Organization: The Wood Family Foundation

Location: Chicago, IL

Express Interest

The Wood Family Foundation

About The Wood Family Foundation – Pitch In:

Founded in 2011, by Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood and his wife, Sarah, the Wood Family Foundation (WFF) works to improve the lives of children in Chicago. All WFF programs and activities are based on the belief that a child’s potential should never be underestimated and that building long-standing relationships with children and their families are the best way to nurture that potential.

The WFF mission is that despite the curveballs that may come their way, everyone should be given a chance in life regardless of resources or geography. The Wood Family Foundation facilitates relationships that provide support and opportunities to empower youth and their families to succeed in life.

WFF’s premier program is the Pitch In after-school mentoring program. A cohort-based, group mentoring program, Pitch In is based in the North Lawndale neighborhood. Designed for students in 4th through 8th grades, Pitch In is focused on the core competencies of social-emotional learning.

Pitch In’s overall goal is to provide ongoing support and guidance to 4th – 8th grade students in a safe and fun atmosphere. The program supports students’ needs in a school-based environment that goes beyond academic and tutoring support. Pitch In focuses on developing knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary for goal-setting, developing positive relationships, and academic and personal success. Pitch In programming addresses the Social and Emotional Learning needs of their participants across five major competency clusters:

  • Self-awareness;
  • Self-management;
  • Social awareness;
  • Relationship skills; and
  • Responsible decision making.

As students progress through Pitch In, they develop an entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen and conflict resolution skills. Students also share experience special trips and adventures throughout Chicago, beyond their home communities. By 8th grade, the goal is for students to be leaders in their school, and mentors to younger students.

In years past, WFF granted The Kerry & Sarah Wood Family Foundation Scholarship in partnership with the University of Illinois Chicago Honors College. This program targeted exceptional students from families who are unable to provide funding for college expenses and who reside in target neighborhoods. The inaugural scholar graduated in Spring 2017. The second scholar is now a sophomore.

For more information on WFF, please visit

The Opportunity:

As WFF enters this exciting chapter in its history, the next Executive Director (ED) will provide leadership and direction to fulfill the organization’s mission. Inspired by a genuine passion for empowering youth and helping families succeed in life, s/he will work tirelessly to promote and expand the efforts of the organization.

Reporting to and partnering with the Board of Directors, the ED will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for WFF’s staff, programs, expansion and execution of the mission. The Board sees this next chapter as both a period of growth and evaluation for WFF with the goal to expand programming and engage communities beyond Lawndale.

  • The ED will be a highly visible member of the community, representing WFF to the partner school and throughout the Chicago region. S/he will embody WFF’s strong commitment to its students and will promote the organization throughout the community, accelerating its impact, resource development and brand recognition.
  • S/he will oversee and lead the WFF team, currently consisting of three high-energy, highly motivated professionals. The ED will be instrumental in helping WFF achieve its potential. Key criteria for success of this role include:
  • Achieving strong fundraising success through a robust development program, including expanded engagement with individuals, corporations and foundations;
  • Embodying a clear, inspiring, entrepreneurial vision and guiding the team to translate those strategies into effectively executed plans;
  • Partnering effectively with the Board of Directors and staff to build on the success of the program to continually innovate, evaluate and improve outcomes for students;
  • Expanding and scaling Pitch In’s programming and curriculum development in Lawndale and in other high priority, at-risk Chicago neighborhoods;
  • Strengthening mentor recruitment and engagement; and
  • Cultivating existing and new corporate partnerships.

Candidate Profile:

The ED will be passionate about fulfilling WFF’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. As a leader in Chicago, s/he will bring a genuine passion for the mission of WFF coupled with deep experience driving sustainable success.

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

Visionary and Strategic Leader for WFF

The ED will be a strategic leader who, with the Board, will set and articulate a vision for the organization’s expansion. S/he will be a charismatic, results-oriented leader responsible for effectively conveying WFF’s mission and priorities to a range of constituents. As the external voice of the organization, s/he will lay the groundwork for the organization’s expansion to its current supporting community and future stakeholders, including donors, the Board, staff, partner schools, students and parents. The ED will be a dynamic, energetic and credible leader who evaluates outcomes with a metrics-based approach. S/he will have a track record of motivating and inspiring others to achieve impact through teamwork. The ED will have strong financial and operational experience to continually improve WFF’s programs and outcomes. S/he will have a successful track record in staff management, development and Board relations.

Leader in Development

The ED will work in a collaborative manner, building relationships and promoting WFF. S/he will be a demonstrated or emergent leader in the field of development, playing the organization’s lead role in fundraising. 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. S/he will have a strong orientation towards data and analysis and an ability to use metrics to drive development decisions and achieve strategic objectives. The ED will adopt an entrepreneurial approach to expanding and deepening new and existing donor support. S/he will build strong brand equity and awareness, continually seeking opportunities to promote WFF.

Passion for the Mission

The ED will have a passion for the mission of the WFF with experience and personal interest in education and youth development. On the most fundamental level, s/he will care deeply about the youth in Chicago. S/he will actively promote ways to empower youth and families to succeed in life. S/he believes that education can change a child’s life trajectory. The ED will actively and strategically seek partnerships and build coalitions with other organizations, educational institutions and leaders on behalf of the strategic vision of the organization. S/he will embrace WFF’s spirit, while continually innovating to help expand its brand and reach. The ED will be an inspirational and team-focused leader, treating others with respect and will have 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 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.

The Wood Family Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, 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