Saturday, February 4, 2012

Food Project Executive Director

Executive Director

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The Food Project seeks a passionate, energetic, and highly skilled Executive Director to lead a pioneering organization that engages youth and communities in personal and social change through programs advancing food justice and promoting sustainable agriculture. The Executive Director will lead an organization with 20 years of history, a talented staff, a national reputation, a deep and wide network of supporters and volunteers, and a proven ability to achieve substantial and measurable results.

The Executive Director will provide strategic vision that will remain true to the mission and culture of this highly effective organization. Strong candidates will bring a deep and authentic passion for The Food Project’s work at the intersection of food, youth, and community, exceptional communications and leadership skills, a track record of fundraising success, and a commitment to the organization’s core operating principles:

  • All people have a right to healthy, affordable food.
  • Youth and adult partnerships are at the heart of our best work.
  • We are stewards of land, culture, and community ... and they, in turn, sustain us.
  • Our diversity – of experiences, backgrounds, and points of view – is our strength.
  • True learning is reciprocal and requires transparency, humility, and bold action.
  • o Innovations at the local level are the key to creating global transformation over time.
  • Good programs alone are not enough ... they must also lead to policy change.
  • This is hard work: it is vital to leave time for reflection and fun.


The Executive Director will be responsible for the following areas:

Vision and Strategy

  • Ensure the execution of The Food Project’s current Strategic Action Plan
  • Collaborate closely with Board of Trustees and staff to continually hone and execute a vision and plan of action for increased impact, long-term growth, and sustainability
  • Ensure that The Food Project’s mission and vision are fully articulated and shared by a wide range of internal and external stakeholders
  • Maintain and deepen The Food Project's strong organizational culture and values, in particular its commitment to strengthening a multicultural organization

Fundraising and External Communications

  • Drive the overall fundraising strategy; developing and executing strategies that ensure a sustainable and diverse funding stream, including cultivating and stewarding relationships with individual and institutional funders
  • Serve as the face of The Food Project nationally, regionally, and locally; speaking, writing, and advocating on behalf of the mission and vision
  • Build on The Food Project’s national reputation as a pioneer in integrating youth development with sustainable farming to raise visibility and attract new supporters
  • Deepen and strengthen existing partnerships with community partners and cultivate new partners when appropriate

Organizational Leadership

  • Overall management of and leadership to 30+ staff members across three locations in Eastern Massachusetts (Boston, Lincoln, and Lynn) and a $3.5 million budget
  • Serve as an inspiring and motivational leader to a highly skilled, diverse, and committed group of staff, youth, and external supporters
  • Directly supervise, mentor, and coach senior staff, including Managing Director, North Shore Regional Director, Director of Development, and Director of Communications
  • Ensure inclusive, transparent, and regular communication with all staff around organizational updates and priorities
  • Manage and strengthen culturally appropriate staff hiring and training processes that lead to deep engagement and accountability as well as personal and professional growth at all levels of the organization
  • Lead and model the organization’s commitment to honest and constructive feedback, both formally and informally, as a means of achieving organizational and personal growth and excellence

Board of Trustees

  • Collaborate with the Board to ensure execution of organizational strategy
  • Work as a partner with Board leadership to continually strengthen governance practices and Board composition
  • Develop and present recommendations to the Board for annual business plans and budgets
  • Provide regular updates to the Board on the status of program operations and finances
  • Work closely with the Board to ensure compliance with bylaws, policies, and directives


Strong candidates will offer the following skills and experiences:

  • At least 7 years of management experience in a complex, multifaceted social change organization
  • A track record of high-level strategic planning and decision-making
  • Proven track record of fundraising success with both public and private funds, a well-developed network of relevant contacts preferred
  • Strong operational and financial management skills, including the ability to manage a complex, multi-site organization and $3.5 million budget
  • Authentic passion for The Food Project’s work at the intersection of youth, food, and community
  • The ability to be an inspirational leader who can bring a diverse audience together around a vision and common goals
  • Excellent interpersonal and communications skills, including the ability to connect with the full spectrum of stakeholders integral to The Food Project, including parents, youth, funders, staff, and community partners
  • Effective partnership building skills, in particular the ability to forge strong relationships with community partners
  • Experience working closely with a Board of Trustees on governance, organizational development, strategic planning, and fundraising initiatives
  • Collaborative management style, including the ability to solicit input and feedback from a wide range of stakeholders and to make informed decisions and judgments

Additionally, strong candidates will also offer the following core personal characteristics and values:

  • A deep personal and professional commitment to diversity and multiculturalism
  • A sense of maturity, humility, and professionalism
  • The ability to build trusting relationships based on honesty and respect
  • A desire to work with passionate, committed colleagues who believe in their work, value their relationships, and also enjoy making time for reflection and fun

Compensation and Benefits

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.

To Apply

The Food Project has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Molly Brennan at

The Food Project is an EOE that is committed to creating a multicultural organization. We actively seek a diverse pool of candidates, including people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ applicants.

About The Food Project

The Food Project’s mission is to create a thoughtful and productive community of youth and adults from diverse backgrounds who work together to build a sustainable food system. Our community produces healthy food for residents of the city and suburbs, provides youth leadership opportunities, and inspires and supports others to create change in their own communities.

To fulfill this mission, we blend three program areas – youth development, community food access, and sustainable agriculture – into a synergistic model to achieve multiple, intertwining goals.

In our Local Youth Programs, approximately 140 teens from the cities of Boston and Lynn and the surrounding communities work closely with one another in year-round activities as they explore issues of food justice, develop personally and professionally as teenagers, engaged citizens, and young employees, and gain an understanding of the principles and practices of sustainable agriculture. In our Community Programs, youth partner with Food Project staff to increase access to fresh, healthy, local, and affordable food in underserved communities. Our Sustainable Agriculture and Enterprise Programs, from our 40+ acres of urban and suburban farmland to our 10,000 square-foot greenhouse in Roxbury, provide the foundation for all of this work. Through these programs, our staff and youth partner with nearly 3,000 volunteers to grow more than 250,000 pounds of fresh produce each year.

The Food Project is recognized as an innovator, and continues to develop new models for making “real food” available to more people. New programs—including our work with the national FoodCorps initiative—exemplify our push toward a new, collaborative Real Food Hub model, in which we work with partners such as community health centers, public elementary schools, and Head Start centers to concentrate on engaging targeted groups of families in multiple simultaneous programs, deepening our impacts and improving our ability to evaluate them in the long-term.

The Food Project also works as a resource center for organizations and individuals worldwide. We provide unique capacity building for organizations and educators who learn from The Food Project’s expertise through materials, youth training and professional development opportunities. Even projects completely unrelated to farming can draw on our methods for building inspired, diverse and productive youth communities.

For more information, visit

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained search and consulting firm that works exclusively with non-profits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners,