Covenant House Toronto is Canada’s largest agency serving at-risk, homeless, and trafficked youth. It changes lives, providing services and support to as many as 300 youth a day.
A national leader, educating and advocating for change by influencing public policy, building strong partnerships and delivering prevention and awareness programs – Covenant House is more than a place to stay. It provides 24/7 crisis shelter, transitional housing on-site and in the community, plus comprehensive services including education, counselling, health care, employment assistance, job training, and aftercare.
Where could you fit in?
You are reading this Position Profile because it’s entirely possible you could become the next Executive Director of Covenant House, Toronto. Consideration for the role starts with your own – objective – personal analysis.
In other words, are you the right fit – an experienced NFP leader or a private sector senior executive with a strong track record of volunteerism, fundraising, leadership and governance experience? You have seen lives changed first-hand – not by good wishes, but by incisive strategies, serious fundraising, and concerted effort. You have made a reckoning and you want to serve society, to improve the lives of homeless youth and to help them reach their potential. Are you the transformative leader who will work with a high-performance senior team and build a network of effective support for youth? If so, read on.
Covenant House Toronto
Vision: To lead change that challenges at-risk, homeless, and trafficked youth to pursue a life of opportunity.
Covenant House Toronto is part of a 31-city network across North and Central America and headquartered in NYC. With principles of Immediacy, Sanctuary, Values Communication, Structure, and Choice, its offers a covenant: it promises to care for and support every youth; in return, each youth commits to following a plan and working towards goals.
Canada’s largest agency serving at-risk, homeless, and trafficked youth, Covenant House Toronto changes lives by providing the widest range of services and support to as many as 300 youth a day. Its doors are open to youth aged 16 to 24, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or their circumstances.
A 94-bed Crisis Centre provides emergency care to homeless youth. Up to 28 young people can stay in the Rights of Passage transitional housing program that prepares them for independent living. Non-residents can get a meal, shower, and clean clothes at the Community Support Services drop-in. Additional support services including a health clinic, alternative high school, and on-site vocational resources including a teaching kitchen for culinary arts training.
Since 1982, Covenant House Toronto has served more than 95,000 young people and helped them move from a life on the street to a life with a future. Donors provide over 80 per cent of the Toronto chapter’s $30M (and growing) annual operating budget.
Covenant House Toronto educates and advocates for change by influencing public policy and delivering prevention and awareness programs. Its new 2018-2022 Strategic Plan outlines five strategic priorities: Housing & After Care; Health & Well-being; Education & Employment; Prevention & Early Intervention; and Organizational Capacity.
Recognizing the Scale of the problem
Across Canada, in communities big and small, vulnerable young people find themselves with no home – couch-surfing, staying in shelters, squats, on the street, or in alleys, doorways, or parks.
• On any given night in Canada, up to 7,000 youth are homeless – 40,000 per annum
• 80 per cent had left home because of family conflict; 83 percent had been bullied at school; unsurprisingly, many suffer from mental illness
• Young people (aged 13-24) represent 20 per cent of Canada’s homeless population
• 40 per cent of homeless youth were under 16 when first homeless
• Significant groups of indigenous, black, and LGBTQ+ youth are over-represented in the homeless youth population
• Most homeless youth have multiple episodes of homelessness
• 60 per cent of homeless youths are victim of violent crime
• 38 per cent of female homeless youths are victims of sexual violence and are also the most likely victims of sex trafficking
The scale of the problem makes this a profound national issue.
Recognizing the Individual
When a youth first comes to Covenant House, they are usually hungry and exhausted. Youth are given a couch to relax on, food to eat, a hot shower, and clean clothes to wear. They can visit the onsite Health Clinic if they need treatment. They will be assigned a room for their stay. And then Covenant House gives them some space. Youth need time to recover from the exhaustion of homelessness or crisis before they can begin to think about anything else.
Covenant House understands homelessness is a macro-problem. But the youth on the doorstep is an individual, with some pretty immediate needs: food, warmth, a safe place to stay and to keep their things, emergency beds and wrap-around support for young women who have experienced sex trafficking or exploitation, individualized counselling and training, pastoral and health care, transitional housing, and aftercare support and guidance.
Organization: Covenant House Toronto
Title: Executive Director
Reports to: Board of Directors, Covenant House Toronto; President, Covenant House International
Principal Location: 20 Gerrard Street East, Toronto
Direct Reports: Director of Program Services; Associate Director of Community & Government Relations; Associate Executive Director; Associate Director Human Resources; Director of Development & Communications
Total FTE 2019: 262
• Executive Office – 6
• Development & Communications – 39
• Corporate Services – 51
• Program Services – 166
Key External Relationships:
Covenant House International (HQ in New York City); Advocacy Partners (Local, national, international); Service Provider Partners (Local, regional, national, international); Sex Trafficking Partners (Local, regional, national); Research Partners (Local, regional, national) & Archdiocese of Toronto
Working closely with the Board to enhance and support building public commitment to Covenant House and its goals, the Executive Director is the chief executive officer responsible for the effective administration, financial stability, and daily operation of the main site and multiple community-based transitional housing sites. The Executive Director reports to the Covenant House Toronto Board of Directors as well as the President of Covenant House International, and oversees an organization of ~260 people with an annual budget of $30M, with the continuous need to build and grow the program.
The successful candidate will play a central role in the development of long-range research, policies, and programs for Covenant House, raising resources, approving and monitoring operating and capital budgets, supervising the staff and activities of the organization, setting and maintaining professional standards, and working co-operatively with the Covenant House International executive team.
Key Areas of Responsibility
• Ensuring that the organization and its staff maintain and further its Covenant House mission-centred focus and that quality service and support for youth is at the centre of day to day activities as well as strategic decisions
• Shaping the vision and direction of Covenant House Toronto in accordance with that mission in close association with the highly effective senior staff
• Advancing mission-critical projects around Strategic Initiatives, New Business Development, and Revenue Generation
• Being the chief spokesperson and relationship builder for Covenant House Toronto, representing the agency to the media, prospective donors, government agencies, staff, etc. Articulating the goals and aspirations of Covenant House to all those who need its services and to those who support it and in so doing, acting as an advocate on behalf of at-risk, homeless and sex-trafficked youth
• Providing direct oversight for:
o Program content and program quality control processes within and consistent with the Covenant House mission, philosophy, and policies established by the Board and, where possible, making improvements based upon best practises and evidence-based methodology (e.g. trauma informed interventions)
o Fundraising and communications efforts to secure private and public sector funding for the operation and growth of Covenant House Toronto, including the Agency’s marketing programs which raise more than $24M annually in donations and bequests
o Operations including internal accounting control and organizational arrangements with clearly defined lines of responsibility and delegation of authority. Adequately safeguard, verify, and maintain accountability of assets and assist in the development, implementation, and measurement of clear outcome metrics
o Implementing the organizations long-term real estate strategy
o Managing the growth and expansion of the organization at a pace that balances capacity at both a human resource and operational level
• Advancing the current strategic plan for the growth of Covenant House Toronto’s services, articulating a vision of service to respond to evolving local needs, particularly around the five priorities identified in the 2018-2022 Strategic Plan: Housing & After Care; Health & Well-being; Education & Employment; Prevention & Early Intervention; and Organizational Capacity
• Continuing to build effective external partnerships that advance the goals of research, advocacy, program development, and the continuum of care, support, and counselling
• Implementing risk management measures to effectively address agency risks and ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations
• Articulating and embedding the spiritual values and policies needed to execute the mission of Covenant House
• Continuing with knowledge-sharing successes to-date, including communication with other Covenant House Executive Directors, and sharing information and expertise with external partners
• Participating actively and collaboratively in the Covenant House International federation within Canada, the United States, Latin America and beyond
The Ideal Candidate
• Pertinent undergraduate degree/training/accreditation
• MSW, MPA or equivalent
Must have a proven record of success in/with:
• Social/Human Services work and a 10-year track record of progressive senior managerial experience in a non-profit agency of comparable size and complexity with accountability for Program, P&L, and
• If the candidate’s primary background is in the private sector, it will be essential to demonstrate leadership of a large team undertaking multiple processes for a complex set of stakeholders and clients, ideally in a regulated industry. In addition, the candidate must have a distinguished record of volunteer service, including at the Board level, of one or more social service agencies
• Working effectively with a board of directors and senior-level executives
• Managing and motivating a diverse, cross-functional, high-performance team
• Specialized knowledge and demonstrated record of success in fundraising (knowledge of prospective local major donors is a significant asset)
• Collaborating well with others; able to promote and articulate the organization’s mission
• Knowledge of current best practises and experience in public and mental health
• Government relations knowledge (specifically an understanding of municipal, provincial and federal funding)
Ideally will possess:
• Non-profit and Social Justice exposure and experience
• Content expertise with regard to youth homelessness and human trafficking
• Experience working with other boards, external agencies, and delivery partners
Character & Competencies
• An unwavering commitment to the welfare of children and youth
• An excellent communicator who is always highly respectful and appropriate who has a high degree of comfort managing a multitude of stakeholders including: The Board, staff, youth, external stakeholders, Covenant House International, donors and volunteers
• An exceptional relationship builder who can foster and grow relationships at all levels of the organization
• Innovative by nature, a creative thinker, a calculated-risk-taker
• A confident, energetic leader who functions as a key strategist amongst peers
• Forthright in holding people accountable, with an honest approach to building a team and building careers – a great coach
• Effective problem-solver and decision-maker – structuring/analysis/synthesis
• Excellent negotiating, influencing, listening, and relationship-building skills
• Resilient, works well under pressure, responds positively to change, and can manage multiple tasks under tight time constraints
• A respected ability to motivate everyone for the mission – to rally, challenge, and inspire a diverse team to the highest of standards
• An ability to paint a big picture by paying close attention to the details
• Honesty, openness, transparency, authenticity and models these in all situations and for all interactions
• The ability and insight to navigate complex organizational dynamics
• Experience in a multi-stakeholder environment and leading by consensus. A candidate from the private sector must demonstrate understanding of the nature of collaborative planning/execution and are eager to embrace its strengths
• A deep understanding that the ‘whole is greater than the sum of its parts’
• The humility to execute a new Strategic Plan (formed by others) and the objectivity to assess the strengths and challenges that arise during implementation that must be dealt with tactically in the moment and strategically over time
• The wisdom and understanding that no job or task is too big or too little to be undertaken by you as well as those within your team; the ability to delegate while never expecting staff to work harder than you do
Ideally will exhibit:
• A positive attitude for self and team: anything can be solved; anything can be accomplished
• A belief that opportunity can always be found in facing problems
• Refreshing but respectful candor
• A modus operandi that puts the mission ahead of personal advancement
• The highest of personal and corporate standards – ‘good enough’ is never enough
• Frugality – a nose for doing more with less
If you are looking for an outstanding challenge, working with a great team and a focused, successful organization that is helping to change the lives of kids in desperate need of warmth, compassion, safety, and respect for their potential, then please send your résumé, along with a covering letter explaining why you should be a serious candidate for this mission-critical position, to: Preston Human Capital Group at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Submissions must be received by March 08, 2019
Please note: Only qualified respondents will be contacted.