The Crucible inspires creative exploration and expression through welcoming, hands-on arts education, and experiences for people of diverse ages and backgrounds. As an innovative nonprofit hub built around the industrial arts, The Crucible is a catalyst for individual growth and vibrant community connections. A leader in the Bay Area arts community, The Crucible is recognized for exceptional learning experiences, rich and varied arts programs, skilled and committed faculty, and amazing educational facilities.
The Crucible has more than 20 different classroom areas or studios. During regular operations, we serve over 25,000 people a year in hundreds of youth and adult classes, ranging from neon to blacksmithing, and support entrepreneurial career pathways for local youth and adults. The Crucible is one of the largest employers of working artists in the Bay area, with a faculty of over 130 artists and craftspeople, about 30 staffers, and a commitment to equitable pay, equity, inclusion, and power-sharing. We are evolving our organization to make sure we reflect and are led by those we serve and are proud to have former youth leaders and local community members as staff, faculty, and in leadership.
The Crucible first opened in January 1999 as a warehouse in West Berkeley stretching over 6000 square feet. A grant of $1,750 made it possible for sculptor Michael Sturtz to start the organization, imagining an innovative hub for the industrial arts and education. The studio began with just 11 classes, and Sturtz taught seven of them himself. Sturtz wanted The Crucible to be a creative outlet accessible to everyone, promoting creative expression, reuse of materials, and innovative design.
The Crucible relocated to West Oakland in 2003, and since then, has grown to become the largest nonprofit industrial arts education facility in the country, where art thrives, inspires, and is accessible. As part of celebrating and empowering Oakland, The Crucible offers free programming, scholarships, and paid leadership opportunities for youth and adults who live locally and otherwise could not participate.
As it nears its 24th year as a leading nonprofit industrial arts organization, The Crucible is seeking a visionary and entrepreneurial leader who can guide the organization to its next stage of growth and evolution as its new Executive Director (ED). This is a unique opportunity to be at the helm of an organization regarded as an innovator in industrial arts as well as an incredible venue for professional artistic development and community engagement.
The ED will be inspired by the opportunity to shape The Crucible's strategy for continued growth and for increased reach and impact in the arts community regionally and nationally. This is an attractive role for a bold and creative leader to acknowledge and build upon The Crucible's past successes and rich history, and to propel the organization forward as it continues to evolve into a space that is truly equitable and restorative.
The Strategic Framework In the past three years, since the last strategic plan (2015-2018), The Crucible refreshed the strategic plan to be focused on the following goals and objectives: The Industrial Arts Traditional skills and disciplines that live at the intersection of art, industry, and maker culture Community Connection Artists and the community coming together to learn, create, succeed, and thrive Growing in Place Updated and reimagined facilities that support the industrial arts, arts communities, and the local and regional community we serve
The Executive Director reports directly to the Board of Directors and is responsible for planning, implementing, supervising, and assessing The Crucible's programs and operations in support of its Strategic Plan, mission, and equity and inclusion focus. This role is also the lead and coach for a team of Directors and other staff, and the outreach lead to the community.
The Crucible has an annual operating budget of $4.2 million, which includes nearly $1.3 million of contributed income from foundations, corporate supporters, and individual donors each year. The Executive Director oversees the budget and a staff of full-time and part-time employees, including faculty. Direct reports include the Chief Financial Officer, Director of Programs, Director of Studio and Facilities, Development Manager, and Senior Salesforce Administrator/Business Analyst.
The Executive Director has complete oversight for The Crucible, including operations, charting the direction and leading the development of revenues in consideration of the strategic plan's goals. In partnership with the Board, the Executive Director provides vision and operational leadership for the organization's future growth and development. The Executive Director is a highly visible representative of The Crucible and is responsible for developing and maintaining strong relationships, including with students, Board members, funders, volunteers, educators, government, and community partner organizations. The Executive Director leads by example and creates and maintains an environment that is equitable, safe, and welcoming for a diverse range of staff and participants.
Leadership: Articulating vision and strategic direction of The Crucible, ensuring the implementation of the Strategic Plan and recommending short-term and long-range plans and budgets to the Board of Directors; formulating budgets for plans, programs, and objectives, and directing all programs, services, and activities; articulating both the short term and long-term vision of the organization and ensuring that overall objectives and milestones are met.
Fund Development: Working closely with the development team and Board ambassadors, developing effective partnerships, collaborations, and strategic alliances with government agencies, corporations, foundations, individuals, and other sources of funds; representing The Crucible to prospective and current major funding sources.
Financial Oversight: Overseeing the development of budgets for submission to the Board; ensuring the Board is regularly informed on the financial status of the organization, including forecasts; providing the appropriate control and accountability of all funds, physical assets, and other property.
Management and Staff Development: Leading the senior management team to strengthen and support the programmatic, financial, and operational goals of The Crucible; involvement in recruiting, developing, and motivating staff; identifying training needs and ensuring the development and implementation of programs that address needs; overseeing succession planning and assessment of staff; reviewing current practices and methods, and initiating the development of new ones as necessary to reduce costs, encourage growth, and improve efficiency.
Advocacy, Community Relations, and Communications: Assuring that the organization and its mission, programs, and services are consistently presented in a strong, positive image to relevant constituents; maintaining the leadership and program advocacy role of the agency by interfacing with other community organizations and key constituent groups, County departments, and political leaders through direct contact and through local and state provider associations.
Equity, Inclusion, and Awareness: Continuously reflecting on ways to move the organization toward greater inclusion, equity, and power- sharing and creating measurable activities and programs to achieve this work, in partnership with staff and community.
Board Administration and Support – Facilitating operations and administration of the Board, by promoting proactive Board development, advising, and informing Board members, interfacing between Board and staff, and supporting the Board to fulfill its governance function.
Quality, Compliance, and Reporting – Ensuring that the organization's activities and operations comply with local, state, and federal regulations and laws governing business operations and safety; establishing systems to regularly and systematically evaluate the results of overall operations and programs.
The ideal candidate will be an enterprising, innovative, and culturally competent leader with a track record of progressive leadership experience in a nonprofit organization, preferably one focused on the arts or arts education. This leader will be experienced with complex and large-scale program administration. Ideally, they will bring direct experience in the areas of youth development, entrepreneurship, workforce pathways, and community development and fundraising.
The Executive Director will bring a high degree of emotional intelligence and a sense of humor, being fair minded with the ability to build meaningful relationships with artists, educators, and community leaders. This leader will approach the work with an equity and inclusion lens and will bring direct experience in fundraising and community engagement. Ideally, they will be familiar with Oakland and engaged in the Oakland community in some capacity.
Passion for the Mission The ED will have a sincere dedication to the mission and philosophy of The Crucible and to equity and the arts. This individual will ideally possess an understanding of the different facets of, and/or the ability to learn and navigate the landscape of arts and education, specifically industrial arts, with a strong focus on innovation and the ability to scale. The ED will be driven by the legacy of The Crucible and by the opportunity to expand and deepen its impact. An authentic and humble leader, the ED will have unquestionable integrity and will be respected in the field.
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Knowledge, Skills, and Disposition The Executive Director will have a history of advancing and promoting diversity, inclusion, equity, and power-sharing with sensitivity to the lived experience of others, including BIPOC, LGBTQIA, and neuro-divergent folk. This leader should have a deep appreciation and an understanding of the urgent need for racial equity in education and economic opportunity in Oakland. The ED will be an active listener who prioritizes voices that historically have been unheard and will develop strategies for diversifying and increasing access to The Crucible. This empathetic leader will be able to relate to people from diverse socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds, and will foster an open, dynamic, and just culture at The Crucible.
Visionary and Strategic Leadership The ED will bring a track record of bold and effective leadership, with the ability to lead with vision and creativity. They will develop, execute, and effectively communicate an inspiring and transformational vision for The Crucible. Building upon The Crucible's history of promoting access to the arts, innovation, and community engagement, this strategic leader will have the drive to continue to develop new and unique opportunities to serve the mission of The Crucible. With an entrepreneurial mindset, the ED will scan the horizon and identify and initiate new strategies for the organization to deepen its impact while maintaining The Crucible's position as a leader in industrial arts education. An engaging and supportive leader, the ED will bring an inclusive leadership style that endorses collaboration and open, transparent communication, in partnership with staff and leaders.
Organizational Excellence & Business Acumen With strong organizational skills, the ED will have the ability to accomplish goals through motivation, the delegation of authority, and the use of systems designed for effective planning, evaluation, accountability, and compassion. This leader will be able to effectively adapt and lead change, while continuing to lead and mentor. The ED will acknowledge and leverage the expertise and talents of staff at all levels of the organization. They will excel at matching The Crucible's capacity to its resources and will ensure that there is the necessary infrastructure and support to meet The Crucible's long-term organizational needs. The ED will come into the organization with a fresh perspective to identify and drive organizational and operational improvements related to internal infrastructure, roles, programming, facility, and safety upgrades.
This ED will have strong business acumen that will enable effective decision making regarding future growth of the organization, balanced by programmatic experience in the arts and a track record of successful management of finance and operations for an organization of comparable size and complexity. They will have the business savvy needed to oversee and optimize The Crucible's programs and departments, along with knowledge of best-in-class nonprofit management practices. This individual will ensure fiduciary responsibility, sound financial management practices, and accountability. This individual will have the judgement and perspective to consider the impact of decisions, strategic plans or initiatives, and programs of the organization, and make sound recommendations accordingly.
Skilled Communicator, Partnership & Relationship Builder With excellent listening and communication skills, the ED will have the character and confidence to work comfortably in a highly visible role and will be a passionate advocate for raising visibility for The Crucible as a leader in industrial arts education. This accessible leader will be a coalition and consensus builder who can work at multiple levels and with a wide variety of constituencies to implement programs, processes, and change, as needed. The Executive Director will bring the ability to inspire and create excitement around events, programs, and key accomplishments of the organization to ensure that The Crucible remains a highly valued, credible, and visible organization.
This natural relationship builder will be comfortable working with key players in the arts community, the media, funders, community partners, government officials, educators, and students, and will possess the ability to move seamlessly between differing spaces and audiences. Inclusive and approachable, the ED will value clear, consistent, and transparent communication and will build trust with staff. This individual will possess excellent networking abilities and act as a constituent builder and connector to advance the mission and impact of The Crucible. In addition, the successful candidate will have the ability to identify and build strong partnerships with external organizations and evaluate new opportunities to scale The Crucible's impact and accessibility to a growing audience. Political connectedness in the Oakland area or ability to build those relationships will be key. Internally, they will build robust and trusting relationships with the Board of Directors, Advisory Council members, and all external constituents.
Revenue Generation & Fundraising As the lead fundraiser for The Crucible, the ED will be enthusiastic about establishing strategic partnerships and connections with the funding community. They will be a versatile and proven fundraiser with a measurable track record of success in development, including capital campaigns, with the ability to relate comfortably with a variety of funding sources, including public funding streams contacts, foundations, and high net worth individuals. This individual will be instrumental in developing the strategy to increase and diversify the organization's fundraising potential and activities. Bringing a fresh perspective, the ED will carefully and strategically help to identify additional revenue streams and enhance capacity of existing donors.
Compensation & Benefits
This is a full-time, 100% on-site position based in Oakland, California. The salary range for this postion is $170,000 to $190,000. The Crucible offers benefits, paid time off, and more in a work environment that is casual, upbeat, professional, and fun.
Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Michelle Bonoan and Medelene Beasley of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express interest in this role, please submit your materials here or email Michelle and Medelene directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. 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 an accommodation for the interview process.
The Crucible is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from all persons, especially those who bring the benefits of diversity to the organization. Women, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQIA, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
About Koya Partners
Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.