Executive Director

1990 Institute | San Francisco, California


About The 1990 Institute 

The United States and China are the two most important countries in the world today. The need to understand one another better to ensure global harmony and prosperity is paramount. The 1990 Institute seeks to encourage greater social, economic, and cultural awareness between the two countries. Its mission is to broaden the understanding and build trust between Americans and Chinese through education and collaboration.

The Institute has a proud 28-year track record of developing and executing unique cross-border programs. Our earlier programs included conducting scholarly research on how to improve China’s economic and social issues; providing financial support to enable 1000 rural girls in China to continue their education beyond 4th grade through college; partnering with a local Chinese micro finance organization to provide small loans without collateral to thousands of impoverished village women; and conducting cross-cultural children’s programs in art, music, and the environment. 

Our current focus is on empowering young Americans to expand and deepen their knowledge about China through two keystone programs: CHINA NOW | For Teachers, a two-day workshop and resource platform for U.S. middle and high school teachers that helps them to expand curriculum on Modern China; and Youth Voices on China, a youth video competition for 13-25 year old youth that encourages them to explore and develop their personal interests in Modern China. We also have a China Now and the Future speaker series program that brings in prominent China experts to address contemporary topical issues of interest to the community.

New program initiatives are always being considered. We look to our Executive Director, staff, board members, and volunteers to suggest, analyze, and help implement new programs and initiatives. As the Institute expands its programs, it is also evolving the organization from an all-volunteer entity to an institution managed by a professional staff. In addition to program development and execution capabilities, the ideal candidate must be a seasoned fundraiser, with proven donor engagement results, and an experienced builder of organizations.

The 1990 Institute has a working Board of Directors composed of passionate and dedicated individuals with significant experience working on China-related activities including business, education, philanthropy, and US-China relations. Until 2013, programs were exclusively conducted and produced by directors and volunteers of the Institute. An Executive Director is expected to work with the board and leverage their network and experience for fundraising and execution of programs. 

Job Summary

The 1990 Institute seeks a full-time Executive Director to lead the organization through its next stage of development. Founded by a group of prominent academic, business, and community leaders with a deep interest in U.S.-China relations, the once all-volunteer organization is entering into an exciting period of growth and transformation. As the Institute’s leader, the candidate will have an opportunity to help build and shape the structure and direction of our work, create new program initiatives, and build strong partnerships with other professional, business, and educational groups. 

The ideal candidate is a visionary and strategic leader who promotes and represents the organization well, inspires stakeholders, and effectively manages the day-to-day operations of the organization. Consideration of each applicant will be based on professional fit with The 1990 Institute's mission and values, as well as his/her experience and potential to quickly learn and master elements of managing a nonprofit office. 

The Executive Director is a staff leadership position responsible for the overall management of the Institute’s programs, operations, finance, and staff, including interns and volunteers. S/he will report to the Board Chair and coordinate and communicate closely with the Executive Committee and other members of the Board.

Reports To

Chairperson of the Board of Directors


  • Leadership, Vision, and Strategy: Promote and articulate the Institute’s mission to stakeholders. Work with the Board to develop and implement strategic initiatives. Build a strong staff team committed to the Institute’s mission. 
  • Program Management: Work collaboratively with the Board, volunteers, and staff to develop, implement, and manage programs and events to maximize outreach, visibility, effectiveness and impact. 
  • Media and Communications: Be the chief spokesperson for the Institute and develop a media strategy that includes the effective use of social media and our web-site. Work to increase the visibility of our program objectives and their impact. Develop and maintain relationships with media, funders, political and community leaders, and opinion leaders. Serve as primary liaison with the media. Maintain websites and social media outlets.
  • Operational Management: Manage the day-to-day operations of the Institute. Keep track of corporate documents, HR filings and other compliance related documentations. 
  • Development and Fundraising: Lead the Institute’s marketing and fundraising efforts, ensuring that the organization has sufficient resources to maintain a high level of programming. Create and implement a fundraising plan with the Board and identify, cultivate, and build relationships with individual donors, foundations, corporations, and government agencies. Explore and participate with other local, social media and national fundraising initiatives. Write or work with staff on grant proposals and reports. 
  • Financial Management: Work with the CFO/Treasurer to manage the financial affairs of the Institute, including preparation and management of an annual budget, cash management, and banking relationships. Oversee accounting safeguards and act as liaison to the bookkeeper and tax accountant and provide timely program and event P&L financial reports. 
  • Board of Directors: Work collaboratively with board members to support the Institute’s endeavors. Communicate regularly with board and leverage the board’s network and support to build and grow the Institute. 
  • Partnership Development: Strengthen existing and develop new relationships with other organizations in the U.S. and China for the development and implementation of programs and activities. 


Desired Background and Experience 

  • Minimum of seven years of professional experience.
  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field.
  • Experience in fundraising. Strong ability to engage donors from diverse backgrounds, respond to the needs of corporate sponsors, and knowledge of, or experience with, foundation funding.
  • Previous management experience with Board members and committees, staff, volunteers, budgeting, program management, and nonprofit management.
  • Experience working with business and community leaders. Capable of leveraging established organizational contacts and networks to further an organization’s mission. 


Compensation will be commensurate with the candidate’s level of expertise and related experience. 


Personal Skills and Qualifications

  • Strong interest in The 1990 Institute’s educational mission and sensitivity to the broad range and scope of U.S.-China related activities.
  • Entrepreneurial skill and the ability to adapt. Ability to plan ahead and meet deadlines.
  • Excellent written and oral communication, public speaking, and interpersonal skills.
  • Enjoys working collaboratively and is a versatile and resilient team player.
  • Possess a strong work ethic, high energy, and commitment to excellence.
  • Ability to speak and read Chinese (Mandarin) is a strong plus, but not required. 

How to Apply

Please submit your resume along with a cover letter indicating why you think you are a good fit for the Executive Director position at The 1990 Institute via email to: searchcommittee@1990institute.org. All submissions must be in one PDF file with the email subject, "Executive Director Application."

The 1990 Institute provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, the Institute complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the Institute has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training. The Institute expressly prohibits any form of workplace harassment based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, genetic information, disability, or veteran status. Improper interference with the ability of the Institute’s employees to perform their job duties may result in discipline up to and including discharge. 

1990 Institute


Organization: Nonprofit Organizations