Youth Entrepreneurship Program Director

Chicago, IL


Future Founders believes every youth can become an entrepreneur. We immerse youth in experiences that inspire and empower them to create their own opportunity. We believe this leads to a generation more determined, hopeful and equipped as they engage the future. Since 2005, our programs have served over 35,000 youth. Our national 18 to 30-year-old founders generated $33.8M in revenue, secured $36M in capital and created 543 jobs in the last four years alone.

Future Founders was created to foster inclusion in the entrepreneurial community and to seed more diverse founders into the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The organization was established in 2011 through the merger of two programs: one created by the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (which now runs 1871) in 2005 and another created by Uptake Founder & Executive Chairman Brad Keywell. Today, the organization serves middle and high school students across Chicago and 18 to 30-year-olds nationally. Join us as we empower the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs.



We’re on a mission to change the lives of youth across the country, and create an entrepreneurial community that’s filled with talented, confident and diverse young leaders. Our work is fun, rewarding, and challenging. We are lucky to work with incredibly bright people who are energized to unlock the potential of our students and founders.

We’re seeking a Program Director to oversee the strategy and execution of our programming for middle and high school students from underestimated areas of Chicago. The Program Director will join our Senior Leadership Team and be a key presence in the lives of our students and team members. The Program Director will manage two full-time employees – a Program Manager and a soon-to-be hired Program Coordinator.

The ideal candidate is a results-oriented leader who is passionate about innovating and delivering impactful programming as well as ensuring all of our middle and high school programming runs with a high level of quality and timeliness. Our team is very goal-oriented, and has high expectations of one another. We should be open with each other and provide feedback so we can work together in the best way possible.



Responsibilities for this role will evolve with the development of the middle and high school programming, but will be focused around:


Program Design & Development

  • Lead strategy and execution of our existing program portfolio, ensuring the highest quality experience for our students and partners.
  • Lead the design and curriculum development of new programs and initiatives – including the development of curriculum and supplementary learning products.
  • Within the first six months, you will launch our new program to help high school students start revenue generating businesses and redevelop our in-school workshop curriculum.

Evaluation & Impact Analysis

  • Design and deploy a suite of evaluation tools to ensure each program in our portfolio is outcomes-aligned.
  • Generate, analyze, and communicate evaluation data to diverse stakeholders (CEO, cross-department, funders, and partners).
  • Cultivate an evaluative culture on the team to ensure programs are always improving for our students.

Program Staffing & Support

  • Partner with the CEO to hire, onboard, and train new staff members.
  • Lead the middle and high school team with a focus on high expectations and support.

Strategic Partnerships & Fundraising

  • Maintain and steward existing strategic partners – school partners, funders, community based organizations, volunteers, etc.
  • Cultivate new relationships with stakeholders who can provide a positive impact on our students and our work.
  • Collaborate with the CEO on fundraising initiatives, grant writing, and grant reports.



Our team is made up of entrepreneurs, educators, and non-profit employees. We recognize that a team from diverse employment backgrounds and life experiences makes us stronger. If you think you have the right combination of experiences to make a difference in our community but don’t hit every mark on this job posting, we still encourage you to apply. Some things we’re hoping for in our ideal candidate:

  • College graduate with 7-10 years of professional experience working in education or a youth development non-profit, with emphasis on those candidates who have direct experience working in Chicago Public Schools.
  • You demonstrate emotional maturity, flexibility, integrity and professionalism.
  • Demonstrable experience building, implementing and evaluating youth programs in a professional capacity.
  • Extensive experience engaging students of all ages (middle school, high school), especially with those from underserved areas.
  • A passion, knowledge and/or interest in the startup ecosystem and entrepreneurship.
  • You are a strong communicator, both virtually and in person. You’re able to connect with our network and clearly articulate ideas and expectations to people from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences.
  • Strong networker, able to recruit new mentors, funders, program participants, and partners through a variety of channels.
  • Self-directed with the ability to anticipate the needs of others (specifically students and fellow team members).
  • You are detail-oriented, take initiative, and have a bias toward action. Your follow up is extraordinary and we’re amazed at how quickly you complete work at a high quality level.
  • Technology-oriented with familiarity with the Google Workspace.
  • You have a “can do” attitude and are ready to pitch in when needed.
  • Fluent in feedback (giving and receiving).
  • A sense of humor.
  • Most importantly, you care about our mission of creating opportunity for young people from underrepresented backgrounds within entrepreneurship.



  • Reports to: President & CEO
  • Type of Employment: Full-Time Position
  • Start Date: January 4, 2022
  • Application Deadline: October 26, 2021 (candidates will be reviewed on a rolling basis)
  • Interviews Begin: October 27, 2021
  • Location: Future Founders is headquartered at 1871 (222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 1212, Chicago, IL 60654). The role includes the option to work from home, but will require weekly time in-office, local travel to schools/community-based organizations and candidates must be local to Chicago.
  • Work Hours: 8:45a-5p Monday – Friday, but some morning, evening and weekend work time will be required throughout the year. The Program Director should be available to work 10a-7p when our program sessions are taking place.
  • The Program Director will need to comply with the Chicago Public School vaccine requirements for vendors/partners.

The Future Founders staff operates on a hybrid work schedule that includes weekly in-office work and remote work. The interview process will be the same – with first round interviews conducted virtually and second and final round interviews taking place in person. This schedule is subject to change due to current health conditions.



We’d love to hear from you! Please submit your resume and cover letter in a PDF format and be sure to address why this role would be a meaningful next step in your career and professional happiness. Applications are being reviewed on a rolling basis.


APPLY HERE: Future Founders Youth Entrepreneurship Program Director