Founded in 2002 and based in Seattle, the Raikes Foundation has been a leader in catalyzing systems-level change and influencing issues related to young people and impact-driven philanthropy. With a strong reputation locally and nationally for their work in youth and young adult homelessness, the Raikes Foundation is entering an exciting next phase of this work, testing and scaling models in partnership with communities, non-profit organizations, and young people across Washington state and the country to make youth homelessness rare, brief, and one-time. Its ambitious goal of working alongside community partners to prevent and end youth and young adult homelessness in King County, Washington state, and nationally exemplifies the foundation’s deep commitment to developing and funding efforts that lead to lasting systemic change for some of society’s most challenging issues. To support this growing body of work, the Raikes Foundation now seeks a new Program Officer who will support coordinated community responses to youth homelessness.
The ideal candidate will share a passion for the foundation’s mission, contribute a wealth of knowledge and experience working with communities to end youth homelessness, a deep commitment to advancing equity, and success utilizing data, advocacy, and strategic communications to work with partners and scale successes. The Program Officer will be a proven relationship-builder and work collaboratively with a variety of stakeholders, including young people, funders, government, nonprofit agencies, and community leaders. While the ideal candidate will have expertise in youth homelessness, candidates with other backgrounds will be considered if they have deep experience addressing and scaling solutions to complex, adaptive challenges. This is an exciting opportunity to support innovation and collaboration across sectors to make a genuine difference in the lives of youth and young adults.
This search is being conducted by Carolyn Ho and Chris Cannon of NPAG. Application instructions can be found at the end of this document.
Tricia and Jeff Raikes were inspired early on by the catalytic potential of investing in youth and youth-serving systems. In the first years of the foundation’s work, the Raikes articulated the foundation’s belief in the unlimited potential of young people and its commitment to work toward a just and inclusive society where all young people have the support they need to reach their full potential. This focus led to careful attention to the systemic barriers often impeding the potential of far too many, particularly low-income children and young people of color. The foundation’s work in education and youth homelessness focuses on eliminating these barriers and works to change systems that have traditionally been, and continue to be, inequitable.
YOUTH HOMELESSNESS PROGRAM
Every year more than 4.2 million young people, ages 13 to 25, experience homelessness in the United States. Overwhelmingly, they are youth of color and young people who identify as LGBTQ. The Raikes Foundation believes youth homelessness is solvable. As a society, there are missed opportunities through our public schools, child welfare, behavioral health, and juvenile justice systems to recognize the early warning signs of young people in crisis and connect them to supportive services in a faster, more integrated fashion. Communities can also do more to create an effective crisis response system where youth homelessness can be a rare, brief, one-time occurrence. The foundation has played a central role in convening key stakeholders in the region and funding initiatives to build systems that address youth homelessness and its root causes and works with others to support communities to better understand the needs of young people, more effectively align services, and offer innovative solutions.
The Raikes Foundation believes that every young person deserves a safe, stable place to call home and is working with local, state, and national leaders to make that vision a reality. Driven by a community-centered approach that values research and data as well as lived experience, the foundation strives for community ownership of solutions while supporting these decision-making processes with additional insight and resources to drive toward practices with promise of preventing and ending youth homelessness. And with a historical lens, the foundation partners with communities and other state and national organizations including young people to identify structural inequities and advocate for culturally-affirming approaches that meet the needs of youth of color and LGBTQ youth.
Over the next few years, the Raikes Foundation will continue working alongside young people, community partners, public entities, and other private funders in a number of communities, including King County, Washington state, and beyond, to successfully address youth homelessness and ensure that youth with lived experience are at the table as partners, decisionmakers, and advocates. In addition, the foundation will support Washington state to provide a proof of concept on how an entire state can successfully address this issue, as well as continue to support national level efforts aimed at creating the enabling conditions necessary for other communities and states to address youth homelessness.
Opportunities and Challenges Facing the New Program Officer
Reporting to the Director and working closely with the Youth Homelessness team, the Program Officer will oversee the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the foundation’s efforts to support a coordinated community response to youth homelessness, integrating both an equity lens and data mindset so successes can be shared and scaled for greater impact. The new Program Officer can expect to engage in the following challenges and opportunities:
Strategy, Evaluation, and Continuous Learning
The Program Officer will lead the foundation's support of coordinated community responses to prevent and end youth and young adult homelessness in Washington state in partnership with King County All Home and A Way Home Washington’s Anchor Community Initiative, and nationally through A Way Home America’s Grand Challenge. This will include efforts to address structural inequities that lead to disproportionate numbers of youth of color and/or LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness, support community stakeholder capacity building activities, and disseminate lessons learned for greater scale and replication. The Program Officer will contribute to the development of annual workplans, strategy reviews, budgets, and metrics to assess the foundation’s impact while identifying ways to better support grantees and community stakeholders and deepen the trustees’ knowledge of the program’s efforts.
Grant Development & Management
Working closely with the Program Director, the Program Officer will lead the development and execution of grant making strategies that further refine the foundation’s equity lens and ensure that decisions continue to be more inclusive and equitable. Providing oversight of a portfolio of grants and grantee relationships, the Program Officer will lead cultivation and due diligence of funding opportunities as well as oversight of a portfolio of grants.
Thought Leadership, Relationship Management, & Collaboration
The Program Officer will work to continuously strengthen the effectiveness of the organization by actively participating in internal team learnings, staying abreast of research, data, and policy changes that could shape the foundation’s strategies, and fostering co-funding partnerships with public and private funders. Working in partnership with the communications team and external partners, the Program Officer will play a proactive role in sharing lessons learned through strategic communications and advocacy goals.
QUALIFICATIONS OF THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
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:
- 10 years’ progressive leadership experience; a track record of innovation in program development and design; Bachelor’s degree or combination of relevant professional and lived experience.
- Deep commitment to the foundation’s mission, vision, and goals of the Youth Homelessness program.
- Demonstrated ability to think boldly at the systems level and develop a comprehensive strategy paired with relationship management skills to drive coordinated responses to complex adaptive issues.
- Experience with youth homelessness and familiarity with the upstream systems at play including the juvenile justice, school, behavioral health, and child welfare systems.
- Experience with supporting and addressing complex, adaptive challenges.
- Strong analytic skills and ability to synthesize and frame information to support deep dialogue on complex issues; forward-thinking, evidence-based approach that connects data to program and policy development.
- Openness to discovery, feedback, and continuous learning; knowledge and experience applying improvement science and/or networked learning methodologies in an effort to scale impact.
- A track record of working collaboratively with a variety of stakeholders from private funders, government, nonprofit agencies, and community stakeholders, including those with lived experience, to align in pursuit of common goals.
- Deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and a sophisticated understanding of the systemic, structural, and historical challenges that impact youth, especially youth of color and LGBTQ youth; experience applying an equity and social justice lens to solving complex problems.
- Excellent relationship-building, interpersonal, and self-awareness skills; comfort taking the lead and the maturity to create room for others.
- Knowledge of the public policy landscape relevant to youth and young adults.
- Team orientation, creativity, sense of humor and passion required in a mission-driven environment; nimble and adaptive thinking paired with comfort working in fast-paced, dynamic environment with high expectations.
- Exceptional communication skills, including communicating in a compelling, inspirational manner in a variety of settings.
- Prior philanthropy experience a plus but not required.
More information about the Raikes Foundation may be found at: www.raikesfoundation.org . This search is being conducted with assistance from Carolyn Ho and Chris Cannon of Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group (NPAG). Please send nominations and/or applications including cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, your resume, and where you learned of the position to: RF-POYH@nonprofitprofessionals.com
The Raikes Foundation’s ability to achieve its mission is enhanced by a diverse team, an inclusive culture and programmatic strategies that apply an equity lens. The foundation seeks candidates who possess the knowledge, skills, and lived experience that contribute to the diversity of our team and share a commitment to equity.
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