Executive Director, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF)

The Organization

Founded in 2003, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF) is a leading membership network that helps funders and investors strengthen connections within the sustainable agriculture and food systems community, foster collaboration with their peers, and build capacity to be more effective in their philanthropy and in their advocacy for change. SAFSF’s members include individual investors, private and corporate foundations, community foundations, regranting organizations, and impact investment organizations, approximately 100 organizations in all, operating throughout the U.S. and abroad. At the end of 2018, SAFSF transitioned from fiscal sponsorship to incorporation as their own 501(c)3 and evolved their governance from a Steering Committee to a Board of Directors. Today, SAFSF operates under five values of collaboration, equity, respect, stewardship, and integrity with a broadened interpretation of “sustainable” to encompass environmental, economic, and social concerns. With a $2 – 3 million annual operating budget, SAFSF consists of 11 talented full-time staff and 2 part time CBFN staff based across the United States.

Position Overview

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF) is a network of grant makers and investors working together to amplify the impact of philanthropic and investment communities in support of just and sustainable food and agriculture systems. SAFSF’s mission and vision are grounded in the belief that resources invested to support just and sustainable food and agriculture systems enhance our collective well- being. SAFSF combines the power of convenings, education, and public policy to mobilize funders around issues critical to rebuilding community food security and agricultural resilience to support and amplify work within all parts of the food and farming systems at the intersection of climate change and resilience, community health, equity and justice, and rural development.

This year, long-serving Founder/Executive Director, Virginia Clarke, announced her retirement after a long and successful tenure. At a critical moment of continued and sustained transformation, SAFSF seeks a dynamic, visionary, and equity-driven leader as its next Executive Director. The ideal candidate will be a strategic and tactical leader and expert relationship builder with a strong equity lens. They will bring 7+ years of philanthropic or nonprofit leadership experience in sustainable food and agriculture systems. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will work closely with board and staff to articulate and implement the next strategic direction for SAFSF’s work. The position requires a strong vision for the role of networks as agents of purposefully disruptive change as well as deep relationships with, and appreciation for, the funders and partners who are critical to advancing SAFSF’s mission.


The new Executive Director will join a dedicated staff team, a committed Board of Directors, a passionate membership, and a broader philanthropic and investment community working to advance just and sustainable food and agriculture systems. They will be a leading visionary who puts SAFSF’s vision and mission into action, inspires alignment across the network, and serves as an anchor building long-term financial security for the organization. Building on SAFSF’s strong reputation and leveraging the skills and talents of its staff, the new leader will set and drive the strategic direction and next level vision of the organization. Key opportunities for the next Executive Director include:

Strategic Visioning

  • Increase knowledge of and deploy best practices and strategies in mobilizing philanthropic and investment communities.
  • Lead and develop a robust, new strategic plan to redevelop SAFSF’s network model and define a new way of working in alignment with SAFSF’s mission and vision.
  • Advance a cohesive leadership vision that centers equity, environmental, economic, and social justice in the work that aligns staff, board, members, and partners.
  • Engage members, secure funding, manage partnerships, build new partnerships, and ensure implementation of new programs that build upon the mission, vision, and values of SAFSF.
  • Steward the connective relationships of the SAFSF network with an honest, authentic, and accountable approach and engage with all stakeholders across the sustainable food and agriculture sector.
  • Embody and actualize an organization-wide commitment to deep listening as well as working with and learning from members and partners.
  • Champion and support the continued development of SAFSF’s deepening policy work as a critical lever for systems level structural change.

Board Engagement and Development

  • Lead board development by fostering a culture of continued learning, engagement, transparency, and accountability to drive the sustained leadership and organizational effectiveness of SAFSF.
  • Partner with the board to identify current and future board leadership needs and cultivate relationships to support next level board membership and development.
  • Leverage and mobilize SAFSF’s passionate and engaged board to ensure transparency and accountability in organizational governance, financial health, and compliance.
  • Drive ongoing staff-board alignment and collaboration to advance organizational goals. Maintain open lines of communication between the board and staff and inspire the board to actively engage in organizational leadership activities.
  • Create pathways for the board to meaningfully connect with and understand the SAFSF Membership.

Fundraising and External Relationships

  • Represent SAFSF externally to funders, partners, the media, and sector leaders to share and build support for SAFSF’s strategic and transformative vision.
  • Partner closely with the board and staff to strengthen relationships with philanthropic and investment communities and individual donors to diversify and grow funding sources and to enhance strategic, mission-related investments.
  • Nurture existing and establish new alliances with funders, while empowering staff, board, and members to share in and advance SAFSF in this work.
  • Develop a customized fundraising strategy for SAFSF’s growing and evolving work in sustainable food, fiber, and agriculture systems.

Organizational Leadership

  • Inspire, unite, and mobilize the heart and driving force of SAFSF – a passionate and talented staff.
  • In partnership with senior leadership, foster a culture of transparency and shared leadership across all levels of the organization that empowers staff and champions their work.
  • Establish short and long-term goals, develop strategies and plans, and facilitate change management activities to ensure organizational alignment with SAFSF’s strategic direction.
  • Ground organizational processes and decision-making in values and shared accountability to ensure a thriving internal culture.
  • Ensure long-term stability and financial strength of SAFSF. Oversee the development of an annual budget; revenue generation and annual expenditures to meet budgetary goals; and ensure compliance with federal, state, and local regulations.


While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

  • Minimum 7 years of experience leading people, teams, and major bodies of high impact work through periods of significant change and/or growth in a senior leadership capacity for a multifaceted organization comparable in size and complexity.
  • Deep understanding of and commitment to building equitable, just, and sustainable agriculture and food systems change in the United States.
  • Experience working with and understanding of core functions of a network and/or membership organization.
  • Prior experience working directly with/within philanthropy, movement building organizations, investment organizations, and/or non-profit organizations in a position that included direct interaction with philanthropy.
  • Prior experience with an intersectional approach to equity and justice and the ability to think across systems and sectors to foster movement building and identify opportunities for collaboration and shared outcomes across movement partners and politically diverse networks.
  • Deep board-facing experience and foundational knowledge of nonprofit governance.
  • Demonstrated ability to align vision, strategy, and execution with various internal and external stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated resourcefulness in setting priorities, navigating change management, and proposing new ways of achieving desired outcomes through inclusive process.
  • Demonstrated experience as a versatile and effective fundraiser with a measurable track record of securing funding and sustaining deep relationships with funders.
  • Strong fiduciary and operational skills including developing and managing annual budgets in excess of $2 million, meeting multi-year fundraising targets, and demonstrating responsible management of expenditures to meet budgets.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully manage and nurture teams within a fully remote environment.
  • Strong convening and facilitation skills and an authentic interest in listening to and learning from others; ability to establish trust with a diverse set of stakeholders and a commitment to honoring and elevating diverse lived experience.
  • Advanced fluency in racial and gender justice and commitment to SAFSF’s values – collaboration, equity, respect, stewardship, and integrity.

Additional requirements include a willingness and ability to travel within the U.S. up to several times per year, including multiple times per month as needed.


The compensation range for this position is $170,000 – $220,000 and is commensurate with candidate experience. SAFSF also offers a compelling benefits plan that include paid medical, vision, dental, and prescription insurance; short and long-term disability; life insurance; retirement plan contributions; contributions to health and fitness, internet, cell phone, and home office set up costs including a Mac computer; half-day Fridays; and robust paid holiday, sick leave, and vacation accrual policies.

How To Apply

More information about SAFSF may be found at:

This search is being led by Emily Wexler and Sharon Gerstman of NPAG. Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s website.

If you need assistance and/or accommodation during the application or recruiting process due to a disability, please note that in your submission.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Equal Employment Opportunity:  SAFSF is a 501(c)(3) public charity that is committed to attracting, developing, and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding, and enables each of us to realize our potential. SAFSF’s work environment is open to all people, respecting the full spectrum of race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, and all other classifications protected by law in the locality and/or state in which you are working.

Sign up