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Chief Executive Officer

Mutual Housing California  ·  Sacramento, CA  ·  Posted on April 10

Mutual Housing California seeks a dynamic, entrepreneurial and mission-driven Chief Executive Officer to champion and implement the development and operations of high-quality, innovative affordable housing and resident leadership programs for the Sacramento region and beyond.

The Organization

Incorporated in 1988, Mutual Housing was formed as a partnership of neighborhood residents, business representatives, housing advocates, and local government dedicated to improving housing opportunities for lower income families. The Mutual Housing founders’ major objective was to create a locally controlled nonprofit that would be a force for revitalizing low-income communities by strengthening neighborhood assets–both the housing and the neighborhood leaders. By acquiring deteriorating multifamily structures, they envisioned that Mutual Housing could leverage private and public capital to renovate properties and turn them around into safe, affordable and well-functioning residential communities. Similarly, by attracting investment to construct new housing on vacant in-fill lots, Mutual Housing would add to the local supply of safe, affordable housing and eliminate the hazards often associated with vacant lots.

As important, Mutual Housing was created to help stabilize neighborhoods by identifying and developing leaders. By encouraging residents to participate in decision making in their rental communities, Mutual Housing would develop future local leaders — people who cared about the future of their neighborhoods and would organize others to increase the safety and well-being of other residents. These original founding objectives remain the same today.


Mutual Housing California’s 64-person staff works across multi-family housing development, property and asset management, resident leadership, and administrative functions.  The organization, which is designated as a Community Housing Development Organization, is currently governed by 12 board members representing a mix of resident leaders and experienced civic and industry professionals. Mutual Housing California has a sound base of fixed assets, a growing balance sheet, and strong financial controls. The organization’s FY 2017 corporate (excluding rental properties) expense budget is $3.1 million; anticipated annual revenues are $4.7 million, $2.7 million of which is developer fee income. On a consolidated basis, Mutual Housing holds $148.8 million in assets, with total revenues of $11.3 million in 2015. Mutual Housing is a NeighborWorks chartered organization with ‘exemplary’ status, the highest rating possible. Rachel Iskow, Mutual Housing’s outgoing CEO, has served in this role for 23 years. She plans to leave the organization at the end of 2017.

The mission of Mutual Housing California is to “develop, operate and advocate for sustainable housing that builds strong communities through resident participation and leadership development.”

Major Business Lines and Areas of Focus

Housing Development. Mutual Housing offers a permanent solution to the housing needs of California’s diverse families. Some multi-family communities are designed and constructed by Mutual Housing California on vacant in-fill lots; others are acquired and rehabilitated. Mutual Housing has a track record of innovation, both around the integration of community development and environmental sustainability and in serving diverse and inclusive populations. In 2002, the organization developed the first multifamily housing property in the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) service area to incorporate solar energy. In 2011, Mutual Housing constructed a multifamily development with the highest Build it Green rating in the North Central Valley, and in 2015, developed the nation’s first rental housing development to be certified Zero Net Energy (ZNE). The organization is currently planning the nation’s first rental housing development to be certified Positive Net Energy as well as planning other ZNE properties, one of which will be the region’s first LGBT welcoming senior housing community.

Property Management. Mutual Housing owns and operates 1,071 homes in 19 multi-family properties across Sacramento and Yolo Counties, housing over 3,200 residents. Mutual Housing Management, a subsidiary, manages these properties. Property management and maintenance staff follow ‘green operations and maintenance’ plans that contribute to improved health of residents and property sustainability.

Resident Leadership. A team of community organizers provides leadership development support to resident leaders who are active in increasing the participation of other residents. Under the direction of a MSW professional, the social work team identifies service programs to support vulnerable individuals. Mutual Housing values the diversity of its resident members and the varied gifts they bring and contribute back to their community and to the organization. This involvement leads to positive outcomes in the health and stability of families and communities.

Advocacy. Mutual Housing moves forward policies that support affordable housing development and fair and equitable housing practices. For example, Mutual Housing successfully campaigned in 2008 for a mandatory rental housing inspection ordinance. The CEO provides leadership in local housing advocacy and renters rights organizations and statewide campaigns.

Mutual Housing Model

With residents taking a key role in overseeing their properties and developing programs through site-specific resident councils and issue-specific committees, Mutual Housing California creates communities in which residents have a vested interest. These councils, working together with management, provide input into house rules, review financial reports, plan and evaluate resident activities, attract outside organizations to host on-site programs, orient new residents, and educate to prevent infractions of rules. Councils and issue-specific site committees provide leadership in the identification of resident and community needs and in raising resources to fill those needs. These include youth development programs, support for the elderly, education and economic development resources, health, safety and security programs, and recreational facilities.

To support residents and build on their assets, Mutual Housing continues to develop programs relevant to members’ lives. These include: 

Financial capability: financial mentoring, group workshops, peer lending circles, and youth financial coaching.

Digital literacy: with the goal to close the divide between those who have ready access to the Internet and computers, and those who do not, Mutual Housing is in the process of equipping all properties to provide free Internet access to all resident households and make computers and training available in on-site computer labs. In some communities, the organization provides free or low cost donations of individual computers to families, and in others there are computer laptop lending libraries.

Culture of College: this new effort sends the message to families that college is a realistic option for resident youth. Mutual Housing’s goal is to harness the resources of the entire community and the organization to support children and their families in making college accessible and affordable.

Green Leaders: Mutual Housing provides education in sustainable housekeeping and green building operations to residents and involves residents in promoting sustainable practices and healthy lifestyles in their communities.

Resident leaders at each community identify other programs and providers for activities that may be of interest to residents at their properties, including senior exercise, community gardening and nutrition, after-school tutoring and homework clubs, English and citizenship classes, disease prevention and others.

The Position

Reporting to the Board and its Executive Committee, the CEO is responsible for providing overall leadership, direction, and operational and financial management for Mutual Housing California. The CEO directly supervises a four-person executive management team, including the Chief Financial and Operations Officer, Community Development Officer, Director of Housing Development, and Director of Property Management. The CEO serves as the Executive Director of Mutual Housing Management and all of Mutual Housing’s nonprofit affiliates. These affiliates serve as the general partner or owner of its housing properties. The CEO focuses on organizational development and management, strategic relationship development that supports the growth of the real estate pipeline, advocacy, external relations, and resource development.

Key Responsibilities


  • Collaborate with the Board, management team and staff on the development and implementation of the organization’s strategic direction and objectives.
  • Lead external relations and sustain and grow strategic alliances.
  • Lead the organization’s advocacy and public policy efforts at local, state and national levels.


  • Provide leadership to the management team and staff, infusing vision and mission at all levels of the organization.
  • Ensure fiscal integrity and accountability and manage risk.
  • Ensure accountability for outcomes in all key business lines: real estate development, community organizing and resident services, and asset and property management.
  • Develop and oversee implementation of policies and procedures.

Resource Development

  • Work collaboratively with division managers and the CFO to manage revenues and expenses, and forecast future growth.
  • Work collaboratively with division managers, director of resource development and Board members to expand resources.

Board Relations

  • Support the work of the Board and Board development.
  • Ensure that the Board has sufficient information to make decisions and evaluate the work of the organization.

Near Term CEO Priorities (January 2018-June 2019)

The Board of Directors anticipates a January 2018 start-date for this position.  Priorities in the CEO’s first 18 months include:

  • Moving forward real estate development projects and strategically seeking out and vetting new opportunities in both urban and rural locations, particularly given the wider geographic reach of Mutual Housing California. The current housing development pipeline includes four new construction projects totaling about 250 units, one acquisition/rehab project with 200 units, two portfolio rehab projects with 136 units, and site search for new development opportunities.
  • Overseeing completion of Mutual Housing California’s next five-year strategic plan, with a beginning timeframe of January 2019.
  • Recruiting new skill sets to the board that build on the diverse mix of board members already in place and that develop new relationship possibilities for the organization.
  • Ensuring that annual programmatic and financial goals across business lines are met. This includes expanding major gift donations and championing program initiatives.
  • Building on work completed in 2017 to transition to more data-informed resident programming and to share with external stakeholders the outcomes and impact of Mutual Housing California’s work with individuals, families, and communities.
  • Collaborating with the Board of Directors and partners to advance Mutual Housing California’s local, state and national role in developing and implementing innovative programs in housing and community development.  This includes making and maintaining strong collaborative partnerships with stakeholders at multiple levels, including local and regional elected officials.

Experience and Attributes

The CEO position demands a visionary, mission-driven and highly skilled leader in a fast-paced environment with hard-working and dedicated staff.  Ideal candidates for this position will be seasoned affordable housing professionals that bring a variety of experiences and attributes to the role, including:

  • Deep commitment to and demonstrated support of Mutual Housing California’s core values, including resident engagement, leadership development and cultural inclusiveness.
  • Subject-matter expertise and track record in the field of affordable housing development.
  • Commitment to environmental sustainability; green building experience preferred.
  • Ability to articulate the value-add of the mutual housing model to a variety of audiences and a vision for how the mutual housing model can expand to new communities.
  • Collaborative, inclusive and open communication style; listens and respects different viewpoints.
  • Ability to serve as a bridge between and among staff, board members, public and private stakeholders and residents.
  • Experience fostering a positive work environment for employees.
  • Political acumen - able to build ties and relationships with public officials and balance these relationships with negotiating and advocating in support of policies and initiatives that will benefit Mutual Housing California’s constituents.
  • Able to leverage existing relationships and connections to grow Mutual Housing California’s presence and impact, as well as build new partnerships; experience in California markets is preferred but not required.
  • Strategic thinker who can balance new opportunities with an assessment of risk.
  • Honesty, compassion and integrity.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively work with Boards of Directors in furthering an organization’s mission.
  • Excellent public speaking and writing skills.
  • Bachelor’s degree required; Masters preferred.

Application Process

The Mutual Housing California Board of Directors has hired Raffa to assist with the executive search and transition. To apply, e-mail resume, cover letter and salary requirements to: mutualhousingca@raffa.com (e-mail applications are required and will only be accepted at this email address).  For other inquiries contact:

Jill Fioravanti, Search Consultant, Raffa

Salary will be competitive and commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits.

Resume reviews begin immediately. Interviews will begin this summer and Mutual Housing California anticipates announcing the selection of the new executive in fall 2017, with a start-date in January 2018.

Mutual Housing California seeks to provide equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, gender, gender appearance, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, age, disability or protected status.  Mutual Housing California fully complies with all applicable federal, state, and local anti-discrimination laws.




About Raffa PC:  Founded in 1984, Raffa is a woman-owned consulting and professional services firm whose mission is to be a catalyst for positive, systemic change. Dedicated to strengthening and supporting the nonprofit sector, the Firm and its affiliates now employ nearly 300 full-time employees who deliver an array of business consulting, search and managed infrastructure services to clients. Seventeen partners direct the Firm. Raffa’s client-centric, customized approach helps each client meet its potential and ensures each client’s success is sustained and maintained. Learn more about Raffa at www.raffa.com.