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A Reason To Survive (ARTS)
  • Position Number: 4914260
  • Location: National City, CA
  • Position Type: Business - Management

Executive Director & CEO


Compensation: $95,000 - $110,000 salary, DOE; benefits included.

Benefits: 15 days paid time off and 14 paid holidays.

Medical, dental, vision, and life insurance (100% covered).

ARTS is committed to offering professional development opportunities for staff.

Status: Full-Time, Exempt.

Evening and weekend availability is required.

Location: ARTS Center (National City, CA), in-person and remote.

Reports to: ARTS Board of Directors

Direct Reports: Director of Advancement, Programs Manager, Operations Manager

A Reason To Survive (ARTS) is a creative youth development nonprofit and community art

center serving youth and young adults across South County communities of San Diego.

Established in 2001, ARTS has served thousands of youth and families through high-quality arts education, community-based projects, and supportive services.

Our mission is to: lift young people in the South County region of San Diego to become confident, compassionate and courageous community builders through the transformative power of creativity.


ARTS seeks an experienced, accomplished, and inspiring Executive Director who is passionate about driving the mission, vision, and work of ARTS, and eager to lead the organization into its next chapter as regional and national leader in creative youth development (CYD).

This executive role will be primarily responsible for guiding the organization's evolution to become an anchor institution in the South County region of San Diego and a provider of excellence in arts-based learning programming, civic engagement and public art projects, and community development partnership.

The Executive Director & CEO will lead a growing, dynamic team of nonprofit professionals, teaching artists, community-focused interns and volunteers, and directly manage a leadership team comprising our Director of Advancement, Programs Manager, and Operations Manager. Essential aspects of this role include, but aren't limited to: overseeing the success of the organization and the growth and satisfaction of the team on an ongoing basis; leading a multi-year strategic planning process with the involvement of board and staff; designing and executing a development strategy with an aim toward long-term financial sustainability – working toward a $2M budget and a goal of 50% contributed 50% earned revenue by FY26. – and deepening and expanding programming and services opportunities for youth and families across the South County region of San Diego.

Reporting to the ARTS Board of Directors, the Executive Director & CEO will work with the Board on an ongoing basis to support good governance, ensure financial best practices, elevate Board's capacity for organizational fundraising/development, and provide regular communications on the state of the organization.


● Any combination equivalent to: A bachelor's degree, at least five (5) years of leadership experience in the nonprofit sector, preferably in fields like arts and culture, youth development / services, education, community / economic development, and at least three (3) years of management/supervisory experience with a diverse team.

● Ability to collaborate with colleagues as a leader and team member and work autonomously; strong leadership, time management, high levels of cultural competency, and interpersonal skills.

● Excellent organizational and project management skills, supported by technology and other collaboration tools is essential. Proficiency with Google Suite, Microsoft Office. Familiarity with Slack and Asana preferred.

● Ability to foster, deepen, and steward relationships with individual donors, foundations, corporate partners, government agencies, and other partners.

● Exceptional written and verbal communication skills, presentation skills, and organizational skills. Ability to translate organizational strategies, programming outcomes, and impact metrics into accessible, relatable communications.

● Experience working with data and donor management platforms and customer management systems. Familiarity with donor management platform (Classy) and CRM (Salesforce) preferred.

● Master's degree in Nonprofit management/leadership, business or any other applicable degree preferred.

● Youth arts and/youth education programmatic experience preferred.

● Bilingual English/Spanish preferred.

● Professional/lived experience in South County communities of San Diego preferred.


● Board Partnership

Build a partnership with the Board of Directors, defining and guiding the organization's strategic vision. Cultivate an effective working relationship based on trust, mutual respect, and demonstrable performance; facilitate connections for board members with staff, community members, funders, and other constituents. Work closely with the board and community to cultivate potential new board members, and identify new strategic partnership and funding opportunities.

● Organization & Operational Management

Provide inspirational leadership, team building, and growth opportunities to the professional staff, while ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization's programs and activities; embrace a collaborative and transparent culture and work environment in which staff are engaged, productive, and thriving. Strive to lead and grow an organization through the lens of continuous learning and improvement, anchoring the trajectory of ARTS around the principles of creative youth development (CYD) and healing-centered engagement (HCE).

● Strategic Leadership

Lead in the present while living in the future: Show initiative, use creative and data-driven insights to make decisions, and take action around new and existing strategic initiatives that will define the future of ARTS – within the communities of the South County region of San Diego, the larger San Diego / borderlands region, and at a national level.

● Fundraising/Development

Play a pivotal role in fundraising, working with board and staff diligently to secure significant contributions from individual and corporate donors, philanthropic sources, government and other public funding sources. Prioritize earned revenue opportunities with school districts and other public agencies, with an eye to financial sustainability that comes from enduring partnerships attached to recurring contracts. Work closely with the team to drive both grant-seeking and partnership development efforts. Encourage an innovative approach to engaging individual and institutional philanthropy underscored by trust, in service to the diverse needs of our constituents.

● Community Impact & Engagement

Elevate the visibility and stature of ARTS at community, regional, state, and national levels; represent ARTS respectfully, responsibly, and professionally across the community. Serve as chief spokesperson and advocate for the organization, forging key relationships and partnerships that advance our mission. Maintain and develop relationships with elected officials and staff at the City of National City – the ARTS Center is owned by the City of National City; ARTS has been the sole building tenant since 2012.

The statements contained herein describe the scope of the responsibility and essential functions of this position, but should not be considered to be an all-inclusive listing of work requirements. Individuals may perform other duties as assigned. Nothing in this job description restricts management's right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time unless restricted by a negotiated contract.

At-Will Employment Status.


Application Deadline: Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Please the following items (PDF versions preferred):

1) Your current resume/CV, and

2) A cover letter stating your interest in and qualifications for the position (2 pgs max.)

Applications submitted without a resume/CV and a cover letter will not be considered.

Please email the application materials to:

Tom Reise, Chair ARTS Board of Directors

Email subject line: "Executive Director & CEO - ARTS"

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