Ignite stands with youth on their journey to a home and a future with promise. We are a leading human services organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty for youth. Through housing, education, employment, career planning, financial empowerment, mental health support, and community connection, we help more than 500 youth per year get on the path to reaching their full potential. Following their time with Ignite, many of our youth achieve financial stability and move into their own long-term, home. Ignite intends to be the last program our youth will ever need, but the family and place they can always call home.
While Ignite has a long-standing history that dates back to 1976, we continue to innovate. In 2019, we rebranded to Ignite and launched a new, next generation independent housing model focused on increasing youth’s independent life skills through increased financial literacy and responsibility.
In addition to our programs, we make significant impact through our local, state and federal advocacy work, which starts with our CEO and is carried out at all levels of our agency, from the board of directors and staff to the young people we serve.
Today, we have more than 40 full-time and part-time staff as well as 100 volunteers who contribute to our mission, and a $3.5 million annual budget. We are looking for a forward-thinking, values-driven leader dedicated to maintaining and developing an open, collaborative and transparent culture across our organization, while continuing to advance our mission.
At Ignite, we envision a world where all young people have the support they need to be defined by their potential, not their circumstances.
Position Title: Chief Executive Officer
Reports to: Board of Directors
As a visionary, strategic and thoughtful leader, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) provides the critical leadership necessary to ensure Ignite’s success. In partnership with the Board, the CEO drives communications and strategic initiatives to assure Ignite maintains its relevance to the community, the accomplishment of its mission and vision, and accountability to its donors.
The Board delegates responsibility for management and day-to day operations to the CEO, and this individual has the authority to carry out these responsibilities, in accordance with the direction and policies which have been established. The CEO provides the necessary direction to enable the Board to carry out its governance functions.
Strategic Vision and Organizational Leadership
Provides ongoing review with the Board to confirm/adjust Ignite; values, mission, vision, and short- and long-term strategic goals.
Provides visionary and values-based leadership of the organization. While assuring a positive work environment that recruits, retains and supports quality staff consistent with Ignite’s mission and core values.
Assures program quality and organizational stability through development and implementation of standards and controls, systems and procedures, and regular evaluation while executing strategic plan and meeting mission objectives.
Builds a diverse and effective Board of Directors and maintains a strong and transparent working relationship with the Board by providing regular, accurate reports and other information necessary to guide Ignite and evaluate its performance.
Keeps the board fully informed on the condition of Ignite and on all the important factors influencing it including trends, issues, problems and activities in order to facilitate policy-making, thus enabling the Board to monitor and evaluate Ignite relevancy to the community, its effectiveness, and its results.
Fundraising and Stakeholder Engagement
Works collaboratively with Resource Development team to manage and strengthen existing relationships with public sector funders, corporations, and foundations.
Develops new partnerships, coalitions, and relationships to both diversify and grow Ignite’s sources of funding streams.
Serves as the external face of the agency enhancing Ignite’s visibility and brand recognition and ensures that Ignite and its mission, programs, and services are consistently presented in a strong, positive manner to relevant stakeholders.
Demonstrates to our funders and stakeholders an environment of diversity, equity and inclusion which is what we strive to build for the youth we serve.
Thought Leadership and Advocacy
Keeps informed of developments in human services, not-for-profit management and governance, philanthropy and fund development.
Acts as an advocate, within the public and private sectors, for issues relevant to Ignite, its services and constituencies.
Listens to clients, volunteers, donors and the community in order to improve services and generate community involvement.
Acts as an advocate when working with Legislators, regulatory agencies, volunteers and representatives of the not-for-profit sector. Promotes legislative and regulatory policies that encourage a healthy community and address the issues of Ignite’s constituencies.
Provides oversight to the staff as they facilitate the integration of Ignite into the fabric of the community by using effective communications activities.
Ensures financial integrity, growth and stability of Ignite. Promotes programs and services that are produced in a cost-effective manner, employing economy while maintaining an acceptable level of quality.
Oversees the fiscal activities of the organization including but not limited to budgeting (i.e. developing, recommending and managing), reporting and audit.
Works with Board to ensure financing to support short- and long-term goals and implements the Board’s fiscal decisions.
Ensures the Board receives accurate and timely reports about Ignite finances and operations.
Management and Administration
Provides general oversight of all Ignite activities, manages the day-to-day operations, and assures a smoothly functioning, efficient organization.
Recommends staffing and financing to the Board of Directors. In accordance with Board action, recruit personnel, negotiates professional contracts, and sees that appropriate salary structures are developed and maintained.
Specifies accountabilities for management personnel and evaluates performance regularly.
Assists in the development of board meeting agendas.
Legal Compliance and Governance
Assures the filing of all legal and regulatory documents and monitors compliance with relevant laws and regulations.
Works with the Board Chair to enable the Board to fulfill its governance functions and facilitates the optimum performance by the Board, its committees and individual Board members. Helps the Board articulate its own role and accountabilities and that of its committees and individual members and helps evaluate performance regularly.
With the Board Chair, focuses Board attention on long-term strategic issues including strategic and political planning, and the development and execution of organizational work plans.
Recommends potential members to participate in the Board and its committees.
Skills and Experience
Bachelor’s Degree Required or equivalent work experience within a leadership and administrative capacity - Minimum 5+ years of experience at the senior leadership level
Demonstrated ability to build strong relationships
Proven fundraising success
Ability to drive engagement, both internally and externally
Exceptional written and oral communicator with solid listening skills
Proven ability to develop and implement a strategic plan
Comfortable and effective public speaker. Able to clearly articulate an analytical direction and adjust to the audience’s level of understanding
Past experience within the homelessness and human services sector a plus in order to illustrate a strong commitment to the mission and values of Ignite
Technical aptitude sufficient enough to handle basic office programs/automation (i.e. MS Office, calendaring, automated personnel procedures, etc.)
Internal Number: 3125685700
Ignite (formerly Teen Living Programs) helps unstably housed youth, ages 14 to 26, get their youth back and take the first step toward their journey to a stable home and a future with promise.
Our programs and services are designed to meet the immediate and long-term needs of unstably housed youth. But it’s our sense of community that truly makes Ignite unique. Participants build deep relationships with one another as well as our staff that continue to positively impact their lives long after they graduate from our programs.
Youth homelessness is not a choice, and all young people deserve to be defined by their potential, not their circumstances.
Every individual and their situation is unique. Ignite meets youth where they are, physically and emotionally, and makes a daily commitment to putting them on a path to reaching their full potential.
Every young person who comes to Ignite has a chance at a new beginning, and with each new beginning, we’re building a stronger future for Chicago.