Hiring: Executive Director – Rutland Area Farm and Food Link

Who We Are

RAFFL, a non-profit organization based in Rutland, Vermont, is working to build connections that grow a strong agricultural economy and healthy community, envisioning a region that has a vibrant, interconnected and organized farm and food sector that benefits all residents. The organization started in 2007 as an ad-hoc working group formed to identify strategies for keeping farms active and profitable in our region.  RAFFL examines the food system as a whole both from the farmer and consumer perspective to find ways of better connecting the two.

Your Focus

The Executive Director is first and foremost a passionate advocate and champion of and for RAFFL’s mission to generate connections that build a strong agricultural economy and healthy community.  Critical to this role is the ability to foster and steward the essential relationships that are key to RAFFL’s goals and objectives. These relationships include RAFFL’s employees and volunteers, farmers and their supporters, government agencies and applicable NGO’s, as well as the local community and business leaders.  Trustworthiness, humility and a practical world view will prove essential characteristics to effectively lead this organization.

Your Primary Responsibilities

You will:

  • Be responsible for leading and managing the RAFFL organization including having overall strategic and operational responsibility for RAFFL’s staff, programs and outcomes.
  • Create, build, promote and champion relationships with the core internal group and external organizations necessary to RAFFL’s success.
  • Further the awareness of RAFFL in the local community and across the state.
  • Ensure organization has capacity to meet current and future community needs.
  • In conjunction with the board, review and refine RAFFL’s strategic plan, key programs and major projects.
  • Pursue funding sources to ensure a viable organization.
  • Organize, develop and empower staff and volunteers to fulfill RAFFL’s objectives.
  • Lead community outreach efforts.
  • Foster growth and efficacy of the board.
  • Oversee all financial operations and organizational assets.

Secondary Responsibilities

You will:

  • Direct community engagement & outreach:
    • Establish, foster and promote mission-oriented relationships and projects with state partners and other agricultural/regional development organizations.
    • Be actively informed about local food system development, including impediments and opportunities, in order to adjust RAFFL’s strategic direction and program offerings.
    • Respond to public inquiries and represent RAFFL at public events.
  • Direct fundraising & funds management:
    • Serve as primary fundraiser for RAFFL and direct the implementation of the fundraising strategy.
    • Serve as principal author of grant proposals; manage grants and reporting requirements.
    • Develop and maintain relationships with the funding community and with individual donors.
    • Work with the board’s development committee to secure future funding sources.
    • Manage the organization’s annual budget, with board oversight and approval.
    • Prepare and monitor the annual budget.
    • Inform and consult the board of any potential financial risk.
  • Ensure organizational effectiveness:
    • Lead organizational planning processes.
    • Track program goals, accomplishments and impacts.
    • Enhance organizational effectiveness and financial capacity for responding to community needs.
    • Provide consultative support to program staff and volunteers.
  •  Develop and manage staff:
    • Provide best practices in all aspects of human resource management including recruitment and hiring, on-boarding and training, compensation and benefits programs, performance development and management.
    • Maintain professional expertise of the team by encouraging professional development.
    • Facilitate and coordinate healthy communications amongst staff, including staff meetings, staff reports, organization-wide content management systems, and effective use of virtual communication tools.
    • Develop and employ staffing strategies to guide organizational capacity and growth.
    • Ensure staff compliance with all state and federal labor and IRS rules and regulations.
  • Manage board relationships and administration:
    • Maintain regular communication with the board and active committees including attending all board meetings.
    • Provide input regarding board meeting agendas and relevant materials for board meetings.
    • Coordinate board event logistics.

Your Qualifications and Skills

You bring to RAFFL:

  • Experience in leading a mission-driven organization, either in the for-profit or non-profit arena.
  • Knowledge of and passion for the food system including agricultural production, processing, delivery and distribution.
  • Ability to communicate effectively and foster relationships with diverse groups of stakeholders.
  • Proven ability to lead and manage a staff in a team-oriented environment.
  • Familiarity with the non-profit sector and with writing and securing grants.
  • Self-motivation and a sincere commitment to making an impact in one’s community.
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent education or experience in business or non-profit management, or related field. 

Your Position in RAFFL’s Structure

  • The Executive Director reports directly to the Board of Directors.
  • The Executive Director directly oversees the Financial Manager, Director of Communications and Community Programs, and other staff not supervised by the Director of Communications and Community Programs.

A Summary of RAFFL’s Programs

Locally Grown Guide

  • A free annual directory promoting access to southwestern Vermont’s local food system, which includes advertising for local enterprises as well as other marketing opportunities.

Farm Fresh Connect

  • A year-round on-line source of local products which provides access for employees of local businesses to purchase product from local farms and other producers.

Everyday Chef

  • Cooking classes, demonstrations and workshops as well as a blog designed to promote local, healthy eating.

Farm Business Development

  • One-on-one coaching and technical assistance as well as workshops, events and a blog provided to new farmers in the Rutland area. This program also connects land owners who have land to farm with new farmers who need land.

Glean Team

  • In partnership with The Vermont Food Bank, this program uses volunteer help to gather and donate surplus food product to food pantries to support local citizens in need.

Responsibilities – Targeted 6 month focus

In the first 90 days:

  • Develop immediate familiarity with RAFFL’s programs, key stakeholders and financial health.
  • Immerse in staff relationships, values and culture in order to provide an assessment of the staff’s current fit, capability and capacity.
  • Develop an understanding of all funding sources to identify weaknesses and new opportunities.

In the subsequent 90 days:

  • Provide a roadmap for expanding and solidifying key stakeholder relationships of RAFFL.
  • Identify growth with existing as well as opportunities for new fundraising sources in order to ensure long-term financial health of RAFFL.
  • Provide an organizational plan that will accomplish RAFFL’s goals and objectives.

Application Details

  • Position is open until filled.
  • No phone calls please. All questions should be submitted to and will be responded to by RAFFL’s Executive Search Committee.

On Vermont

The story of Vermont is one of understated superlatives.  It is the only state ever to have been placed, in its entirety, on the National List of America’s Most Endangered Places. National Geographic ranked Vermont 11th of the 115 highest quality destinations in the world.  Of all American states, Vermont is per capita among the safest, healthiest, happiest, smartest, most environmentally conscientious, and most socially compassionate. Vermonters proudly identify themselves as independent, self-reliant, earnest, hard-working, environmental stewards, and open-minded.

No one has ever expressed more finely the appreciation for our state than Vermonter Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States:

I love Vermont because of her hills and valleys, her scenery and invigorating climate, but most of all because of her indomitable people. They are a race of pioneers who have almost beggared themselves to serve others. If the spirit of liberty should vanish in other parts of the union and support of our institutions should languish, it could all be replenished from the generous store held by the people of this brave little state of Vermont.”

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