Now in its 26th year, Generations Incorporated strives to improve the literacy skills of young children through third grade. The organization envisions a day when all children are proficient readers as they enter fourth grade. It views literacy as the key to academic success and often, a path out of poverty. Generations Incorporated also provides meaningful opportunities to older adults who serve as literacy volunteers in partner schools and after-school programs in low income communities in Greater Boston.
A national study monitoring educational achievement in 2013 demonstrated that only 35% of fourth graders were reading at grade level. As these children progress through school, they are likely to fall even further behind their peers. Literacy may be the single most important skill they will need to negotiate an increasingly information-based and verbal world.
In a typical year, Generations Incorporated places almost 300 skilled volunteers in schools and after school program sites throughout Greater Boston and Revere. These individuals are recruited and trained to provide focused literacy support to 3400 children each year. Most program volunteers live in the communities where they serve, and all are over the age of fifty.
In 2009, Generations Incorporated transitioned program leadership to older adult volunteers, creating stability and sustainability for the programs that are rooted in their communities, while empowering residents to be local leaders. This leadership model has a positive impact on the lives of older adult volunteers, creating a sense of accomplishment and personal fulfillment.
Highly praised by the national AARP Foundation Experience Corps network, Generations Incorporated is a network affiliate and a mentor to other similar programs. The organization was recognized as “Best in class, best in nation,” by the CEO of AARP Foundation Experience Corps. Generations Incorporated recently redesigned its literacy models and has aligned its program content with Boston and Revere Public Schools curriculum guidelines and Common Core Standards.
To strengthen its collaborations and measure its progress in the schools, Generations Incorporated gathers and shares evaluative data with its Boston and Revere school district partners.
The organization’s primary programs benefit both students and volunteers. A unique aspect of these programs is the integral role older adult volunteers play in achieving successful outcomes. The programs, which are evidence-based, include:
- Reading Coaches: The Reading Coaches Program is an intensive one-on-one tutoring program provided in school and after-school settings. The program engages trained literacy volunteers who provide structured support to kindergarten through third grade students who are struggling with reading. Volunteers meet with students twice-weekly to provide individualized, 30-45 minute sessions. Using an innovative and proven literacy curriculum, the program incorporates a writing component, a focus on comprehension and vocabulary.
- Classroom Literacy: Trained volunteers work in the classroom with small groups of children who need help to improve their literacy skills. They provide assistance with independent reading, writing, phonics and skill support.
- Summer Coaching: During the summer, academic slippage furthers the achievement gap—and there are few summer programs for elementary students in Boston. In response, Generations Incorporated partners with schools to offer a five-week summer program to prepare kindergarten and first grade students to be ready to learn in September. The program benefits young students at risk of school failure, many of whom might be held back.
- Active Aging: This program specifically benefits the volunteers and provides them and their peers with meaningful activities beyond their service to students that enhances their physical, mental and social well being and to connect them to their communities.
Generations Incorporated is led by an engaged 13-member board of directors and has a dedicated staff of 15. The organization’s annual budget is $2.2 million. With 18 program locations, staff members and volunteers work with 14 school-based and four after-school programs. Their partnerships with schools are thriving and continue to grow. Through their work, Generations Incorporated not only impacts the lives of thousands of young children and older adults, but also supports their teachers, parents, schools, and communities.
With its national partner, AARP Foundation Experience Corps, Generations Incorporated has crafted a model that builds both the skills and self-confidence of young learners. As they continue to partner with both the Boston and Revere Public Schools, the organization expects to expand its impact by introducing the model into more schools in and around Boston. With programs that are highly respected and replicable in other urban areas in Massachusetts and beyond, Generations Incorporated has the opportunity to expand its impact in the years ahead.
This is a unique opportunity in an organization with the potential for increasing service delivery and visibility. Generations Incorporated already enjoys a national reputation and is poised for the right leader to capitalize on the organization’s assets and successes to date and further strengthen its programs, expand its geographic reach and increase its public visibility. The next Executive Director of Generations Incorporated will be joining a highly functioning organization with a replicable model, engaged board, and loyal, skillful staff and volunteers.
Generations Incorporated has had a successful period of growth and development over the past three years, and is ready to build upon its accomplishments. Led by Board President Harvey Salgo, Generations Incorporated’s board of directors envisions measured growth over the next two to four years, and will expand upon its current strategic plan in the year ahead.
Generations Incorporated has attracted the attention of major funders. Its supporters include the Barr Foundation, Liberty Mutual Foundation, Cummings Foundation, AmeriCorps, Mabel Louise Riley Foundation, the Department of Justice and many others. Individual donor support has been a critical component of the organization’s funding. In the years ahead, there will be a greater focus on maintaining a diverse funding stream and creating new partnerships and affiliations.
Over the next three years, Generations Incorporated intends to:
- Continuously Improve its Programs: With expertise in literacy program development, Generations Incorporated continuously updates its knowledge base in the field. As a mentor to programs nationwide, a trainer of volunteers and professional staff, Generations Incorporated places a high value on remaining current with cutting edge theory and methods in the literacy field.
- Expand to New Communities: With a highly replicable model and a solid and effective volunteer recruitment and training program, Generations Incorporated will continue to broaden its impact in new communities in the years ahead.
- Further Develop Evaluative Data Collection: To track the impact and effectiveness of its work, Generations Incorporated will continuously improve its methods for collecting meaningful data from its programs and share this data with its school district partners.
- Diversify Revenue and Plan for Sustainability: To ensure financial stability and organizational growth, Generations Incorporated will align its fundraising efforts with planned growth strategies. In doing so, it will position the organization for prudent growth and the successful replication of its program model.
- Enhance Organizational Visibility: To publicly promote the impact of its work, broaden its reach, and share its 26-year history of success, Generations Incorporated will enhance efforts to promote and market its programs. Both the program model and the organization’s achievements will become more visible to the public.
The Ideal Candidate
This position requires a skilled nonprofit leader who will be an enthusiastic and energetic advocate for urban children and older adults. The successful candidate will be a flexible, strategic and innovative thinker who shares Generations Incorporated’s vision of a world in which all children are proficient readers as they enter fourth Grade. The organization seeks a hands-on operational leader who is adept at managing a talented professional staff and an energetic group of committed volunteers. The ideal candidate will also be highly skilled in partnership building and fundraising, and will serve as the face of the organization to diverse public audiences.
Generations Incorporated’s ideal candidate will demonstrate these skills and attributes:
Strategic Thinking and Project Planning
The ideal candidate will be a seasoned strategic thinker who brings significant experience in planning and project management. With an organizational agenda that includes in-depth planning in the year ahead, the successful candidate will be prepared to play a pivotal role in the development of the organization’s next strategic plan.
Knowledge of Public Schools and Urban Education
The new executive director will be knowledgeable about urban education needs and Generations Incorporated’s current and potential role as a contributor to positive change. The successful candidate must have a genuine passion for community engagement and programmatic growth, and an understanding and appreciation of the current regional education landscape.
Excellent Communication Skills
Generations Incorporated seeks a new leader with highly developed written and oral communications skills. The organization’s next leader will ideally be an individual who is an articulate and thoughtful speaker, able to represent the organization effectively to public audiences, donors, foundations and potential partners.
Fundraising and Revenue Generation
The ideal candidate will be adept at cultivating and retaining donors, equipped to acquire diverse sources of funding, and experienced in revenue growth, institutional donor development, donor acquisition, donor retention and grant writing. He or she will be experienced in identifying and cultivating new partnerships and maintaining positive relationships with funders.
Collaborative and Community Relations Experience
The next executive director will bring significant skills in outreach, community relations and partnership and collaboration development. The ideal candidate will compellingly represent the organization’s mission and vision to its constituencies.
Resource Management and Administration Experience
The ideal candidate will be comfortable with financial and operational management in a public or nonprofit agency or program, and will possess marketing acumen and staff management skills. He or she will understand workplace compliance and employment laws and possess the ability to assure adequate control and accounting of all funds, including maintaining sound financial practices.
Facility in Working with a Skilled Staff and Volunteer Population
Professional staff development is a major focus for Generations Incorporated. The next executive director will be adept at motivating and leading a complement of talented staff and a dedicated group of volunteers, valuing their work and respecting their contributions.
Generations Incorporated seeks a new leader with significant experience working effectively in partnership with a board of directors or advisory group to carry out the mission of the organization.
Education and Leadership Experience
A Bachelor’s degree is required, and a Master’s degree in a relevant area is preferred. Five or more years of increasing leadership responsibility is required.
Submission of Candidacy
This executive search is being conducted by Third Sector New England’s Consulting and Executive Transitions Program with Transition Consultant Cathy Cohen. All submissions are confidential. Only online applications will be accepted.
Candidates should include a resume and a cover letter that describes how their qualifications and experience match the needs of Generations Incorporated along with salary requirements, how they learned of the position and any other relevant information (such as published articles). All applications will be acknowledged. Applications will be accepted until the position has been filled.
This is a full-time position offering a competitive salary and benefits commensurate with skill and experience.
Generations Incorporated is an equal-opportunity employer and actively seeks a diverse pool of candidates. We are an inclusive organization and urge people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds, abilities, gender identities, religions, and ages to apply.