Upward Scholars is seeking a new Executive Director!


Upward Scholars is looking for an experienced, enthusiastic executive director who is committed to our mission of empowering low-income adults by providing them the support they need to continue their education. 

After reviewing the job description below, interested candidates should submit their resume and cover letter to careers@upwardscholars.org.

Executive Director

Reports to: Board of Directors

Supervise: Coordinator and volunteers

Type: Full-Time

Category: Exempt

Job Summary

Upward Scholars is a mission-driven organization that helps students overcome the financial and academic barriers that limit their success. We are seeking an experienced hands-on Executive Director to lead our organization.

The Executive Director will provide strategic leadership of Upward Scholars and will ensure effective partnerships with key stakeholders, support a diversified fundraising strategy that includes individual, corporate, and foundation support, oversee all programs, and serve as a strong connector who can align staff, Board, volunteers, and supporters around Upward Scholars mission, vision, and values. The Executive Director will be responsible for ensuring that the organization raises sufficient revenue to sustain annual operations and programs

About Upward Scholars

Upward Scholars empowers low-income adults, mostly immigrants, by providing financial, academic, and community support. As a result, students continue their education, get higher paying jobs, and serve as role models and advocates for their children. Our services include scholarships for books and transportation to college, laptops, an extensive tutoring program and a Conversation Club. Learn more about our impact here.

Upward Scholars is the only nonprofit in the Bay Area providing financial and academic support to low-income adults transitioning from adult schools to community colleges and attending college part-time.  

Responsibilities & Duties

Fund Development and Marketing. Raise revenues to sustain annual operations and programs.  Write marketing materials including newsletters, student success stories, annual reports and fund-raising letters. Serve as the primary staff spokesperson for Upward Scholars, clearly articulating its mission, vision, goals, and impact. Develop and maintain relationships with mission-aligned individuals, organizations, and institutions.

Programs. Oversee the development, delivery, and evaluation of all Upward Scholars’ programs. Determine students’ needs and implement programs accordingly.

Board Relations.  Work collaboratively with the Board to meet the goals and objectives of the organization and support the Board as it evolves from hands-on management to a governance and oversight role. With the Board members, plan all Board meetings.

Operations and Administration. Oversee day-to-day operations, including budget preparation, fiscal accountability, staff and volunteer management, and development. Ensure that the organization’s short and long-term goals are aligned with the organization’s strategic plan.

Events Planning. Design, plan and oversee events for stakeholders: students, donors, and volunteers.

Skills & Qualifications

  • Passion for education and Upward Scholars mission.

  • Proven track record in fundraising, including prospecting and cultivating individual donors.

  • Experience running educational or social service programs.

  • Strong communications skills, both written and verbal. Experience writing grants. 

  • Ability to prioritize tasks and objectives in a resource-constrained environment, be a flexible problem solver, and understand the need to effectively strike a balance between sustainability and growth, deliberation and action, independence and collaboration.

  • Demonstrate a can-do, entrepreneurial mindset and the ability to work effectively remotely.

  • Ability to model the highest degree of professionalism and transformational leadership style and inspire others to achieve goals. 

  • Experience working with people from diverse backgrounds.

  • Willingness to work some weekends and evenings, as needed.

  • Experience building strategic relationships with educational institutions and similar organizations, encouraging collaboration and consensus building (desirable).

  • Knowledge of Spanish (desirable).

Compensation and Benefits. Salary and benefits commensurate with qualifications and experience.

To Apply

Please send your resume along with a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications to careers@upwardscholars.org.

Upward Scholars is an Equal Opportunity employer. Applicants are considered without regard to race, color, religion, creed, national origin, age, sex, gender, marital status, sexual orientation and identity, genetic information, veteran status, citizenship, or any other factors prohibited by local, state, or federal law.