Executive Director

New Pioneers for a Sustainable Future – Springfield, Kentucky


Organizational Background

New Pioneers for a Sustainable Future is seeking a visionary leader to serve as Executive Director. New Pioneers is in its 15th year as a premiere community-based nonprofit organization working for sustainability in rural central Kentucky. With several hundred members and a history of establishing dynamic relationships and programs, New Pioneers plays an integral role in the local communities served by its mission.

Our mission is to promote sustainable thinking and sustainable development in rural central Kentucky, with a focus on Washington, Marion, and Nelson Counties. We believe that by focusing our efforts in these rural central Kentucky counties, we can serve as a model for other rural communities in Kentucky and beyond. We carry out our mission through programs that educate, demonstrate, and advocate for sustainability.

Executive Director Position

Sister Claire McGowan, New Pioneers’ founder and Executive Director since 2005, will retire in the spring of 2020, creating an exciting opportunity for an energetic and visionary new leader to expand and strengthen the organization.  

In this moment of crises at the regional, national and global levels, it is more important than ever that effective local organizations with well-qualified leaders mobilize citizens for the kind of change and action that will make a positive difference for the sustainability of our world. Acknowledging the importance of the executive director position, New Pioneers has engaged in intensive fundraising efforts to create a significant transition fund that will provide stability as the new Executive Director explores and implements future approaches to financial sustainability.


The Executive Director is the key leader and manager of New Pioneers responsible for leading the development and implementation of the strategic plan; safeguarding and ensuring financial and legal viability; providing direction and resources for the governance role of the Board of Directors; and supervising organizational operations. It is also essential that the Executive Director cultivate a culture of trust to ensure successful partnerships and alliances with individuals, families, organizations and elected leaders in the varied communities we serve.

Strategic Planning and Implementation

  • Work in tandem with the Board of Directors to set strategic direction, determine realistic expansion goals, facilitate action plans to reach goals, and monitor progress. This requires maintaining a dynamic stability between constraining and aspirational forces.
  • Educate oneself continuously regarding developments that enhance or threaten ecological sustainability and its intersections with economic, social, and family sustainability, especially within the local area.
  • Coordinate and oversee the implementation of programs that promote the mission of New Pioneers. Successful programs have included community-based forums, workshops, green festivals, recycling programs, green home certifications, school-based programs, filmmaking, and community-building activities.
  • Ensure programmatic excellence through effective systems to track program outcomes, and communicate these regularly with the Board, funding partners, the members, and other constituents.
  • Provide leadership for and/or collaboration with community and regional initiatives that further the mission, such as land conservation through the Sacred Lands Roundtable and plastic waste reduction projects.
  • Maximize external presence and relationships to garner new opportunities as appropriate, realistic, and feasible.
  • Build bridges as feasible across political, religious, ethnic, cultural, gender, age, class divisions in communities.

Key Strategic Plan Goals
for 2018-2020 include:

  • Expanding and enhancing NP’s role as a central resource for community sustainability.
  • Increasing visibility and impact of programming, including expanding into Nelson and Marion counties.
  • Growing and diversifying membership.
  • Strengthening New Pioneers organizational and financial sustainability.

Financial and Legal Oversight

  • Oversee and/or perform all aspects of financial administration; budgeting, banking, bookkeeping, bill payment, legal and reporting requirements, taxes, insurance, and membership record-keeping.
  • Oversee the work of the bookkeeper and corroborate the accuracy of the completed financial reports. Meet regularly with the Finance Committee/Treasurer for further oversight of the finances of the organization.
  • Identify and cultivate major gift opportunities, and build relationships with potential funders and institutional/corporate partners to ensure organizational growth and vitality.
  • Continue community-building fundraising activities that also contribute to education and advocacy. Current annual programs with this focus include the Green Festival, the Empty Bowl supper, and Farm to Table dinners.
  • Expand revenue-generating and fundraising activities, locally and through grants, to support program operations and expansion.

Management of Board Governance

  • Work with the Board of Directors to develop, maintain, and support a strong Board of Directors. Serve ex-officio on committees, seek and build Board involvement for ongoing local operations and regional efforts.
  • Schedule monthly meetings with the Board of Directors, coordinate development of the meeting agenda, and maintain an organized, active and open communication with the Board.
  • Respond constructively with plans for change (as appropriate) to evaluations of the Executive Director by the Board of Directors.

Supervision of Operations

  • Strengthen all modes of communications—including web presence, E-lists, social media and traditional media, in-person contacts, and distributed annual reports — with the goal of enhancing the organization’s mission and creating a stronger more vibrant brand in the eyes of members, community leaders, funders, and the general public.
  • Engage, develop, retain, and expand New Pioneers members, volunteers, event committees, partnering organizations, and funders.
  • Ensure that the organization adheres to policies and procedures as established in the by-laws.
  • Supervise and manage staff (currently less than 1.0 FTE), including hiring, work delegation, scheduling, training, and performance evaluation.
  • Ensure that the organization adheres to human resources laws and regulations.

Qualifications & Experience

The Executive Director will be committed to New Pioneers’ mission, with a vision for bringing a sustainability agenda to rural regions. All candidates should have proven leadership, administrative, and relationship-building experience. The ideal candidate will have other qualifications including:

  1. Bachelor’s Degree plus substantial experience and knowledge in the area of ecological sustainability or related field
  2. Ability to successfully manage and work with a committed Board
  3. Experience in successfully leading ongoing strategic planning and in monitoring progress in meeting goals.
  4. Strong written and verbal communication and public relations skills, with the ability to broker and maintain a wide range of relationships
  5. Ability to manage and expand media and social media presence; versatility and competence in using and/or learning digital media and software
  6. Demonstrated experience in fundraising, marketing, and business development, and/or the desire to build through mentorship on an existing foundation of these skills
  7. Demonstrated ability and success in obtaining grant funding, or ability to oversee a team capable of identifying grant funding sources and completing successful grant submissions
  8. Adept at organizational management with the ability to hire and coach a small staff and manage and develop high-performance teams of volunteers.
  9. Experience in meeting the legal and tax obligations of not-for-profit organizations
  10. Familiarity with rural regions, and eagerness to learn about rural Kentucky and live within the region served by New Pioneers.


Salary is based on experience and competitive with sector norms. Benefits include health plan compensation, educational and sick leave, paid vacation time.

Statement of Non-Discrimination

New Pioneers encourages applications from all qualified individuals and does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion, background, culture, country of origin, sexual orientation, disability.

Application Process

Send a cover letter highlighting your strengths for this position, your resume, and three professional references to Anne Harrison, President, Board of Directors, New Pioneers for a Sustainable Future.

Applications accepted through June 7.