Employment Opportunities at Theodore Payne

Posted September 20, 2013

Position Description

Executive Director  – Theodore Payne Foundation


Job Summary/Position


Reporting to the Board of Directors and managing a current staff of 17 and overseeing management of a volunteer program consisting of over 250, the Theodore Payne Foundation Executive Director serves as the chief executive officer of TPF. The Executive Director’s primary responsibilities are to provide visionary leadership for TPF, manage strategic planning, fundraising and outreach efforts, and supervise operations and programs, including budgeting and finance, program development, staff supervision, and resource development.

TPF seeks an Executive Director who effectively engages the Board, staff, donors, members, and other stakeholders to build relationships that advance TPF’s long-term growth and sustainability. While remaining true to the Foundation’s mission and vision, the Executive Director works to increase TPF’s visibility and presence in the greater Los Angeles area, and builds strategic alliances within the native plant community and with other relevant public and private organizations. The Executive Director plays a key role in working with the Board to chart the direction of the Foundation and ensure its accountability to all constituencies.



Principal Accountabilities


Strategic Planning

  • Responsible for working as a team with the Board to create and implement a 3-5 year strategic plan for the Foundation.  

  • Lead Board, staff, and volunteers in the implementation of the strategic plan to maximize its effectiveness and ensure organizational consistency. 

  • Monitor the successes and challenges of the strategic plan implementation and recommend adjustments and changes as necessary to fulfill the plan’s goals. 

  • In concert with the Board, plan new initiatives and organizational growth to further realize TPF’s mission and vision. 


Communications and Outreach

  • The Executive Director will act as the primary spokesperson for TPF, and is  responsible for creating a communications, marketing and public relations strategy to raise the Foundation’s visibility.  

  • Promote and represent the Foundation’s mission, goals, and values to donors, members, the media, the general public, governmental bodies, and environmental organizations. Strategically build community partnerships with key organizations to advance the Foundation’s goals and vision.  

  • Advise staff and Board members on Foundation communications. To ensure a consistent message, the Executive Director will provide staff and Board members accurate, up-to-date information on the status of the Foundation and its key initiatives. 

  • Serve as the interface between staff and the Board.   

  • Facilitate internal and external communications, and coordinate all marketing, communications, public relations activities, and materials, including publications and media relations, in collaboration with the Board of Directors. 

  • Test and evaluate the effectiveness of communications activities and make changes as appropriate to reach the widest possible audience. 

  • Coordinate and organize programs and events that engage the Foundation’s audiences. 

  • Manage all media contacts. 

  • Coordinate social media and webpage maintenance; ensure that new and consistent information (article links, stories, and events) is posted regularly. Mentor and lead the staff member responsible for website administration and coordination. 


Organizational Management and Operations

  • Manage the day-to-day operations of the Foundation’s core programs including the retail nursery and educational offerings; develop operations policies; prepare annual work plan for programs, products, and service delivery.  Ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, including the conditions of the zoning variances. 

  • Responsible for the Foundation’s human relations functions; ensure that personnel policies and procedures fully comply with current laws and regulations. Recruit, hire, supervise, motivate, and evaluate staff and volunteers.  Work as a team builder to create and maintain high staff morale and productivity. Ensure human resource capacity to meet current and future needs.    

  • Oversee volunteer program management, and coordination to meet organizational needs. 
  • Develop and assess Foundation programs; negotiate contracts and monitor contractors’ performance; monitor and ensure quality of programs, products and services; prepare and/or review grant proposals, and ensure compliance with grant guidelines and requirements; manage projects as required. 

  • Manage the Foundation’s facilities; monitor condition of buildings and property; coordinate and supervise improvements from the bid/estimate stage through completion.   


Budget and Finances

  • In cooperation with the Treasurer and Finance Committee, manage the financial resources of the Foundation to optimize their use to achieve organizational goals and fulfill TPF’s mission. 

  • Develop annual budget for Board approval; actively monitor the budget throughout the year and prepare financial reports for the Board with the assistance of the Treasurer. 

  • Preparation and filing all reports required by funding organizations. 

  • Review annual IRS Form 990 tax return, prepared by TPF’s outside accountant; present to Board for approval. 


Fundraising and Donor Development

  • Work with the Board and the Marketing and Fundraising Development Committee to envision and plan the Foundation’s long-term fundraising and resource development plan. 
  • Develop and implement an annual fundraising plan with specific goals; prepare and monitor annual fundraising budget; identify resource requirements; monitor progress toward fulfilling stated goals; report regularly to the Board and the Marketing and Fundraising  Committee. 

  • Oversee the preparation of fundraising materials; monitor effectiveness of content and messaging and make adjustments as necessary. 

  • Lead and motivate the Board and staff in all fundraising activities, including membership development, donor cultivation, direct solicitations, and special events. 

  • Research funding sources; prepare and submit proposals. 

  • Administer fundraising records; supervise all donor communications, including required tax documentation. 


Other Duties, as assigned




  • Bachelor's Degree required.  

  • Three to five years of progressively responsible nonprofit management experience, ideally in a leadership role, including fundraising, budget and fiscal management, and supervisory responsibilities. Ability to work cooperatively and effectively with a Board of Directors, staff, donors, volunteers, and members. 

  • Excellent relationship- and team-builder across diverse constituencies, including current and future donors, members, Board, staff, volunteers, the public, and other public and private organizations. 

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills. 

  • Experience and ability to develop, manage, and monitor budgets and conduct long-term financial planning.  

  • Demonstrated success at building, leading, and inspiring a staff to ensure high morale and optimal productivity. 

  • Experience and demonstrated success at fund and donor development for a nonprofit organization. 

  • Working knowledge of marketing, public relations, social media, and advertising principles and practices, especially as used in nonprofit organizations. 

  • Experience planning and managing special events, preferably for a nonprofit organization. 

  • Knowledge of current office technology, including social media; ability to use computers and computer databases.  

  • Ability to manage multiple projects and deadlines. 

  • Ability to work a varied schedule, including some nights and weekends. 

  • Satisfactory completion of a 90-day probationary period.  



  • Graduate degree in business, nonprofit management, or related field. 

  • Experience working with boards of directors and volunteers. 

  • Knowledge of and passion for California native flora. 

  • Experience with retail nursery management. 




The Theodore Payne Foundation is a non-profit nursery and educational organization whose mission is: to promote, preserve and restore California native landscapes and habitats; propagate and make available native plants and wild flowers; and educate and acquire knowledge about California flora and natural history.  The Foundation has approximately 2500 paying members and an outreach to nearly 6000 via its online newsletter; it has a paid staff of 17 and a corps of 250 volunteers.  The Foundation owns and operates a 22 acre nursery and educational facility in Sun Valley in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, CA and has an operating budget of over $1 million.  Major activities include operating 6 days a week for nursery/seed room and other retail sales, plant propagation, adult education and K-12 nature education classes, an annual native plant garden tour with 2000 attendees at 40 gardens, fall and spring plant sales, as well as donor, member, and volunteer  appreciation events.   Outreach activities include a quarterly newsletter, a web page, an online newsletter, a Facebook page, and offsite sales at farmers markets and the LA County Arboretum.  The Executive Director operates under the direction of the Foundation’s Board of Directors and is supervised directly by the Board’s Executive Group.



To apply:
Potential candidates should email a resume and a cover letter outlining relevant experience and education to searchcommittee@theodorepayne.org. No phone inquiries, please.

also see Volunteering