Executive Director: Frequently Asked Questions

What was the process for recruiting and hiring Ms. Darcie Taylor, EFO’s Executive Director?

In early 2018, with the decision and full support of the EFO Board to hire a full-time Executive Director, a search committee was formed, led by a parent volunteer with 20 years of experience as a professional recruiter. After several months of failed attempts to attract and hire the right talent for the position, it was recommended that EFO retain a search firm. A panel interviewed several firms, and ultimately hired Cook Silverman Search, a professional search firm specializing in the non-profit educational foundation sector. By June, the recruiter had interviewed and refined the candidate pool to four qualified candidates. Ultimately, two candidates were moved forward to an interview panel consisting of EFO board members, Orinda Parents’ Clubs representatives, OUSD and AUHSD Superintendents, and the OUSD Board of Trustees. Ms. Taylor emerged as the lead executive director candidate.


EFO’s Executive Board and General Board members voted to approve the hiring of Ms. Taylor on Aug 30, 2018.


What are Ms. Taylor’s qualifications?

Ms. Taylor’s experience in fundraising, change management, and volunteer management will be invaluable in helping EFO meet its long-term goals and objectives. A highlight of her professional experience follows:

* West Region Lead, The V Foundation for Cancer Research (April 2017-presen

* Regional Director, Sutter Health (2013-May 2017)

* Director of Development, UCSF (2012-2013)

* Associate Director Major Gifts/Director Annual Giving, Stanford University (12 years)

* Graduate Certificate, Charitable Financial Planning (Planned Giving Focus) (August, 2016)


What will Ms. Taylor’s day-to-day responsibilities be?

Ms. Taylor will be tasked with and evaluated on the following:

* Create and implement a plan for long term financial sustainability through corporate, foundation and community-based fundraising.

* Collaborate with school community leaders to create a new foundation model and governance structure for “one ask” per child per year to meet current and future financial goals.

* Grow an endowment for Orinda public schools.

* Recruit, coach, and motivate volunteers, including the Executive Board and General Board.

* Lead effective systems to track scaling progress and regularly evaluate program components to measure successes that will be communicated to the Board, funders, and other constituents.

* Oversee the execution of the “brand”, ensuring that programmatic and institutional communications and print and online collateral are consistent.

* Attend Board meetings and work with Board President to create and implement a plan for Board fundraising engagement.

* Develop and manage the annual fundraising budget and work, plan, track and report results to the Board.

* Demonstrate and communicate passion for the mission of the foundation.

* Perform and/or assign other duties as required.


What do the various Orinda Parents’ Clubs, OUSD and AUHSD Superintendents, and the OUSD Board of Trustees think about the decision to hire Ms. Taylor?

All of these organizations have joined EFO in unanimous support of the decision to hire Ms. Taylor.


EFO has been a volunteer-led organization since its inception. Why has EFO decided to hire a professional Executive Director?

Yes, Orinda’s volunteer talent has delivered impressive results over the years, but it has become increasingly difficult to recruit volunteers to positions of such enormous responsibility and commitment. In addition, the inevitable volunteer turn-over creates inefficiency, whereas a paid professional would guarantee leadership continuity.


Fundraising in Orinda schools is doing just fine.  Why does EFO need to adopt a new approach?

Yes, fundraising has been doing just fine, but we have plateaued. The current gap between per student government funding and per student spending is projected to grow in coming years for both OUSD and AUHSD. Our current fundraising model is just not sufficient to fully bridge this gap. We need continued growth in fundraising dollars to avoid program cuts, and to fund opportunities for increased student programming. The expectation is that Ms. Taylor will deliver new sources of fundraising dollars to help bridge this gap.


I don’t want my donation to go towards higher overhead expenses.

Organizations need to invest in their business to grow. Orinda is one of the only foundations of its size without an Executive Director. Comparable foundations have found this investment to yield an excellent return. While EFO will be incurring additional overhead expenses, the expectation is that with the addition of Ms. Taylor, EFO’s increased fundraising will more than cover and exceed these additional expenses.


Will families be asked to contribute a higher per child ask to help fund these expenses or the gap in funding?

The intention is to look to Ms. Taylor to explore and secure alternative funding sources through corporate, foundations and community-based contacts.