Washington, DC

Executive Director, Food & Friends

The Organization
Food & Friends is built on a simple premise: people with life-challenging illnesses deserve nutrition and compassion.  Founded in 1988, Food & Friends started with 20 volunteers enlisted to deliver 15 meals per day.  Today, Food & Friends has its own state-of-the-art kitchen and pantry facility, and new programs to meet the changing needs of people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other life-challenging illnesses in the Greater Washington area from its headquarters in Northeast DC.

With a budget of approximately $10 million, Food & Friends delivers nearly one million meals per year to health challenged community members in need of access to medically coordinated nutrition, the majority of which are low income community members.  Food & Friends operations and growth have been led by its Executive Director of 24 years, Craig Shniderman, who plans to retire at the end of 2018.

Food & Friends is at the cutting edge of the Food is Medicine movement.  The enormous potential of its work was underscored in 2016 by the completion of the Diabetes Pilot Project, which was done in conjunction with the George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates’ Heart and Vascular Institute.  The results of the project showed how Food & Friends’ service is critical to managing chronic illness, reducing hospitalizations, and improving health outcomes.

Food & Friends provides three core services: home delivered meals, groceries-to-go, and nutrition counselling.  Specifically, Food & Friends core mission is to improve the lives and health of people HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other serious illnesses by:

  • Preparing and delivering specialized meals and groceries tailored to each of its client’s unique medical and dietary needs Providing nutritional counselling and wellness education that enhances its clients’ quality of life
  • Creating a strong sense of community for  clients, volunteers , and supporters, which is focused on reducing the social isolation that often comes with serious illnesses, and
  • Providing meaningful opportunities for neighbors to help neighbors in need

In 2017, Food & Friends embarked on an ambitious, four-year strategic plan to create a solid foundation for the next phase of the organization.

More information about the critical work taking place at Food & Friends can be found at https://www.foodandfriends.org/

Position Overview

The Role
Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director (ED) will be responsible for leading a team of 55 employees and thousands of volunteers to deliver meals and hope to its clients in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.  The ED will have the primary responsibility of providing the strategic and operational leadership and will work collaboratively with the staff and Board to develop and implement Food & Friend’s vision pertaining to programs, partnerships, and revenue generation in support of its mission.  Above all, s/he will be passionate about the Food & Friends mission.

The ED will be an exceptional leader who brings operational excellence, intellectual breadth, convening power, and practical experience with the nonprofit, philanthropic, and business sectors.  The ideal candidate will have demonstrated successful management of a large, diverse, and complex organization, with strong skills in fundraising/revenue generation and cost controls for improved operational efficiency.  S/he will have experience working closely with board leadership, staff, and external constituents to achieve ambitious goals.

The ED must be a leader with an entrepreneurial mindset and have the ability to establish a collaborative and supportive working environment that fosters trust and teamwork.  S/he will be the primary spokesperson for Food & Friends in communicating its mission, vision, and goals to internal and external constituents.  Bringing passion to the role, the ED will communicate standards and principles that guide the organization.  To achieve a high-performing work environment, this leader must also ensure workplace and food safety standards are met throughout its many operations.

This leader will work with staff and the Board of Directors to drive results and deepen its community impact.  The successful candidate will listen to, and learn from, key stakeholders inside and outside the organization.  S/he will lead the culture of the organization, and attract top talent.  The ED will have outstanding communication skills, both written and verbal, and the ability to represent the organization effectively across a diversity of audiences and can mobilize key constituents, such as individual and corporate donors to action.

Primary responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

  • Lead the efficient and effective daily execution of Food & Friend’s mission, preparation, and delivery of meals, groceries, and nutritional services, to clients.
  • Manage existing partnerships and coalitions to enhance Food & Friends’ ability to deliver on its mission, including partnerships with government funding sources (e.g. grants).
  • Serve as the main fundraiser of the organization and build institutional capacity; understand the interests, needs and capacities of different types of donors (e.g., individuals, corporations, institutions, and foundations).
  • Further develop the organization’s position as a leader in the Food as Medicine movement as it relates to food education, preparation, delivery and related services.
  • Serve as a thought leader, pushing forward new ideas and managing a high-performing staff and complex operation.
  • Maintain, develop, and manage internal operations to be productive, inspired, effective, and fiscally sound.
  • Bring a deep passion for the mission of Food& Friends, and a shared pride in the impact the organization has on the community.

Candidate Profile
Food & Friends seeks a highly effective, experienced, credible, strategic, enthusiastic, relationship and community-oriented leader to build on the current success of Food & Friends.  The successful candidate will demonstrate the capacity for leadership through vision, communication, action, and passion for the mission of Food & Friends and the community it serves.

In terms of the performance and personal competencies required for the position, we would highlight the following:
Community Engagement, Building Partnerships, & Influence

  • Naturally connects and builds strong relationships with others, demonstrating strong emotional intelligence and an ability to communicate clearly and persuasively.
  • Adept at listening, informing, and contributing to a strategic vision, coupled with a willingness to be accountable for the oversight of implementation.
  • Ability to inspire trust and followership in others through compelling influence, powerful charisma, passion, and active drive.
  • Passionate for creating access to Food & Friend’s mission and the Food as Medicine movement.

Leadership & Management

  • High level of cultural acuity, emotional intelligence, empathy, integrity, and sense of humor.
  • Ensure the daily execution of the Food & Friends mission of delivering nutritious food and services to its clients
  • Charismatic and diplomatic, with the maturity, interpersonal skills, and intellect.
  • Ability to measure and report on outcomes and impact of partnerships by ensuring the appropriate performance management systems and metrics are in place to track performance against agreed upon goals.
  • Ensure workplace and food safety; leadership experience working in complex and compliance-oriented organizations.
  • Set priorities decisively, delegate responsibilities, assure accountability, and allocate resources appropriately to ensure sustainable results through excellent execution.
  • Ability to lead by example and drive the organization’s performance with an attitude of continuous improvement by being open to feedback and self-improvement.

Fundraising & Business Development

  • Significant experience with and/or aptitude to fundraise with individual, corporate, institutional, and foundation donors.
  • Demonstrated ability to strategically partner in the development of transformative gift ideas while also managing a development program designed to build lifelong donor relationships at every gift band.
  • Proven ability to cultivate new revenue streams, including grants in aid.
  • Successfully engage Board of Directors in fundraising activities on an ongoing basis.

Strategic Acumen

  • Entrepreneurial and creative approach to developing new, innovative ideas that will stretch the organization and push the boundaries within the industry.
  • Inclined to seek and analyze data from a variety of sources to support decisions and to align others with the organization’s overall strategy.
  • Able to effectively balance the desire/need for broad change with an understanding of how much change the organization is capable of handling, to create realistic goals and implementation plans that are achievable and successful.
  • Pursues data from a variety of sources to support decisions and to align others with the organization’s overall strategy.

Interpersonal Skills & Passion

  • Able to persevere in the face of challenges, and exhibit a steadfast resolve and relentless commitment to higher standards, which commands respect from followers.
  • Personal commitment to diversity and inclusion
  • Comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainly; able to adapt nimbly and lead others through complex situations.
  • Encourage others to share the spotlight and visibly celebrates and supports the success of the team.
  • High degree of integrity and forethought in his/her approach to making decisions; able   to act in a transparent and consistent manner while always taking into account what is best for the organization.

How To Apply
This search is being conducted by John McNaught and Jamie Hechinger of Russell Reynolds Associates. Nominations and applications including a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, and your resume (in Word or PDF format) should be submitted to FoodandFriends@RussellReynolds.com on or before July 13, 2018. Email submission required.

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