Building Changes Executive Director

Seattle, Washington, United States Full-time

Posting Date: February 6, 2019

Applications submitted by March 10, 2019 at 5:00pm will be given full consideration

Interviewing will begin in late February; early applications are strongly encouraged.

Building Changes is seeking an experienced, visionary and innovative Executive Director to lead its efforts to reduce family and youth homelessness in Washington state. Building Changes believes that everyone in Washington can be stably housed, and our role is to pull together government, philanthropy, and nonprofits in a collective effort to make a measurable impact, using data-driven strategies that have proven most successful. 

The next Executive Director will have a passion for addressing the urgent needs of people experiencing homelessness or struggling to remain housed, as well as a deep commitment to eliminating racial disparities and inequities within systems and structures. We are seeking a leader who can work collaboratively across sectors to set the strategic direction for Building Changes for years to come, and who can help us to grow our profile and influence as we work to share what we’ve learned nationally and with other communities. This is an exciting opportunity to make a profound difference in the lives of families and children in Washington state and beyond.

About Building Changes

The Challenge: Youth and Family Homelessness

Homelessness is an ever-growing crisis in the state of Washington, where a shortage of affordable housing continues to push more people to the brink. The traumas that youth and families experience as a result of homelessness permeate every aspect of their health and well-being.  Children who experience homelessness for any length of time are more likely to struggle with toxic stress, which can put academic success out of reach and impact them for the rest of their lives. The experience of being homeless also makes it more difficult for heads of families to obtain or retain employment. Without a steady job, they are unable to generate the earned income they need to lead their families out of homelessness – creating a vicious cycle.

The devastating effects of homelessness affect people of color disproportionately. Nationally, African Americans make up 43% of all people experiencing homelessness, but only 12% of the total U.S. population. Statewide in Washington, of the over 40,000 students experiencing homelessness, six in 10 are students of color. In the Puget Sound corridor of Pierce, King and Snohomish counties, people of color make up 67% of families experiencing homelessness, but only 12% of the population overall.

Building Changes strengthens the homeless response system to serve all people fairly and effectively.

Building Changes pulls together government, philanthropy and nonprofits in a collective effort to impact homelessness in Washington state. We act as a driver for innovative strategies that help youth and families emerge out of homelessness and maintain stable housing. We advocate for effective practices and fair policies—and adequate investments to sustain them.

Our Mission

Building Changes believes everyone in Washington can be stably housed.  We strengthen the leaders, organizations and systems that make it possible. integrity, equity, collaboration, and results guide all of the work we do.

Our Vision

Everyone has a home and the opportunity for a healthy, fulfilling life.

Our Values

  • Integrity, equity, collaboration, and results

 We accomplish our goals by:

  • Striving to understand the needs of families and youth experiencing or on the verge of homelessness, and what our systems are doing (or not doing) to meet those needs.
  • Identifying systemic and structural problems in response to family and youth homelessness, and finding solutions to those problems.
  • Testing and implementing promising new practices through grantmaking, technical assistance, training, and data coaching.
  • Evaluating projects we support and sharing our findings to expand the research base in family and youth homelessness.
  • Advocating for changes in policy, practice, and funding that will help more families and young people leave homelessness behind.

 We’ve learned a lot from this work. We know that to make meaningful progress on this complex issue, communities need to:

  • Leverage public and private resources more effectively and efficiently.
  • Use data to drive policy, practice, and funding decisions.
  • Confront the racial disproportionality and disparities that exist within the homeless system, and adopt specific strategies to address and eliminate them.
  • Model and learn from best practices around the state and across the country.
  • Be open to innovative ways to deliver services that lead to better outcomes.
  • Build a culture of cross-sector collaboration to break down the system silos that confound and frustrate young people and families when they seek relief from their homeless crisis.

The Building Changes organization and its staff are well respected at the state and local level, and we are gaining traction at the national level as well, as we work to share what we’ve learned nationally and with other communities. While our homelessness response work continues, we also have begun expanding our work to ensure not only that fewer families and young people are homeless, but that fewer ever become homeless. By using our expertise in homeless response to proactively tackle homelessness prevention, we are striving to help more families and young people avoid the trauma of homelessness – and the cascade of lasting, negative impacts that accompany it.

Currently, Building Changes has an annual operating budget of approximately $4 million, a staff of 21, and a 15-member Board of Directors. The staff leadership team consists of the Executive Director, CFO, and three Directors: Program, Research & Evaluation, and Policy & Strategic Communications. Building Changes is in a stable financial position with operating reserves and strong relationships with institutional funders, as well as growing support from individual donors.

Executive Director Opportunities and Responsibilities

The new Executive Director of Building Changes will have the exciting opportunity to shape the strategic vision for the organization for 2020 and beyond. The current 2016-2019 Strategic Business Plan adopted by the Board resulted in a broadening of Building Changes’ mission and focus to “move upstream” and include prevention for families and young people who are very precariously housed and at high risk of becoming homeless. Additionally, Building Changes currently serves as the lead on a $60 million systems-change initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which focuses on significantly improving the homeless system response for family homelessness in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties and is funded through the end of 2020.  Building Changes recently received a legacy grant from the Foundation to “finish strong,” and has a detailed plan for how to do so.

The next Executive Director will build on this strong foundation as they work with the board and staff to create a new strategic vision and plan for the years ahead that will enable Building Changes to identify and meet ambitious goals that produce measurable impact.  The next Executive Director must be prepared to lead by:

  • Deepening the focus on racial disparities and disproportionality, so we are accountable to our goal of reducing racial inequity in all our work and supporting differentiated strategies, so people of color are better served.
  • Expanding our focus on homelessness prevention so that we continue to move towards fewer families falling into homelessness and experiencing the trauma that comes with it.
  • Developing existing and new sources of funding by deepening partnerships with local, state and national funders as well as individuals who share our vision and goals.
  • Growing our state and national influence by being a trusted community leader in homelessness and fostering the organization’s national role and reputation in a way that complements and strengthens local and state work.

Essential Duties of the Executive Director:

Vision, strategy and planning

In collaboration with the Board, articulate a clear vision for the future, and engage the Board in meaningful strategic thinking about the organization. Work with the staff and Board to develop a strategic business plan for 2020-2023, and lead the staff in its implementation.

Strategic relations and fundraising

Develop appropriate fundraising strategies and policies sufficient to meet the goals identified. Cultivate and maintain relationships with key donors and philanthropic partners. Work with both Board and staff leadership to expand fundraising efforts and ensure goals are met.

Fiscal management and health

Ensure that the organization’s assets are well managed and deployed appropriately in pursuit of mission and activities. Oversee the development and monitoring of the annual operating budget, financial reporting, and grant management, including appropriate reporting to Board, staff and funders.

Support for the Board of Directors

Maintain an effective working relationship with the Board characterized by respect, trust, partnership and open communication. Work with the Board leadership to ensure that the Board’s structure, membership, and activities meet organizational needs.

Staff team development

Grow, lead, and manage an effective staff leadership team including supervision of 5 direct reports. Foster a workplace climate that attracts, develops, and retains an excellent diverse staff, and ensure that all human resources activities comply with current laws and reflect the organization’s core values.

Communications, policy and advocacy

Serve as an articulate and compelling spokesperson for Building Changes and its work. Participate directly in advocacy and policy work as appropriate.

Measurement, Learning, and Evaluation

Develop and grow Building Changes as a learning organization by enhancing our measurement and evaluation efforts for both internal and external work. Identify and participate in national organizations and initiatives that promote the work and leadership of Building Changes, and share its knowledge with the broader field.  

The Ideal Candidate

Building Changes’ next Executive Director will have a passion for making a difference in the lives of people experiencing homelessness or struggling to remain housed, as well as a deep commitment to eliminating racial disparities and inequities within systems and structures. We are seeking a leader who can guide us in setting and achieving clear and ambitious goals, in a culture that fosters collaboration, creativity, learning, and appropriate risk-taking. The successful candidate will be an experienced executive leader who brings the following specific experience and skills to this role:

  • Demonstrated ability to cultivate and maintain strong relationships with a diverse group of stakeholders including communities of color.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to communicate clearly and compellingly about complex topics with different audiences and partners.
  • Experience with cultivating donors and raising funds, especially from large institutional funders.
  • Demonstrated success managing and developing staff teams in supervisory and leadership positions.
  • Significant experience supporting or serving on nonprofit Boards of Directors or similar entities.
  • Financial management fluency in a nonprofit or comparable setting.

Because Building Changes acts as an intermediary organization, a working knowledge of the ins and outs of the philanthropic, social service, and government sectors will be important to have in this role. Moreover, candidates who understand and have experience with the opportunities and challenges of being in an intermediary role will be at an advantage. Existing relationships with government, community based nonprofit organizations, philanthropic and/or advocacy groups relevant to Building Changes’ work are also a plus.  

Compensation and Benefits

This is a full-time salaried position requiring a willingness to work some evenings and weekends and occasional travel throughout the state of Washington as well as the country. The expected salary range is between $140,000-$160,000, depending on qualifications and experience.

Building Changes offers generous benefits including 20 days of paid vacation, 2 personal days, 9 holidays, plus sick leave. Medical and dental insurance are offered through Kaiser Permanente and Delta Dental, respectively. Other benefits include a 403b retirement program with a contribution made by the organization after 1 year, life insurance, and short and long term disability insurance. Flexible work schedules including some work from home days may also be possible.

Building Changes is located in the Pacific Tower Building, in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. Pacific Tower is a dynamic hub for some of our most vital and innovative community non-profits, providing unique opportunities for cross-organizational collaboration.

Commitment to Equity

At Building Changes we are committed to identifying and eliminating racial disparities and inequities of all kinds. Maintaining a diverse and inclusive board, staff, and workplace that is collaborative, interdisciplinary, and approaches issues with a social justice lens is an important part of our organizational culture. We strongly encourage applications from people of color and other historically underrepresented and marginalized groups.

How to Apply

Online applications via Recruiterbox application link only.

Online applications only, please no email or paper submissions. You will be asked to upload a cover letter and resume. In your cover letter, please describe as specifically as you can how your experience, interests, and values are a fit with Building Changes’ goals, mission, and vision for the future as described in this announcement.

Applications received by March 10 at 5pm will be given full consideration; early applications are strongly encouraged! All applications will be acknowledged via an email receipt and will be held confidentially within the search committee. Consideration will be given to applications as soon as they are received; phone and in-person interviewing will begin in February.  


The search for this position is being facilitated by Clover Search Works, a firm that provides a full range of search services to nonprofit organizations in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Clover Search Works is honored to partner with Building Changes in the search for a new leader to carry out their important mission of addressing homelessness in Washington state in the most impactful ways possible.  

Questions regarding this opportunity are welcomed and can be directed to Julie Edsforth of Clover Search Works. Email: Phone: 206-979-0514