Director of Strategic Initiatives

TomTod Ideas
January 9, 2023
439 Market Ave N, Canton
Job Type


Director of Strategic Initiatives
focused on fund development and sustainable systems

TomTod Ideas is a youth development nonprofit that listens to, honors, and advocates for middle schoolers. Yep. You read that right. Middle schoolers, and only middle schoolers! We create programming specifically for 10-14 year-olds because we think their perspective is valuable and necessary for the community.

Since 2012, we’ve helped thousands of middle schoolers discover and love their community while finding ways to help it thrive. Using the latest research about early adolescent development, our programming allows students to explore idea creation through a community-focused, developmentally appropriate lens. Using a variety of mentor-based, experiential learning adventures, we connect the energy, imagination, and intuition of middle schoolers with the wisdom, resources, and experiences of adults, while equipping middle schoolers with vital skills which empower them to take action today and set them up for success tomorrow.

We are seeking a teammate with 7+ years of experience working with organizational strategy, fundraising, and partner development, who is passionate about empowering middle schoolers while shifting cultural conversations on youth ability, education, and the common good. What does that look like? The Director of Strategic Initiatives will:

  • Establish and cultivate sustainable relationships with schools and community partners.
  • Guide initiatives for funding, grants, and relationships that invest in healthy organizational growth.
  • Partner with the TomTod Leadership Core in guiding and developing a healthy, growing team.

Position Type: Full Time

Salary & Benefits: $51,000 - $58,000 salary depending on experience. Retirement match. Healthcare. Technology provided. Professional development opportunities. Mileage reimbursement. Generous PTO accrual and paid holidays. 

Location: Headquartered in Canton, OH. Active throughout NE Ohio.

How to Apply: Submit a cover letter and resume to

Application Deadline: Open until position is filled.

TomTod Ideas takes a whole-team approach to diversity, equity and inclusion practices and is an equal opportunity employer. As we seek new team members, we welcome the meaningful contributions you might bring in terms of your education, perspective, race, culture, ethnicity, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran’s status, age or religion.


Any TomTod team member should be:

  • A self-starter with high ability at self-discipline and self-direction.
  • A team player who readily operates in a collaboration-oriented atmosphere that includes a high level of interaction with a variety of constituents (educators, middle schoolers, parents, volunteers, mentors, board members, funders, community members, etc.). Able to facilitate consistent yet personalized communication across these varied groups.
  • Able to operate in an environment with substantial complexity, balancing multiple tasks simultaneously while prioritizing intuitively.
  • Focused on building a thoughtful, diverse team culture, with high values on experiential discovery, excellence (not perfectionism), and empowerment.
  • A creative thinker and innovation oriented; able to solve problems and think creatively about tackling obstacles in a variety of forms and from various angles.
  • Proactive and mature in dealing with conflict, personnel issues, and community engagement.
  • Able to efficiently organize, communicate, and delegate tasks, while working alongside teammates and volunteers to see ideas through to completion.


Candidates should:

  • Have significant experience with nonprofit work (education-oriented preferred).
  • Show eagerness to continue learning.
  • Be a skilled communicator, able to navigate multiple mediums with diverse stakeholders.
  • Be adept at writing in a variety of formats.
  • Be able to dodge flying foam animals deftly (or not complain if unsuccessful).
  • Be able to navigate a variety of working environments such as our central headquarters, schools, community buildings, camp locations, and the outdoors. 
  • Have reliable transportation.
  • Be occasionally available for night or weekend commitments.
  • Be capable of physically transporting needed materials (lift and move up to 30 lbs).

Director of Strategic Initiatives Specialties

Fundraising and Donor Development
The Director of Strategic Initiatives will:

  • Report to the Executive Dreamer, collaborating on the planning, implementation, and evaluation of all TomTod funding strategies.
  • Develop strategies and manage schedules and fulfillment of grants; evaluating opportunities, assessing timing, and collaborating on applications and reporting.
  • Develop new funding audiences and build new relationships with corporations and donors, while working with the Executive Dreamer to sustain existing funding relationships.
  • Review and recommend programs that will support sustainable funding.
  • Lead the annual Feast of Ideas fundraiser.
  • Collaboratively coordinate the endowment committee with the Executive Dreamer.
  • Track local and state government funding opportunities and legislation for possible impact and engagement.

Community and Partner Collaboration

The Director of Strategic Initiatives will:

  • Connect with local school leaders and facilitate conversations for future collaborations.
  • Refine and manage effective strategies around partnership development, including recruiting, retaining, and effectively resourcing TomTod partner organizations.
  • Evaluate community needs, assessing TomTod’s ability to serve current and future regions.
  • Maintain an active presence in the community, seeking opportunities to connect TomTod to other like-minded individuals and organizations and develop collaborations as appropriate.
  • Be an active ambassador for TomTod’s core DNA to the community at large.
  • Oversee strategic community collaborations as directed.

Team Management

The Director of Strategic Initiatives will:

  • Participate in the TomTod Leadership Core alongside the Executive Dreamer and Team Guide.
  • -Rgularly assess team structure and organizational needs, providing insight into staffing alignment with organizational priorities.
  • Pursue opportunities for team members to grow their expertise and contribute to broad organizational goals.
  • Work closely across the organization to build stronger synergy for strategic priorities, including being integrally involved in StratOp initiatives and follow through.


Classes & Clubs

We facilitate a variety of classes and clubs, implemented both during and after the school day, which partner with schools to empower middle schoolers in exploring their communities and designing ideas for community impact. Through weekly sessions, TomTod staff and partnering educators lead students through design thinking sprints while complementing existing class curricula, with a focus on critical and creative thinking skills and social emotional competencies. Students participate in a variety of engaging activities, interview community members, research ideas, travel to off-site locations, and use the information and skills they acquire to formulate ideas that serve others. All programs are cooperatively designed and implemented with school partners to enhance 21st century skill sets while exploring community connectedness, embracing a whole-child educational approach.

Camp What If

Day camps and summer enrichment partnerships help middle school students explore possibilities and create impactful ideas for their communities. Using a design-thinking-infused approach, campers learn skills such as teamwork, creative problem solving, digital literacy, research techniques, interviewing practices, public speaking, and civic awareness. Camps end with a celebration of the experiences and knowledge campers have attained as community members, families, and friends join in to hear idea pitches presented by campers. Camps can be focused on assets and challenges of particular locales/city centers or more topically focused. All camps use collaborative spaces from partnering organizations (such as park systems, universities, art galleries, or business owners).

What If You Could (WIYC)

A project-based mentorship experience, WIYC helps teams of middle schoolers launch meaningful, community-oriented, personally-crafted ideas. WIYC walks middle schoolers through idea development using an iterative design thinking process, with middle schoolers conducting research, setting goals, prototyping, and proving their concept, and then setting it in motion to make a difference. Teams work alongside skilled mentors who bring insight and resources to join up with each student’s creative drive and passion. Utilizing a multi-staged launch process with strategic waymakers, both successes and obstacles are viewed as learning opportunities. Often originating out of our various camps, classes, & clubs, WIYC projects have helped shape communities locally and globally and continue to have a deep impact on students, mentors, and the community at large.

TomTod’s 10 C’s
6 informed by Positive Youth Development Research (
Connection, Competence, Character, Contribution, Caring, Confidence

4 informed by 21st Century Learning (
Creative Innovation, Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking 

Salary Range or Hourly Rate

Salary & Benefits: $51,000 - $58,000 salary depending on experience. Retirement match. Healthcare. Technology provided. Professional development opportunities. Mileage reimbursement. Generous PTO accrual and paid holidays.

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