Chief Development Officer

Posted Sep 11, 2023 NA, California

Inquire Now

Expires Oct 11, 2023




First Place for Youth is one of the largest agencies in California dedicated exclusively to providing access to affordable housing and resources for transition‐age foster youth and has grown to become a nationally recognized model. Founded in 1998, First Place seeks to help foster youth build the skills they need to make a successful transition to self‐sufficiency and responsible adulthood. They take a dual approach to their mission, providing results‐driven direct service to young people who need support in pursuing their goals and advocating for public policies that will improve the lives of foster youth nationwide.

Through its flagship program, My First Place™, and other supporting programs, First Place supports current and former foster youth at a critical time in their lives when they are learning to support themselves. First Place for Youth currently operates programs in six California counties (Alameda, San Francisco, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Solano, and Los Angeles). In Fiscal Year 2023, they served over1500 youth o and provided housing and intensive support services through the My First Place™ program to 542 youth.

First Place for Youth envisions a future where all foster youth in the United States can make a successful transition to adulthood by achieving self‐sufficiency, therefore eliminating the disparities between these youth and their non‐foster care peers. To realize that vision, First Place for Youth launched the My First Place Network to partner with diverse, data‐driven providers throughout the United States to bring our program to more young people across geographies. Currently they have six network partners in Boston (MA), New York City (NY), Cincinnati (OH), Mecklenburg (NC), New Jersey and Mississippi.


The Chief Development Officer serves as a key leadership team member and an active thought partner working in concert with the CEO in strategy affecting First Place for Youth. The Chief Development Officer (CDO) will be instrumental in engaging the Board, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and the executive management team in the creation and implementation of a long‐term fund development strategy that can sustain and strengthen all development needs for the entire organization.

The CDO will help forge new relationships to build the organization’s visibility, impact, and financial resources. Additionally, the CDO will design and implement a comprehensive plan for developing key external alliances by engaging new individual donors, foundations, corporations and government entities. They will lead and manage the communication and marketing strategy for the entire organization to rigorously engage new foundations, corporations, and individual donors, growing resources both in California and nationally, and securing funders to provide a deep investment in program expansion, as well as policy and evaluation efforts.

The CDO will have primary responsibility for establishing and implementing the infrastructure needed to grow a $31M budget through the solicitation of major gifts, federal and state grants, special events, and corporate and foundation support. The annual private development target will range between $5‐8M, annually. This annual goal will grow exponentially as the organization scales nationally.

This position reports to the CEO, supervises all development and communications staff and serves as a development resource throughout the organization. The CDO is responsible for fundraising efforts statewide, with emphasis on developing a pipeline in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, and nationally as the organization grows. This position requires a results‐oriented leader whose passion for First Place’s mission is matched with strong tactical leadership, outstanding interpersonal skills, crisp decision‐making in the face of complex challenges, entrepreneurial spirit, and a proven track record of successful non‐profit fundraising.

For more information, please visit


This position reports to the CEO, Thomas Lee. Manage, nurture and support a staff of seven, including two direct reports. Staff the Board of Directors’ Development Committee.


Salary range is $210,000-$240,000

Benefits include:

  • 15 vacation days, 13 paid holidays, 12 sick days, and 2 flexible holidays
  • Medical, Dental, Vision
  • Pre-tax FSA
  • Fidelity 401K
  • Commuter benefits
  • Training and professional development allowance
  • The opportunity to collaborate with staff and Board to strategically scale and expand the organization at a national level through intrepid fundraising in service of transition age foster youth


  • Fearless fundraising executive with an entrepreneurial spirit who is excited by the opportunity to successfully expand the reach of First Place for Youth
  • Bold, decisive, and dynamic self-starter who endeavors to enhance the level of internal strategic thinking and bring the team along to ensure successful implementation
  • Catalyst and inspiration to the internal team, Board, and volunteers to act on big ideas that steer the organization through the ambitious process of scaling and expanding to meet the demand of serving thousands more transition-age foster youth


  • Strategy Execution & Organizational Leadership
  • Provide leadership and guidance while working closely with CEO, the Executive Team, and the Board of Directors on comprehensive long‐term planning that supports sustainable growth of the organization and develops and implements First Place’s fundraising strategy.
  • Serve as a knowledgeable and wise steward of institutional advancement, providing expertise to enroll support, create ownership, and encourage active participation in achieving First Place’s goals.
  • Provide expertise in all development matters, working with the CEO to build fund development strategies that secure the growth and financial health of First Place.
  • Actively participate in regular schedule of leadership meetings, agency staff meetings, and individual weekly supervision with the CEO, providing recommendations regarding various courses of action.
  • Develop, articulate, and oversee implementation of a strategic direction and development of comprehensive annual fundraising plans for First Place’s private fund‐development activities.
  • Analyze fundraising results, evaluate effectiveness of fundraising programs, and forecast annual and long‐term fundraising projections for use in organizational financial planning.
  • Professionally and effectively represent the agency to external constituents, including individual and organizational funding sources and the broader philanthropic community.
  • Utilize external meetings, conferences, and speaking engagements to build brand visibility and financial support that advances First Place’s mission.
  • Successfully launch fundraising initiatives in new geographic areas as determined by First Place’s Strategic Plan. Establish Regional Advisory Councils as needed to support the development of fundraising and community relationships.
  • Effectively engage Board members and ambassadors to communicate First Place’s message effectively and to assist in identifying foundation, corporate, and individual donor contacts. Engage First Place staff as needed to advance First Place’s development goals.
  • Oversee strategy and execution of agency’s annual events plan.
  • Oversee development and implementation of agency’s communications and marketing strategy, ensuring excellence and mission/brand alignment in all agency collateral.
  • Provide quality assurance that all materials, proposals, and reports meet standards of excellence established by First Place.
  • Relationship Management & Board Stewardship
  • Work with the CEO to ensure that First Place is on‐target with its aggressive fundraising goals.
  • Manage, nurture and support team of seven, including two direct reports.
  • Serve as senior staff liaison to Board of Directors’ Fund Development Committee.
  • Help build CEO’s portfolio of major and principal gifts prospects; Assist CEO with relationship building and fundraising strategy.
  • Work with Board of Directors to continue to create a culture of philanthropy, educate on best practices, and engage them in solicitation strategies and activities.
  • Work closely with the CEO, Board of Directors, and the Development team to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward major and individual donors and prospects.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with new and existing donors, securing and coordinating pertinent information, meetings and events.
  • Create and manage a portfolio of major and principal gifts prospects.
  • Oversee events strategy and staff.
  • Maintain a thorough and current knowledge of First Place’s programs, successes, and strategies.
  • Facilitate volunteer engagement of major donors as desired.
  • Develop donor communications strategy and plan.
  • Develop and manage foundation and corporate giving program.
  • Maintain strong relationships with local and regional funders while targeting new national funders.
  • Maintain a thorough and current knowledge of First Place’s programs, successes, and strategies; produce and/or review all foundation and corporate communications.
  • Management and Operations
  • Create and manage the annual development budget, including events, outreach, cultivation, solicitation, personnel, and operations.
  • Hire, train, manage, nurture, and develop Development staff with an emphasis on succession and professional development.
  • Lead team members in setting work goals and maintaining accountability for goal achievement.
  • Ensure that staff members are resourced with individual professional development plans.
  • Conduct annual reviews of direct reports.
  • Oversee effective and accurate use of Raiser’s Edge software.
  • Collaborate with the Program Team to ensure that the organization’s revenue goals are being met. Provide training for staff as needed to ensure consistent brand messaging.
  • Collaborate with the Policy and Evaluation & Learning Departments to identify and pursue funding sources for advocacy and evaluation activities.
  • Support the Finance Team in the work to ensure that all administrative requirements for funders, such as state registrations and audit reports, are completed in a timely fashion. Development of three‐year budget projections and oversight of private revenue reconciliation.


  • 10+ years’ nonprofit development experience with demonstrated success securing $500K+ grants from local and national foundations and corporations
  • 10+ years’ experience managing Individual and Major Donor relationships. Experience matching funding sources with program need. Considerable experience creating, leading, and aligning development strategies, goals, and needs
  • Experience cultivating and soliciting gifts of $1 million+
  • 5+ years of experience serving as a member of the executive leadership team, providing guidance on organization’s development strategies and successfully implementing the overall vision, strategy, and priorities
  • Experience driving CEO’s fundraising activities including relationship building, strategy and solicitation
  • Exemplary people management skills, strategic leadership abilities, and the ability to link the development of people with achievement of organizational outcome
  • Strong supervisory skills and proven success supporting staff development and empowerment
  • Demonstrated experience organizing, managing, and evaluating events, campaigns, or productions
  • Flexible, energetic, and outcomes‐oriented self‐starter who will interact effectively with First Place’s many constituencies including staff, Board members, community partners, individual and institutional donors, and community supporters. A leader who can positively influence both strategic and tactical fundraising
  • Outstanding communications skills, both oral and written
  • Comfort with public speaking, as required
  • Understanding of social service systems, with particular emphasis on the foster care system and services for young adults and young parents
  • Model a responsibility to self‐awareness and awareness of others to recognize that individuals bring unique backgrounds, beliefs, values, and world‐views
  • Entrepreneurial spirit – enthusiasm for growth and building
  • View racial and cultural differences as assets to the organization
  • Committed to First Place for Youth’s dedication to thread accountability across all efforts to support and sustain a racially equitable organization
  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field


  • First Place for Youth believes our shared purpose, More is Possible, is a call to action for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging throughout our policy and practice network. We are committed to becoming a more inclusive multicultural organization that prioritizes the belonging and quality of life of all our program participants and staff members.
  • We are dedicated to achieving these goals by addressing historical and structural inequities in the areas of race, power, and privilege and the needs, strengths, and challenges of historically systematically oppressed groups and identities.
  • We strive to amplify our democratic movement where everyone is included and no one is absolved from responsibility in the work that lies ahead.
  • First Place acknowledges and honors that while we are committed to this journey, we have a ways to go to become more equitable in our operational systems and organizational structure.
  • To follow through with these goals, we must stay vigilant, hold ourselves accountable, and remember More is Possible when we are all committed in unity!

Salary Range



First Place for Youth


Victoria Silverman | Email