Executive Director - Chicago Yacht Club Foundation

Chicago, IL 60603
United States

Sailing Management
Application Closing Date
Experience Required
Degree Required
Housing Provided
Employment Type
Full Time
Work Schedule

Job Description

The Chicago Yacht Club Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity focused on bringing the joys and benefits of boating to Chicagoland youth, with a primary focus on underrepresented communities. Two years ago, the Foundation minted a new strategic plan, calling for the rapid growth of the organization and a meaningful positive impact on the lives of thousands of Chicagoland youth. To that end, the Foundation aims to engage in four key activities.

  • Introduction of boating to thousands of Chicago youth each year;
  • Induction of interested youth by exposing them to meaningful programming designed to teach them about boating and related skills;
  • Development of our youth who are interested in furthering their boating knowledge; and
  • Inspiration of our youth by exposing them to role models and offering them scholarship opportunities to enhance their lives.


In the past two years, the Foundation has dramatically expanded its programming in all four of these areas, thanks to the support of our new professional Program Manager and the support of over 300 donors. Now, the Foundation is ready to continue its rapid growth by hiring its inaugural Executive Director. This role will require a strong visionary leader who shares our vision and passion for exposing youth to our sport, and who is prepared to bring their knowledge, energy, and enthusiasm to Chicago and lead the Foundation’s efforts in the future.

Duties include, but are not limited to the following:

Develop and increase a series of programs designed to introduce large numbers of Chicagoland’s children to boating, both on the lakefront at Chicago Yacht Club’s facilities at Monroe and Belmont Harbors. In particular, the successful candidate will lead a new collaboration between the Chicago Yacht Club and the Foundation to build a community sailing program in Chicago’s downtown Monroe Harbor and will play a leading role in overseeing a fleet of keelboats and associated programs.

  • Launch a new initiative to build high school sailing teams in underserved high schools in Chicagoland.
  • Develop and increase a series of programs designed to develop boating skills in Chicagoland youth from underserved areas and groups, including support of the Sea Scout Ship Privateer.
  • Develop and increase a series of community engagement programs, designed to provide interested Chicagoland kids the opportunity to learn about boating in a series of intensive multi-day camps in Chicago and elsewhere around the Great Lakes.
  • Assist in marketing, including building out of the Foundation’s social media presence and curation of the Foundation’s website and photo galleries.
  • Assist in developing strategic relationships with community partners, including various social service agencies and schools.
  • Play an active role in the Foundation’s fundraising efforts and lead the development of new revenue streams, including grants.
  • Work closely with the Foundation’s partner, the Chicago Yacht Club, to manage a number of joint ventures and initiatives.
  • Oversee the Foundation’s Competition Fund, designed to support high level sailors from the Chicagoland area on the national and world stage.
  • Administer the Foundation's new InSPIRE scholarship program, which provides college and trade school scholarships to youth who have participated in Foundation programs.
  • Supervise employees and contractors of the Foundation.
  • Establish and maintain a strong relationship with the Board of Directors, allowing for a strong partnership and effective governance.


The successful candidate will have a strong interest in boating and community outreach, will excel in working collaboratively with many different groups of stakeholders, including volunteers, community partners, Club members, and Foundation donors, and enjoy developing creative and innovative solutions. Strong team leadership, communication, organizational skills, and an ability to connect with and mentor youth sailors is required. Must be physically fit and able to participate in on-the-water activities. Must be available to work weekends, holidays, and during peak sailing season.

Previous experience in sailing instruction and program management is required. Certification from a recognized sailing association is preferred. Examples include US Sailing Small Boat Level 1 preferred Level 3 or international equivalent, SafeSport, CPR and First Aid, NASBLA Safe Powerboat Handling or equivalent.

Some travel via car within the Chicago metropolitan area will be required, and candidates should have a valid driver’s license and a car. Prior experience in youth education, sailing education, development of community sailing programs, STEM education, marketing, and fundraising is preferred.

Salary and benefits will be commensurate with experience. This is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to make a difference, while having maximum license for creativity and innovation. We encourage you to visit www.chicagoyachtclubfoundation.org to learn more about the Foundation.

The Chicago Yacht Club Foundation is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to fostering an inclusive environment. Individuals of all genders, individuals from traditionally underrepresented populations, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply.

To be considered for this position, please submit a resume and cover letter. Materials should be submitted via e-mail and be addressed to:

Francesca Sigmond

Program Manager

Chicago Yacht Club Foundation

400 East Monroe Street

Chicago, Illinois 60603


Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Please apply no later than April 1, 2024 to receive full consideration.

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