A Way Home Washington (AWHWA) is a mission-driven, movement-building organization dedicated to preventing and ending youth and young adult homelessness across Washington state. A group of funders, service providers, youth, advocates, and government partners came together to form A Way Home Washington – a coalition committed to advancing the vision of a state where homelessness among youth and young adults is rare and, if it occurs, brief in duration and never repeated. As a public/private partnership that seeks systemic change through policy, advocacy, and collective impact, AWHWA partners with local communities, state government, and philanthropy to create lasting, community driven change that builds capacity for services and advocacy to support youth and young adults experiencing homelessness across Washington. Originally developed as a campaign, AWHWA remains deeply committed to its ambitious goals and building the community capacity to carry this work forward now and into the future.
AWHWA now seeks a new Executive Director who will play an important role in leading the organization into a bold and impactful future. Working in partnership with communities, staff, and board, the Executive Director (ED) will chart the next phase of work by leveraging learnings from the initial four Anchor Community Initiative (ACI) communities and statewide policy and advocacy initiatives. The ED will work collaboratively to define a comprehensive strategic plan that sets forth bold goals and aligns resources, policies, and organizational structures to most effectively fulfill AWHWA’s mission. They will bring vision and leadership to AWHWA’s efforts to center equity and intersectionality, expand policy and advocacy influence, and to advance a movement to functionally end youth and young adult homelessness.
The new Executive Director will be a natural collaborator who is dedicated to a collective impact strategy and integrating the voices of communities and those with lived experience in shaping the strategy and organizational goals. They will be seasoned in anti-racism and equity work, with a track record of leading equity initiatives both within organizations and externally through programs. The Executive Director will be a proven manager who is committed to nurturing and developing a team, a design thinker who connects strategy to organizational structure, and a trusted partner to the board in stewarding the organization. This is an exciting opportunity for a passionate and experienced leader with sophisticated analytical and interpersonal skills who is deeply committed to using political engagement, data driven evidence, and a collective impact approach to end youth and young adult homelessness.
This search is being conducted with assistance from Carolyn Ho, Catherine Seneviratne, and Chris Cannon of NPAG. Application instructions can be found at the end of this document.
AWHWA is a statewide movement that centers on supporting the unaccompanied 13,000 – 15,000 young people in Washington state who are surviving homelessness. AWHWA partners with communities, agencies, and leaders across Washington state to connect youth with stable housing and employment, education, and health services. By engaging on a local level and creating a statewide network, AWHWA connects communities and provides opportunities to discuss common barriers and solutions for ending youth and young adult homelessness. Founded by a core group of funders who sought a common goal, AWHWA has grown in size and influence, from a team of 2 staff members to 10 and a budget of approximately $3M. With a goal of centering equity in its work, AWHWA seeks to change the systems that result in a disproportionate representation of LGTBQ+ and young people of color in the homeless youth population and bring that equity analysis to its own programs, partnerships, operations, and governance.
Early Roots: 100 Day Challenges
The 100-Day Challenges model, pioneered by the Rapid Results Institute, rallies relevant stakeholders around a shared objective and intends to disrupt conventional ways of thinking and encourage innovative approaches to long-standing problems. On April 18 and 19 of 2017, AWHWA in collaboration with teams from Spokane, Pierce, and King counties launched their first 100-Day Challenges to accelerate progress toward the ultimate goal: to prevent and end youth and young adult homelessness in Washington state. The teams included young people with lived experience of homelessness, service providers local government agencies, and other stakeholders from the three regions. The Challenges concluded on July 29, with 615 young people stably housed. The three communities continue to apply the lessons learned during the challenges.
Anchor Community Initiative
In late 2018, leaders from across the state launched a cross-sector, coordinated effort, the Anchor Community Initiative (ACI), to prevent and end youth and young adult homelessness. The ACI is an innovative, data-driven, and equity-focused campaign to house youth and young adults who are experiencing unaccompanied homelessness. The initial four communities of the ACI are Pierce, Spokane, Yakima, and Walla Walla Counties, with hopes to eventually expand across the state. With local leaders on the ground, AWHWA brings all parts of each community to the table and develops a unique plan that covers prevention, long-term housing, treatment services, employment, and educational attainment. The ACI serves as proof of concept, using data to inform strategies, performance, and modifications to the ACI approach. The ACI is based on the Built for Zero model. The goal is a “Yes to Yes” system where communities have the capacity to support every young person who needs help and achieve equitable outcomes for young people of color and LGBTQ+ young people.
Throughout AWHWA’s history, the organization has focused on integrating evidence-based practice and the voices of youth and young adults to inform and influence policy and bring about change that leads to ending homelessness. AWHWA uses Continuous Quality Improvement to test, learn from, and develop further innovative solutions. Reliable, person-centered, data allows ACI communities to quickly identify, house and support youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. With real-time information, communities can measure the effectiveness of their reduction strategies and know whether these strategies are reducing disproportionality for populations overrepresented in the data. AWHWA supports the collection of real-time data by training and assisting data collectors, outlining a system for identifying focus areas, monitoring data to identify trends, and using learnings to develop and sustain a system that is ready to respond anytime a young person needs help.
Policy & Advocacy
AWHWA, in collaboration with partners, has advocated for state legislation that positively impacts the lives of youth and young adults experiencing homelessness in Washington, including $4 million in funding for the ACI through the Office of Homeless Youth in 2019. In the last legislative session, AWHWA and partners celebrated major victories in the movement to end youth and young adult homelessness, including:
- $500,000 towards the Centralized Diversion Fund, a pool of flexible funds communities can access to help young people cover expenses that lead to securing housing.
- Re-establishing the family reconciliation services (FRS) program that ensures families have access to culturally relevant early intervention and supports in their communities.
- $1 million to provide 15 transitional shelter beds for youth 16-17 who are not dependents of the state.
AWHWA’s Founding Executive Director, Jim Theofelis, recently announced his plans to step down and make way for new leadership. Jim is committed to supporting AWHWA through the end of 2020, and the new Executive Director will have the opportunity to leverage Jim’s strengths in policy, advocacy, and fundraising and co-design with Jim his potential future role beyond 2020.
A Way Home Washington enjoys strong financial support from multiple foundation partners and is administered through a fiscal sponsorship by TSNE MissionWorks. The organization is governed by TSNE and led by an advisory board comprised of current funding partners and a representative of the State Office of Homeless Youth.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Building on a strong regional and national reputation of innovation and outcomes, AWHWA’s next Executive Director will join a dynamic and growing team committed to preventing and ending youth and young adult homelessness in Washington state. The new Executive Director will face the following opportunities and challenges:
Vision and Leadership
The new Executive Director will work collaboratively with staff, board, and community partners to chart the next evolution of the organization and its vision. Through an inclusive and comprehensive planning process, they will develop a unified strategy for AWHWA that fuses evidence and learnings from ACI with the policy, advocacy, and programmatic strengths of the organization.
External Partnerships & Fundraising
The Executive Director will work in partnership with staff and board to sustain and deepen strong relationships built on trust and collaboration between AWHWA and its community partners across the state. They will expand AWHWA’s diverse network of partner organizations, philanthropic supporters, and policy champions to advance the organization’s ambitious goals and will embrace AWHWA’s role as convener, advocate, and leader in advancing collective impact around youth and young adult homelessness.
Working in partnership with a strong and dedicated staff, and informed by programmatic experience, the ED will build cross-team collaboration and an internal culture centered in equity. They will strengthen internal communications and collaboration to further align staff with clearly articulated future priorities and direction of AWHWA. They will leverage the opportunity to co-design Jim Theofelis’s potential future role to tap his deep connections and expertise in community and service provider relationships, state policy development, and fundraising. Finally, the ED in partnership with the Deputy Director will assess the financial and organizational structures, processes, and relationship to its fiscal sponsor to ensure AWAHA’s current and future initiatives, key programs, policy and advocacy agendas are supported by the most effective organizational infrastructure.
The new Executive Director will work closely with the current board to design the next phase of governance, including assessing the potential shift from a funder board to a community-led board. They will support the engagement, recruitment, and onboarding of new board members as thought partners and key advisors, effectively leveraging their diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences to inform the strategic direction and growth of AWHWA. As a trusted partner to the board, the ED will support effective governance practices and opportunities to elevate the board’s collective capacity to influence systematic change to prevent and end youth and young adult homelessness.
QUALIFICATIONS OF THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
While the ideal candidate will embody many of the following abilities, attributes, skills, and experiences, AWHWA anticipates that no one candidate will possess all the qualifications listed below.
Connection to Mission
- Passion for ending youth and young adult homelessness through a community impact model like AWHWA; commitment to outcomes based, community driven initiatives that apply a systems-change approach and cross sector collaboration.
- A deep commitment to equity with the proven ability to apply a racial equity lens to all levels of an organization’s work.
- Lived experience with homelessness highly valued.
Management & Leadership
- Successful experience leading strategic planning processes that yield clarity and direction while authentically including a diverse array of perspectives and voices.
- Proven track record managing comparable budgets and staff, particularly during early-stage organizational growth and through the steps needed to grow and sustain organizational health and mission focus.
- Excellent management skills and experience leading and inspiring change in a diverse, mission-driven environment; proven capacity to support systems and decision-making that fosters participation, mutual accountability, and growth.
- A track record of success inspiring, managing, and mentoring highly talented and diverse teams; inclusive and collaborative leadership style that leverages the knowledge, diversity, and expertise of staff, communities, and organizational partners; the ability to move others without exerting hierarchical power.
- Familiarity with nonprofit governance structures and growing a strong and representative board.
- Comfort with data and evidence informed decision-making; ability to translate complex ideas and processes in a way that is accessible to multiple audiences and stakeholders.
External Relations & Policy
- Strong relationship-building skills and an authentic interest in listening to and learning from others; the ability to act with intentionality, establish trust, engage stakeholders, and cultivate belonging.
- Experience supporting an organization’s policy, advocacy, and external communications efforts, and establishing meaningful collaborations with relevant partners, agencies, and communities.
- Excellent spoken and written communications skills; ability to call attention to important issues when the moment requires and the humility and maturity to empower others to tell their story.
- Combination of lived and professional experience that is aligned with AWHWA’s mission and values.
- Ability and willingness to travel across Washington state and the adaptability to work effectively in a wide variety of geographic, political, and cultural settings.
Compensation: AWHWA strives to hold pay equity as a core value of the organization. As such, the salary range for the Executive Director position is $130,000 -145,000 per year, commensurate with experience.
More information about A Way Home Washington may be found at: www.awayhomewa.org.
This search is being conducted with assistance from Carolyn Ho, Catherine Seneviratne, and Chris Cannon of NPAG. 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. Applicants are also asked to complete the TSNE MissionWorks application found here.
A Way Home Washington is an equal opportunity employer and proudly values diversity.
Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.