Full-Time Executive Director
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 is a leading voice in California and the Bay Area for transportation and housing policy that advances racial, economic, and climate justice. COVID-19 has exacerbated the systemic problems in planning that TransForm has tackled for years, creating new urgency and openings for bold solutions. This position is an opportunity to shape the agenda of an award-winning and highly regarded organization at a time of great possibility. TransForm’s staff and board are aligned in their commitment to advance a strong anti-racist policy agenda and seek an Executive Director to bring new energy and leadership to this ongoing effort. With additional untapped funding opportunities, the new Executive Director can develop and share innovative models that could strengthen every community in the nation.
For more than 20 years, TransForm has brought together environmental, social justice, and health advocates to shape transportation and land use decisions for the benefit of people and the planet. TransForm’s work is rooted in relationships — with communities most impacted by racism, exclusion, and pollution; and with organizational partners working for justice and change. 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 and pedestrian improvements.
Today, TransForm is governed by a racially diverse 16-person Board of nonprofit, philanthropic, business, and civic leaders with expertise in planning, transportation, and public health with a social justice and equity lens. It has an annual operating budget of over $3 million and a 22-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 implement inclusive mobility projects and distributing these funds to local community-based organizations.
TransForm’s key focus areas were established with an environmental and social justice lens and an emphasis on deep community engagement. They strive to center and lift up the needs and experiences of the people and communities most impacted by injustice and environmental destruction. Program areas include:
- Transportation That Works – To redress social 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 and policies that center the priorities of communities of color and people who are struggling to get by.
- More Homes, Less Driving – TransForm champions policies that support more homes – especially affordable homes – near transit that make it easier to drive less. TransForm’s pilot projects, original research, and online tools help cities, developers, and community groups ensure that housing development includes strategies to reduce traffic and pollution while maximizing The GreenTRIP Certification program incentivizes affordable multi-family developments that right-size parking and provide transportation alternatives for residents.
- Disrupting Inequity – As new technologies disrupt the transportation sector, they could help close the transportation equity gap – or they could 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. TransForm partners with community-based groups to increase their input and influence over new mobility projects and programs in their neighborhoods.
- 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. The program now works with more than 250 public schools, including high schools, and is 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.
- Mobility Hubs at Affordable Housing pilot – TransForm works with local stakeholders to pilot community mobility hubs that include solar electric vehicle (EV) car sharing, e-bikes, free transit passes, and other transportation benefits to low-income residents based at three affordable housing sites in Oakland, Richmond, and San Jose.
The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and leads a 22-person staff.
Key duties and responsibilities include the following:
Development and Fundraising (30-40%)
- 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 staff-led institutional Fundraising Team and identify when additional capacity is needed.
- Develop relationships with new and existing donors and funders.
Strategy Development and Vision (30-40%)
- Lead a strategy development process to set TransForm’s vision and prioritize the organization’s objectives for the next five years.
- Help guide the organization’s major programmatic activities and ensure their alignment with available funding, as well as TransForm’s updated strategic plan.
- Identify trends in the mobility justice sector, community needs, and funding opportunities in order to strategically guide and support the organization as a whole.
- 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 the Management Team to set the tone, maintain a healthy and positive workplace, and create a climate of trust and openness.
- Support the successful development of new leadership among the staff, including mentoring and professional training, as appropriate.
- Implement TransForm’s social justice action plan in collaboration with senior staff and the Management Team.
- Reinforce and update, as needed, the organizational structure to ensure decisionmaking and processes are in alignment with TransForm’s shared leadership goals.
- 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.
Fiscal Management (5%)
- Conduct strategic financial decision-making, with support from staff and Board Finance Committee.
- Facilitate staff directors’ engagement in organizational and program-level financial evaluations, adjusting expenses to respond to changing revenues, if needed.
- Partner with finance and operations staff to ensure compliance with state and federal requirements, monitor the annual budget, provide timely internal reporting and forecasting, and ensure that adequate funds are available to permit TransForm to carry out its work.
Board Coordination (5%)
- Facilitate strong Board and staff alignment around strategic planning, 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 must have an understanding of urban/transportation/regional planning, land use, affordable 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.
- Professional and/or personal experience with underserved or historically marginalized communities, and/or social justice organizations that integrate equity and inclusion into their internal and external work.
- 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 several other members of the TransForm team. Candidates should have experience in two or more of: public and private sector funding, cultivating major donors, soliciting and closing large gifts, and competency in balancing and creating numerous funding sources. Ideally, the selected candidate(s) will have a sustained track-record of fundraising success at similar-sized organizations.
Additional desired professional characteristics include:
- Familiarity with the San Francisco Bay Area and experience in the California legislative and regulatory environment.
- Experience developing partnerships among nonprofits, community-based organizations, private sector entities, and social justice organizations.
- A bachelor’s degree, or equivalent experience, in a relevant discipline.
Our client is seeking a visionary and strategic leader who can anticipate emerging trends in the equitable and sustainable development and mobility justice sectors, listen to 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 leader committed to serving the organization who understands and supports group decision-making and is dedicated to decentralizing decision-making power.
- An innovative thinker and skilled collaborator who can work effectively and deepen relationships with diverse staff, board members, and external stakeholders.
- An inclusive administrator who can strengthen and build upon TransForm’s value of supporting people marginalized by racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression to grow and advance their careers.
- A coach and mentor who supports the personal agency of all staff and ensures TransForm’s internal culture continues to strive for fairness and equity.
- Lived experience with issues related to transportation equity and affordable housing would be a significant plus.
The ideal candidate doesn’t just have these qualities, they have proven experience setting up and supporting systems to actualize the values they represent.
To attract the multi-talented Executive Director, TransForm is offering a competitive compensation package with a salary ranging from $150-160,000, depending upon the successful candidate’s qualifications. TransForm also provides 100% employer paid medical and dental care premiums, Commuter Checks (up to $150 per month), a 403(b) retirement plan, and a generous paid leave policy.
Relocation reimbursement may be provided for the exceptional candidate TransForm is seeking.
This position is located in downtown Oakland, California. TransForm staff are all currently working remotely in line with public health guidance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.