The Y & H Soda Foundation is an anti-poverty organization committed to uplifting the full participation and prosperity of low-income and underserved residents of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. We aspire to create a more just, prosperous and caring community in the East Bay. We believe that every resident deserves an equal opportunity to develop to his or her fullest potential and contribute to community life. Since our founding 56 years ago, the Y & H Soda Foundation has become a trusted philanthropic leader in the East Bay known for helping to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations, especially in Contra Costa County. We address emergent issues by convening funders, nonprofits, businesses and government representatives to achieve a more significant impact on the lives and livelihoods of residents. We are committed to the principles and promise of inclusion, equity and justice for all as we carry out the mission set by our founders. Over the past 13 years, the Y & H Soda Foundation has been led by a respected, thoughtful, and visionary leader who is retiring this spring. Our Board of Directors now seeks an innovative, strategic and visionary Chief Executive Officer to build on past program accomplishments, deepen our racial diversity and equity practice, and lead us into a new phase of growth and impact.


The Y & H Soda Foundation was established in 1964 by Charles (Chet) Soda and his wife, Helen C. Soda. Deeply rooted in their Catholic faith and values, Chet and Helen envisioned a permanent resource to lift the strengths and capacities that inherently exist in communities across their beloved East Bay. This vision was inspired not only by Chet’s experience as a successful businessman in construction, but also as a widely recognized civic leader with a strong commitment to people, especially those struggling with poverty and isolation. The founders were also keenly aware that different times require different solutions to issues. Thus, Chet and Helen established a mission with the flexibility to respond to evolving needs. 

With time, the Y & H Soda Foundation also evolved and we are about to enter our third phase of development. In the first phase, we directed our grantmaking to organizations that focused on Catholic education and safety net support. Our close connections to these early grantees and growing knowledge of philanthropic tools ushered the Foundation into our second and current developmental phase. We recognize that poverty in our communities has many root causes, from individual and family circumstance to historical systems and structures that facilitate economic opportunity for some, while preventing it for others. Consequently, with assets of $120 million, a staff of five and an annual grants budget of $5 million, we currently work to make a difference at the individual, community and policy levels by focusing on five strategic priorities: Family Economic Success; Grassroots Community Organizing; Immigration Legal Services; Safety Net Innovation; and Nonprofit Sector Development.

Program accomplishments include: convening the Contra Costa Safety Net Task Force, a multisector effort to respond to the Great Recession and focus attention on the issue of growing suburban poverty; the East Contra Costa STRONG Initiative, a nonprofit leadership development and capacity building initiative; and Stand Together Contra Costa, a public/private collaborative legal services and community education project responding to rising threats on immigrant rights and the related trauma to families in our community. Through our Family Economic Success program, we have contributed to building a cadre of economic and workforce development organizations in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties skilled at improving the economic security of low-income residents. As a result, they are better positioned to take-on bolder economic initiatives.

In the spirit of continuous learning and dedication to the communities we serve, the Y&H Soda Foundation recently concluded a two-year, organization-wide training in racial diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). This important endeavor was also motivated by changing demographics, a rapidly changing economy, and a widening income gap evident in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties as in other communities across the nation. With the help of a DEI consultant, we deepened our understanding and commitment to applying a DEI lens to our work, and developed an equity framework to guide future grantmaking and operations.

Now, at this pivotal moment in our development, the Y & H Soda Foundation seeks a new Chief Executive Officer to lead the next phase of impact and commitment to support low-income residents in the East Bay to develop their fullest potential to grow, learn, thrive and contribute to community life. The new CEO will be a trusted and strategic advisor to the Board of Directors to advance our vision and mission.



The successful candidate will be a proven leader in her/his field with strong communication and analytical skills, and a track record of building formal collaborative relationships across sectors. She/he will have substantial experience applying innovative and strategic approaches in one or more of our strategic priority areas. The candidate will possess working knowledge of how policy and associated systems and structures play-out at both the legislative and grass roots levels. Equally important, preferred candidates will possess knowledge and understanding of racial justice, social equity, racial and cultural difference, systemic and institutional racial bias, and sensitivity to issues concerning communities of color, as well as other diverse groups.

The new CEO will share the Y & H Soda Foundation's fundamental values – compassion for those struggling; dignity and respect for individuals; learning from others through their life experiences and knowledge; and integrity in all we do – as well as our passion for the Foundation's mission. In addition, she/he will have the ability to comfortably navigate within a range of community and professional circles, from the volunteer-run nonprofit in a low-income neighborhood to the board rooms of business, civic and legislative leaders. Our candidate will also bring to our close-knit office environment in Moraga the ability to promote an inclusive and supportive workplace culture.  

While no one candidate will embody 100% of the qualifications we seek, the successful candidate will possess many of those stated above as well as the following professional and personal attributes, experiences and qualifications.


Key Duties and Responsibilities

Board Partnership: Cultivates a strong partnership with the Board in setting strategies and policies consistent with our mission; leads Board development activities; assists in the recruitment of new Board members; and provides Board members with sufficient information to make sound policy decisions.

Strategic Leadership: Assures that we have a long-term strategy to achieve our mission and measure consistent and timely progress; leads the completion and execution of our new strategic plan; provides leadership in developing program, organizational, investment and financial plans by monitoring standards in the field and creating an environment in which our activities reflect best practice; and stays abreast of advances in the field of philanthropy, changing policies and social landscapes.

Operational and Organizational Management: Manages our human capital including maintaining an inclusive workplace culture; hires, evaluates, and develops staff, informing the Board of Directors of personnel matters, as appropriate; ensures that employment policies are enforced and in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws and Foundation policies; directs grant making and program evaluation to assess overall strategic impact and monitor implications of learnings to continuously ensure effective grant making; oversees preparation and monitoring of the annual budget and periodic reporting on our finances; monitors our investment activities to ensure that they are carried out in accordance with the investment policy statement; designs, reviews, maintains and implements all operational policies and guidelines for the Foundation and presents these to the Board of Directors for input and approval; ensures that we have the appropriate communication systems, physical space and technology to operate efficiently and effectively; and ensures that systems are in place to maintain accurate records and documents.

Community Relations: Represents and serves as our main spokesperson to the general public, philanthropic and nonprofit community, public officials and partner organizations; serves as an effective and strategic convener, community leader and bridge-builder; collaborates with other foundations, leaders in the field and key constituents to help deepen our impact; and oversees our communication strategies and tools to ensure consistency with our overall strategic objectives.


Qualifications, Skills, and Abilities

Required competencies and experience:

  • Seven years or more of senior level management experience in the philanthropic, nonprofit, government and/or private sector
  • Deep knowledge, connections and professional experience in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties
  • Field knowledge and experience across at least two of our Strategic Priority Areas
  • Experience building relationships with funders, grantees and other community and public sector leaders
  • Demonstrated, practical understanding and application of race, equity, diversity and inclusion principles in an organizational setting
  • Experience with board development, strategic planning, change management and employee engagement
  • A Master’s degree in a related field (relevant experience in excess of the minimum requirements can be a substitute for an advanced degree)


Additional skills and abilities include:

  • Approachable, ethical and humorous with strong emotional intelligence
  • Philosophy of innovation, collaboration and movement building to create change
  • Big-picture thinker capable of evaluating systems and developing solutions
  • Excellent communicator across multiple audiences including grassroots organizations and peer funders
  • Ability to coach, develop and inspire staff
  • Appreciation of the power dynamics that shape grant making relationships and a commitment to building trust, two-way accountability and mutual respect, internally and externally


Compensation and Benefits

The Salary Range for this position is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience. There is an excellent benefits package including generous medical, dental, and vision plans; paid time off; and a retirement plan.



The Y & H Soda Foundation is partnering with Walker and Associates Consulting - a national strategic management consulting and search firm located in the East Bay - to facilitate this search. To apply, email a cover letter, resume and list of three references (candidates will be notified in advance of any outreach to your references) to [email protected] on or before 5:00 p.m. PST on Friday, February 28, 2020. Use the subject line: CEO Search. Submission via one combined PDF or Microsoft Word file is preferred. Resume review begins immediately.


Questions or Nominations? Email us at [email protected] or contact Constance Walker, President, at (510) 834-2341.

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