportunities in each challenge.
Financial & Operational Leadership (50%)
- Effectively utilize and manage the regional budget to implement the program and sustain the Spark Philadelphia office.
- Lead Spark’s local fundraising strategy for Philadelphia, in collaboration with Spark’s Chief Advancement Officer and National Development team, ensuring that Spark Philadelphia raises a budget of approximately $350,000 in 2013;
- Develop and leverage a Philadelphia Executive Board to support fundraising initiatives, guide strategic planning, enhance local networks of supporters, and contribute to external communications for Spark in Philadelphia;
- Place a particular focus on individual major contributions, at the $10,000 level or higher, building on board relationships and developing new relationships to meet fundraising goals;
- Serve as principal relationship manager for foundations supporting Philadelphia and work with Grants Manager in the national office to develop funder proposals;
- Oversee corporate partnerships , working with the Program Director to secure both mentorships and financial support.
Programmatic Leadership & University Partnership (40%)
- Build, manage and develop an exceptional local team, led by a Program Director, to accomplish three core goals: (1) successfully manage relationships with Spark’s school partners, including training and ongoing support, to ensure high-quality in-school programming for Spark students, (2) cultivate a network of mentors through corporate/organizational partners for apprenticeship placements and funding, and (3) guide the growth and evolution of Spark’s work in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia team will grow to 3-5 full-time staff by end of 2013;
- Create and expand alliances in the for-profit, government, and non-profit sectors to establish a portfolio of sustainable partnerships in diverse fields of work for apprenticeship placements, including a goal of 50% of apprenticeships placed through the University of Pennsylvania network;
Strategy & Vision (10%)
- Lead Spark’s strategic partnership the University of Pennsylvania and in particular with the Wharton Program for Social Impact, ensuring both Spark and Penn effectively implement and evolve the partnership as laid out in the Wharton-Spark three year business plan. Help to determine if/how Spark can develop similar university partnerships in other regions;
- Chart a course for Spark Philadelphia as a whole, selecting growth rates, neighborhoods to serve, and partnerships unique to Philadelphia;
- Work with Spark’s national team to participate in national strategy and policy conversations about Spark’s growth, impact, and sustainability on a national level.
All candidates should have a passion for Spark’s mission, demonstrated effectiveness as a leader, and excellent written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills. Candidates with experience and skills in entrepreneurial, high-growth, results-focused environments will be most successful. Additional qualifications include:
- Demonstrated passion for education; experience in schools or educational non-profits is preferable though not required;
- Minimum three years of management-level experience in a fast-paced, growth-oriented organization;
- Comfortable giving and receiving honest, constructive feedback, and acting as a coach or mentor to staff;
- Sophisticated relationship-building and networking skills; experience in fundraising or sales-related functions is preferred though not required;
- Experience in and deep comprehension of developing institutional partnerships;
- Demonstrated success and comfort in fundraising or sales;
- Relevant graduate degree preferred;
- Mature judgment, with a high level of personal and professional integrity and trustworthiness;
- Knowledge of local Philadelphia issues and dynamics; preferably including education and volunteerism;
- Fully computer and internet literate, with experience in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint;
- Legally eligible to work in the United States; no sponsorship provided.
Compensation & Benefits:
- Salary: Commensurate with experience.
- Health Benefits: Full health coverage is provided, including medical, dental, life and vision insurance, with Spark covering 100% of monthly premiums. Spark also covers a portion of the monthly premiums for dependents.
- Learning Benefits: Spark staff and students are fellow learners, and the organization highly values the staff’s personal learning pursuits. To that end, there are several opportunities for staff to “walk the talk” and experience the excitement of being a Spark student:
- Annual Paid Sabbatical: One week of paid time off per year, in addition to other paid time off, for the pursuit of a personal learning opportunity. Learning stipend included.
- Professional Training Account: To pursue your choice of professional training opportunities, including workshops, conferences, books, etc
- Retirement Benefits: For all contributions through Spark’s SIMPLE IRA plan, Spark will match retirement contributions dollar-for-dollar up to 3% of total salary.
- Paid Time Off: Spark has a unique flexible time-off policy, which empowers staff to collaboratively determine and schedule time off as needed. Rather than setting and tracking specific numbers of days off, Spark staff may take time off based on the status of their work- related goals and results within the organization. This policy is part of Spark’s focus on a balanced and healthy life for staff.
- Non-monetary compensation: The opportunity to be an integral member of an energetic, innovative, hard-working and rapidly growing team, within an organization that has the potential to significantly change American middle-school education.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Target start date range is August 15th – October 15th, 2012.
Please email your resume and letter of interest to PhillyED@sparkprogram.org Please put “Executive Director, Spark Philadelphia” in the subject line.
Spark is an equal opportunity employer. We encourage applications from all individuals regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation, and evaluate all candidates based on merit.