Project Youth OC

Executive Director

Project Youth OC
Santa Ana, CA
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Project Youth OC is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission to keep at-risk Orange County youth in school, healthy and drug-free through education, counseling, mentoring, and family strengthening.

Project Youth OC’s vision is to empower youth and their families to make positive choices, building the foundation for a lifetime of opportunity and success. Serving 1,500 youth in Orange County each year, the organization offers unique effective programming that helps young people and families better navigate tough situations. Project Youth OC is a one-stop center for integrated prevention and intervention services that offer juvenile crime diversion, educational mentoring, health education, substance abuse treatment, and mental health services. Project Youth OC also provides college readiness and job development programs for youth, as well as family strengthening and health education resources, believing second chances and healthy choices are more readily achieved when the whole family is involved and focused on a positive future.

Founded over 50 years ago, Project Youth OC was in its early days the charitable arm of the Orange County Bar Association. Known for many years by its formal name, the Orange County Bar Foundation, Inc., the organization formally separated from the bar association a number of years ago. More recently, it went through a major rebranding effort to highlight its services to Orange County youth. Despite these developments, the organization maintains a strong connection to the local legal community. By honoring its legacy and looking ahead towards the future, Project Youth OC is strengthened by the knowledge and dedication of the legal, corporate, and philanthropic communities invested in its mission to keep at-risk youth in school, healthy, and drug-free. Project Youth OC also garners the support of partnerships with local school districts, law enforcement, and health care agencies. Through these important collaborations, combined with the organization’s collective expertise and engagement, Project Youth OC is able to effectively educate and mentor youth and families on the importance of embracing restorative justice, living healthier lives, and making the most of second chances.

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With an experienced leadership team, dedicated Board of Directors, and the backing of many supporters and partners in place, Project Youth OC is well-positioned to benefit from a visionary, strategic, impact-oriented, and mission-driven leader as its next Executive Director.

Through a collaborative approach, in partnership with staff and the Board, the Executive Director will bring a new vision to the future of this highly respected organization making a positive impact on youth, their families, and our community.


The Executive Director provides strategic direction and overall leadership to Project Youth OC by articulating vision, setting goals, strengthening culture, and empowering the leadership team, while working collaboratively with the Board of Directors. The Executive Director is responsible for ensuring that the organization’s fiscal, operational, fundraising, marketing, human resources, technology, and program strategies are effectively implemented throughout the organization.

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director manages the annual operating budget of approximately $2 million and 20 full-time staff through four Associate Directors.

Specifically, the Executive Director has the responsibility to:

  • Oversee the implementation of Project Youth OC’s strategic plan, in partnership with the Board and senior staff, ensuring consistent alignment with the vision, mission and goals of the organization.
  • Provide oversight of all operational functions of Project Youth OC, including program development, management and administration, financial management, community relations, fund development, human resource management, volunteer leadership, facilities management, and infrastructure growth.
  • Facilitate cross-departmental collaboration and teamwork throughout the organization and promote a positive, diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment that supports the organization’s strategy, infrastructure, and program delivery, including attracting, retaining, developing, and motivating qualified staff. Ensure opportunities for ongoing staff development and mentorship, including setting goals and measuring results to drive organizational performance and outcomes.
  • Serve as the primary spokesperson and advocate for Project Youth OC and promote its mission by clearly articulating its programs and impact on the community. Establish and grow mutually beneficial relationships with nonprofits, government agencies, elected government officials, corporations, funders, community leaders, educational institutions, media, and others to support the growth and development of the organization.
  • Play a major role in fundraising, pursuing an agenda of donor outreach and exceptional donor stewardship to increase the organization’s financial resources. Develop effective partnerships, collaborations, and strategic alliances with foundations, corporations and individuals and other sources of funding and service partners. 
  • Ensure the organization is operated on a sound fiscal basis. Work with the Board and key staff members to oversee the development of the annual budget, manage within the budget, and keep the Board of Directors regularly informed of the financial status of the organization. Lead the process to secure, manage and administer all revenue streams, including philanthropy, corporate and government contracts and grants.
  • Support an engaged Board of Directors in advancing the work of the organization. Provide timely and accurate information to the Board so it can effectively execute its oversight role. Facilitate the Board’s operations and administration and contribute to the selection and recruitment of new Board members.


The ideal candidate will:

  • Be a visionary and inspiring leader.
  • Possess exceptional communication and relationship-building skills, connecting with diverse stakeholders internal and external to the organization.
  • Convey a personal passion for serving youth and families.
  • Exhibit empathy, humility, compassion, integrity, honesty, trustworthiness, emotional intelligence, strong ethics, and fairness.
  • Bring demonstrated experience with and a strong commitment to applying an equity lens to their work and a track record of centering Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access as organizational values.
  • Demonstrate a deep understanding of Project Youth OC’s work and the ability to effectively communicate its vision and impact to broad audiences.
  • Foster collaboration, trust, and transparent communication through an open and empowering leadership style.
  • Inspire and mentor teams, combining a strategic perspective with effective execution of day-to-day priorities.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking, financial acumen, organizational skills, and logical priority-setting abilities.
  • Embrace technology and the use of electronic systems for managing and analyzing data.
  • Understand the importance of cultural sensitivity and the uniqueness of the diverse community we serve.


Competitive candidates will bring a track record of excellence in senior leadership positions, ideally from youth-serving community-based nonprofit organizations recognized for their commitment to clients and providing exemplary and impactful programs. 

In addition to demonstrated leadership experience, competencies in the following areas are expected:

  • Strategy development
  • Culture building/change management
  • Talent development
  • Community engagement
  • Public speaking
  • Fundraising
  • Operational excellence
  • Board development
  • Financial management
  • Organizational branding

The Executive Director must demonstrate an ability to recruit, develop, inspire, and collaborate with a diverse staff, and will have a management philosophy that supports a positive team culture, high performance as well as employee development and retention. Excellent relationship-building skills and success in forming strong community partnerships are also essential.  

The ideal candidate will be a dynamic and forward-thinking individual who has shown success in generating widespread support for an organization, broadening its reach and scale to increase its impact. The Executive Director should operate with a growth mindset and constant desire to learn and evolve to meet the needs of the community we serve.  

The Executive Director must have a solid understanding of effective, forward-looking fiscal management, with wisdom and prudence in the deployment of financial resources and sufficient fiscal management experience to be conversant with the fiduciary responsibility of a complex organization with a large asset base. 

Demonstrated successful experience in fundraising, program development and board relations will be highly valued. The successful candidate will have strong donor relations skills and success at cultivating major donors, asking for and obtaining major gifts.

A degree in nonprofit management, public administration, business administration, or a related field is preferred. However, a demonstrated successful track record serving in a leadership position of a similar community-based organization will be considered of equivalent value to a degree.


The annual salary range for this position is $160,000 to $190,000 plus benefits.

Project Youth OC staff are currently working on a hybrid in-person/remote schedule. The Executive Director is expected to have a regular presence in the office and be available for frequent in-person meetings with staff, Board members, donors, and community members.

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