Position Description for President & CEO 



Since 1926, AbilityFirst and its founders have been cutting-edge advocates for disability rights.  AbilityFirst pioneered some of the very first community services in California for children with disabilities. Our signature programs set a model standard in accessibility and inclusion with the design and construction of one of the first fully accessible camps in the nation; the opening of one of the first vocational training programs in the country for adults with disabilities; being a forerunner in supported employment helping adults with developmental disabilities succeed in community jobs; and sponsoring and helping secure passage of state Senate Bill 309 so young adults with developmental disabilities can attend after school programs throughout high school.

With 7 physical facilities in operation, including a summer camp located in San Bernadino County, and bolstered by a dedicated team of 290 committed professional staff, AbilityFirst stands alongside people with developmental disabilities and their families. Guided by our commitment to person-centered planning, we create a welcoming environment where everyone feels they belong and are valued. Our first consideration is always for the well-being of our participants, and — through the mutual trust that we share — each person is supported to achieve his or her personal best. At AbilityFirst, we look beyond disabilities, focus on capabilities, and expand possibilities.



Reporting to the Board of Directors, the President & CEO of AbilityFirst is a dynamic and strategic leader, fostering collaboration with the Board of Directors and staff to build on the organization's core mission and history of expanding possibilities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This transformative leader oversees a dedicated team of more than 290 professionals, focusing squarely on promoting programmatic innovation and excellence while ensuring the alignment of AbilityFirst's resources with its overarching goals.

With an annual operating budget of $16 million, the CEO orchestrates a proactive approach to enhance community partnerships and boost the organization's community profile including two key annual events. Strategic planning and innovation are at the heart of the President & CEO's responsibilities, ensuring that AbilityFirst remains at the forefront in addressing the evolving needs of its constituents. This encompasses the development and execution of programs and services that harmonize with the organization's mission, the astute management of the budget and financial resources, and the continuous quest for new partnerships and funding avenues to bolster the organization's growth. 

The President & CEO plays a pivotal role in fostering and sustaining relationships with key stakeholders, such as donors, community leaders, and government officials, while passionately advocating for the needs of AbilityFirst's constituents. 



Organizational Leadership & Strategy

  • In collaboration with the Board of Directors, implement a strategic plan that aligns programs and activities with AbilityFirst’s mission, vision, and long-term goals.
  • Responsible for the overall management and leadership of the organization including operations, fundraising, finances, programming, partnerships, advocacy, and community presence.
  • Fosters an organizational culture that attracts, engages, motivates, and retains a diverse team of competent, qualified staff and volunteers.
  • Effectively collaborates with the executive team to improve organizational efficiency and capacity.
  • Develops positive and effective Board relationships; provides appropriate, adequate, and timely information to the Board and committees, and educates the Board on external issues affecting the organization and its vital work.
  • In partnership with the Executive Committee, oversees the organization’s compliance and risk management strategies.

Financial Management & Fund Development

  • Develops, proposes, and monitors the Board-approved annual budget and the organization's overall financial health.
  • Establishes a financial strategy, aligned with the overall vision and strategy of the organization that ensures sustainability, as well as continued healthy cash flow. 
  • Cultivates fiscally sustainable relationships with foundations, corporations, major donors, and prospects, while also taking the lead in developing donor engagement strategies and establishing a top-notch planned giving program.
  • Sets annual fundraising goals and ensures the agency budget is being appropriately administered.
  • Develops, stewards and maintains positive relationships with established funding partners, and actively engages key individual, corporate, and foundation donors. 

Partnership and Collaboration

  • Serves as chief spokesperson for the organization to constituents, the media, local politicians, and the general public.
  • Leads campaigns to engage community members and partner organizations to support AbilityFirst’s efforts to provide exceptional programming to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Builds and maintains relationships with diverse communities through a diversity, equity and inclusion lens.
  • Works with legislators, regulatory agencies, and volunteers to promote legislative and regulatory policies.
  • Establishes and maintains collaborative relationships with various organizations to strategically enhance AbilityFirst’s mission.

Board Relations

  • Works closely with the Board Chair, Executive Committee (Board officers), and committee chairs to oversee and support Board functions, including planning meeting agendas, retreats, committee meetings, committee reports, etc.
  • In collaboration with the Governance Committee, assists in recruiting and screening Board of Director candidates.
  • Staffs Board Committees and various task forces. Acts as a resource for all committees, as needed.
  • Collaborates with senior staff to produce and distribute a comprehensive quarterly Executive Report for the Board, covering significant progress, challenges, program, community, and financial updates.


  • 10+ years of experience in an executive or leadership position, preferably at a non-profit organization.
  • 5 years of experience in the field of human services, including demonstrated expertise in staff management.
  • Demonstrated understanding of and a commitment to individuals and families served by AbilityFirst.
  • Experience in business leadership and business operations.
  • Experience leading fundraising efforts.
  • Experience establishing and maintaining relationships with government entities and volunteer leaders.
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills.
  • Excellent analytical, problem solving, and organizational skills.
  • Ability to exercise independent judgment and initiative under the overall guidance of the Board of Directors.


This is an exempt full-time position. Salary range is $275,000 - $315,000 and includes a comprehensive benefits package (i.e. healthcare, dental, vision, and retirement).

AbilityFirst is an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages applications from qualified individuals regardless of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.

Envision Consulting has been retained by AbilityFirst to conduct the search for their incoming President & Chief Executive Officer.

Envision Consulting will close applications for the CEO search on January 26, 2024


Applicants needing accommodation for any part of the application process may contact Envision Consulting at 626.889.7905 to request and arrange for assistance.

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