Executive Director Job Description


Grassroots International works in partnership with social movements to create a just and sustainable world by advancing the human rights to land, water, and food through global grantmaking, building solidarity across organizations and movements, and advocacy in the United States. We envision a world in which a universal commitment to the health and wellbeing of the earth and all its peoples, fueled by successful global movements for social, economic, and climate justice, has transformed production practices, consumption patterns, and economic and social relations to be based on sustainability, equity, and the rights to land, food, and water.  Our partnerships recognize that change is successful only when people in their own communities organize to confront the root causes of their problems.
The Executive Director works with the Board of Directors and staff to pursue this shared vision, and has overall responsibility for fundraising, program development, administration and finances, communications, and personnel matters of the organization.
Grassroots International has a current budget of $2.3M with longstanding programs in Brazil, Haiti, Mesoamerica and the Middle East. We have a strong 30+ year history of partnering with social movements in the Global South and serving as a bridge between these movements and their U.S. allies. The next Executive Director will have the opportunity to lead Grassroots International into the next period of growth and expansion.


  • Works closely with the Board and staff to develop and strengthen the political framework for Grassroots’ work, ensuring that all programs and areas of work are linked and in sync. 
  • Is the lead fundraiser for the organization, working with the development director to set fundraising goals, and to strategically cultivate and maintain strong donor relationships. 
  • Is a strategic and creative thinker, able to think “outside the box” to design and implement new fundraising opportunities.
  • Works directly with the Board and staff to set organizational priorities, and to implement the strategic plan, including meeting development goals. 
  • Serves as chief spokesperson for Grassroots ensuring the projection of a dynamic public image to media, policy makers, funders, and other priority constituents. 
  • Produces compelling written material and implements communication strategies including but not limited to blogs, reports, the annual report, and electronic newsletters. 
  • Reviews and signs off on all public representations of the organization’s work and public uses of the organization’s name. 
  • Supervises the Management Team and works collaboratively to develop and implement strategies that successfully meet long- and short- term objectives. 
  • Oversees the effective development and implementation of the organization’s administration and finance functions, including compliance with local, state and federal laws and in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
  • Oversees the development of the organization’s annual budget and mid-year adjustments as necessary. 
  • Acts as primary link between the Board of Directors and staff, ensuring that each has the support and information necessary to perform its role in the organization. 
  • Ensures a healthy, cohesive workplace and organizational culture.
  • Respect for difference whether racial, ethnic, class, sexual orientation, ability or gender. 
  • Ability to inspire and communicate effectively with funders and other constituencies that may have different ideologies and viewpoints. 
  • Ability to listen deeply, seek and accept feedback and recognize the importance of growing and developing oneself and others. 
  • Ability to be decisive and yet remain flexible, adaptive and collaborative. 
  • Has a good sense of humor and great interpersonal skills. 
  • Is curious and genuinely interested in others and in building strong relationships.


Qualifications/Knowledge/Skills and Capacity:

The Grassroots International main office is in Boston, Massachusetts. The Executive Director should expect to spend a bulk of their time in Boston.

The successful candidate will have:
  • A minimum of 5-7 years senior-level experience leading a nonprofit organization, or leading the division of a large nonprofit organization that incorporates major donor and foundation fundraising, staff supervision, budget development, and programmatic work. 
  • A demonstrated understanding of the role of grassroots social justice organizations, philanthropy, advocacy and communications efforts within larger social movements. 
  • A demonstrated ability to develop and implement creative strategies to raise money from a variety of sources, including foundations and individuals, to grow and expand a base of support. 
  • Significant experience in developing a strategic organizational vision and associated implementation and marketing plan. 
  • Strong public speaking and writing skills. 
  • The ability to communicate effectively with diverse stakeholders including individual and institutional donors, allied NGOs, program partners, government officials, and members of the general public. 
  • A significant understanding of current and emerging international development and human rights issues gained through international work experience, advanced study and public policy advocacy. 
  • The ability and desire to travel a significant amount internationally and domestically.
  • Must be able to legally work in the United States.
Please mail a current resume and a cover letter addressing your interest in the position to SEARCH4GRI@grassrootsonline.org  no later than Friday, September 12, 2014. Please add your name to the subject line.
All questions regarding the search can be addressed to Ellen Gurzinsky, Search Consultant at ellengurz@yahoo.com

Application deadline: September 12, 2014

Start date: November 15, 2014 (All day)