Company: The Washington Area Community Investment Fund
Location: Washington, DC
Job Function: Other
About The Washington Area Community Investment Fund
Wacif, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) established in 1987, is a mission-driven organization dedicated to promoting equity and economic opportunity within underserved communities in the Washington, DC area. This mission is driven by three strategic pillars: inclusive entrepreneurship, community wealth building, and equitable economic development, and is fulfilled by providing access to capital products and services, and capacity building technical assistance to low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs. Today, Wacif is led by a Board of 15 and a staff of 40 and has a $9 million annual budget and total assets of $22 million with net assets of $11 million.
Lack of access to capital is one of the most common reasons small businesses do not succeed. Wacif serves as a mission-based lender and works with business owners to identify the best financing possible to meet their needs and goals. The organization also understands that being a small business owner is challenging. The advisory serves team at Wacif offers one-on-one guidance and group sessions and events designed to help owners grow their businesses. Learning how to write a successful business plan, understanding what bankers look for, determining the best way to manage business operations including your taxes, accounting, employee insurance, payroll and marketing are all areas where Wacif supports its clients.
At this exciting time in its history, Wacif has embraced a ‘Forward Equity’ multi-year vision that will enable the organization to ambitiously scale impact by 2030. In doing so, Wacif will deepen the region’s access to knowledge, social, and financial capital and invest in place-based solutions to address the economic disparity in the area. The organization will undertake a formal strategic planning process in 2024 to establish a framework to support and expand upon this vision.
At its core, ‘Forward Equity’ supports Wacif’s existing, proven programs and services while building capacity to invest in new, innovative initiatives to drive equity and opportunity across the region. By scaling our annual investment and services year over year, Wacif seeks to accelerate impact and build community wealth in the region’s underserved communities, deepen investment in DC’s Wards 7 and 8, and grow its footprint in Maryland and Virginia to drive regional equity and opportunity. Specific goals include investing $100 million in local communities, reaching 5,000 underserved entrepreneurs with advisory services, and helping entrepreneurs create or retain 100,000 local jobs, among others.
In addition to the core lending and advisory services outlined above, Wacif also offers signature initiatives designed to meet entrepreneurs where they are, provide customized support, and help them create opportunity and wealth in underserved communities. These include:
Ascend Capital Accelerator
Launched in 2017, the Ascend Capital Accelerator program provides entrepreneurs of color with the ability to accelerate business growth, receive financial and management training, and access affordable loan capital. This hands-on, 8-week asset-based development program consists of an interactive workshop series combined with small group matching and individualized support to build human and financial assets with local small businesses. The program is powered by the Washington Area Community Investment Fund to bridge the gap between the small business ecosystem and programs available to assist non-tech, high-growth entrepreneurs seeking to grow their ventures.
Enterprising Women of Color DMV Business Center
The Enterprising Women of Color (EWOC) District, Maryland, Virginia (DMV) Business Center fosters and supports a small business ecosystem for women of color in the National Capital Region. The Center’s robust business services—including financial capital, business advisory services, and networking support—are dedicated to supporting the growth and resiliency of their clients. This Center is powered by the Washington Area Community Investment Fund which has served women of color entrepreneurs since 1987.
In December 2021, Wacif purchased the Anacostia Arts Center (AAC) to drive equity and opportunity while honoring and uplifting support for the creative economy. With the redevelopment of this property, Wacif will deliver on its mission to drive economic opportunity east of the Anacostia River and increase programming tailored to entrepreneurs of color.
Wacif is reimagining the AAC as the region’s largest hub for inclusive entrepreneurship. The new space will honor the AAC’s importance to the creative economy, providing resources for small businesses alongside an expanded Black Box Theatre, a marketplace, an art gallery space and The HIVE, a co-working space serving more than 70 entrepreneurs. This project protects the AAC as a community asset and platform for economic opportunity and invests in its expansion and redesign to build a state-of-the-art facility. The reimagined AAC will increase equitable access to financial capital and advisory services for underinvested entrepreneurs and increase access to healthy food options. A new AAC will also offer Historic Anacostia increased foot traffic and economic stimulation. This will ensure the community prospers in place, combats existing hardships, and builds wealth along the way.
In December 2021, The HIVE was acquired by Wacif, with the goal of continuing and accelerating The HIVE’s mission and purpose within the community. Wacif works with small businesses, community members, and partners to help local entrepreneurs scale their businesses, prosper in place, and generate community wealth in their communities.
Impact to Date
- 44,500 jobs created or retained
- 4,530 entrepreneurs served
- $100 million in grants and loans disbursed
- 9,750 hours of advisory services provided
For more information on Wacif, please visit website.
Wacif is seeking a transformational, strategic leader who embodies the values and goals of Wacif and possesses the vision and skills to bring the organization to the next level. Working in partnership with the Board of Directors and a highly-skilled staff, the CEO will drive the growth and impact of the organization through operational excellence, discipline around business practices, community engagement, a deep commitment to equity and a client-focused approach to programming.
This is an exceptional opportunity for a visionary executive who brings a deep belief in the power of capital to transform communities to lead Wacif to its next level of impact regionally. The CEO is responsible for the achievement of all operational and strategic goals, including capital development, fiscal management, lending and other programming, board relations, staff oversight, community relations and engagement, and administrative matters.
- Develop a strategic plan to execute on an ambitious vision, outlining impact objectives and investment strategies, with a particular focus on a $100 million commitment to community investments, redevelopment of the Anacostia Arts Center, and innovative and responsive support for underserved entrepreneurs.
- Lead Wacif through stages of expansion, growth, and transformation, providing a core vision that resonates with both internal and external stakeholders.
- Elevate Wacif’s brand and visibility regionally, and represent the organization within the national CDFI ecosystem.
- Cultivate a strong connection with the local community, engaging with businesses, clients, and other partners. Leverage comprehensive knowledge of the city and region for meaningful engagement.
- Steward and foster existing and new relationships with investors and other funders to ensure the organization remains financially healthy and has access to the capital needed to achieve its goals.
- Maintain and grow strong relationships with government agencies and elected officials in order to garner ongoing financial support for Wacif’s mission and advocate for policy change designed to positively impact investments in small businesses.
- Utilize experience in the community development realm to navigate the distinctive challenges and prospects inherent to place-based strategies.
- Foster a culture of mentorship, exemplify empathetic leadership, and establish a collaborative environment that encourages open dialogues while maintaining professionalism.
- Ensure the organization’s human resources functions are best-in-class with a focus on talent acquisition, professional development and employee retention.
- Professionalize systems and structures within the organization to enable successful growth and increased impact, with a particular focus on technological efficiencies.
- Facilitate effective decision-making processes across the staff and board and prioritize where both financial and human resources can best be utilized.
- Serve as a powerful voice and advocate for Wacif’s work and ensure that the work of the organization reflects the desires of the communities it works within and that local voices are part of decision-making.
- Establish credibility by forging connections with the community through personal experiences, genuine intent, and meaningful communication.
- Drive Wacif’s commitment to inclusivity, cultural competency, and racial equity internally and externally.
- Foster a collaborative atmosphere through relationship building, open-door policies, and team inclusiveness.
The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:
PASSION FOR MISSION AND EQUITY ADVOCATE
The CEO will demonstrate an unwavering belief in the potential of capital to facilitate community transformation. As a fervent advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, the CEO will not only champion these principles within the organization but also externally, fostering a culture of equitable access to opportunities. The CEO will exhibit comprehension of the challenges of gentrification confronting the Washington, DC region and exhibit profound respect for marginalized communities’ viewpoints. They will embody unassailable integrity, ethics, and values, establishing themselves as a wholly trustworthy individual.
STRATEGIC VISIONARY AND RELATIONSHIP BUILDER
The CEO will be a forward-thinking strategist and visionary leader, who will help the organization strike the right balance between stability and growth. They will possess strong knowledge of the DC region and its business and government landscape. With CANDIDATE PROFILE Chief Executive Officer, The Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif) 8 experience scaling programs or organizations, the CEO will demonstrate growth capabilities while also ensuring that the organization’s structures and systems are capable of supporting that growth. A track record of orchestrating strategic planning initiatives and executing on those initiatives, coupled with the capacity to collaborate with diverse stakeholders toward a shared vision, will be key. The CEO’s exceptional interpersonal and communication prowess will facilitate positive, ongoing connections with investors, high level corporate executives, donors, partners, and the broader community.
LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT ACUMEN
The CEO will have robust financial acumen and leadership experience in a CDFI or comparable entity. They will demonstrate aptitude in guiding the growth and financial sustainability of a rapidly expanding organization. With an eye toward risk management and disciplined decision making, the CEO will establish a strong business model that allows the organization to focus on core competencies while still staying open to opportunities as they arise. The ideal candidate will possess the ability to inspire and empower a talented, mission-driven staff to execute on the organization’s vision. With clear priorities and strong communication, the CEO will encourage collaboration across functional areas and help all staff to understand their role in achieving Wacif’s strategic goals, leading to strong team cohesion and respect. The ideal candidate will be experienced at building and working with an engaged Board of Directors. They will partner with the Board in meeting its governance responsibilities in a productive, efficient, and collaborative manner.
EXTERNAL PRESENCE AND FUNDRAISING EXPERTISE
As Wacif’s public face, the CEO will exhibit dynamic public speaking skills, effectively conveying the organization’s mission, impact, and value to diverse audiences. They will possess a history of building credibility with funders, investors, and partners, a skill pivotal in securing new revenue sources and ensuring Wacif’s ongoing success. With high emotional intelligence, the CEO will excel in forging authentic connections, building rapport with stakeholders from various backgrounds, and leveraging these relationships to magnify Wacif’s influence. A collaborative nature will prove indispensable in fostering partnerships, both within Wacif and throughout the broader region, enabling the organization to maintain its excellent reputation and continue to further its mission.
Compensation and Benefits
Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience. The estimated salary range for this role is $225,000 – $250,000 with a generous benefits package. The exact salary that will be offered to the CEO will be determined based on a consideration of the successful candidate’s skills and experience and aligned with Wacif’s compensation policies.
How to Apply
Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Erin Reedy, Tiara Muse, and Christy Farrell of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express interest in this role please submit your materials directly at email@example.com.
All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.