Maine Philanthropy Center

Building Connections for Maine Grantmakers

Cultivating Community seeks Executive Director

Monday, November 14, 2022

The board of directors of Cultivating Community in Portland, Maine, has renewed its search for the organization’s next executive director. The board seeks a collaborative leader and proven manager with the strengths, vision and values needed to deepen the impact of this highly regarded nonprofit in the years ahead. Cultivating Community grows sustainable communities by expanding access to healthy, local food; empowering children, youth, and adults to play diverse roles in restoring the local, sustainable food systems; and modeling, teaching, and advocating for ecological food production.

About the employer

Founded in 2001, Cultivating Community has grown to include farming, teaching, and learning sites in Cumberland and Androscoggin Counties. With an annual budget of approximately $1 million, each year the organization grows, harvests, and distributes more than $260,000 in food (free and sold); engages hundreds of children and young adults through school-based and internship programs; creates multiple points of food access for people with low or no incomes; collaborates with dozens of New Mainers in establishing sustenance or business farms; and supports food sovereignty.

Developmental milestones include the adoption in 2009 of the New American Sustainable Agriculture Project (NASAP), one of the largest land-based farmer training programs in Maine with about 25 acres of vegetable production. The following year saw the launch of a network of farm stands accessible to people of all incomes and now operating in several municipalities in two counties. For the past decade, Cultivating Community has partnered with the City of Portland in leading, nurturing, and expanding the number of growing sites in the municipal community garden program, which currently stands at eleven. Our School Partnership Program is run in conjunction with FoodCorps, a nationwide AmeriCorps program, and supports direct programming and systems change.

All of Cultivating Community’s programs are rooted in the idea that everyone has the right to good food. Members of the board, staff and FoodCorps strive continuously to ensure that the values they share are evident in the work they do.

More information about the values, programs, history and impact of Cultivating Community can be found at

Role and responsibilities

The executive director will be instrumental in developing and executing a strategic plan, working in partnership with the board of directors and staff leaders to advance the following organizational priorities:

  • Develop and implement strategies to increase and diversify funding and ensure organizational sustainability
  • Ensure that Cultivating Community’s work is rooted in the efforts of our neighbors and allies by forging new partnerships and deepening relationships with our existing partners
  • Build an effective staff leadership team model within a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement to expand organizational capacity and facilitate growth
  • Increase Cultivating Community’s impact as a leading advocate for food justice

This individual will be ultimately responsible for the management and development of Cultivating Community’s staff, programs and partnerships; the financial health of the organization; and the strength of its relationships with stakeholders. The executive director will also provide leadership in building an inspiring culture of equity and inclusion, fully aligned with the nonprofit’s core values.

A comprehensive set of skills and abilities is required to lead Cultivating Community into its next stage of growth. The board expects that the successful candidate will bring to the role:


  • A strong track record of organizational leadership in the nonprofit sector
  • Evident passion for the organization’s mission and alignment with our values
  • Knowledge of farming/gardening, education/training, food marketing, and/or community engagement
  • Keen interest and fluency in issues relating to food justice, e.g., access to land, local food systems, hunger
  • Demonstrated ability in creative problem-solving, strategic planning and efficient execution; and agility in managing change

Financial Management

  • Experience in developing, managing, and overseeing budgets, projecting expenditures, and managing recommended solutions
  • Proven skill in resource allocation, budgeting, basic knowledge of nonprofit accounting principles, reporting, and legal compliance for organizations of similar size and structure

Resource Development

  • Demonstrated strength in developing and executing a multifaceted resource development strategy, including earned and contributed income streams
  • Active fundraising experience, excellent donor relations skills, and understanding of the funding community

Empowering Staff and Participants

  • Experience in successfully attracting, developing, rewarding and retaining strong talent
  • A cooperative management style that prioritizes collaborative decision-making, prizes transparency, invites diverse perspectives, leverages individual strengths, and promotes trust

Developing the Board and External Relationships

  • Success in working with a nonprofit board of directors in alignment with best governance practices
  • Experience building effective external relationships and enduring community-based partnerships

Emotional Intelligence Quotient

  • High cultural competency and the ability to lead culturally transformative efforts in the workplace, the agricultural sector and the community at large
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills and the ability to synthesize complex concepts and tailor messages to various constituencies
  • Curiosity and humility
  • Firm commitment to accountability
  • A joyful approach to building a better world


Cultivating Community’s executive director will earn a competitive salary of $85,000-95,000, commensurate with experience, and benefits including health, dental, vision, life and long-term disability, flexible scheduling, and generous paid time off. The organization aims to add a retirement plan to its benefits package in 2023. Reporting directly to the board of directors, the successful candidate can expect a formal review after 90 days, and an annual review thereafter.


Cultivating Community does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, national origin, ancestry, public assistance, ethnic background, religion, marital status, economic class, age, disability, sex, creed, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and any other legally protected characteristic. The organization complies with all applicable national, state and local laws pertaining to nondiscrimination and equal opportunity.

How to apply

Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume to Starboard Leadership Consulting at the following address:

Paper copies may be sent to Jessica Weiner, Starboard Leadership Consulting, 84 Harlow St., Bangor, ME 04401, but electronic submissions of material are preferred. No phone inquiries, please. The application deadline is December 11, 2022, and review of all submissions will begin immediately thereafter.

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