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Job Announcement: Executive Director


About the Center for Independent Living

The Center for Independent Living (CIL), based out of the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley, CA, is a not-for-profit independent living center that promotes the full inclusion of all people with disabilities and older adults into their community. In the face of climate change, public health emergencies, and the economic and housing crises in the Bay Area, people with disabilities and older adults face persistent and emerging challenges when seeking to live, work, and play to the same degree as their non-disabled peers. As such, CIL’s work remains as crucial today as it was when CIL was founded 50+ years ago. We seek an Executive Director (ED) who will guide the development and growth of the organization over the next several years in order to meet this challenge The ED will report to a Board of Directors, of whom more than 50% are people with significant disabilities.


Our mission is to provide advocacy and services that increase awareness, collaboration, and opportunity among people with disabilities and the community at large. Our existing programs provide disabled people with skills, knowledge, and resources that negate damaging and ableist notions of disability, supporting us so that we can strive toward realizing our full potential. Our service area covers communities and neighborhoods across Northern Alameda county (the cities of Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont, Albany, Emeryville, and Alameda. We are part of a network of independent living centers across the San Francisco Bay Area and California. We also benefit from partnerships with a diverse  network of local entities and community service providers across the Bay Area, including large and small businesses, educational institutions and universities, government agencies, and non-profit and grassroots organizations.

Emerging from the independent living movement of the 1960s, students and community members around the U.C. Berkeley campus joined together in 1972 to form the CIL, an organization run by and for people with disabilities. Since our founding, we have supported self- and collective advocacy to secure disability rights and inclusion, and offered a number of critical services unavailable to a previously neglected and discriminated community, including peer independent living and benefits counseling, wheelchair repair, assistance finding accessible and affordable housing, residential access through home modifications, vocational training, and social and community engagement and support.


Today, our services have expanded to meet the needs of diverse people with disabilities in the face of new challenges and opportunities, including technology training, computer coding, disaster preparedness, and to transition and divert people from institutional settings and into community living. At the core of all of our work, and consistent across our 50 years, is a commitment to the peer-based services that have served as a model for roughly 400 independent living centers nationwide, as well as similar programs in 20 countries.

About the Executive Director Role

The Executive Director (ED)--the Chief Executive of the CIL–reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for the achievement of the organization's programmatic and financial objectives, and, in collaboration with Board and staff, provides the vision and leadership to take the organization forward in order to meet the needs of people with disabilities in today’s world. The ED leads a seven-member management team currently composed of a Development Director, Finance Manager, Human Resources Administrator, a Program Director, and three mid-level Program Managers. The ED also represents the CIL’s interests and promotes its mission, values, and advocacy priorities  in local, state, and national forums, and serves on the Ed Roberts Campus (ERC) Board of Directors.

Essential Job Functions:

  1. Lead the CIL with a deep understanding and commitment to the values and principles of the Independent Living Movement of People with Disabilities, including the reasonable accommodation of consumers and staff to services that enable them to work toward the achievement of their goals.

  2. Partner with CIL staff and Board on the vision and growth of the organization through an exploration of a shared-leadership model, which may include partnership and collaboration with a staff leadership team, made up of staff in varying roles and with diverse identities and lived experiences.

  3. Guide the CIL in transforming and deepening its engagement of, and services for, disabled people, with particular attention to intersectional identities, including LGBTQIA+ disabled people, disabled Black and Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), low- and no-income disabled people, people with mental health and psychiatric disabilities, unhoused disabled neighbors, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, people incarcerated and formerly incarcerated, and disabled people facing acute impacts of the climate crisis.

  4. Manage the immediate and long-term programmatic and financial health of the organization.

  5. Communicate effectively for the organization and its mission,  as well as amongst its diverse staff and volunteers, using non-violent, collaborative, and power-sharing models and methods of communication and relationship-building.


Key Responsibilities:


Finance, Operations, Program and Strategic Planning

  1. Guiding the development, implementation, assessment, and management of short-term and long-range strategic plans, with the guidance of the Board and in collaboration with staff, and assuming overall accountability for program success.

  2. Seeking out new lines of business (and services), including social enterprises and fee-for-service programs, to diversify and grow the CIL’s bottom line.

  3. Leading the development and continuing oversight of the annual budget.

  4. Approving expenditures and allocation of agency resources.

  5. Overseeing preparation of management reports and financial statements to fulfill external reporting requirements for review by the Board of Directors.

  6. Ensuring that the CIL complies with all relevant laws, regulations and internal policies set by the Board.

  7. Addressing competitive pay rates and salaries to maintain staffing, with approval from the Board.

  8. Supporting the Board in its governance role and assisting with Board development, while informing the Board of internal developments.


Fundraising and External Relations:

  1. Serving as the public face of the organization, representing the CIL and its mission to the media, the public, government agencies and other stakeholders.

  2. Developing a fundraising plan to increase revenues in collaboration with the Development Director and the Board members tasked with development outreach.

  3. Building relationships with major donors and expanding our major donor network in collaboration with the Development Director.

  4. Overseeing all funding and project proposals; functioning as the Contract Officer for the agency.

  5. Raising the public profile of CIL by communicating its mission to various audiences.

  6. Increasing CIL’s endowment to help make CIL more financially independent.

  7. Maintaining and improving CIL’s relationships with state and national organizations like the Department of Rehabilitation.

  8. Demonstrating a growth mindset and leadership for long-term, strategic, programmatic impact and growth of the organization.



  1. Working with the Management Team to determine timely and socially equitable and just organizational response to current events and issues, with input from the Board.

  2. Responding to public speaking and disability engagement training requests.

  3. Collaborating with the network of Independent Living Centers to develop positions and strategy on key advocacy issues that impact consumers.

  4. Participating in or leading substantive advocacy programs as needed.

  5. Utilizing modern ideas and progressive thinking to develop new and innovative partnerships and programs.

  6. Orienting service growth towards marginalized communities, with specific attention to BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and undocumented people with disabilities, unhoused people with disabilities, disabled people re-entering the community from carceral or institutional settings, people with mental health and psychiatric disabilities, and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

  7. Building collaborative relationships with organizations and movements that work at the intersection of diverse issues of justice and civil and human rights.


Human Resources:

  1. Supervising Human Resources Administrator; serving as chief risk manager for the agency.

  2. Ensuring internal policies and practices are aligned with agency mission and values and contractual and other legal requirements.

  3. Investing in the success of all staff by leading by example, cultivating a climate of equity, justice, accessibility, and inclusiveness at all levels, and supporting robust professional development.

  4. Ensuring that job descriptions are developed, regular performance evaluations are held, and sound human resource practices are in place.

  5. Promoting and committing to reasonable accommodations for staff members.

  6. Prioritizing diversity in hiring, particularly amongst disabled communities that have been systematically overlooked for leadership positions, including BIPOC communities, LGBTQIA+ communities, people with mental health and psychiatric disabilities, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, formerly incarcerated and/or unhoused people, poor, or working class communities, older adults, and more.


Professional Experience/Qualifications:

  1. 10+ years of management experience in the for-profit or not-for-profit arena. Experience with an independent living center (ILC) especially desirable.

  2. Deep experience in budgeting at the program and organizational level, with accountability for managing a budget of $2.5 million or more

  3. Financial and administrative expertise in organizational management and in state/federal grant processes.

  4. Deep knowledge and understanding of the civil rights/independent living movement for and of people with disabilities, including both historical and current trends and issues, disability justice, and cross-movement organizing.

  5. Commitment to a collaborative form of leadership that empowers and centers the unique and diverse skills, experiences, and needs of staff.

  6. A track record of positive relationships and partnerships with various stakeholders.

  7. Demonstrated successful fundraising experience.

  8. First-hand disability experience is expected.


Desired Skills and Qualifications:

  1. Thoughtful and grounded organizer who can help the CIL take on current modern challenges facing our community (e.g., lack of affordable and accessible housing, health inequity, systemic discrimination, physical and programmatic inaccessibility, etc.)

  2. Persuasive public speaker and skilled community organizer who can successfully build coalitions across various communities and interest groups with shared priorities. Demonstrated experience in intersectional, cross-movement organizing in areas of social justice (e.g., racial justice, queer and trans liberation, immigrant rights, tenant or affordable housing movements, climate justice, etc.) is highly preferred.

  3. Outstanding communication skills, both verbal and written.

  4. Demonstrated success with Fee-for Service Programs, Sales, and Public Sector funding.

  5. College degree or equivalent management experience.

  6. Big-picture thinker who can navigate change, including transformational organizational and cultural change.

  7. Demonstrable client focus.

  8. Willingness to hold oneself and others accountable while managing with integrity and collaboration.

  9. Tech savvy; able to operate and excel in an increasingly digital environment.


Other Demands:

  1. Must be able to communicate and exchange accurate information via telephone, video meetings, email and in person with staff, consumers, and community members, with customary assistance as required by disability.

  2. Must be able to travel to other agencies and organizations.


The CIL is an equal opportunity employer. We embrace difference and diversity, and do not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, immigration status, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, parental status, histories of incarceration or legal records, housing status, military service, or other non-merit factor. We provide reasonable accommodations to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential job functions.

The annual salary range for this position is $120,000 - $150,000.


How to Apply

The CIL has retained OE Consulting to support this search.


In order to apply, please submit a CV and thoughtful cover letter here that explains your interest and addresses your relevant qualifications. Applicants may expect an email from OE Consulting confirming receipt. Please refrain from contacting CIL about this opportunity, and direct any questions to OE Consulting at ( Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

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