September 25, 2019 – Executive recruitment firm BoardWalk Consulting has placed Corey Gordon as the new chief executive officer for the Kids in Need Foundation (KINF), a national leader in helping children in need gain access to school supplies. Senior director John Sparrow led the assignment.
Mr. Gordon will take over responsibilities from Dave Smith, whose leadership at the organization saw a milestone of $1 billion of school supplies distributed by the foundation since its inception.
“We are excited to welcome Corey Gordon to the Kids In Need Foundation to continue and accelerate the organization’s growth,” said David Katz, chairman of the KINF board of directors. “Corey’s successes within both the not-for-profit and for-profit sectors give the board confidence he is the person to lead us into our next chapter. Under his leadership, I look forward to seeing KINF deliver the scale of impact that is needed to bring lasting change in this space.”
Mr. Gordon brings extensive experience in non-profit leadership, fundraising and business development, as well as a personal commitment to the cause. From an early age, he experienced harsh conditions living on the streets of South Korea, having been ostracized and abandoned as a child born of an American GI father and a Korean mother. He was later brought to an orphanage and from there was adopted by a couple from Minnesota. He went on to college at the University of Northwestern St. Paul, started a family of his own and began a successful career in marketing, mostly for finance and banking companies.
“It was a life-changing moment to suddenly have food security, shelter, and those doors of opportunity opened,” said Mr. Gordon. “I’m returning to my roots by being able to serve kids who are just looking for help to get that equal footing. I know the difference it made in my life and I’m looking forward to expanding the scale of the organization to meet the needs of all the children served by our mission of preparing them for learning and success.”
Non-Profit Sector Opens Up New Career Path for High Performing Leaders
One of the fastest growing sectors within executive search today can be found in non-profit. Close to 150 recruiting firms specialize in some form of talent acquisition in this sector, which includes foundations, cultural institutions and academia, to name a few.
Mr. Gordon has served as chief development and stewardship officer for American Diabetes Association, where he was responsible for all aspects of both B2C and B2B fundraising and engagement. He also served as chief marketing officer for Feed the Children where he oversaw about $500 million in fundraising revenue to support programs focused on food insecurity, education, community development and disaster relief.
By providing essential school supplies and advocating for the direct impact they have on children, Minneapolis, MN-based KINF can help ensure that students will learn and succeed in school regardless of their zip code or socioeconomics.
Recruiting for Non-Profits
Established in 1995 by the school supplies and office products industry, KINF received its initial financial support from the industry’s international trade association, SHOPA. By 2007, the non-profit had gained enough momentum to become independent from the trade association, and with a solid business model in place, moved forward on its own. KINF programs now benefit more than six million students and nearly 200,000 teachers annually. The organization has a full-time staff of 23 between its Minneapolis headquarters and its Dayton office and a current annual budget of $139 million, with $4.2 million in cash/program expenses.
Atlanta-based BoardWalk Consulting, a national search firm that specializes in recruiting CEOs and senior leaders for non-profits and foundations, has led upwards of 200 searches for over 110 clients in 27 states since its inception. The firm has completed several searches for Year Up, placing executive directors in locations across the country, including Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Miami and Chicago. Other searches include CEOs for Gateway Center, Partners For Home, Goodwill of North Georgia, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Case Commons. The firm also helped find an executive director for the Jane Goodall Institute.
Mr. Sparrow brings over two decades of experience in non-profit administration and performing arts venue management to BoardWalk’s clients. Since joining the firm in 2013, he has worked with a diverse scope of clients including those serving education, civil and human rights, public media, public safety, childhood diseases, museums, youth empowerment, environment and the needs of institutional churches.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media