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FFYF is hiring a new Executive Director
June 19, 2012

First Five Years Fund seeks a skilled strategist and communicator to serve as Executive Director and lead the organization’s mission of helping America achieve better results in education, healthcare, and economic productivity by advocating for greater public investment – particularly at the federal level – in quality early childhood education for children most at risk.

FFYF was created by a coalition of funders in partnership with the Ounce of Prevention Fund. The Executive Director is accountable for defining, leading, and managing all aspects of the First Five Years Fund, with collaborative leadership from the President of the Ounce of Prevention Fund. The Executive Director’s key responsibilities include:

  • Identifying FFYF’s priorities and goals and determining the most effective strategies by which to achieve them.
  • Strategically deploying FFYF resources in order to generate strategic communications campaigns and advocacy strategies that increase policymaker support for early learning.
  • Identifying the most effective investments and vehicles for change, and refining the work as new opportunities arise.
  • The Executive Director must be a highly visible advocate for FFYF’s vision and mission to peers within the early childhood field as well as philanthropic stakeholders, policymakers, thought leaders, business champions, and the media. This is a full-time position with substantial amount of time in Washington DC .


The Executive Director will serve as the face and voice of FFYF, driving a national strategy that achieves increased public investment in quality early childhood education. The Executive Director ’s major responsibilities and key tasks include, but may not be limited to:


Serve as a highly visible and effective spokesperson and a catalyst for the First Five Years Fund’s vision.
Represent FFYF at a national level, including participation on task forces and government leaders in Congress, the White House, federal agencies and state governments.
Articulate FFYF’s position on national policy proposals affecting at-risk children and families to policy makers, the media, advocates and other stakeholders.

Coalition Building

Actively participate in coalitions to pursue policy change that benefits at-risk children birth to five and their families
Cultivate relationships with appropriate state-based coalitions in order to develop a robust and broad constituency.

Strategy and Management

Develop the First Five Years Fund vision, direction, and policy positions in consultation with the Executive Policy Council.
Determine overall strategy and tactics to seize immediate opportunities in support of the Fund’s long-term agenda.
Consult with and incorporate advice from FFYF’s Executive Policy Council (comprised of representatives of the principal funding organizations and the Ounce of Prevention Fund) and select external advisors to advance the FFYF’s strategic priorities and goals.

Fundraising and key relationship management.

Manage and lead FFYF staff and external consultants.
Policy and Advocacy
Articulate FFYF’s policy development agenda, identifying near-term opportunities and emerging trends and driving the vision for longer-term reform efforts.
Develop and maintain relationships with Congress and the Administration.
Ensure FFYF’s advocacy work establishes the organization as a credible and influential voice for high-quality birth-to-five early learning opportunities for at-risk children.
Provide analysis and commentary on relevant policy debates.


Ideal candidates will offer exceptional communications and interpersonal skills and experience driving measurable policy change and strategic communications at a national scale. They will also believe in the goals and outcomes of quality early childhood education and have all of the skills required to persuade others of the critical importance of FFYF’s mission.

Additional qualifications include:

Passion for policy and education reform, as well as understanding of and interest in the federal legislative process.
Demonstrated success in managing a team of staff and external partners to produce significant results
Strong goal orientation, including the ability to develop metrics and measure progress to goals as well as redirect plans when circumstances change
Excellent creative and strategic thinking skills; innovative, forward-looking, and comfortable pushing the status quo
Eager, entrepreneurial self-starter, with the ability to build strong relationships with various types of people and to motivate superiors, peers, and direct reports to meet ambitious goals
A track record of building consensus and buy-in across boundaries and competing interests
Superior verbal and written communication skills, including an understanding of how to develop and disseminate effective messaging and positioning that leads to transformative change.
Highly organized and driven to set and meet deadlines while juggling competing priorities
Great attitude and ability to work collaboratively and thrive in a fast-paced, dynamic environment
The ability to travel up to 40% of the time
Masters degree in public policy, Social Work or related field preferred

Compensation & benefits

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.

To apply

First Five Years Fund has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Molly Brennan at mbrennan@koyapartners.com.

First Five Years Fund is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants.

About First Five Years Fund

The FFYF mission is to create a smarter, stronger, healthier, and more productive America through early childhood education for disadvantaged children. Study after study by developmental specialists, neuroscientists, physicians, economists, and social scientists show that early childhood education is one of the most effective investments Americans can make in their children and their economic future.

The First Five Years Fund is committed to moving this knowledge into wide scale practice through comprehensive, quality early childhood education systems, programs, and supports. Through knowledge, data, advocacy, and collaboration, we help elected officials, business leaders, and philanthropists see early childhood education as a solution for dramatically improving education, health, social, and economic outcomes—in the short- and long-term.

We help them understand how to craft policies, leverage existing funding, add new revenue, develop programs, and incentivize the most efficient and effective ways to invest in the development of America’s greatest resource—its children.

Influential philanthropies who have joined together to support the First Five Years Fund include:

Buffett Early Childhood Fund
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Irving Harris Foundation
George Kaiser Family Foundation
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The Pritzker Children's Initiative

An anonymous foundation

These family philanthropies apply a private sector approach to social change and recognize early learning as a particularly influential and cost-effective investment.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained search and consulting firm that works exclusively with non-profits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.