Executive Director (SF)

Who We Are:

Since 2012, Schoolyard Farms (SYF) has worked tirelessly toward its mission to build healthy communities by teaching kids how to grow nutritious food that goes from their schoolyard to their plate. In this time, SYF has worked in partnership with two Title I schools in the Milwaukie-area to build and manage working farms on their schoolyards.  SYF empowers students through weekly lessons in food-production, nutrition, science and more, and increases their access to fresh produce through monthly tastings of fruits and vegetables. SYF engages the broader community through a farm-based summer camp, a field trip program that brings neighboring schools to their school farms, and a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program that makes the school-grown produce available to community members throughout the Portland-metro area. In 2016, SYF: taught 1,178 students where their food comes from, how to grow it and cook it; put 1.5 acres of school land into fruit and vegetable production; harvested over 6,000 pounds of produce from their school farms; sampled Oregon-grown fruits and vegetables to 700 students at three schools each month; hosted 15 field trips with neighboring schools, making the school farms accessible to 450 more students per year; provided summer camp to over 60 youth; and had 109 volunteers donate 1,595 hours to help build a healthier community.

Who You Are:

You are passionate about Schoolyard Farms’ mission and are eager to convince both stakeholders and prospective supporters of the urgency and impact of our work. You are an established front-line fundraiser. You are an outstanding and adaptive communicator. You are a great team builder who can inspire your growing staff to deliver excellent service while you effectively delegate tasks that will improve operations. You are skilled at researching and identifying funder priorities and reflecting those interests in your conversations with individuals from a variety of backgrounds. You demonstrate expertise in development strategies and techniques, including cold prospecting, cultivation, closing gifts, and delivering exceptional stewardship. You possess strong organizational skills, an exceptional attention to detail, and are comfortable juggling multiple projects, tight deadlines and a rapid pace of work in a growing organization. You bring a customer service orientation to funders and your colleagues, anticipating and responding promptly to their requests and needs. You are highly independent and can work remotely from your team. You are motivated by the idea of helping people invest in our children, and leveraging Schoolyard Farms as their investment vehicle. You have a commitment to diversity and inclusion with a desire to work for health equity and social and racial justice. You preferably have experience connecting philanthropists to underserved communities, and bring a significant level of maturity and sensitivity to discussing the needs of underserved communities with funders.

About the Position:

Schoolyard Farms seeks an exceptionally motivated and experienced nonprofit professional to lead, strategically guide and build on our existing programs in the Portland-metro area.  With previous experience working with and fundraising for underserved communities, and managing a small organization, this individual will be able to bring a diverse skill set and viewpoint to the discussion table around social and racial justice.  Reporting to our Board of Directors and working closely with the Program Manager, the Executive Director will lead, develop and implement fundraising strategies to grow Schoolyard Farms' base of donors with a primary focus on raising funds from individuals, foundations and corporations that have a local or regional approach to their philanthropy. Overseeing the staff, and supported by the SYF Board, the Executive Director is the organization’s chief spokesperson and external relationship-builder, and is responsible for coordinating and directing daily operations.

This is a part- to full-time position, depending on your level of experience, based in our Portland, Oregon office. Our ideal start date for this position is August 14th, 2017. Special events may sometimes require weekend or evening work.


Furthering Strategic Agenda Through Leadership and Vision:

  • Grow the organization by leading SYF development efforts.

○   Achieve ambitious fundraising goals by growing and stewarding a portfolio of donors and grant funders utilizing a moves management approach

○   Partner closely with our current funders and local partners to build a diverse pipeline of donors consisting of individuals and institutions

○   Organize site visits, cultivation events, and donor engagement opportunities that foster not just philanthropic investment, but programmatic partnership with donors

○   Create communication and media opportunities in the Portland-metro area

  • Provide senior-level leadership as you grow Schoolyard Farms. Partner closely with the Board of Directors and Program Manager to build a top-notch direct service program that aligns with Board policy and staff resources in fulfillment of SYF’s mission

Ensure operational excellence

  • Cultivate an organizational culture characterized by a commitment to quality, service, outcomes, and our core values of teamwork and respect.
  • Provide clear direction, leadership and motivation to the operating/program team.
  • Ensure effective administrative management of SYF, including managing finances, office space, and signing all notes and agreements entered into on behalf of the organization. 



  • At least five years professional experience in a non-profit leadership capacity
  • Proven record of soliciting and closing gifts from major donors, foundations and corporations
  • Experience in or knowledge of creating portfolios and building pipelines from scratch
  • Sensitivity and diplomacy in working with and fundraising alongside local nonprofit partners
  • Thorough understanding of development philosophies, concepts and techniques, including prospect research, cultivation, solicitation, negotiation and closing gifts
  • Commitment to diversity and inclusion with a desire to work toward health equity and social and racial justice
  • Knowledge of or interest in food systems, national service, education and related issues
  • Strength in multi-tasking, goal-setting, prioritization and project management
  • Clear communication skills to enable collaboration with local and remote staff
  • Ability to work independently, setting your own schedule and creating and executing engagement opportunities
  • Must excel in a deadline-driven, high-accountability role and be self-motivated to succeed
  • Familiar with a current CRM software e.g. Salesforce or Raiser’s Edge
  • College degree, or equivalent work experience
  • Knowledge of Oregon’s philanthropic community preferred

Compensation and Benefits:

Schoolyard Farms pays salaries that are competitive with nonprofits of our budget size and geographic location, and offers generous vacation time.

How to apply:

Applications will be accepted until our ideal candidate is identified. To be considered, submit your résumé, cover letter and salary requirements to [email protected]

People of color, people with disabilities, veterans and LGBTQ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.  Schoolyard Farms is committed to a diverse workplace, and to supporting our staff with ongoing career development opportunities. Schoolyard Farms is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in its employment decisions. Schoolyard Farms provides reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees as required by law. Applicants with disabilities may request reasonable accommodation at any point in the employment process.

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