In The News

The Children’s Dream Fund is looking for an Executive Director who will lead the organization with compassion, wisdom and integrity into its next decade and beyond.

The Children’s Dream Fund is a (c) (3) organization that was founded in 1981 to fulfill the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses. We are an independent wish-granting organization, i.e. not multi-chapter and not affiliated with a national organization. We serve children ages 3 – 21 who live throughout West Central Florida and are patients at one of seven hospitals: Shands, (Gainesville); Moffitt Cancer Center, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, Tampa General Hospital, (Tampa); Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, (St. Petersburg); Sabal Palms Children’s Center, (Largo), Golisano Children’s Hospital, (Ft. Myers). The office of the organization is located in St. Petersburg.

The Executive Director is responsible for overall strategic and operational management, including fundraising, marketing and public relations, financial and administrative management, human resources, program management, and the implementation of policies and annual goals and objectives determined in conjunction with the Board of Directors. The Executive Director reports to a governing Board of Directors made up of volunteers from the Tampa Bay business community. The Executive Director will succeed an Executive Director who has been with the organization for over 35 years.

Ideal Candidate: The Children’s Dream Fund is seeking a leader who is passionate about fulfilling the dreams of sick children and touching their families. Every aspect of the organization is focused on that one program and sole mission. Personal qualities of integrity, credibility and commitment to the mission are essential.

Although the ED will seldom have direct contact with clients, known as Dream Children and Dream Families, s/he will need to have a heart of compassion towards them, as the Dream Fund is touching them at a time of great need, and great stress. S/he will be able to relate in a personal way to people from all walks of life, to be kind and sensitive to their needs and to diversity and multicultural issues.

S/he will be an excellent communicator, in speaking, writing and listening, with the ability to articulate the mission with depth, clarity and enthusiasm; s/he must have experience in public speaking. S/he will be someone who meets people easily, and has the ability to engage a variety of stakeholders, including donors, corporate leaders, vendors, and the families we serve. Strong interpersonal skills are a must.

The ideal candidate will have the energy, vision and optimism to perceive opportunities for growth of the Dream Fund’s mission, the dream program and the fundraising to support it. S/he will have a proven record of being able to build strategic partnerships and secure resources from diverse revenue streams. A great deal of the ED’s time is spent engaging the community. S/he will have the ability to inspire staff, Board, community partners, volunteers and donors.

The Role of the Executive Director:

The Executive Director is the chief executive officer of the organization and will lead a team committed to making children’s dreams come true. Current staff consists of the Dir. of Dreams and Dream Coordinator, Dir. of Development, Event Manager/Volunteer Coordinator, Database Manager, and Administrative Assistant. All directly report to the Executive Director, who supervises, advises, encourages and reviews all employees. The Executive Director has the final word on all decisions, but takes into account the knowledge and expertise of all staff. The ideal candidate will actively engage with employees, listen well, and help remove barriers to employee success on the job. S/he will have superior organizational abilities, including planning, delegating, program development, and task facilitation, without micro-managing key managers.

The Executive Director reports to a governing Board of Directors. S/he will have experience in working with or serving as a member of a non-profit Board of Directors. S/he will have an especially close relationship with both the Board Chair and Treasurer, and will provide leadership to all Committee Chairs, including Executive, Finance, Fund Development and Board Development. Along with the Board of Directors, s/he will have a vision for the future of the Children’s Dream Fund, and will develop and implement a strategic plan to take the organization into its 5th decade and beyond.

The Executive Director is responsible for managing the annual budget, directing the annual audit, and overseeing the preparation of the 990 tax return. The current annual budget of the Children’s Dream Fund is $1.8 million. Approximately $600k of the budget is In kind contributions, including donations made toward Programs/Dream. Funds are raised through individual and corporate gifts, community partnerships, special events, both staff-led and community-based, and planned gifts. Fundraising goes on throughout the year, and an year-end “campaign” is held annually. The Executive Director is responsible for directing the annual audit and the preparation of the 990 tax return.

Core Responsibilities:

  1. Board Relationships and Support: Work with the Board in order to fulfill the organization’s mission.
  • Support and guide the organization’s mission as defined by the Board of Directors
  • Responsible for communicating effectively with the Board and providing, in a timely and accurate manner, all information necessary for the Board to function properly, govern effectively, and make informed decisions.
  • Assist and advise the Board in processes critical to an effective governance function, including recruiting and training of directors, and advising the Board to help protect it from actions contrary to law or its own policies.
  1. Financial Performance and Viability: Develop resources sufficient to ensure the financial health of the organization and oversee adherence to accepted fiscal practices.
  • Responsible for the fiscal integrity of the Children’s Dream Fund, to include submission to the Board of a proposed annual budget and monthly financial statements, (prepared by an outside accounting firm), which accurately reflect the financial condition of the organization.
  • Responsible for fundraising and developing resources to meet the funding needs including supervision of professional staff and community appearances to promote support of the organization. Note: The Children’s Dream Fund adheres to the Association of Fundraising Professional’s Donor Bill of Rights.
  1. Organization Mission and Strategy: Works with Board and Staff to ensure that the mission is fulfilled through programs, strategic planning and community outreach.
  • Responsible for implementation of programs that carry out the organization’s mission.
  • Develop and implement strategic plans in coordination with the Board including program growth and expansion.
  • Develop positive relationships with key stakeholders.
  • Ensure that program implementation, adjustments and possible expansion comply with the guiding principles of the Children’s Dream Fund.
  • Lead the organization in monitoring best and evolving practices in wish-granting to children with life-threatening illnesses and applying innovations as needed.
  • Monitor and ensure reporting of program outcomes and lead the staff in adjustment as indicated.
  1. Organization Operations: Oversee and implement appropriate resources to ensure that the operations of the organization are appropriate.
  • Effectively administer all operations and maintain high standards of ethics and honesty.
  • Responsible for the hiring, retention and annual review of competent, qualified staff, and the promulgation and consistent application of personnel policies.

Note: The Children’s Dream Fund utilizes the resources of Certipay/Certegy for Human Resource support.

  • Mentor, direct and hold accountable staff, who reporting directly to the Executive Director.
  • Responsible for signing all agreements made and entered into and on behalf of the organization and ensuring compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
  • Serve as liaison between the Children’s Dream Fund with office landlord.
  • Monitor and enforce adherence to the Children’s Dream Fund’s Policies and Procedures.
  1. Other Related Duties:
  • Oversee communication strategies for both internal and external partners.
  • Represent the Children’s Dream Fund with the media, or delegate as prudent.
  • Actively participate in professional organizations, and stay aware of opportunities to represent the Children’s Dream Fund in the community. Note: The Children’s Dream Fund is a member of the Chambers of Commerce of Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Tampa.

Professional Qualifications:

  • Management: At least 5-6 years of responsible administrative experience, with 3 of those years in upper management, preferably in the non-profit sector. Knowledge of and the ability to provide leadership and direction to staff in business practices, budget preparation and fiscal reporting, and program management. Demonstrated success in developing and maintaining external relationships at a leadership level.
  • Fundraising: Knowledge of fundraising strategies and donor relations unique to the nonprofit sector. Skills to collaborate with and motivate board members and other volunteers. Ability to interface with and engage diverse volunteer and donor groups.

Program: Experience working with sick children and their families preferred but not required.

Education: Bachelor’s or advanced degree required.

Licensure/Certification/Screening. Valid Florida Driver’s License. Due to the nature of the position, a Level 2 background screening is required.

Special Requirements:

The Executive Director works a standard work week, but additionally will often work evenings, weekends, and extended hours to accommodate activities such as Board meetings and otherwise representing the organization.


The projected compensation range for this position will be competitive and in accordance with the background and experience of the selected candidate. The Children’s Dream Fund provides a health insurance plan and contributes to a SEP retirement account. Job-related expenses, including mileage are reimbursed.

Statement or Non-Discrimination:

It shall be the policy of the Children’s Dream Fund to provide equal membership, employment and service opportunities to all eligible persons without regard to race, religion, color, creed, ancestry, national origin, citizenship, age, sex, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, membership in any labor organization, political ideology/affiliation, disability of an otherwise qualified individual, or any other legally protected basis, to the fullest extent provided by applicable federal, state and local law.

Application Process: To apply for this position, submit resume to John Ferrari, Within your cover letter or resume, please be sure to provide a description of your qualifications related to the Position Summary and “ideal candidate traits.

Applications will be accepted form January 4, 2021 – January 29, 2021.