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23 Sep 2019

Full-Time Executive Director

TransForm – Posted by [email protected] Oakland, California, United States


Job Description


Mission Statement

TransForm promotes walkable communities with excellent transportation choices to connect people of all incomes to opportunity, keep California affordable, and help solve our climate crisis. With diverse partners we engage communities in planning, run innovative programs and win policy change at the local, regional and state levels.


TransForm was founded in 1997 by Bay Area environmental and social justice groups that recognized the region was at a critical point in time. Public transportation was being bled dry while highway projects got the green light. Bulldozers were carving up remaining open spaces and farms. Huge numbers of people – especially low-income families – were moving in pursuit of affordable places to live only to have grueling, costly commutes. For those on foot, bicycle, or using a wheelchair, it was far too dangerous.

The time had come to turn the tide on sprawl, and redefine transportation in terms of access, health, justice, and sustainability. In the years since TransForm’s founding, often alongside the same groups it started with, the organization has helped win tens of billions of dollars and groundbreaking policies in support of public transportation, smart growth, affordable housing, and bicycle/pedestrian safety.

Today TransForm is governed by a 14-person Board of business and civic leaders. It has an annual operating budget of over $3 million and a 24-person staff, with offices in Oakland, San Jose, and Sacramento, California. Approximately 50% of its funding comes from city, county and state grants and contracts, 40% comes from institutional funders, and 10% from individual donations. In addition, TransForm operates as a re-grantor, helping cities implement inclusive   mobility projects and distributing these funds to impactful grassroots organizations.


TransForm’s key focus areas include:

  • Transportation that Works – To redress inequities and reduce climate emissions, TransForm advocates to make more efficient use of our transportation dollars, stop wasting billions on highway expansions, and prioritize transformative projects that foster safety, sustainability, and equity.
  • More Homes, Less Driving – Since its founding, TransForm has championed policies that support more homes – especially affordable homes – near transit that make it easier to drive less.
  • Disrupting Inequity – As new technologies disrupt the transportation sector, they could help close the transportation equity gap – or they could actually widen it. TransForm is innovating alongside new mobility companies to support pilots and policies that steer disruption towards justice and opportunity for those who have been left behind in the past.
  • Safe Routes to Schools (SR2S) – Since starting in two Oakland elementary schools in 2006, TransForm’s program in Alameda County has grown to become a national model for urban SR2S programs and now works with more than 200 public schools, including high schools – one of the largest Safe Routes to Schools programs in the country. We are currently seeking to expand our team’s reach beyond the classroom with the emerging “Know How to Go” initiative to offer culturally appropriate transportation education to low-income young adults, seniors, and immigrants.
  • GreenTRIP Certification – TransForm launched GreenTRIP Certification in 2008 to recognize and support multi-family housing developments that maximize space for homes, right-size parking, and provide sustainable transportation choices so residents can drive less.
  • Ballot Measure Advocacy – TransForm pushes for more equitable and climate-friendly public investments in transportation and housing, and educates and mobilizes voters around local, regional, and statewide ballot measures. Over the course of 22 years, TransForm has actively supported and won more than $45 billion in sustainable transportation and affordable housing investments in the Bay Area and statewide.
  • Statewide Advocacy – TransForm is a trusted leader and coalition builder in Sacramento, bridging the gap between often-siloed interests and crafting and supporting game-changing legislation.
  • ClimatePlan – TransForm helped to co-found ClimatePlan ( in 2007 and now provides fiscal sponsorship, financial management and administrative support to this statewide network.TransForm looks at each of these areas through an environmental and social justice lens. The shortcomings of our current transportation system fall too heavily on low-income people and communities of color, who often also suffer the worst impacts of climate pollution. We recognize development must be proceeded by strong protections for those at risk of displacement and we’re working to serve those who have been displaced  
  • Development and Fundraising (50%)
  • Key duties and responsibilities include the following:
  • The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and leads a 24-person staff with 3-5 direct reports, depending upon decisions regarding optimal structure under the new leadership.


  • Partner with the Development Team to execute the fundraising plan with an emphasis on shared fundraising responsibilities among staff, providing training as appropriate.
  • Nurture the newly formed institutional Fundraising Team and identify when additional capacity is needed.
  • Develop relationships with new and existing donors and funders.

Fiscal Management (5%)

  • Partner with finance and operations to ensure compliance with state and federal requirements, monitoring of the annual budget, and timely internal reporting and forecasting, and ensure that adequate funds are available to permit TransForm to carry out its work.
  • Partner with finance and operations to ensure ClimatePlan’s compliance with the terms of the Fiscal Sponsorship Memorandum of Understanding. Provide tools and resources to support ClimatePlan’s Executive Director as requested.

Strategy Development and Vision (20%)

  • Maintain working knowledge of trends in the mobility justice sector, community needs, and funding opportunities in order to strategically guide and support the organization as a whole.
  • Help guide the organization’s major programmatic activities and ensure their alignment with available funding as well as TransForm’s strategic plan.
  • Represent TransForm to its stakeholders including funders, agency partners, and the communities it serves.
  • With program teams, develop and support partnerships and external collaborations to advance TransForm’s standing and reputation in the field.

Organizational Development and Management (20%)

  • Partner with senior staff and the management team to set the tone and ensure a healthy and positive workplace and a climate of trust and openness.
  • Support the successful development of new leadership among the staff, including mentoring and professional training as appropriate.
  • Reinforce organizational structure that ensures decision making and processes are in alignment with TransForm’s shared leadership goals and social justice action plan.
  • Supervise and coach 3-5 direct reports.
  • Support the management team to hire staff and/ or consultants as needed.
  • Support and advance the organization’s pay consistency initiative to ensure that there is pay equity with salaries throughout the organization.

Board Coordination (5%)

  • Facilitate strong Board and staff alignment around revisions to organizational structure, and annual and long-range programmatic and financial goals.
  • Regularly update the Board on organizational, programmatic, and financial objectives.
  • Attend Board Meetings to represent TransForm’s strategic mission, including serving as staff liaison to the Board Committees: Board Excellence, Social Justice, Board Recruitment, Fundraising and Finance committees.


The successful candidate (or candidates) must have an understanding of and a passion for urban/transportation/regional planning, land use, low-income housing, or environmental policy, ideally through an affiliation with a nonprofit, a government agency, or a private sector organization. Additional essential requirements include: 

  • A minimum of 15 years of relevant experience that includes at least 3-5 years in a senior leadership position with comparable strategic planning, budget and staff responsibilities.
  • A professional background that demonstrates an ongoing commitment to the principles of intersectionality and social justice.
  • A fiscally prudent management style with a track-record of guiding budgets and raising funds to ensure financial stability.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills and experience with strategic communications and messaging.The acquisition and management of foundation and government grants is a critical responsibility of the Executive Director, in collaboration with the TransForm team. Experience winning public and private sector funding, developing a major donor program, soliciting and closing gifts of six figures, and competency in balancing and creating numerous funding sources will be a key qualifier in our evaluation process. Ideally, the selected candidate(s) will have a sustained track-record of raising at least $3 million annually as well as:
  • Familiarity with the San Francisco Bay Area and experience in the California legislative and regulatory environment.
  • A demonstrated commitment to the organization’s social justice mission.
  • Experience developing partnerships among nonprofits, community-based organizations, private sector entities, and social justice organizations.
  • A graduate degree in a relevant discipline.

PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICSOur client is seeking a visionary and strategic leader who can anticipate emerging trends in the equitable and sustainable development and mobility justice sector, identify community needs, and connect them to programs and funding opportunities that coincide with TransForm’s mission and goals. In addition, the Executive Director must be:

  • A servant leader who understands and supports group decision making and who is dedicated to decentralizing decision-making power.
  • An effective bridgebuilder who will deepen relationships among staff, board, funders, and the broader TransForm community.
  • A skilled collaborator who can work effectively with diverse staff and external stakeholders.
  • A manager who shares TransForm’s value of balancing inclusion and urgency in making decisions for processes and projects.
  • An individual who reflects the diversity of the populations TransForm serves across California and the Bay Area and the organization’s deep commitment to equity and social justice.
  • A person who signals to low-income communities, communities of color, and other stakeholders that TransForm is a key ally and leader for advancing social justice.
  • An inclusive administrator who can continue to strengthen TransForm’s practice of being a great place for people marginalized by race, sexism, or other forms of oppression to grow and advance their careers.
  • A coach and mentor who assures staff that their personal agency is supported, and that TransForm’s internal culture will continue to be one that strives for fairness and equity.
  • An innovative thinker who will shepherd the organization as it transitions to a new structure.The ideal candidate doesn’t just have these qualities, they have proven experience setting up systems to support the values they represent. Lived experience with issues related to transportation equity and affordable housing would be a significant plus.

THE OPPORTUNITYTransForm’s work is widely recognized and includes awards from Senator Barbara Boxer, the California State Senate, the American Lung Association, the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, the U.S. Green Building Council, the James Irvine Foundation, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the California Association of Nonprofits, Public Advocates, the American Planning Association of California, Ashoka, Breathe California, and others. TransForm is ranked one of the top ten climate change-related nonprofits in the Bay Area by Philanthropedia’s experts. With additional untapped funding opportunities, the new Executive Director can elevate the work of this trend-setting organization to raise the standards for sustainable, inclusive mobility justice and develop models for every community in the nation.

COMPENSATIONTo attract the multi-talented Executive Director TransForm is seeking, they are offering a competitive compensation package with a salary ranging from $150-160,000, depending upon the successful candidate’s qualifications, including 100% employer paid medical and dental care premiums, Commuter Checks (up to $150 per month), and a generous paid leave policy.Relocation reimbursement may be provided for the exceptional candidate TransForm is seeking.

How to Apply

Please submit a brief cover letter and résumé as attachments via e-mail to: Joe McCormack, Founding Partner 1740 Broadway, 15th Floor New York, NY 10019 Email: [email protected] Office: 212.531.5003 | Fax: 212.203.9599 Website:

Job Categories: Transportation. Job Types: Full-Time. Salaries: 100,000 and above.

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