For over 65 years, Wayfinder Family Services’ mission has been to ensure that children, youth and adults facing challenges always have a place to turn. The organization was founded as the Foundation for the Junior Blind and later was known as Junior Blind of America. The original programming was centered on recreation for children with vision loss.
This is an exciting time in the organization’s history; they are tackling some of the toughest issues in the sector and changing more lives than ever before. Wayfinder is still the largest service provider to children with vision loss throughout California, but also one of the strongest organizations providing services to foster children. Currently they serve more than 18,500 students and family members each year across Southern, Central and Northern California through two service divisions: one which helps individuals with visual impairment and additional disabilities, and one which assists children in the child welfare system, with a focus on services to foster youth with special health needs.
Wayfinder is driven by a belief that every child deserves a chance to thrive, a safe haven and a loving family. They offer quality programming that includes early intervention, education, rehabilitation, employment, and recreation services. All the programs are offered at no charge to families. This is critical since more than 90 percent of those they serve are low-income.
Blind Babies Foundation
Early Intervention Program
Foster Family Services
Group Homes for Children
Mental Health Services
Special Education School
Visions: Adventures in Learning
Youth Residential Treatment Program
For adults and families, the organization provides the following key programs:
Assistive Technology Training
Program for Independence
Group Homes for Adults
Orientation and Mobility Training
Veterans Training Program
Awards & Distinctions:
Wayfinder was recently awarded its eighth consecutive four-star rating from Charity Navigator, a distinction earned by only three percent of charities nationwide.
In November 2017, Wayfinder Family Services was re-accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) following an extensive, year-long review process of performance standards. Achieving COA accreditation means Wayfinder is among the best in the field with exemplary fiscal, operations and program management. It is one of only ten nonprofits in Los Angeles and one of 155 in California to achieve this status.
Accredited by BBB Wise Giving Alliance. Wayfinder proudly meets all 20 of the Better Business Bureau’s Charity Standards based on governance and effectiveness.
In 2017, Wayfinder was one of ten organizations selected to participate in the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities National Transformational Leadership program, an initiative funded in part by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Using the principles of change leadership over a three-year period, a professional coach is working with Wayfinder management to respond to trends impacting the child welfare sector. The goal: to function as a high-impact nonprofit, ensuring family engagement, stability, permanency and wellness for those we serve.
Wayfinder has an operating budget approaching $35,000,000. In the 2018-2019 financial year, about $5 million dollars of that will be raised from private sources (individuals, direct mail, foundations, special events, wills and bequests). The organization currently raises just under $1 million from all individuals and special event contributions. They would like to double that in the next five years. The Director of Annual Giving and Donors Relations will be a driving force in moving the needle on the $1 million.
Wayfinder has a presence throughout the Los Angeles area, including South LA, a camp in Malibu, offices/programs in LaVerne, Whittier and Ontario. In addition, they have programs in Central California and multiple programs and offices in Northern California. The ideal candidate will be excited about making Wayfinder the charity of choice in each of these regions. This will require growing ties with the existing donor base and introducing Wayfinder to new prospects in those communities.
The Director of Annual Giving and Donors Relations reports to the Chief Development Officer and will lead all fundraising activities that sustain the annual giving campaign. This position supervises an Associate Director in Northern California and an Associate Director for Special Events and Volunteers. A Database Manager manages data entry for the department.
The development team is very dynamic: Team members are well organized, driven, high-producing, and fun loving. Your peers will include an Associate VP in charge of Planned Giving and Direct Mail; a Foundation Relations Director and a Communications Director, each reporting to the Chief Development Officer. Each person is a master of their craft and a consummate professional. The Chief Development Officer is a seasoned leader with a fresh, professional outlook and leadership style. She prides herself in providing employees with autonomy and a good work-life balance; families are a priority.
Annual Giving Program
Donor Relations and Stewardship
Skills and Qualifications
This position is ideal for someone who wants to be an integral part of a highly effective and dynamic development team. The individual will be highly organized, an effective and strategic planner, project manager and collaborator who can showcase Wayfinder as a thought leader in the philanthropic sector and a philanthropic cause of choice. The individual must be passionate about engaging people and raising funds to support Wayfinder. The individual must possess contagious enthusiasm and be an effective and persuasive communicator – both verbally and in writing.
The ideal candidate will be:
Experience and credentials required:
Highly competitive compensation depending on experience. Includes full health, dental and vision benefits.
Please include a cover letter highlighting how yourexperience is a match, specifically with regards to your experience running an annual giving campaign focused on individuals. The "start-up"/entrepreneurial nature of this role critical: this is not a role that is maintaining a pre-established campaign; you will be building something from scratch.
PLEASE DO NOT SEND YOUR APPLICATION TO ANYONE AT WAYFINDER. ALL APPLICATIONS MUST GO THROUGH SHIRLEY ASSOCIATES : please send your resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. Mention Deepsweep in the message heading.