Full-Time Executive Director
ABOUT ELAWA FARM FOUNDATION
Elawa Farm is a public-private partnership dedicated to the preservation and stewardship of a unique combination of natural setting, designed landscapes, and buildings of architectural and historic significance. In 1998, the City of Lake Forest acquired a 16-acre parcel of land, including the original farm complex buildings that were part of an early 1900s gentleman’s farm, known as ELAWA FARM. Adjacent to ecologically significant Middlefork Savanna, this purchase created an opportunity for a unique partnership of public and private organizations to collaborate in the preservation and use of this property.
The mission of the Elawa Farm Foundation is to enrich the community through hands-on learning and by inspiring an appreciation for healthy living, gardening, and historic preservation. In support of this mission, Elawa Farm offers a variety of programs, most notably its Garden, Market, and Kitchen. The vegetables and flowers grown in the garden supply the Market and Kitchen, as well as a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. The market also sells products from the Elawa Kitchen, along with a variety of other locally-sourced artisan products. Additional programs include cooking and floral arranging classes, kids’ summer camps, and landscaping and sustainable living programs. Elawa Farm is also available as a private event venue.
Elawa Farm’s Executive Director is responsible for the overall management of the Foundation, including staff leadership, financial oversight, interfacing with the Board of Directors, and serving as the primary face of the organization for the community. The Executive Director serves as the strategic leader of the Foundation, reporting to the Board of Directors, managing a staff of six to develop, build, and grow programs. Additionally, the Executive Director and the Board President will serve as the primary liaisons with the city of Lake Forest to strengthen and update the public-private partnership that supports the Farm.
In addition to being a strong and collaborative leader and manager, the Executive Director will strategically guide the development of programs, and work to cultivate donors to support those programs as well as an endowment to ensure the sustainability of the Elawa Farm Foundation.
The Executive Director will lead a dedicated staff in raising the profile of this regional nonprofit, helping to expand into additional communities. They will work with an enthusiastic and involved Board of Directors to develop strategy and navigate the organization through the transition into a mature nonprofit. With the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will advise on updated bylaws and appropriate governance structure. The Executive Director is also responsible for managing the grounds and facilities that comprise Elawa Farm.
The ideal candidate will bring prior experience leading and developing programs, as well as the business acumen to lead a growing nonprofit. A high level of comfort serving as a public representative, and with cultivating and soliciting donors, will be necessary. Prior experience developing or managing public-private partnerships will be an asset.
The Executive Director will have the following primary responsibilities:
- Lead and manage a dedicated staff and Board of Directors in the ongoing growth and evolution of the Elawa Farm Foundation.
- Ensure the development of strong, engaging programs that appeal to the full spectrum of constituents in the greater Lake County, Illinois, area.
- Guide the growth and sustainability of Elawa Farm Foundation from both programmatic and operational standpoints; develop policies and systems to support this growth.
- Cultivate and engage donors to support the mission, programs, and endowment of Elawa Farm.
- Manage the partnership with the city of Lake Forest, the forest preserve, and the Wildlife Discovery Center to ensure mutually beneficial relationships across all entities.
- Ensure the fiscal sustainability and growth of Elawa Farm Foundation, including all budgeting and reporting, along with the financial staff and the Finance Committee of the Board of Directors.
- Establish partnerships with other organizations in Lake County, and nearby communities, to cultivate participation in Elawa’s programs and services
The ideal candidate will possess most of the following qualifications:
- A minimum of ten years of progressively responsible nonprofit experience.
- Business acumen, particularly a strong understanding of finance, budgeting, and reporting for a nonprofit organization.
- A collaborative and engaging personality with the ability to build positive relationships among a variety of constituents including staff, Board, donors, the city of Lake Forest and Forest Preserve, and the adjacent homeowners.
- An understanding of and interest in gardening and sustainability, as well as the preservation and stewardship of a historic site, is beneficial.
- Strong experience overseeing and developing creative programming in alignment with the organization’s mission, funding, and available expertise.
- Prior experience with fundraising and a high level of comfort in cultivating relationships with prospective donors; the ability to expand a potential donor base beyond Lake Forest.
- Experience with public-private partnerships, or serving as a liaison with a government entity, would be beneficial.
- An understanding of best practices in nonprofit management and board governance.
- A bachelor’s degree.