Jan 11, 2024


  • Hartford Promise
  • Hartford, CT, USA
Full-Time Executive Management (CEO/ED)

Job Description



Hartford Promise

Hartford, CT


About Hartford Promise


Our Mission and Impact


Hartford Promise works to strengthen Hartford’s college going culture, increase student expectations, increase the number of Hartford students going to and graduating from college, and add to a larger, more qualified local workforce. Our ambitious goals are to expand educational opportunities for the children of Hartford, and in doing so transform the lives of Hartford students and the city of Hartford.


Founded in 2016, our work is having a powerful impact, demonstrating that our model is working. To date, we have:

Worked with 1,000+ Promise Scholars, with 509 currently attending over 90+ colleges around the country and 270 Promise Scholar college graduates to date.

Increased the number of HPHS graduating seniors who become Promise Scholars from 13.5% to 20%

• Supported 85%+ first-year persistence and a 76% six-year graduation rate at four-year colleges, compared with a 50% national six-year graduation rate for Pell-eligible students


Our Model


Hartford Promise's Integrated College Success Model provides Scholars with the financial resources, support services, and key relationships that lead to college success and economic mobility. We remove financial barriers that limit a student's choices and give Scholars the resources they need to get their degrees and more. It's an investment in a promising workforce for Hartford's future.


Hartford Promise was created to address the extremely low percentage of Hartford Public High School (HPHS) students going to and graduating from college. This lack of higher education success contributes to seemingly intractable problems of poverty, poor health, and family instability. Our Integrated College Success Model, based on sound research on college success for low-income first-generation students of color, is the most clear and direct way of addressing and reversing these systemic problems.


We take a holistic approach to working with our Scholars to strengthen the supports that will help propel them to college and career success. Our programs include:


Reaching Back: Working closely with Hartford Public Schools, we ensure that students, starting in the ninth grade, are college aware, college focused, and academically on-track for college admission and success. Reducing financial barriers with our scholarship, raising college expectations, increasing college awareness, and expanding the sense of college possibilities are key goals of our Reaching Back efforts. We have aspirations to expand this work into the middle school years as we continue to grow.

Reaching Forward: Our goal is to ease transitions, anticipate challenges, highlight successes and reinforce positive student habits and practices, which lead to increasing persistence and success. Hartford Promise builds strong college and university partnerships to make sure that every Promise Scholar is known and provided the transitional support and services proven to increase the likelihood for college success, including mentoring, peer-to-peer support networks, “Navigating College” resources for students and parents, and internships and other work opportunities. We have also built strong relationships with Connecticut employers and are doing extensive work building career pipelines for the benefit of our Promise Scholars.


Our Team, Board, and Supporters


Our work is powered by a passionate and talented team of 12 staff, working as a close-knit team that brings a creative and adaptive spirit to advancing our mission and responding to the needs of our Scholars. We place our Scholars at the center of our decision-making and we are committed to fostering a community of belonging that celebrates these phenomenal young people.


We are supported by a highly engaged Board that brings a longstanding commitment to our mission. Our $2.4M budget is supported by a diverse mix of funders that includes individual, foundation, corporate, and government donors. To learn more about our work, team, and scholars, please visit our website: https://www.hartfordpromise.org


Our Community


We are committed to serving, empowering, and strengthening the Hartford community. Hartford is a highly diverse city of approximately 120,000 residents. There is significant opportunity for our work to have an impact: 28% of the population live below the poverty line (against a national average of 12.8%), and 17.5% of the population age 25+ holds a Bachelor’s degree or higher (against a national average of 37.7%). When it comes to our own Promise Scholars, 90% are students of color, 75% are low-income, and 70% are first-generation college students. Approximately 40% live below the poverty line.


The President Opportunity


Over the last eight years, Hartford Promise has grown from a small and nimble part time staff led by a beloved founder with a focus on providing last-dollar scholarship to HPHS students to a dedicated team of 12 and expanded programming that provides a launchpad for college and career success. We understand the complex barriers that prevent students from applying to, enrolling in, and graduating from college, and we seek to provide integrated resources to support every step of their journey, starting well before their senior year of high school. Now operating with a strong program model and philanthropic support, we are seeking a President who will continue to drive programmatic and fundraising success. We look forward to welcoming a new leader who shares our values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging and who unwaveringly believes in the talent and potential of young people.


This role offers an exciting opportunity for an individual who is a skilled organizational leader and relationship-builder, with demonstrated ability to inspire and engage a wide range of supporters, including funders and leaders in K-12 and higher education as well as local and state government. The President will guide us to fulfill the goals of our current strategic plan, upholding our commitment to excellence and equity for our students. As our chief fundraiser and external champion, they will build awareness and support with donors, partners, and the broader community, leveraging strong relationship-building skills both internally and externally. Building on our existing culture and values, the President will work collaboratively with staff to ensure we maintain a student-centered approach and continue to center diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in all aspects of our work.


Key Responsibilities:


Development and External Relationship-Building

• Share Hartford Promise’s story and impact, acting as a compelling and passionate advocate to grow our visibility and networks of support.

• Act as a leading representative of Hartford Promise in donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship, collaborating with development staff and Board members to build a development strategy and donor relationships in support of our fundraising goals.

• Develop and strengthen new and existing partnerships with key funding organizations, corporate partners, and individual donors.

• Cultivate and inspire a culture of innovation and creativity that results in new funding streams.

• Serve as a leading representative of Hartford Promise with partners in Hartford, including Hartford Public Schools leadership, and city leaders, and higher education partners.

• Lead the development and execution of a comprehensive communications strategy, including identifying appropriate resources to support the strategy.


Organizational Strategy and Management

• Collaborate with staff and Board to develop and implement long-term strategic priorities to expand Hartford Promise’s impact and reach, with a desire to both deepen and broaden our programs throughout Hartford and serve as a nationwide model for college success.

• Realize current and future strategic plan goals by empowering staff to develop ambitious work plans and support ongoing progress through inspirational leadership.

• Lead the team to achieve goals, evaluate progress, and course correct when needed, while nurturing alignment through periods of change.

• Work with the Board and senior leadership to develop budgets, oversee financial management and human resource strategies, and ensure other operational management tools to advance our mission and secure the long-term sustainability of our programs.

• Supervise the senior management team with a focus on ensuring clarity of the vision and goals for our impact; provide coaching to foster their ongoing development and success as leaders and support them in aligning their teams around organizational vision and goals.


Team Leadership and Culture-Building

• Foster a supportive and empowering work environment for our diverse team of mission-driven staff, ensuring each team member upholds our equity-driven, student-centered approach, and has opportunities for continued growth and learning.

• Foster an inclusive and engaged workplace; demonstrate transparency, empathy, and respect; support a culture of authenticity and self-care.

• Partner with our team to identify opportunities to align our internal and external practices with our values, with a focus on centering diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Serve as a strong advocate, listening to and engaging with team members throughout the organization as well as our external community, to promote a culture of feedback and continuous learning.


Board Governance

• Promote active Board involvement, providing regular communication and updates for the Board to make informed decisions and fulfill its responsibilities as stewards and advocates of Hartford Promise.

• Ensure appropriate preparation and support for Board and Committee meetings.

• Lead recruitment to support a strong, diverse pipeline of prospective Board members committed to the long-term goals and mission of Hartford Promise.


Compensation & Location


The salary range for this position is set between $160,000 and $200,000. Hartford Promise provides a comprehensive compensation and benefits package that fosters work-life integration, including competitive salary, comprehensive medical and dental plans, paid time off and holidays, paid family leave, 401K with an organization match, and additional health benefits and reimbursement accounts.


This position is based out of the Hartford Promise office in Hartford, Connecticut, and offers flexibility with respect for working from home a few days per week.


Hartford Promise is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of actual or perceived sex, race, color, ancestry, citizenship, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, disability (mental or physical), sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, pregnancy, breastfeeding or related medical condition, parenthood, genetic characteristic or information, military or veteran status, marital status, or any other characteristic protected under federal, state, or local law.

Hiring Organization

Hartford Promise


Candidate Profile


We are open to considering many different professional backgrounds and recognize that no one individual will possess every qualification outlined. As a successful candidate for the President role, you will bring many of the following professional qualifications and personal attributes to this role:


• You demonstrate passion for our mission to transform the lives of Hartford students through an integrated college success model, whether through personal background, professional experience, or volunteerism.

• You are an experienced leader, with proven success in developing and implementing strategic plans and skill in guiding relatively lean teams through transition and growth.

• You are a skilled relationship-builder, advocate, and networker, with experience representing an organization to donors, partners, and community members. You are a persuasive and engaging communicator who can connect with and inspire a wide range of audiences. Demonstrated success in nonprofit fundraising is considered a strong advantage, though we are open to individuals with transferrable experience and skills.

• You are a team-oriented leader and manager, with past experience fostering a supportive and cohesive culture that welcomes team members, encourages their success, and empowers them as leaders. You lead by example to create an environment oriented toward trust, ongoing learning and feedback, and work/life balance.

• You are comfortable working with, analyzing, and leveraging data to drive strategic decision-making, and you are adept at using data to create compelling narratives that communicate our mission and impact.

• You are experienced with centering diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging into organizational practices and you are committed to ongoing reflection and learning in this area.

• You demonstrate sound judgment that is informed by the perspective of the communities you work with, and when you need to make and message a decision, you are able to do so in a way that creates buy-in.

Industry/Service Area




Application Instructions



Cassie Scarano, Kirstin Griffiths, and Ariella Pasackow of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained to lead this search. To express interest in this role please submit your materials by completing our Talent Profile: https://apptrkr.com/4928479. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email NonprofitSearchOps@divsearch.com. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request accommodation for the interview process.


About Koya Partners l Diversified Search Group


Koya Partners, a Diversified Search Group company, is the nation’s premier search firm dedicated to mission-driven leadership. Since its founding in 2004, Koya has had an exclusive focus on mission-driven clients and was founded on the belief that the right leader can transform an organization and have a deep and measurable impact on our world. Koya works with nonprofits & NGOs, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.


Diversified Search Group is consistently recognized by Forbes on its top 10 list of “America’s Best Executive Recruiting Firms” and is an industry leader in recruiting transformational leaders for a changing world. The firm is deliberately different in its approach, with best-in-class teams who have decades of experience in cultivating inclusive leaders, understanding the dimensions of diversity, and building equitable teams.


Learn more about Koya Partners l Diversified Search Group via the firm's website: https://diversifiedse1.wpengine.com/our-brands/koya-partners/

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