Chief Operating Officer

Posted by
Fountain House, Inc.
New York, NY
Published 18 days ago


Fountain House is a national mental health nonprofit fighting to improve health, increase opportunity, and end social and economic isolation for people living with serious mental illness.

Fountain House takes a public health approach to serious mental illness, addressing both the health and social needs of their members in their Mental Health Clubhouses. Social Practice, Fountain House’s therapeutic model, uses intentional community and the social environment to help people recover from mental illness. Members take steps in reclaiming their agency and dignity, with access to clinical support, housing, and care management. Fountain House’s College Re-Entry and young adult programming focuses on early intervention and prevention of isolation and its health, social and economic effects. Its policy and advocacy work are shaping a national mental health policy agenda, from the response to mental health emergencies, to addressing systemic barriers that people with serious mental illness face every day.

Fountain House’s core Mental Health Clubhouse model works for members, the majority of whom are BIPOC and are disproportionately affected by racism and systemic/structural barriers. Members are hospitalized and experience crisis significantly less than others with serious mental illness, resulting in 21% lower Medicaid costs. Of the 40% of members experiencing homelessness or unstable housing upon arrival at Fountain House, 99% are stably housed within a year. Of the 24% of Fountain House members with a history of incarceration and justice involvement, rates of recidivism are less than 5%. Members complete their education, find paid work, and achieve health and wellness goals at significantly higher rates than people living with serious mental illness who don’t have access to its programs. The growing and intersecting crises of homelessness, police involvement and incarceration, and rising mental health needs, demand that programs like Fountain House be available widely.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, Fountain House was forced to close its physical space for the first time in its 72-year history; in partnership with members, it transitioned to a virtual setting, allowing Fountain House to learn how to create community in both traditional and innovative ways. Its passionate and committed team of nearly 200 aims to fundamentally transform the structures and systems that impact the lives of people living with serious mental illness everywhere, as the only national organization that simultaneously advocates and leads direct service programming.

Fountain House’s strategic growth plan is grounded in evidence-based models of direct, holistic community services, combined with public health, public policy, and political change. In the words of Fountain House’s CEO, Ashwin Vasan, M.D. MPH, the plan, “recognizes the power of our model and our members as the core of our work; one that rises up to a challenge to address unmet needs for the 13 million Americans living with serious mental illness, many of whom are languishing in our jails, prisons, streets, and hospitals; and how these intersect with the broader public health, public policy, and social justice agenda. We will work for and with our members and staff across the country to build a movement that will change the conversation about mental illness to center on civil rights, civic inclusion, and public health.”

Key components of the strategic plan include the start-up and scaling of two initiatives:


Policy / Advocacy: This network, along with Fountain House’s growing work in digital innovation, will enable Fountain House to build a policy and advocacy platform in New York City and nationally — including establishing a 501(c)4 education and political advocacy organization. By expanding the service delivery network, increasing innovation, and engagement in local and national mental health policy, Fountain House will reach thousands more, positively impacting lives and communities across the nation.

The Research and Policy/Advocacy initiatives are enabled by two large-scale programs:

Fountain House New York:

National Network: The creation of the Fountain House America Network, a formal affiliation opportunity for the 200+ programs modeled after Fountain House in the United States that will support a national federation of community-based mental health programs for people with serious mental illness. In addition to Fountain House’s direct service programs (Clubhouses in New York City and Bronx, NY), other national affiliates are located in: Ann Arbor (MI), Bellevue (WA), Concord (CA), Cleveland (OH), Everett (WA), Jamaica (NY), Phoenix (AZ), Queens (NY), San Antonio (TX, Sarasota (FL), Seattle (WA), Staten Island (NY). In parallel, Fountain House is actively exploring a Los Angeles replica of its New York direct service operations.

The organization currently operates with a $25M budget and anticipates annual double-digit growth for each of the next five years. For more information, please visit:


As Fountain House’s team embarks on the implementation of its strategic plan, the organization is seeking its first Chief Operating Officer (COO). In close partnership with the CEO, you will be charged with facilitating change and growth across Fountain House; and nurturing an aligned, integrated and accountable culture. You will drive investments in efficient, integrated systems (management, people, technology, etc.) and processes that support the diverse mission delivery needs of Fountain House.

You will drive significant social impact by:

  • Partnering with the CEO on strategy refinement for the two initiatives (Research, Policy/Advocacy) and overall organizational strategy;
  • Leading the growth and impact of two large-scale programs: direct service (currently Fountain House New York) as well as the Fountain House America Network of clubhouses; and
  • Delivering the operational infrastructure required for committed staff and members to thrive as Fountain House transforms itself. This includes co-designing, with functional teams, structures in -- and priorities for – investments in human capital, finance, technology and legal/contracting/risk/compliance.
  • Enabling the CEO’s delivery on fundraising as well as the indirect impact activities including external affairs and the future, a 501(c)4 advocacy arm; research and knowledge; and innovation.

With a deep commitment to the Fountain House’s mission, vision and goals, you must be a collaborative builder of trust, culture and bridges who brings outstanding leadership, hands-on management, communication, and relationship-building skills. You ideally have a proven track record translating strategic plans into reality through thoughtful investments in people and systems in a complex (multi-unit/program), mission-driven organization.

Detailed Responsibilities

  • Collaborate as a thought partner with the CEO, board, direct reports and other colleagues to set and articulate organizational vision as well as short-, medium- and long-term objectives.
  • Translate Fountain House’s strategy into clear organization-wide goals and operating plans; partner with departments to cascade their goals, creating consistency and alignment.
  • Co-design robust resource allocation, operational and financial processes that support Fountain House New York and Fountain House America’s budgeting, forecasting and reporting needs.
  • Partner with the CEO and Chief People Officer to attract and retain a passionate, high-performance team;
  • Promote an organizational culture of inclusion, excellence, adaptability, efficiency, continuous improvement, effective decision-making and innovation.
  • Oversee legal, contractual, insurance and risk efforts, initially with external partners and counsel;
  • Establish and lead execution of a multi-year technology infrastructure strategy, partnering to evaluate, select, (re)design, test, and implement scalable technologies and systems.
  • Establish and oversee establish equitable facilities operating policies and procedures.
  • Adhere to organizational, federal, state, and local business requirements, enforcing compliance and taking action when necessary.


  • Significant operational leadership experience within a complex, multi-site and mission-driven business, social enterprise or nonprofit, ideally with relevant program/regulatory understanding.
  • A track record of achievement and learning that combines many of the following:
  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree required
  • 10+ years at the COO level or executive level experience
  • Translating an ambitious growth strategy into disciplined operating plans, goals and metrics/KPIs (ideally with multiple program levers such as direct service, advocacy, etc.);
  • Setting clear priorities as well as guiding investments in people, processes and systems;
  • Mentoring and leading a high-performing team comprised of both program and functional experts (finance, human capital, technology, legal);
  • Developing disciplined analysis and decision-making to serve multiple departments, programs or entities;
  • Resolving operational challenges while anticipating, and building, the functional and analytical infrastructure needed for growth;
  • Managing and communicating change, and driving accountability, in ways that honor an organization’s rich history and builds adaptive approaches for the future; and
  • Nurturing a culture of belonging and and inclusion.

Knowledge, Skills and Attributes

  • Passion for Fountain House’s mission and goals.
  • Exceptional written, oral, and interpersonal skills, able to engage people at all levels of an organization, program participants and external stakeholders/partners.
  • A collaborative, authentic partnership style, able to ensure diverse perspectives are heard and ideas from all levels of an organization are championed.
  • Sound judgment, confidence and humility as both a thought-partner and hands-on decision-maker.
  • Resolve, focus, kindness, integrity and discipline.
  • Ability to travel 20%.

Physical Requirements

  • To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty and meet all physical requirements satisfactorily. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Fountain House is committed to Race, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI). An Equal Opportunity Employer, Fountain House encourages applicants of diverse backgrounds, cultures, genders, experiences, abilities, and perspectives to apply. We actively work to increase the diversity of experience and perspectives on our team, and we want to hear from you. Remember, no one comes with the entire complement of skills, and no one is the perfect candidate, so do not let a lack of experience/skill in one specific area deter you from applying. Fountain House is committed to being a diverse and inclusive workplace. We are building our REDI Initiatives to identify inequities within our organization and develop policies and practices that advance race equity principles in our workplace and work.


Fountain House is a national mental health nonprofit fighting to improve health, increase opportunity, and end social and economic isolation for people living with serious mental illness.

Fountain House takes a public…

Details at a Glance

  • Time Commitment
    Full Time Schedule
  • Education
    4-Year Degree Required
  • Professional Level


Meaningful Mission, Excellent Benefit Options, Generous Paid Time Off (PTO)!

Meaningful Mission, Excellent Benefit Options, Generous Paid Time Off (PTO)!


Temporarily Remote
Work must be performed in or near New York, NY
Associated Location
425 W. 47th Street, New York, NY 10036, United States

How to Apply

Please share candidate nominations or submit a resume and cover letter, in MS Word format, to Viewcrest Advisors at: 

Please share candidate nominations or submit a resume and cover letter, in MS Word format, to Viewcrest Advisors at: 

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