Theodore Payne Foundation

Executive Director

Employment type
Full Time
23 days ago
Los Angeles

The Theodore Payne Foundation (TPF) is a highly respected and well-run, non-profit native plant nursery, educational, and advocacy organization based in Los Angeles. Our mission is to inspire and educate Southern Californians about the beauty and ecological benefits of California native plant landscapes. TPF owns and operates a 22-acre headquarters site in the Sun Valley neighborhood which includes growing facility and sales yard, a conservation and horticultural seed bank, educational facilities, demonstration gardens, and a gift shop, art gallery, and business offices. The foundation has 23 staff, 3000 dues-paying members, and more than 250 active volunteers. The organization’s operating budget for FY19 was over $1.6 million, most of which was self-generated from sales of plants, seeds, and gardening supplies and fees for its extensive educational programs. TPF is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2020.


Over the past 5 years, the outgoing executive director completed a major capital redevelopment of TPF’s headquarters facility and dramatically enhanced its organizational capacity, human resources, operations, and programs. The board and staff also developed a long-term Strategic Plan to increase the organization’s visibility, reach, and impact across the Los Angeles area. The plan will help the new Executive Director develop their priorities and workplan. 

Historically, the organization has largely been self-funding: This has given TPF a strong sense of fiscal stewardship as well as operational autonomy. With our ambitious Strategic Plan goals, the organization must diversify and increase other sources of funding through major gifts, corporate sponsorships, service contracts, and foundation grants. 

TPF is rooted in the horticultural community and it is much loved by homeowners passionate about gardening with native plants. Now, our appeal is growing among citizens, policymakers, and allied organizations concerned about water conservation, habitat and biodiversity preservation, connecting youths and underserved communities with nature, and celebrating local landscape authenticity. This creates many opportunities to increase the organization’s scale, reach, and impact.


Given Theodore Payne Foundation’s strong organizational foundation, wealth of opportunities, and strategic roadmap, the board is seeking a visionary and energetic leader to take the foundation to the next level of development. Principal responsibilities will include: 

Executive vision and leadership 
Fundraising and revenue development
Communications, outreach, and engagement—especially to new audiences, supporters, and policy makers 
Leading and enabling a team of capable and dedicated staff members
Budgeting and organizational management.
The Executive Director serves as the chief executive officer of TPF and reports to the Board of Directors. 


Vision and Leadership 
Demonstrate long-term organizational leadership and vision 
Oversee and assure delivery of Strategic Plan objectives and initiatives 
Develop and execute new strategic initiatives in consultation with the Board 
Fundraising and Revenue Development
Develop and execute annual fundraising plan (foundations, major donors and bequests, businesses, memberships)
Develop and execute fundraising events 
Oversee development cycle with foundations and major donors (discovery, cultivation, solicitation, stewardship)
Communications and Outreach
Serve as the organization’s leading spokesperson and ambassador 
Guide marketing and communications plans 
Build support and influence among key stakeholders, including horticulture industry, government agencies, and policy makers
Conceive and build partnerships to leverage TPF’s reach and impact 
Budget and Finance
Develop yearly budget for board approval
Manage financial resources 
Prepare financial reports for the Board of Directors
Prepare or supervises preparation of necessary reports with support of Treasurer (board reporting, IRS 990, annual audit, reports to funders)
Organizational Management 
Oversee program, product, and service delivery
Ensure quality of programs, products, and services 
Develop and assess program leaders
Manage select high-priority projects
Negotiate contracts and monitor performance of contractors, business relationships, and grants
Oversee facilities management
Manage and maintain physical resources (buildings, inventory, assets, and natural elements of property) 
Obtain estimates/bids for operational needs (e.g. insurance, maintenance) 
Assure compliance with laws and regulations
Develop emergency management and evacuation plans, and lead execution of them as needed
Lead and enable staff
Foster a productive working environment
Hire staff; provide professional development opportunities; conduct evaluations 
Manage staff compensation and benefits
Assure compliance with laws and regulations; develop policies as needed
Ensure volunteer program meets organizational needs
Board Administration
Help prepare and attend bimonthly board meetings and keep it apprised of major developments 
Utilize Board councils as needed (Arts, Public Policy, Horticulture Industry, Volunteering, Communications)
Support fundraising responsibilities of the Board


Demonstrated leadership and organizational ability
Knowledge of biology or horticulture is helpful but not required


Medical and dental insurance
Retirement plan eligibility after six months
Sick, holiday, and vacation time 
Staff discount

This is a full-time position with flexible working hours. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. This position includes a variety of benefits. Ideal start time is in January 2020.

To apply

Send cover letter, resume, and references to [email protected] with the subject heading of Executive Director.

The Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer and all TPF activities are conducted without discrimination based on race, color, genetics, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, or status as a protected veteran. TPF is also committed to compliance with all fair employment practices regarding citizenship and immigration status.