President and Executive Director

CSSSA Foundation

Posted: 3/12/2020

Position Type: Full-Time (Paid)

Function: Business Development

Primary domain: Education

City: Playa District, Los Angeles

Postal code: 90045

State: California

Country: United States

Organization Information:


$0 - $1M


Mission statement:

The California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) and the CSSSA Foundation were created together in 1986 and work together as a unique public/private partnership. Our mission is to educate and empower the most promising teen artists, without regard to financial circumstances. Our work supports creative California teens and families as well as the pipeline of skilled and talented workers into the creative industries in California.

Each summer, CSSSA gathers approximately 520 students (95% from California) in a residential, multidisciplinary environment for intensive study in one of seven artistic disciplines from the performing arts to the fine arts. The State of California subsidizes tuition for in-state students and maintains a small full-time staff that runs the application and acceptance process, as well as the summer school instruction. Students are accepted on a 100% merit basis.

As the private sector partner, the CSSSA Foundation gathers and deploys private funds that support CSSSA students and programs. From our flagship financial aid guarantee for CSSSA students to our decade-long partnership with the Herb Alpert Foundation that provides over $300,000 in annual college scholarships, we maintain our investment in CSSSA students and families well beyond their summer experience. The CSSSA Alumni Network is more than 16,000 strong and is one of our most vital and growing programs. The CSSSA Foundation is overseen by a Board of Directors consisting of roughly 10-20 members. The Foundation Board of Directors works with the CSSSA Board of Trustees, appointed by various state bodies.

Position Details:

Job Description:

The CSSSA Foundation is looking for a full-time Executive Director & President to lead its operations and performance, including fundraising, outreach and events, community relations, and Board development. The Executive Director will work in concert with the Director of CSSSA, manage a staff of 2-3, and report to the Board of Directors.

This is an exciting time to be a part of the CSSSA Foundation. We are completing a time of transition and are poised to leverage these changes into extraordinary growth and improvement. In this new era, the ideal Executive Director would possess extraordinary people skills, creativity, tenacity, and the ability to execute on unprecedented internal strategies.


  • Strategic Direction and Program Oversight. Working with Board and staff leadership, defines the strategic direction for CSSSA Foundation, consistent with its vision, mission, culture, and resources. Collaboratively develops annual goals and strategies with the ability to think creatively about setting and achieving the Foundation’s priorities.  Understand and oversee current programs. Identify program strengths and weaknesses, and pursue opportunities for increasing scale and impact when appropriate. Willing to try new approaches and new programs while employing data-backed reasoning when considering risk. Continuously evaluate impact and goals of ongoing programs.
  • Fundraising. Oversees fundraising planning and implementation, including stewarding current major gift donors and developing new prospects. Takes a personalized approach to donor relationships at the major gift level and ongoing stewardship. Works to identify, cultivate and solicit gifts from individuals, corporations, foundations, and other sources. Understands that growing philanthropic support is essential to the success of the Foundation, and as such, instills a culture of philanthropy in all programs.
  • Board Management and Support. Develops a strong partnership with the Board of Directors, recognizing and activating their individual expertise and goals, together building a team environment that will take the Foundation to the next level. Utilizes their talents and networks, when appropriate, to support operations. Facilitates and supports the Board by advising and informing Board members of the ongoing status of business operations, needs, and opportunities. Keeps the Board in alignment with good governance practices and productive Board work.  Consistently focuses on Board development in order to grow the group’s diversity, expertise and philanthropic capacity. Manages individual relationships with Board members as well as overall Board-staff communication. Shapes agendas and guides discussion at all Board meetings.
  • Fiscal/Operations Management. Ensures the organization is operating on a sound fiscal basis and in compliance with applicable laws. Work with the Board Treasurer and any internal/external accountants to develop the budget and manage within the budget. Keeps the Board of Directors informed of the financial status of the organization. Keeps abreast of relevant best practices related to both workplace and programs. Continuously gauge efficiencies and work to streamline operations.
  • Relationship Management. Understands and appreciates the value of relationships at all levels. Maintains cooperative working relationships with Foundation staff, CSSSA staff, and community partners. Engages and fosters critical relationships, including the Board of Directors, CSSSA Board of Trustees, donors, and prospects. Diplomatic and adept at navigating tense business situations among seasoned, passionate professionals with competing priorities. Able to approaches relationships from a collaborative ego-free perspective that employs consensus-building communication. Seeks peaceful resolution to all situations.
  • Leadership. Leads a small, but savvy team to strengthen and support the programmatic, financial and operational goals, including attracting, retaining, developing, and motivating qualified staff. Ensures opportunities for ongoing staff development and mentorship, including the setting of goals and measuring of results to drive organizational performance and outcomes. Provides consistent and clear leadership to staff and ensures the development of an organizational culture that is characterized by a commitment to quality, collaboration, transparency, diversity, and mutual respect.
  • Visibility/Public Relations. Ensures that CSSSA and CSSSA Foundation are consistently presented in strong and appropriate images to relevant stakeholders. Develops communications strategies including collateral material, online content, social media direction, video production, creation of scripts for radio, TV, and video broadcast, and other public relations efforts. Works to increase CSSSA recognition and application numbers across the state through well-conceived branding and outreach strategies. Serves as the chief spokesperson and travels on the Foundation’s behalf. 


Must Haves:

  • Bachelor’s degree and at least 10 years of relevant experience; at least 4 years in a leadership position.
  • Deep experience in at least one of the following: communications, non-profit administration, fundraising, arts administration, or youth education.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills with experience in public speaking and/or community building
  • Practiced at forming relationships with all stakeholders and stakeholder categories
  • Experience in building a healthy office culture
  • Understanding of philanthropy community in one or more of California’s major hubs
  • Collaborative, with an appetite for consensus
  • Ease with out-of-the-box thinking, tenacity to execute strategies
  • Fluency with standard office software

Wish List:

  • Experience working with a non-profit board of directors and understanding of non-profit board policies and best practices
  • Experience with finance, accounting, or bookkeeping
  • Knowledge of issues related to programs that deal with minors
  • Experience with alumni relations programs
  • Knowledge of social media best practices and comfortable identifying successful campaigns aimed at community engagement
  • Membership on a board


Robust health insurance is provided through Anthem Blue Cross.


$100k - 120k

Posting Expiration Date:


How to Apply:

Please provide a cover letter and resume to: [email protected]


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