Organization: uAspire

Location: Oakland, CA

Express Interest


uAspire works to ensure that all young people have the financial information and resources necessary to find an affordable path to – and through – a postsecondary education.  uAspire is committed to reaching the day when all young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential by graduating from college, regardless of their families’ financial resources or college experience.

uAspire partners with high schools, community organizations, higher education institutions, and individual practitioners to provide college affordability advice to young people and their families. Through our work, college-ready students have the support and knowledge they need to overcome financial barriers and succeed in college.

Founded in 1995, uAspire has a national team located in Boston, Massachusetts and operates regional offices in both Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area.  The Boston site has been operating since the organization’s founding and currently serves 7,000+ students per year.  The Bay Area site was opened in 2013 and has had tremendous success in a short period of time, serving 3,000+ students last year.

uAspire is seeking a dynamic Bay Area Executive Director to provide strategic leadership and management of uAspire’s Bay Area site during its next phase of growth.  Based out of uAspire’s Oakland, CA office, and working regularly throughout the Bay area, the Executive Director (ED) will play a central role in not only improving college affordability for the young people served in CA, but will leverage uAspire’s impact in CA to best support the tenets of uAspire’s National Strategic Plan – serving to raise the organization’s profile as both a regional and national leader on issues of college affordability.

Working in close collaboration with the National Leadership Team and Bay Area Board of Directors, the ED will be responsible for raising the resources necessary to expand and sustain the work and for leading the Bay Area team in demonstrating measurable impact on postsecondary enrollment and college success. By developing and executing a multi-year strategic plan, annual operating plan, and budget, the ED will foster the continued growth of uAspire Bay Area as a sustainable, high-impact chapter of the national organization. As a key member of uAspire’s national uAspire network, s/he will work to promote the organization’s values, culture, and overall success.

This is a full-time position in Oakland, CA.  For more information about uAspire, please visit

Candidate Profile:

The ideal candidate will be a seasoned, mission-driven leader with a proven ability to build, cultivate, and manage relationships with key external stakeholders and funders to meet ambitious development goals. S/he must be passionate about the power of affordable pathways to postsecondary success and their role in promoting economic mobility and security. Experience analyzing and interpreting fundraising and program data to drive strategy and anticipate future needs is essential. S/he must demonstrate the ability to motivate, excite and inspire staff with an eye toward supporting managers and developing new professionals. S/he will be quick, entrepreneurial and flexible, with the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and opportunities. The ED will have the opportunity to lead a talented team that is mission-focused, results-oriented, passionate and fun.

Key responsibilities include:

Secure funding necessary to sustain and expand uAspire Bay Area’s impact

  • The ED, working closely with the Board of Directors and the Director of Development, will identify and cultivate strategic relationships with a diverse array of local foundation, corporate, government, educational institutions and individual donors to build upon its current $1.6M annual budget;
  • Raise additional funding, including multi-year commitments, necessary to grow uAspire Bay Area’s operating budget and impact in future years;
  • Work in partnership with the National Development Team to identify and cultivate potential national funders interested in supporting uAspire Bay Area; and
  • Set and meet annual revenue and budget goals in partnership with the National Leadership Team and Bay Area Board of Directors.

Raise uAspire’s regional profile through strategic relationship building, marketing and outreach

  • Represent uAspire to key constituencies and stakeholders throughout the Bay Area, including community leaders, government officials, school personnel, families, and students;
  • Further cultivate and steward relationships with existing partners, including with San Francisco Unified School District, the University of California Office of the President and Envision Education, to foster deepened collaboration and engagement;
  • Promote uAspire’s brand and public profile through marketing, networking, traditional & social media, and major events; and
  • Identify and pursue new partnership opportunities in the Bay area designed to increase financial and programmatic support, raise awareness and increase the impact of uAspire in the region.

Manage and leverage Bay Area Board of Directors to drive the impact and sustainability of the site

  • Manage dynamic, engaged, productive local board composed of philanthropic, corporate and community leaders. Recruit and onboard additional board members;
  • Actively engage and serve as thought-partner and facilitator to the board in strategically aligning resources to advance uAspire’s mission. Work transparently with board members on strategic and operational priorities, initiatives, and challenges, in order to make full use of their strengths and knowledge to strengthen the organization’s internal capacity and external profile and impact; and
  • Partner with the National Leadership Team and local board chair to develop a multi-year strategic plan, annual operating plan, and annual budget that maximizes local impact and sustainability.

Manage Bay Area site staff and lead program growth, implementation and future planning

  • Manage and lead local uAspire team of 12, including Senior Program Director, Director of Development & Strategic Growth, and a program team of 8, including program managers and front-line college affordability advisors;
  • Partner with the Senior Program Director to oversee the uAspire program model in the Bay Area, currently serving 1,750 students on an annual basis;
  • Build relationships with Bay Area Education Leaders at the district and university level;
  • Establish and expand relationships with Bay Area school district and higher education institution leadership; and
  • Maintain a high level of knowledge and understanding of financial aid policies and procedures, as well as a working knowledge of broad issues in higher education and college affordability.

Contribute to the continued development of uAspire’s national network

  • Work in partnership with the National Leadership Team to further develop the national growth implementation plan; align the Bay Area site’s strategy and priorities with those of the national organization;
  • Support and participate in network-wide initiatives with the national office and with regional leaders, modeling and sharing best practices and learning;
  • Establish strong collaborative relationships with the staff at the national office and with other organizations leaders; and
  • Instill a culture that reflects uAspire’s values through all programs both regionally and nationally: Student-Centered, Collaborative, Dedicated, Excellent, and Systems-Focused.


The ideal candidate for this position will possess many, if not all, of the following professional qualifications, competencies and personal qualities:

  • A sincere and deep commitment to the fundamental belief that every child deserves a college education, that college closes the opportunity gap and that helping disadvantaged students overcome financial barriers to achieving this is a high calling worthy of intense effort;
  • Minimum of 8 years of community or executive leadership experience, with particular value on experience working in nonprofit organizations with fast-paced, high-growth environments;
  • Proven ability to initiate, cultivate, and manage relationships with key individual and institutional stakeholders and meet ambitious fundraising goals;
  • Strong Bay Area experience and established relationships in Bay Area philanthropic, education, nonprofit and business sectors, combined with a deep understanding of the critical issues facing students, families and schools in local communities and post-secondary institutions in California;
  • 5+ years of proven success managing teams toward ambitious, measurable results; ability to motivate, excite and inspire staff with an eye toward supporting managers and developing new professionals;
  • Rigorous thinker with the ability to analyze program, fundraising and financial data, anticipate future needs, and drive strategy;
  • Strong project manager with the ability to scope projects and execute multi-faceted processes in a collaborative context;
  • Outstanding ability to build trust with diverse partners and stakeholders; exceptional cultural competency and demonstrated success with diverse populations including donors, community leaders, and high school and college-aged students;
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills; an authentic, persuasive and passionate communicator with excellent interpersonal skills; a customer service orientation;
  • Comfort with web-based tools and technology and good instincts about how it can be used most effectively;
  • Resourceful, flexible, team-player with a positive “can do” attitude and a sense of humor; open to change, learning, and improvement;
  • Ability to work flexible hours that will include evenings and some weekends; and
  • Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree or equivalent experience preferred.


uAspire has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. To apply, please submit a compelling letter of interest and resume to Erin Reedy here.

uAspire is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes a diverse pool of candidates in this search.

Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits 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 about Koya Leadership Partners, visit