The American chestnut is a symbol for the hope that exists for all threatened species. The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) has played the lead role in rescuing this species through its innovative breeding and genetic research for four decades. TACF’s long-term goal is to create self-sustaining populations, with disease-resistant trees growing stronger in each succeeding generation. The Foundation is restoring a growing legacy for decades and centuries to come.
TACF is a nonprofit conservation, education, and scientific organization with 20+ staff members located from Vermont to North Carolina, an 18-member board, and an annual budget of 3 million dollars. Founded in 1983 and based in Asheville, NC, TACF and its 16 state chapters are employing traditional breeding and modern genomics to develop, and ultimately restore, American chestnut populations.
TACF is at an exciting moment in time. The Board of Directors, staff, chapters, members, and volunteers stand ready to embark upon an exciting future as pioneers in the preservation of North America’s forest legacy despite continued and increasing threats from introduced pests and pathogens. Leading the organization through this process and increasing its financial resources and capacity will be key endeavors for the new leader as they shape the future of the organization. The next President & CEO will lead the Foundation into a new era.
TACF seeks an accomplished leader who demonstrates understanding and enthusiasm for the organization’s unique vision and mission. The ideal candidate might come from any one of a variety of professional backgrounds but must, above all, display outstanding leadership skills at multiple levels. The position requires an understanding of relationship-driven philanthropy, partnerships, board governance, and skillful management of both administrative and scientific staff. Such leadership should be coupled with a genuine enthusiasm for the goals of environmental conservation and should motivate staff, membership, and all supporters to meet the challenges involved in restoration of an iconic American forest tree. Because the scientific efforts required for this mission demand the application of a broad range of ever-evolving scientific disciplines, strong candidates should display at least a minimum knowledge of the basic principles of modern biology.
Provided the high standard for leadership is convincingly met, the candidate might have a specific professional background that ranges from scientific project management to fundraising, nonprofit management, or government relations. Experience can include the skillful management of scientific research to a proven track record raising significant financial resources from individuals, foundations, corporations, and public entities. An extraordinary level of professionalism and the ability to transform a culture are key.