BoardWalk Consulting Seeks CEO for Kids in Need Foundation

June 7, 2019 – Executive recruitment firm BoardWalk Consulting has been enlisted to find the next 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 is leading the assignment.

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.

The non-profit is at a critical inflection point, said BoardWalk Consulting. The new CEO will be expected to employ business acumen, creativity and an authentic passion for the mission to help guide KINF’s vision for the future. “The CEO will inherit a strong, well-regarded organization poised for its next era of growth and accomplishment, and will lead KINF to new levels of impact, awareness and reach that build upon current momentum, a solid financial foundation and a deeply credible reputation,” said the search firm.

The new CEO will be expected to help elevate the profile of the Kids In Need Foundation throughout the nation and to enable the organization to reach more children in need, said BoardWalk Consulting. KINF wants an executive who is driven to help address the basic, material needs of vastly under-resourced children, teachers and schools, is a passionate servant-leader and who brings relevant professional experience in managing an organization of similar complexity and scope.

Key Mandates

In partnership with a strong, engaged board and staff, the CEO will work to address several key mandates that include: helping KINF become a household name as the undisputed national school supply charity; raising $4.2 million in cash and doubling the number of individual donors in 2019; procuring $135 million in overall product in 2019 ($75 million specifically in core categories); and expanding KINF’s reach to serve 10 million kids annually by 2020.

KINF wants its next CEO to be a strategic, inspiring leader who will lead the organization with passion and purpose, said BoardWalk Consulting. He or she should also bring strong financial and business acumen to KINF and capably execute the organizational mission; be a compelling advocate and ambassador for the brand and an uncommonly good relationship builder; proactively lead KINF’s business development efforts and successfully grow both partnerships and revenue; be a humble servant leader that embraces the need for a strong organizational culture as a high organizational priority; and develop and shape a bold vision for the future of KINF and ensure that the organization achieves its aspirations.

The ideal candidate would be a compelling leader with significant knowledge, passion and experience in contexts relevant to the Kids In Need Foundation, said the search firm. She or he should have a proven track record of leadership, fundraising and/or sales, cultivating relationships and program management in an organization of similar complexity. The right personal attributes for the job include integrity, credibility and outstanding relationship and interpersonal skills. Previous experience with product distribution and inventory management would be considerable assets, but are not mandates.


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.


Some of the other qualities sought include: passion for the mission of KINF; strong financial and business acumen; a compelling, energizing and inviting presence, with high emotional intelligence, listening, and communication skills; the ability to lead, inspire and mobilize people to accomplish important goals; and experience in scaling business initiatives and growing programs.

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

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