Apply for the Executive Director Position

Food First Executive Director

Job Description:

The Institute for Food and Development Policy—better known as Food First—is a member-supported, non-profit “people’s’” think-and- do tank. Our mission is to end the injustices that cause hunger. We work with grassroots and front line food justice, food sovereignty and food system change initiatives to learn about their on-the-ground struggles and needs; to educate the general public about these issues; and to amplify the voices of these groups and communities working to end hunger and environmental destruction. We believe that we can contribute to social justice through sustained education and advocacy that can create the necessary political will to change the injustices that cause poverty, hunger and environmental destruction.

The Food First Executive Director will have a track record that demonstrates the following abilities:

  • Demonstrated commitment to the values and mission of Food First.
  • Proven ability to connect with and learn from people in Food First’s areas of concern.
  • Proven writing and communication skills.
  • The ability to connect with a variety of audiences, from front line food justice workers to academics and policy makers and the general public.
  • Demonstrated ability to organize and oversee successful fundraising from diverse sources, including foundations and individual donors.
  • Demonstrated ability in nonprofit management, including both staff and financial management.

The ideal candidate will be an energetic and collaborative leader with excellent management and supervisory skills, and will also possess a strong combination of the following qualities:

  • Experience in public interest, coalition, or grassroots organizing.
  • Demonstrated ability to work creatively with a Board of Trustees in setting the strategic direction of the organization and ensuring sound organizational and financial management.
  • Fluency in a second language (preferred).
  • MSc. or Ph.D. in a related field.
  • At least 5 years in senior leadership positions (preferred).
  • Publication and media experience.

Executive Director Duties and Responsibilities:

General Responsibilities

Chief Executive Officer of the Institute

  • Recommend policy for board review and action.
  • Implement all policies adopted by the board.
  • Works closely and collegially with the board and its committees.


  • Recruit and maintain a competent, committed staff.
  • Oversee the day-to-day operations of the Institute

Fundraising and Development

  • With program and development staff, raise funds to meet the annual budget of the Institute.


  • Provide strong staff leadership with ability to guide and inform staff regarding key food system issues.
  • Establish and maintain strong working relationships with food system leaders in the United States, primarily, and internationally.

Primary Duties

Program and External Relations 30%

  • Supervises the development and implementation of a strategy for creating and maintaining strong collaborative relationships with external organizations.
  • With board chair, is the lead spokesperson for the organization.
  • Networks with organizations whose work is compatible and complimentary to the Food First mission.
  • Leads and supervises the research, planning, development, implementation and evaluation of programs.
  • Evaluates Food First programs with regard to their purpose, fiscal sustainability, and community impact.

Fundraising and Finance 30%

  • Recommends an annual budget for board review and approval.
  • Ensures that adequate funds are raised to operate the organization and to maintain a solvent financial position.
  • Maintains a sound fiscal management system including budgeting, accounting, reporting and auditing activity.

Personnel and Management 25%

  • Oversees administrative (human resources, office management, facility and technology), fiscal (resource development and fiscal management) and program operations.
  • Ensures that regular performance evaluations are conducted of all personnel as outlined in the personnel policy manual.
  • Conducts periodic evaluations of the administrative and program operations.
  • Mobilizes board, staff, and volunteers to implement the administrative and fund development components of the strategic plan.
  • Hires, mentors, supervises, trains, evaluates, promotes, and fires staff members in accordance with adopted personnel policies.

Strategic Planning 10%

  • Works with the board and staff to develop a strategic plan defining the future direction of the organization.
  • Leads the staff in developing long-range and annual plans with budget and measurable outcomes and strategies.

Governance 5%

  • Provides support for the board to carry out its management and fiduciary responsibilities.
  • Implements policy decisions of the board to attain new goals, improve performance standards and/or correct problems.

Salary and Benefits: commensurate with experience. In-house benefits package includes medical, dental, and vision.

To Apply: Send resume or CV with three references, cover letter, samples of popular and academic writing to:

Executive Director Search Committee
Institute for Food and Development Policy
398 60th Street
Oakland, CA 94618

Or, email to

Food First is an equal opportunity employer. Women, people of color, and people from historically marginalized backgrounds are encouraged to apply.