Chief Finance and Operations Officer (Pivotal)

As a population, foster youth struggle to succeed in school and the workplace.  It's not because they're doing anything wrong. In fact, 95% want to go to college. But being in foster care is a tough road, no matter how you look at it. So, while they dream of brighter futures, on a national level, 50% of foster youth drop out of high school and most never make it to college. Pivotal specializes in guiding foster youth towards academic and employment success.


Pivotal is a nonprofit committed to supporting young people in and from foster care
to realize their educational and career goals and ensure their equitable access to opportunity. Envisioning a community in which every young person gets the education, career, and life they want for themselves, Pivotal’s proven programs directly impacting foster youth and improving the policies and systems surrounding them, with a business model that supports sustainability and significant scale.

Recently rebranded from the merger of the Silicon Valley Children’s Fund, established over twenty years ago to address the unfulfilled educational needs of foster youth, and TeenForce, a Silicon Valley non-profit with a solid reputation for finding foster youth jobs, Pivotal – a name chosen to highlight its role in the lives of the foster youth it serves – is seeking nominations and applications for the newly-created role of Chief Finance and Operations Officer (CFOO). Through its integrated mission Pivotal is the only nonprofit in the Silicon Valley that focuses exclusively on education and employment support for high school and college age foster youth. This strong combination of support includes 1:1 coaching support, college scholarships, tutoring, summer internships, and professional development training. With Pivotal’s support, foster youth in the Silicon Valley have proven to graduate from high school and college at significantly higher rates than their foster youth peers.

Reporting to the CEO, the CFOO will join a passionate, highly experienced leadership team at an exciting moment in Pivotal’s history to help achieve these strategic goals. As a member of the senior leadership team, the new CFOO will help Pivotal solidify its financial and operational capabilities, build efficient and adaptive infrastructure, and scale strategically for greater impact. The CFOO will also help build effective policies, learning experiences, and practices to create a culture grounded in community engagement; data-informed innovation; and diversity, equity, and inclusion. To drive holistic change, the CFOO will lead and oversee key capabilities areas including accounting and financial management, programmatic learning and evaluation, program administrative support, human resources, technology, physical space and related operations as Pivotal grows both its organizational footprint and impact.

The successful candidate will be passionate about youth and human services and deeply inspired by Pivotal’s mission. The new CFOO will first and foremost demonstrate the ability to ensure the financial soundness and integrity of the organization as it grows in revenue and related complexity.  S/he/they will have experience successfully designing, implementing, and evolving operational and service delivery systems to support a rapidly growing organization, as well as effectively analyzing data, trends, and evidence to inform enterprise-wide decisions and continuous improvements. S/he/they will be a strategic thinker grounded in design thinking and have the proven ability to enable efficient organizational growth and scale. Leadership experience and emotional intelligence in collaborating with internal and external stakeholders is crucial along with ability to inspire and manage high-performing teams and foster a culture of curiosity, innovation, excellence, and purpose in which all staff can grow and thrive. Finally, as a key member of the Pivotal leadership team, the CFOO will serve as a thoughtful and active ambassador for Pivotal and advocate for foster youth throughout and across all sectors of the community.

This search is being conducted by NPAG. Application instructions can be found at the end of this document.

Organizational Overview

For more than 20 years, Pivotal has created better life outcomes for foster youth in Silicon Valley.  With a reputation for being relentless, Pivotal has helped hundreds of youth graduate from high school and go on to college and is committed to helping every foster youth in Silicon Valley who is ready to create a future they are excited about. 

By supporting young people in and from foster care to realize their educational and career goals and ensure their equitable access to opportunity, Pivotal amplifies the voice of, and advocates for, foster youth in the San Mateo and Santa Clara communities. This includes engaging educational and employment partners (including government, schools, nonprofits and businesses) in community priorities for foster youth by aligning and coordinating the foster care ecosystem.

In launching the next chapter of its journey, Pivotal announced three key strategic goals:

  1. Deepen the levels of education and employment support services currently offered to approximately 550 foster youth in Silicon Valley.
  2. Lead reform on a new collective impact initiative which is co-chaired by the Department of Family and Children’s Services and the County Office of Education. The initiative is designed to bring community advocates and leaders together to disrupt the status quo and improve life outcomes for foster youth.
  3. Build out the structure needed to serve more than 800 foster youth (or 80%) by 2023.


Pivotal delivers services and programs to youth in the following three areas:

  • Trauma Competent coaching to help foster youth set and realize educational and career goals;
  • Access to education and workforce opportunities through tutoring, scholarships, internships, job shadowing, and networking; and
  • Enrichment through STEM workshops, professional development, peer group and extracurricular activities.

Trauma Competent Coaching

Pivotal coaches are highly trained at using a counseling approach called Motivational Interviewing to spark change in young people. Coaches model compassion and accountability so that youth learn to be the authors of their own stories. The coaching team consists of highly trained individuals in trauma-informed care, a branch of counseling that acknowledges the effects of trauma, that help youth build resilience, and change the behaviors that hold them back from success so they can focus on their future. Pivotal coaches also understand the foster care system and the rights high school and college-age youth are entitled to. They are well-connected youth advocates with expert knowledge of graduation requirements at every high school and community college in Silicon Valley.


Pivotal provides foster youth access to resources that non-foster youth typically receive from their families. This includes providing private tutors to fill in academic gaps and opening doors to jobs and internships in high-profile firms to expand their professional network and expose them to the business world. In addition to this Pivotal provides college scholarships so youth can stay on track to graduate. And, when youth need resources beyond the scope of Pivotal’s practice, they are referred to our trusted community partners. 


Like all youth, foster youth need opportunities to dabble in learning activities outside of school. Foster youth who wish to explore STEM can enroll in Pivotal’s flagship STEM program to learn gaming, coding, and robotics from technology professionals in Silicon Valley. They can also participate in organized youth leadership activities like college campus visits, field trips, and our Youth Advisory Board to build confidence as future leaders. Pivotal also believes that getting job-ready is crucial to career success, and provides professional development workshops that teach foster youth valuable skills they'll use over and over again, like resume writing, interviewing, communicating effectively, and using common business software. Students receive 20 hours of professional development training to build their skills and confidence before starting a new internship or job, alongside learning how to take stock of their talents, write a strong resume, create a LinkedIn profile, and search for jobs that align with their passions and goals.  

Opportunities and Challenges Facing the New Position

As part of a top-notch leadership team, the new CFOO will play a key role in solidifying and innovating programs, internal support systems, and organizational infrastructure in order to scale up Pivotal’s influence, knowledge, and programs. Immediately and continuing over the next three years and beyond, the CFOO will be entrusted to:

  • Establish a robust, reliable accounting and financial management engine to steward significant growth in revenue and handle the complexity that comes with a wider array of financial resources and requirements. Pivotal has a well-thought-out growth strategy that will drive significant growth in revenue from a wide array of sources including government, education entities, private companies, philanthropies, and private donors. The new CFOO will partner closely with the CEO and other members of the executive leadership team to ensure that strong systems, skillsets and capabilities, processes and procedures are in place to forecast, plan, budget, and steward Pivotal’s financial resources with a high degree of integrity, transparency, and auditable excellence. In partnership with the CEO, the CFOO will serve as the go-to voice with the Board of Directors, internal staff, and external stakeholders on all matters relating to the financial health and integrity of the organization.
  • Ensure best-in-class support and administrative processes and systems are established and linked seamlessly to support evolving programs for youth outcomes. The CFOO will guide and oversee the solidification and enhancement of finance and operational support systems, transactions and services connected with Pivotal’s coaching, enrichment, and access programs and the dynamic array of youths, services providers, partners, volunteers, interns and staff involved in these programs. As Pivotal continues to grow in terms of reach, depth and impact, the COO will provide strategic vision and operational expertise on how these service capabilities will also scale and continually improve to keep pace.
  • Steward a coherent evaluation and learning strategy and related capacity to generate data-driven evidence and insight surrounding Pivotal’s programs and innovations. Working with the Director for Evaluation and Learning, the CFOO will deliver the recommended vision and strategy for programmatic learning, impact measurement, and knowledge sharing in support the organization’s strategic goals and metrics. S/he/they will create a strong evaluation and learning function and the enabling environment to help Pivotal become an evidence-based, data-driven learning organization. S/he/they will ensure the tracking and management of accurate and current data, knowledge, and insight regarding Pivotal’s programmatic impacts and outcomes, as well as learnings that can be shared with funders, investors, and community stakeholders. In partnership with the Pivotal executive leadership team, the CFOO will serve as an ambassador in communicating internally and externally programmatic lessons learned, evidence of impact, and actionable insights.
  • Nurture and build a diverse, values-driven, competent workforce to support Pivotal’s growth. The CFOO will steward the development of the talent strategy to support Pivotal’s growth. S/he/they will ensure the ongoing recruitment, development, and human-resource management required to build and support a diverse, mission-oriented, innovative and high performing workforce and culture. This will require establishing a strong talent and human resource management function and related infrastructure as one of the functional pillars under the CFOO’s responsibilities. In alignment with Pivotal’s core values, the CFOO will also guide the organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategies and practices as part of Pivotal’s organizational maturity and success.
  • Provide thoughtful leadership and guidance to complete the journey of merging two established organizations into one Pivotal family. Organizational change is difficult and ultimately very human. While the merger has occurred with great success, a year later work remains to be done to further integrate and harmonize the two organizational cultures and ways of working into one unified culture and operational system. In partnership with the CEO and executive leadership team, the CFOO will take a highly visible leadership role to offer an inclusive approach and respectful process for bringing the organization together quickly and effectively to learn, reflect, and co-create its desired operating environment. This effort must be undertaken quickly, with care, in concert all the other expectations.


While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes and experiences:

  • Sophisticated leadership skills and presence developed through a minimum of ten years of progressive strategic leadership in a high-growth, best-in-class organization, ideally in a social sector or cross sector context; Demonstrated experience and success in building or scaling a complex organization, with an eye towards sustainability;
  • Clear record of achievement in financial management and experience with the intersection of finance, development, and program management for effective stewardship of resources;
  • Demonstrated resourcefulness in setting priorities, change management, proposing new ways of creating efficiencies, and guiding investment in people and systems; A strategic, comprehensive, and critical approach to planning, problem solving, and decision making;
  • An unwavering commitment to quality programs and excellence in strategic, organizational, and budget management; Experience in building efficient, data-informed, cost-effective programs and leveraging data for planning and managing organizational change;
  • A strong, intuitive communicator, skillful at managing through influence with humility; Demonstrated ability to connect and inspire across stakeholder groups;
  • A high tolerance for ambiguity and the ability to adapt quickly to change; Demonstrated ability to anticipate and manage potential impacts of change;
  • An optimistic outlook and the natural tendency to forego individual promotion in the interest of mission; Humor, integrity, charisma, patience, and a natural learning posture; A servant-leader orientation and the emotional intelligence necessary to know when to lead and when to follow;
  • A demonstrated passion for Pivotal’s mission and commitment to helping guide foster youth towards academic and employment success; and
  • Bachelor's degree required with an advanced degree in a related field strongly preferred.


More information about the Pivotal may be found at:

Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Applications including a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, your resume (in Word format), and where you learned of the position should be sent to: [email protected]. In order to expedite the internal sorting and reviewing process, please type your name (Last, First) as the only contents in the subject line of your e-mail.

PIVOTAL is an equal opportunity employer and proudly values diversity. Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

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