Chief Program Officer

About FareStart

FareStart transforms lives and disrupts poverty by delivering wraparound social services and case management to build life skills and provide job training that creates personal stability and economic mobility. As a social enterprise, FareStart is both a foodservice business, and a social service organization. Driven by a vision that every individual should have the opportunity to thrive in an equitable and just world, FareStart is a solution to some of society’s most pressing challenges. FareStart is deeply committed to addressing systemic inequities that perpetuate homelessness poverty, and food insecurity.

With an annual operating budget of approximately $20 million, FareStart’s social enterprise model braids philanthropic and public funding with revenue from FareStart’s food service social enterprises – their on-the-job classrooms – to provide life skills and on the job training. They employ 180 staff and benefit from the help of over 3,000 volunteers. Governance is provided by a Board of Directors of 19 who serve on committees in support of the organization’s efforts. In 2019, FareStart enrolled 21 students and facilitated 300 job placements. Even during the pandemic shutdown in 2020, FareStart enrolled 138 students and facilitated 153 job placements last year.

FareStart offers training for adults and youth/young adults. Currently, all programs have moved to a 100% virtual environment and are focused on building skills that can be applied across a variety of industries and jobs. This has also allowed FareStart to serve more students across the state of Washington. They also addressed the rise of food insecurity by increasing the preparation and delivery of healthy meals for schools, healthcare centers, shelters, permanent supportive housing sites, and daycare centers, serving more than 2 million meals across Puget Sound last year. Nationally, FareStart’s Catalyst Kitchens program delivers business and programmatic consulting to nonprofit organizations, trade associations and employers.

As they approach their 30-year anniversary in 2022, FareStart celebrates its rich history while looking ahead and shaping the organization for the next 30 years to be better positioned to transform more lives and nourish more communities through food, life skills and job training. They are committed to becoming an antiracist organization by addressing and confronting racism in how decisions are made, how they show up in communities, how they build business practices and policies, and how they engage in philanthropic and programmatic partnerships to fulfill their mission and vision. They are taking a more trauma-informed approach to their training. And they are also building a team that thinks big as they endeavor to expand their job training programs to reach more individuals facing personal and systemic barriers to employment.

The Chief Program Officer Role

The Chief Program Officer (CPO) ensures the intentional integration of programs within FareStart’s social enterprises, fostering “one team, one mission”. The CPO is an important voice on the senior leadership team, which includes the CEO, Chief People & Inclusion Officer, Chief Finance and Operations Officer, Chief Development Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, and Vice President of Catalyst Kitchens. One director level role reports to the CPO: the Director of Programs.

The CPO position is both highly strategic and very operational. It holds responsibility for program strategy and the day-to-day program management, including curriculum design, delivery, operations, and evaluation. The CPO will be instrumental in driving the unified, long-term strategy that can realize the vision for FareStart’s programmatic and geographic expansion to fulfill its mission.

This position has the best vantage point into FareStart’s impact; the CPO will synthesize the knowledge and data to inform program improvements, donor reporting, and strategy implications. They will glean and share insights into opportunities, innovations, and the potential for the FareStart model.

Key Responsibilities

Strategic Planning

  • At an organizational level in collaboration with the CEO and the rest of the leadership team; at the program level in collaboration with the program team

Leadership and management of the training programs at the heart of FareStart’s mission

  • Oversee all adult and youth/young adult programming, as well as the social service supports for students, including but not limited to coordination of housing assistance, mental health services and job placement support.
  • Manage national partnerships: relationships as well as program quality and delivery; ensure both remain mission aligned and support FareStart’s training goals
  • Lead the expansion of national and new programs that may secure and expand revenue streams that are mission aligned
  • Ensure sound fiscal management, annual budgeting, and quarterly forecasting

Outcome and Evaluation

  • Interpret the data from program evaluation to inform program improvements and program strategy
  • Ensure synthesized data and impact results are available to donors and partners

Café Management

  • Direct staffing and qualitative performance of the two youth training program cafes; these are the “classrooms” where training curriculum and practice are delivered

FareStart Board

  • Staff the Mission Committee of the Board of Directors, ensuring they have deep understanding of the programs and the needs of the communities served

Ideal Candidate

If you are a leader with high standards, a strong work ethic, who thrives in a fast-paced, collaborative workplace and wants to make a real difference in people’s lives, we encourage you to consider this important executive position at FareStart.

The ideal candidate brings both business acumen and an understanding of direct service to back up their passion for the mission of FareStart. The incoming CPO will understand how to align programmatic vision and strategy with the necessary responsiveness to and support for participant needs and circumstances. FareStart’s programs are designed to provide a holistic and supportive opportunity for its students that takes into consideration their whole selves and the challenges they face. We seek a leader with the vision to help shape the programs of the future as FareStart expands and adapts to community needs to fulfill its mission.

A varied career that spans private, nonprofit, and/or public sector leadership is valued. Experience in social services, operating foundations, or nonprofit management would serve candidates well. Skill in curriculum development or a master’s degree in social work would be an asset but is not required. We anticipate a minimum of ten years of program and organizational leadership experience would prepare candidates well for this role. The role requires a demonstration of strong program development and expansion skills and the ability to bring people along with your vision. 

Strong emotional and cultural intelligence is essential. The CPO needs to be able to communicate effectively and respectively with staff, key stakeholders, the Board of Directors, and the populations FareStart serves, all of whom bring diverse racial, educational, and socio-economic backgrounds to the organization. The role requires a deep understanding of how the varied needs of these groups differ and intersect; the selected candidate will be expected to foster an inclusive culture that prioritizes the needs of each audience.

As a leader, the ideal candidate has proven themselves as an inclusive manager who considers people and professional development as top priorities. They have strong interpersonal skills allowing them to deploy fresh, supportive energy where and when needed.

Humility and collaboration are highly valued traits for this role. The selected candidate should not be possessive over their function or their work; rather the ideal candidate proactively brings people along and shares information, knowledge, and ideas exceptionally well with others, both internally and externally. They are skilled at keeping projects and teams, including leadership, on track. They also have a willingness to bring their full self to work and live the values of the organization.

Compensation and Location

The salary range for this position is $165,000-185,000. The position is based in Seattle on the ancestral lands of the Coast Salish Peoples and specifically stands on the lands of the First Peoples of Seattle, the Duwamish. FareStart honors the land they occupy and the Duwamish Peoples.

FareStart defines antiracism as the clear acknowledgment that racism permeates organizations, communities, and industries, including our own. We recognize that we have a duty to be vigilant in addressing and confronting racism in how we make decisions, show up in our communities, build business practices and policies, and engage in intentional partnerships and philanthropic endeavors to fulfill our mission and vision.

FareStart is an Equal Opportunity Employer serving people of various communities and backgrounds. We seek applicants who value diversity and inclusivity. Women, People of Color, and Members of the LGBTQIA+ Community are encouraged to apply.

To Be Considered

Please submit your resume and cover letter expressing your interest in the position and fit for the role via the Become a Candidate button.

Applicants applying by October 11th at 5:00 pm Pacific Time will be given priority consideration, with the position open until filled.

Chief Program OfficerFareStartSeattle, WA

The search for a Chief Program Officer is being assisted by a team from GoodCitizen: 

Melissa Merritt
Managing Director
Direct: 206.792.4300

Alison Kaneko
Vice President
Direct: 415.678.5001

Mollie Smith
Direct: 206.462.6190

Keristian Farra
Direct: 206.792.4311