Organization: Partnership to Educate and Advance Kids (PEAK)

Location: Chicago, IL

Express Interest

About Partnership to Educate and Advance Kids (PEAK):

The Partnership to Educate and Advance Kids’ (PEAK) mission is to provide opportunities for undeserved youth to achieve academic and personal success by combining a four-year quality, values-based high school education with the guidance and commitment of caring, adult mentors.

Since 1998, PEAK has provided full-tuition scholarships for over 250 students to attend Holy Trinity High School, a private Catholic school that provides an opportunity for a college prep education in a richly diverse and inclusive community where every student is known and valued.

Unlike many scholarship programs in Chicago, PEAK serves students with an average academic middle school performance who often do not have access to other scholarship programs. Each scholar works with an adult mentor from the business community for all four years of high school. The scholars are also provided access to social, civic, cultural and professional experiences throughout their high school career.

PEAK is entering their 20th year of mentoring and educating Chicago youth from the city’s most underserved communities. A diverse group of 13-18 year olds, PEAK scholars are primarily from the west and south sides of Chicago. They are average academic achievers with a potential for success in a nurturing academic environment. PEAK provides the best chance for scholars to succeed by matching them with a caring adult mentor and providing full, four-year scholarships. Since 2006, 100% of PEAK graduates have been accepted into college.

PEAK’s partnership with Holy Trinity High School extends well beyond their shared location. Holy Trinity offers a rigorous college prep curriculum while providing scholars with unparalleled opportunities focused on college readiness and real-world experiences. Rooted in the values of the Brothers of Holy Cross, Holy Trinity challenges and nurtures students academically, spiritually and personally, as they prepare to lead lives of leadership and service.

Holy Trinity High School successfully partners with PEAK scholars with tutoring and support. The PEAK mentor role is one of life coach and role model, not one of tutor. The mentors have had a tremendous impact on the scholars and have shown to improve student attendance, attitudes toward school, and self-esteem. The mentors benefit from training and networking from PEAK, but the greatest impact is spending time, building relationships and learning from the scholars. In 2016, PEAK won the Impact Award for match of the year through the Illinois Mentoring Partnership.

PEAK has consistently managed a $400K budget, 100% privately funded. The organization has an objective to double the thirty-five students it serves over a three-year period and grow its donor base to fund the expansion. In 2017, PEAK received an extraordinary gift, which started PEAK on the path toward these objectives. With a dedicated staff of 2 full time employees, the Executive Director will lead the effort to build on this opportunity, diversify funding and grow the organization.

Twice winning the Thomas A. Demetrio Award of Excellence for mentoring, PEAK has a strong and supportive organizational culture based on collaboration and a deep commitment to students. With a passionate and professional staff, PEAK is well poised for its next leader who can continue the growth trajectory and guide its success.

For more information on PEAK, please visit

The Opportunity:

As PEAK enters this exciting next chapter, the Executive Director will provide leadership and direction to fulfill the organization’s mission. The Executive Director will focus on fundraising, operational effectiveness and core mission delivery.

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the next Executive Director will embody the mission and values of PEAK and Holy Trinity High School. The Board sees this next chapter as both a period of growth and evaluation for PEAK, expanding scholarships and programming. The next Executive Director will guide that effort and help expand the PEAK’s reach and brand in the community.

The Executive Director will have operational responsibility for PEAK’s programs and staff. The current staff includes a Development Director and Program Director. In partnership with the staff and Board, the Executive Director is accountable for setting the direction of the organization, executing the extensive growth strategy plan and establishing the overall fundraising plan. The role provides leadership and oversight of the organization’s operations, culture, values, talent and financial performance, and owns and protects the mission.

As the primary spokesperson for PEAK, the Executive Director engages donors and other constituents, partnering with the Development Director on efforts to build the organization’s fundraising capacity. In addition, s/he will develop and foster positive relationships and linkages with key external stakeholders. The Executive Director will identify, maintain and communicate the vital connection between funders and program outcomes.

The Executive Director will be instrumental in helping PEAK achieve its potential to continue to serve more students. Key metrics for success of this role include:

  • Providing professional leadership to the Board of Directors to assure development of an effective and motivated board, including identification, recruitment and stewardship;
  • Achieving strong fundraising success through deepening and sustaining relationships with committed supporters as well as expanding PEAK’s donor base;
  • Maintaining a focus on proactive, strategic planning that allows PEAK to identify and take advantage of, or respond to, emerging trends and needs;
  • Partnering effectively with the Board of Directors and staff to execute a plan for growth that acknowledges the organization’s commitment to scholarship expansion; and
  • Positioning PEAK for long-term sustainable success and representing PEAK internally at Holy Trinity and externally.

Candidate Profile:

The Executive Director will be passionate about fulfilling PEAK’s mission. S/he will have the character and confidence to work comfortably in a highly visible role and to interact effectively with a broad range of constituents.

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

A Proven “Ambassador” & Fundraiser

The Executive Director will work in a collaborative manner, building relationships and promoting PEAK. S/he will be a proven fundraiser coupled with a deep understanding that successful fundraising and the development of partnerships with allied organizations are fundamental responsibilities. S/he will be able to build rapport and promote PEAK with all constituents. As the external voice of the organization, s/he will articulate and broaden the vision of the organization to its current supporting community and future stakeholders. S/he will work in close collaboration with the Board and staff to identify, approach and cultivate partners and donors to help advance the organization’s objectives. The Executive Director will also adopt an entrepreneurial approach to expanding and deepening new and existing donor support. The Executive Director must be a confident public speaker and have a solid understanding of how to utilize advertising, public relations and social media. The Executive Director will inspire, broaden and deepen support from donors, including corporate leaders, high-net worth individuals and key stakeholders.

Strategic Leadership and Management

The Executive Director will have the ability to set priorities decisively, delegate responsibilities, assure accountability and allocate resources to ensure results. A tactical executor, s/he will have a strong data and analysis orientation and a proven ability to use metrics to drive decisions and achieves strategic objectives. An engaging and supportive leader, the Executive Director will have a track record of motivating and inspiring other to achieve impact through creativity and teamwork and of leveraging individual strengths to meet organizational goals. The Executive Director will also have proven experience success expanding an organization in both programming and fundraising. S/he will have strong financial and operational experience to continually challenge and fine-tune the growth model. S/he will have a successful track record in management, development and Board relations.

A Passion for the Mission

The Executive Director will have a passion for PEAK’s mission of serving academically average, low income students, actively promoting ways to develop scholars into the next phase of their academic careers: college, trade school or gainful employment. The Executive Director is a dynamic, inspirational, energetic and credible leader, with the presence and gravitas to capture the attention and interest of the donor community and other key stakeholders to advance the organization’s mission. In addition, the Executive Director’s eye will consistently focus on the future and how to best adapt the PEAK to its changing environment. S/he will be an individual of impeccable integrity, ethics and values who can be trusted implicitly.

A Bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree is preferred.


Marissa Martin and Chartise Clark of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role, please submit your materials here or email Marissa and Chartise directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search 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 about Koya Leadership Partners, visit