Organization: After School Matters

Location: Chicago, IL

Express Interest

About After School Matters:

After School Matters is a nonprofit organization that provides more than 25,000 life-changing after-school and summer program opportunities to Chicago high school teens each year. After School Matters’ proven program model and unique focus on teens has made the organization a nationally and internationally recognized leader in the out-of-school time movement.

The mission of After School Matters is to provide Chicago public high school teens opportunities to explore and develop their talents, while gaining critical skills for work, college and beyond.

The organization achieves its mission by:

  • Designing and delivering high quality, hands-on, project-based apprenticeship and internship programs in a variety of content areas, including the arts, communications and leadership, sports, and STEM;
  • Engaging skilled professionals who are experts in their field as instructors who support teens’ growth and development in an intentional and meaningful way;
  • Aligning and maximizing the resources of an extensive network of public-private partnerships – including Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Public Library, and hundreds of community organizations throughout the city – to coordinate and sustain investment in youth development through school- and community-based programming; and
  • Focusing on continuous quality improvement, data-driven and cost-effective decisions, strengthening skills to encourage improved academic outcomes, and positive impacts for teens, schools, and communities they serve.

The impact that After School Matters can have on teens starts in their day-to-day lives, helps them achieve success during their high school years, and empowers them to dream big as they find their futures. For teens who successfully meet certain program requirements (including attendance and participation), After School Matters provides them with a monetary stipend. Stipends lower participation barriers, reinforce the importance of dedicated participation and hard work in programs, and make an economic impact on teens, their families, and communities. Providing stipends to teens empowers them and reinforces the value of their time and efforts.

The inspiration for After School Matters arose more than 25 years ago from the desire of then-Chicago First Lady Maggie Daley and former Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Lois Weisberg to develop cultural activities for the city’s teenagers. That initiative became known as gallery37.

In 2000, with important funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the successful apprenticeship model used in the gallery37 arts programs was expanded to technology, sports, and communications. In 2006, with the help of generous support from Abbott, science programming was added to the organization’s program content menu.

Until her passing in 2011, Maggie Daley continued to serve as Chair of After School Matters, which has grown exponentially through hard work and collaboration with partners, teens, communities, and local and national supporters. After School Matters now runs nearly 1,400 programs annually, which are located in almost every one of Chicago’s 77 community areas.

In 2012, Mellody Hobson was appointed Chair of the After School Matters Board of Directors. Her expertise in financial leadership and management are invaluable to sustaining the vitality of the organization.

In Summer 2017, After School Matters, with the support of Karyn Lutz and her late husband Michael, celebrated the opening of a new state-of-the-art programming facility in Chicago’s Belmont Cragin neighborhood. The new Michael and Karyn Lutz Center for After School Matters provides opportunities for nearly 1,500 teens annually.

Under the leadership of CEO, Mary Ellen Caron and the Board of Directors, and operating in a culture of philanthropy, After School Matters has a budget of $37 million, allowing the organization to provide more than 25,000 opportunities to teens annually. The organization has ambitious goals to invest in additional infrastructure on the South and West sides of Chicago and provide 30,000 opportunities for teens by 2022.

For more information on After School Matters, please visit

The Opportunity:

At this important moment in its history, After School Matters is seeking to add an innovative and strategic fundraising leader to serve as the Chief Development Officer (CDO). The CDO will be the leader for all development initiatives and fundraising strategies.

Reporting directly to and collaborating with the CEO, the CDO will work in close partnership with Board Members and the senior team to implement strategies for growth by building and stewarding robust, meaningful partnerships with current and prospective individual, corporate, and foundation donors.

The CDO will be a bold thinker and a strategic, yet hands-on executor who will lead a best-in-class development program. S/he will oversee and manage the team of 13 fundraising professionals. The CDO will actively manage a donor portfolio by personally participating in cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship, as well as collaborating with CEO and Board Members to ensure that they are effectively supported and leveraged to achieve fundraising goals.

In addition to developing new and creative approaches to increase corporate and foundation giving, a key priority for the CDO will be to enhance the organization’s individual giving program. The CDO and development team will continue to lead and execute After School Matters’ annual gala. This night of celebration is one of the largest and most successful events in the city.

Challenged by the diversity of responsibilities, the CDO will manage a wide variety of development functions in a rapidly evolving organization. The CDO will be an articulate and enthusiastic advocate for Chicago’s teens and work tirelessly to promote the mission of After School Matters throughout Chicago and beyond.

The CDO is expected to have the maturity, creativity, and professionalism required to drive positive outcomes. S/he will be a highly proactive and effective major gifts fundraiser who is comfortable working directly with and soliciting individuals, foundations, corporations and other funders for seven- and eight-figure gifts.

Key priorities of this senior development role include:

  • Providing comprehensive and strategic leadership in developing a multi-faceted approach to enhance a high-performing development organization with a high level of professionalism and dedication;
  • Leading, monitoring, and executing a successful comprehensive campaign;
  • Stewarding and soliciting a portfolio of major gift prospects;
  • Collaborating and leveraging relationships of After School Matters’ leadership including the Board and senior team, ensuring they are effectively supported to achieve fundraising goals; and
  • Increasing the effectiveness and productivity of the team by serving as a coach and mentor, motivating team members with energy and passion, and ensuring clear expectations and accountability.

Candidate Profile:

The Chief Development Officer will enhance After School Matters’ overall approach to fundraising and refine its development efforts by providing strategic and collaborative leadership for the development team and organization-wide.

The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, characteristics and skills:

An Expert in Development

The CDO will be a results-driven and experienced leader in the field of development with a measurable track record of success within a complex environment. S/he will be energized by the prospect of leading the development department, implementing processes and best practices. It is paramount for this candidate to have a broad and deep knowledge of development, including a leadership position in large capital campaigns, major gifts, individual giving, corporations and foundations. S/he will be a demonstrated leader in the development profession with a proven track record of closing significant gifts and evidence of exceptional cultivation and stewardship. A tactical leader, s/he will have a strong data and analysis orientation and a proven ability to use metrics to drive development decisions and achieve strategic objectives.

A Strategic Leader

The CDO will have a proven record of converting strategy into effective execution. S/he will be a detail-oriented individual who functions well in a fast-paced environment. The CDO will exhibit intellectual curiosity, including the ability to listen to and learn from multiple voices. S/he will have strong analytical skills and the ability to think creatively and collaboratively about After School Matters’ development goals while remaining focused on details and follow-through. S/he will be an assertive and responsive leader with the ability to translate the organization’s development goals into clear objectives for a wide range of key stakeholders. The CDO will be a builder with the ability to set priorities decisively, delegate responsibilities, assure accountability, and allocate resources to ensure results. S/he will make it his/her mission to strengthen the capacity and success of the development team through effective delegation and shared responsibility.

Skilled Relationship Builder and Collaborator

The CDO will be skilled at building and sustaining excellent relationships at multiple levels with varied constituencies. S/he will have experience partnering with a fast-paced, sophisticated Board of Directors, sharing their bold vision for the future. S/he must also lead and collaborate with After School Matters’ senior team, staff, donors, and the development team. The CDO will have a motivating approach to building collaboration and buy-in and generating support from stakeholders. S/he will be able to establish rapport and open communication with all constituents and successfully convey the organization’s mission and objectives. S/he will have a strong working relationship with key leaders and will be a proactive communicator at all times. S/he will excel at influencing with a marked ability to make a positive impact on others.

A Passion for the Mission

The CDO will have a sincere passion for After School Matters’ program model and an understanding of how it enhances the lives of Chicago’s teens. S/he will embrace After School Matters’ culture, while continually innovating to help expand its brand and reach. The CDO will be an empathic, charismatic leader, treating others with respect and possessing a strong faith in humanity. S/he will be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.

A bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree in a related field is preferred.


Koya Leadership Partners, a national retained executive search firm that partners with mission-driven clients, has been exclusively retained for this search. To make recommendations on candidates or express interest in the opportunity, please email Marissa Martin and Chartise Clark at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

After School Matters is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, veterans, women, and LGBT applicants.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations, institutions of higher education and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information, visit