Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children (DVAEYC) has long been one of the leading voices for improving the quality and increasing the funding of early childhood education (ECE). Just as this cause was finally getting greater traction and significantly more funding, its long-term, highly regarded executive director announced her retirement. Several other management team members were also within a few years of retirement. The organization needed to find a new leader who could continue to serve as a public advocate for ECE, oversee programming provided by a staff steeped in a highly participatory organizational culture, facilitate the transition of much of the senior management team, and fundraise. Fairmount engaged the entire board and staff in identifying the key characteristics of their next leader and then conducted the search that netted a new executive, who has continued to keep DVAEYC in the forefront of the field while guiding it through change.
Philadelphia’s 40 sports-based youth development organizations had been meeting informally as the Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative (PYSC) for several years when they decided that it was time to create a more formal structure. Fairmount Ventures was retained to develop a business plan to provide the roadmap for taking their collective work to the next level in order to reach significantly more youth. The plan energized a local philanthropist to provide significant funding to underwrite core operations for its first three years as a professionally run organization. Fairmount was then retained to find PYSC’s first executive director. This leader needed to be a person steeped in the field, able to launch a new organization, fundraise, work with a board, build strong alliances with city government, and earn the trust of service providers. Fairmount organized and led the recruitment efforts that secured a strong leader with these characteristics. PYSC is now a stable, growing organization working closely with multiple stakeholders to bring high-quality programming to more youth in Philadelphia.
An international women’s rights organization headquartered in New York City and with offices around the world, the Center for Reproductive Rights needed to increase its board’s capacity to raise funds by expanding its membership to include people from across the country with access to a wider donor pool. At the time, the board was a committed group of like-minded people mainly from just a few cities. Through a methodical process of mapping relationships in cities across the country, Fairmount worked networks, identified targets of influence and high net worth, and coached the executive director and board leaders on engaging and securing the participation of people with increased access. The result is now an 18-person board from across the country, with each member highly engaged in the mission and in exercising their influence within their own networks for the benefit of the Center.