Have a Heart for Kids Day rally, 2015

Children’s Alliance Executive Director and Deputy Director Transitions: Questions and Answers

Q: When exactly are these transitions happening?

A: Jon’s last day was Friday, October 4. Paola will transition in May 2020. The seven months between the transitions will allow for robust planning and implementation of a strong transition consistent with the organization’s values. The great work of the organization and staff will continue during the transition period.

Q: How long has Paola Maranan worked at the Children’s Alliance?

A: Paola first started with Children’s Alliance in 1993. Her first job was Public Policy Coordinator. Paola began serving as Executive Director in 2004. 

Q: For how long did Jon Gould work at the Children’s Alliance?

A: Jon starting working at Children’s Alliance as a Project Coordinator in the summer of 1997. He became Deputy Director in 2002.

Q: Did Paola and Jon make the decision to leave together?

A:  No. Paola and Jon’s decisions to transition were made independently. Paola and Jon have shared a long-term professional commitment to the Children’s Alliance and a unique working relationship between an Executive Director and a Deputy Director. They had committed to each other that they would share information early if either decided to leave. 

Jon and Paola transitioning within the same 12-month period is not by design. As the planning came together, we made the decision to announce both transitions together to maximize transparency with our community. We realize this is a lot to absorb. The seven months between the two departures allows for stability into 2020, and time for hiring for the future. 

Both Paola and Jon are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the Children’s Alliance mission. Read their appreciations and thoughts about their transitions here

Q: What’s next for each of them?

A: Paola and Jon are each interested in continuing to contribute to child advocacy and racial justice. Jon has begun his job search; Paola is focused on the Children’s Alliance, the continuation of current work, and on her own transition. She will begin a job search next year.

Q: Are there plans for an appreciation of Paola and Jon’s work?

A: Yes! The organization held a celebration for Jon on Sept. 25, and is planning another for Paola.

Q: Will Jon continue to organize summer ping pong tournaments in Seattlie’s International District?

A: Yes, Jon loves playing ping pong and he plans to continue his organizing role in this annual tradition. He’s excited that his younger son, Ellis, has recently gotten into the game, and he’s looking forward to more good games and good times in Hing Hay Park!  

Q: Will Paola still be available to overshare on Facebook after she leaves Children’s Alliance?

A: Yes, whether we want her to or not.

Q: How will these transitions affect the organization’s work?

A: The work continues. The Children’s Alliance has a stellar staff team and our strength comes from the combination of staff and the power of the child advocacy community. During and after these transitions, staff will continue to apply the organizational values that have made the Children’s Alliance strong and effective: Putting kids first, racial equity-oriented policy, striving for anti-racist practice, community-informed policy, advocacy with families, and a pursuit of justice.

Organizational culture transcends any individual; the culture of Children’s Alliance is crafted and maintained by a broad community: parents, community leaders, child advocates, staff, board, and more! We believe there is strength in our 36-year history as well as in our commitment to continuous reflection and adaptation. 

We know that transitions sometimes cause greater responsibilities for existing staff. In our transition planning, we are mindful of staff workload and existing commitments during the transition period. We are committed to resourcing the organization through these transitions so that everyone can continue to do great work.

Q: Will these transitions affect the Children’s Alliance’s work in the 2020 legislative session? 

A:  As in previous years, we expect to adopt a 2020 legislative agenda in early September of 2019. Staff is hard at work moving our campaigns forward in early learning, children/family health, and revenue, while continuing to build a movement for children and families and equity. We will continue policy development and advocacy, lobbying, strategic communications and mobilization and leadership development. 

Our many roles in policy and advocacy will continue, including staffing and convening of the Early Learning Action Alliance and the Washington Dental Access Campaign, leadership of Think Babies in Washington state, and participation in many coalitions. We will continue to co-lead KIDS COUNT in Washington State with the Washington State Budget & Policy Center. 

Our Annual Meeting will be December 5, 2019, in Seattle and Have a Heart for Kids Day will be January 30, 2020, in Olympia. We hope to see many of you there! 

Q: What is the organization’s financial position? 

A: The Children’s Alliance is in a good financial position with unrestricted reserves equal to one-third of the organizational budget, or, viewed differently, more than a year of general operating expenditures. We anticipate managing through these two transitions with the continued support of our funders and donors.

That said, most nonprofits have areas that could use additional funding, and that’s true of the Children’s Alliance. We anticipate needing to move our office in the next year, and we recognize that a robust Executive Director search was not foreseen when we adopted our annual budget and will require unanticipated expenses. We are always happy to accept donations to ease these transitions.

Q: What does this transition mean for the organization’s commitment to racial equity and Undoing Institutionalized Racism?

A: The Children’s Alliance’s commitment to racial equity and Undoing Institutionalized Racism is multifaceted and hardwired into Board-adopted strategic planning, operational policies, and staff and board commitments. While Paola and Jon have been among the organization’s leaders in this work, the work continues in the organization’s internal and external work. 

Q: What is the timeline for filling the positions?

A: We are committed to continuing to resource the work of the Children’s Alliance. To help fulfill Jon’s responsibilities, we're hiring for a temporary Program Director.

The Board of Directors has already begun planning for the Executive Director transition. We will announce a detailed timeline and process for the Executive Director search in early fall. The process will reflect the organization’s commitment to Undoing Institutionalized Racism and will offer opportunities for community and staff input.