Job Description: Managing Director, Los Angeles
Spark seeks an entrepreneurial leader with strong connections to the Los Angeles education and
philanthropic community to head up the launch of our Los Angeles office. Interviews begin immediately
for an expected start date in May 2010.
The Managing Director will lead Spark’s Los Angeles programs, building and managing relationships with
key middle schools, creating a sustainable fundraising base, and forging new partnerships with
corporations and community organizations. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Managing Director
will be Spark’s leader in Los Angeles, responsible for creating a vibrant and impactful apprenticeship
program that impacts the high‐school dropout crisis. To support this goal, the MD will draw upon Spark’s
staff at the headquarters office, notably the National Growth Director and Development Director, as
well as on the credibility, relationships, and training materials provided by the headquarters office. Key
responsibilities of this role include creating partnerships for volunteer recruitment, supporting partner
charter schools’ program operations, fundraising, and gradually building a team to take on specialized
roles within these areas. This role will be based in downtown Los Angeles, with 10‐15 days per year
spent at Spark’s San Francisco office for trainings, staff development, and key events.
Spark (www.sparkprogram.org) is an award‐winning, growing youth apprenticeship program. Spark
works to reduce the high‐school dropout rate with a unique apprenticeship program, focused on at‐risk
middle‐school students. In partnership with California public schools, Spark creates one‐on‐one
apprenticeships in real workplaces, where youth explore careers and develop the skills and motivation
to succeed academically. Funded by a number of major California foundations, including the Packard
Foundation, Cowell Foundation, as well as leading California companies like Genentech and Gap, Spark is
demonstrating a powerful new approach to the high‐school dropout crisis, one that draws in new
resources by turning workplaces into learning places.
Spark’s 2009 budget is approximately $1 million, with 2010 growth to $1.2 million. Spark has managed
rapid growth in the past two years, moving from a local to regional organization in the Bay Area, and
now building statewide operations. Spark’s programs served 210 students in 2009, with significant
increases in enrollment expected in 2010 and 2011. This growth is guided by a core management team
and an experienced Board of Directors, drawing together leaders from the business, education, and
Spark was awarded the prestigious Draper Richards Fellowship in 2008, given to five early‐stage nonprofits
from around the world with the highest potential for “broad social impact.” With this and other
support, Spark is building a foundation for national scale. Spark’s programs have been operating in the
San Francisco Bay Area since 2005, and will begin their broader growth with a launch in Los Angeles in
Spark’s Core Values:
• Self‐Actualization: Empowering people to confidently pursue their interests and live their
values, driven by intrinsic motivation.
• Community: Fostering connections among people and organizations to meet individual and
• Democracy: Collaboratively involving all stakeholders in decision‐making.
• Transparency: Encouraging honest communication and actively seeking feedback for
understanding and growth.
• Positivity: Planning for and expecting the best from every situation and person, and finding the
opportunities in each challenge.
Provide leadership to ensure overall success in Los Angeles:
• Build, manage and develop an exceptional local team to accomplish three core goals: (1)
successfully manage relationships with Spark’s schools partners, including training and ongoing
support, (2) build a sustainable LA fundraising base, and (3) cultivate a network of
corporate/organizational partners for apprenticeship placements.
• Develop and leverage a local board to support fundraising initiatives, guide strategic planning,
enhance local networks of supporters, and contribute to overall external communications and
publicity for Spark LA.
Oversee Successful Programming & School Partnerships
• Work closely with Spark’s Bay Area program team, and with Spark’s initial 4 LA school partners
(all well‐established charter management organizations) to support implementation and growth
of Spark’s Los Angeles apprenticeship program.
• Leverage and build alliances in the private, government, and non‐profit sectors to establish a
network of individuals in diverse fields of work to draw upon for Apprenticeship creation.
• Prospect and cultivate new middle school, after school, and summer program providers to meet
established program growth goals.
Lead Los Angeles Fundraising & Financial Management
• Create and lead a local fundraising strategy for Los Angeles, in collaboration with Spark’s
Development Director and Development team in San Francisco. Ensure that Los Angeles
programs meet a 2010 fundraising goal of approximately $200,000.
• Effectively utilize and manage the local site budget to implement the program and sustain the
Los Angeles office.
All candidates should have a passion for Spark’s mission, demonstrated effectiveness as a leader, and
excellent written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills. Entrepreneurial skills are critical: while
Spark’s resources, knowledge, and credibility are available, the Managing Director’s role is similar to
launching a new non‐profit organization. Additional qualifications include:
• Relevant graduate degree preferred;
• Minimum three years of management‐level experience in a in a fast‐paced, growth‐oriented
organization; for‐profit experience is welcomed;
• Knowledge of local Los Angeles issues and dynamics;
• Comfort and demonstrated success in fundraising and/or sales;
• Demonstrated ability to design and manage complex projects involving many personnel;
• Mature judgment, with a high level of personal and professional integrity and trustworthiness;
• Independent, results‐focused, highly organized self‐starter;
• Fully computer and internet literate, with experience in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint;
• Prior success working closely and building relationships with diverse groups of people;
• Legally eligible to work in the United States; no sponsorship provided;
• Comfortable giving and receiving honest, constructive feedback, and acting as a coach or mentor
Compensation & Benefits:
• Salary: Starting salary of $68,000 ‐ $74,000 depending on experience.
• Health Benefits: Full health coverage is provided, including medical, dental, vision, and life
insurance, with Spark covering 100% of monthly premiums. Spark also covers a portion of the
monthly premiums for dependents.
• Learning Benefits: Spark staff and students are fellow learners, and the organization highly
values the staff’s personal learning pursuits. To that end, there are several opportunities for
staff to “walk the talk” and experience the excitement of being a Spark student:
o Annual Paid Sabbatical: Seven paid working days off each year, in addition to other paid
time off, for the pursuit of a personal learning opportunity. Learning stipend included.
Professional Training Account: To pursue your choice of professional training
opportunities, including workshops, conferences, books, etc
• Retirement Benefits: For all contributions through Spark’s SIMPLE IRA plan, Spark will match
retirement contributions dollar‐for‐dollar up to 3% of total salary.
• Paid Time Off: Spark has a unique flexible time‐off policy , which empowers staff to
collaboratively determine and schedule time off as needed. Rather than setting and tracking
specific numbers of days off, Spark staff may take time off based on the status of their workrelated
goals and results within the organization. This policy is part of Spark’s focus on a
balanced and healthy life for staff.
• Non‐monetary compensation: The opportunity to be an integral member of an energetic,
innovative, hard‐working and rapidly growing team, within an organization that has the
potential to significantly change American middle‐school education.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Target start date is May 2010.
Please email your resume and cover letter, to Jon Spack, National Growth Director, at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put “Managing Director, Los Angeles” in the subject line.