Executive Director

Location: Pennsylvania - Pittsburgh
Sector: Cultural/Nonprofit
Search ID: 21-1001-11
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Marc K. Datz
Marc K. Datz
Ryan R. Pugh
Ryan R. Pugh


The Allegheny County Parks Foundation has retained Helbling to conduct an executive search to secure an Executive Director.

Position Summary

The Executive Director, who reports to the Board of Directors, is responsible for carrying out the Foundation’s mission and leads and oversees all the Foundation’s functions and objectives in accordance with policies established by the Board of Directors. 
The Executive Director serves as a visionary, strategic, and collaborative leader working in partnership with the Board, County leaders and staff, and critical community stakeholders in maintaining an organization that generates considerable private sector funding support for the Allegheny County Parks system.  
The Executive Director helps protect and enhance the character of Allegheny County's park system and serves as a community leader helping to advance planning activities and other outreach steps to enhance support for the county park system. The Executive Director closely interacts and coordinates activities with various Allegheny County departments and branches of government throughout the 
planning and implementation of park improvement projects. In addition, the Executive Director oversees planning, feasibility, and capital projects undertaken by the Foundation. Because of the Foundation’s small staff size, the Executive Director is often required to undertake specific tasks personally to accomplish goals and plans.

For more details about this opportunity, please view the position profile by clicking on the cover image above.

Executive Director’s Duties and Responsibilities

Project Development, Fund Raising, and Administration
  • Assure that the organization has a long-range strategic plan to achieve its mission, and toward which it makes consistent and timely progress. 
  • Develop and execute organizational, project, fund-raising, and financial plans in accordance with policies set by the Board of Directors.  
  • Maintain official records and documents, and ensure compliance with federal, state, and local regulations. 
  • Maintain a working knowledge of significant developments and trends in the field.
  • See that the Board of Directors is kept fully informed on the condition of the organization and all important factors influencing it, and advise the Board of Directors on needed policies and actions.  
  • Publicize, advocate, and promote the activities of the organization, its projects, and goals.  
  • Establish sound working relationships and cooperative arrangements with Allegheny County parks staff, the Chief Executive of Allegheny County, Allegheny County Council, and other community groups and organizations.  
  • Represent the programs and point of view of the Foundation to agencies, organizations, and the general public.
  • Be responsible for the recruitment, employment, salary recommendations, and release of all personnel, both paid staff and volunteers.  
  • Ensure that job descriptions are developed, that regular performance evaluations are held, and that sound human resource practices are in place.  
  • See that an effective management team, with appropriate provision for succession, is in place. 
  • Encourage staff development and education, and assist program staff in relating their specialized work to the total program of the organization. 
  • Maintain a climate that attracts, keeps, and motivates a diverse staff of top quality people.
Operations and Finance
  • Work with staff, appropriate committees, and the board to formulate policy, planning, project development and management, external communications, and implementation recommendations. 
  • Implement plans and supervise action in operations by staff. 
  • Be responsible for developing and maintaining sound financial practices. 
  • Work with the staff, the Finance Committee, and the board in preparing a budget; see that the organization operates within budget guidelines.  
  • Ensure that adequate funds are available to permit the organization to carry out its work.
  • Conduct official correspondence of the organization and execute legal documents and other agreements, individually and jointly with designated officers, in accordance with the Foundation’s Bylaws. 
  • Support Board of Directors’ self-evaluation and annual evaluation of the Executive Director.

About Our Client

The Allegheny County Parks system, located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, consists of approximately 12,000 acres in nine parks that surround the City of Pittsburgh within a 15- to 20-mile radius of downtown Pittsburgh. The park system is rich in recreational, natural, and historic resources, which require ongoing investment to reach and maintain their full potential. In 2002, Allegheny County adopted the Allegheny County Parks Comprehensive Master Plan, identifying the future capital and maintenance needs for the parks. In 2007, the Allegheny County Parks Foundation (Foundation) was established to create a private/public partnership that would help implement the goals and recommendations of the Allegheny County Parks Comprehensive Master Plan. In order to leverage private sector funding, the County set aside $10M from its capital budget for the Foundation to match from the private sector toward park improvement projects. In addition, Allegheny County has supported the Parks Foundation for a portion of its operational costs.

Mission Statement

The Allegheny County Parks Foundation strengthens the health and vibrancy of our community by improving, conserving, and restoring the nine Allegheny County parks. Working in partnership with Allegheny County, the Parks Foundation brings together ideas, leadership, and resources to make the parks more sustainable and enjoyable for all. 
The Allegheny County Parks Foundation raises public and private funds from foundations, corporations, state and federal grant programs, and individuals to design and implement projects in our parks. We commission and conduct surveys, plans, and ecological assessments of our individual parks and park system, which guide the strategic development of improvements in all nine county parks. All projects are undertaken in partnership with Allegheny County, and the county matches most private and non-county public funds raised by the Parks Foundation. 
Currently, the staff of the Allegheny County Parks Foundation consists of five full-time and two part-time employees, including the Executive Director, Capital Projects Director, Capital Projects Manager, Development Manager of Institutional Giving, Development Manager of Individual Giving, Marketing and Communications Manager, and Administrative Assistant.

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Professional Qualifications and Personal Attributes

The Executive Director should possess the following professional qualifications and personal attributes: 
  • A demonstrated conservation ethic and a commitment to serve the Foundation's mission. 
  • Demonstrated ability to increase fundraising with individuals, private and family foundations, and corporations, and a willingness to try new ideas in fundraising. 
  • Experience working with county, state, and national public policy leaders and an understanding of the role municipal agencies and other community planning bodies serve in policies regarding park facilities, programs, and services. 
  • Demonstrated leadership and business acumen, a proven record leading organizational growth and effectiveness, engaging and fully utilizing a Board, and comfort in dealing with the budgeting process, project coordination, and management of staff and financial resources. 
  • Articulate, high-energy, intellectually inquisitive, and possessing impeccable integrity. 
  • Superlative interpersonal skills. 
  • Bachelor's degree required; advanced degree preferred.

Allegheny County Parks Foundation is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer.
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