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Minneapolis Parks Foundation > Common Ground > News > Job Opportunities > Open Position: Executive Director

Open Position: Executive Director

About the job

kpCompanies is leading the search for the next Executive Director for Minneapolis Parks Foundation. This is an exceptional opportunity for a strategic and community focused leader who is a seasoned and visionary leader and manager with an active curiosity and passion for parks, the public realm, philanthropy and community engagement. Apply on Linkedin.

The Organization: The Minneapolis Parks Foundation is the primary philanthropic partner for the Minneapolis parks, one of the best park systems in the country. Its primary means of generating impact is by raising and directing philanthropic investment. It engages where philanthropy can play a necessary role, is in support of community objectives, and is in alignment with Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) priorities. It uses a variety of giving vehicles to ensure everyone has the opportunity to meaningfully participate in park philanthropy. The Foundation’s fundraising capacity is enhanced by complementary activities that include organizing park advocates, public programming and events, storytelling about park impact, and continual engagement with park users, community, philanthropic partners, and public sector leaders to align vision and priorities.

MPRB Partnership: The Foundation is a closely aligned but independent partner to the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB). The Foundation welcomes guidance from the MPRB while also leveraging private sector expertise to inform and shape MPRB priorities and practices. The Foundation sets its own priorities, in accordance with its board-directed mission, vision, and selection criteria.

Community Partnership: In setting priorities, the Foundation seeks to understand the perspectives of communities and interest groups affected by its decisions. To do so, the Foundation strives to reflect the whole of the city in its board, staff, and partnerships; actively listens and learns from diverse stakeholders; and is attentive to power dynamics that minimize certain voices in public discourse. The Foundation champions inclusive participation in park usage, planning, and philanthropy.

Mission: The Minneapolis Parks Foundation transforms human lives through parks and public spaces by aligning philanthropic investment and community vision.

Position: Executive Director

The Executive Director is responsible for leading, directing, and managing the organization in a manner consistent with the mission, vision, and values of MPF, and doing so in a fiscally responsible and ethically sound manner.

As the chief executive officer of MPF and working in concert with the Board and staff, the Executive Director will engage in envisioning the future of the organization, while setting the strategic direction of its activities and initiatives consistent with MPF’s strategic plan. They will lead the efforts to acquire philanthropic and other funding resources, and to ensure alignment with both MPRB and community priorities.

Principal Responsibilities

The Executive Director is responsible for strategic leadership and engagement with both internal and external audiences. Specific responsibilities include:

  • Serving as the chief spokesperson, advocate, and champion for MPF, assuring that the organization and its mission are highly visible and properly presented to its various publics.
  • Nurturing the partnership relationships with MPRB and other non-profit and public organizations to strengthen park advocacy and foster a more equitable park system.
  • Leading a dynamic, professional, and growing staff.
  • Planning and implementing the organizational, operational, and financial platforms required to support MPF’s ambitious growth and philanthropic goals.
  • Facilitating ongoing conversations between public sector leadership, community members, and philanthropic partners to build alignment of priorities and transformative action.
  • Building a community of park system champions, supporters, funders and advocates.

The Executive Director will also be held accountable for the following outcomes:

  • Effectively managing the organization and supporting the growth and development of the staff team.
  • Guiding the Board by keeping its members fully informed of critical events, trends, and opportunities that will help the Board make better policies and plans.
  • With the Chair of the Board, maintaining a highly engaged and dedicated Board.
  • Completing projects identified by the Board (e.g. North Commons, next phase of RiverFirst, building an endowment, launching a climate resiliency initiative).
  • Educating, advocating, and inspiring the broader community to enthusiastically embrace MPF’s mission and to recognize support for parks as a priority within the Minneapolis philanthropic sector.

Key Accountabilities:

He/she will possess an innate understanding of causes leading to the economic vitality of a progressive urban city. The Executive Director will be a person of integrity and stature in the community, with proven leadership experience, exemplary business and/or non-profit management skills, and a strong commitment to raising the visibility and impact of Minneapolis parks. Fundraising, community relations, public sector partnerships, community engagement, and board development are all key components of this challenging role. Other key qualifications include knowledge and experience with fundraising and a passion for park preservation and environmental stewardship.


  • A proven track record of success in a professional entrepreneurial environment. Demonstrated experience in leading, building, growing, and driving transformation of an organization is required.
  • Being a big-picture professional, with the ability to think strategically about achieving MPF’s goals combined with the managerial knowledge of how to get a strategy fully executed.
  • The ability to attract and solicit financial resources for the organization and promote a marketing culture from within by identifying and implementing strong program plans and strategies that attract revenue, gifts, and grants.
  • Highly developed skills in leadership, communication, management, negotiation, conflict management, advocacy, and creative methods of coaching, teaching, and team development.
  • Exemplary interpersonal skills including the ability, savvy, and credibility to engage and interact with key leaders from the community’s businesses, government, nonprofit organizations, foundations, private philanthropic organizations, and other target audiences.
  • The willingness, presence, and ability to be MPF’s face to the public, which includes being an effective communicator, a persuasive influencer, and a good listener.
  • The knowledge and experience to build, expand, and lead staff as MPF grows and develops. The capability to hire and develop a motivated team with the skills to anticipate challenges, identify emerging issues, and achieve MPF’s mission. The ability to work effectively on a collaborative basis with a wide range of constituencies and stakeholders in a diverse community.
  • At minimum, a Bachelor’s degree; preferably a Master’s degree.

Working Conditions and Physical Requirements

The person in this position must be able to:

  • Effectively communicate with others.
  • Work at a desk for extended periods of time.
  • Operate a personal computer (including a keyboard, mouse, monitor) and other office equipment (such as a telephone, printer, copier, scanner).
  • Move throughout the office to conduct various tasks. Bend to file or retrieve documents.
  • On occasion, lift and move items up to 30 pounds unassisted.
  • Travel within the Twin Cites metro area for meetings and events.

How to Apply:

Interested candidates should submit cover letter, resume, and salary expectations. Position will remain open until filled. Priority will be given to applications received prior to February 16, 2024.

Apply via email: Joelle Allen at
Apply by mail:
Minneapolis Parks Foundation
Executive Director Search c/o kpcompanies
ATTN: Joelle Allen
5775 Wayzata Blvd, Suite 700
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Apply on Linkedin

All submissions received in strictest confidence. kpCompanies is an equal opportunity employer.

Equity & Salary Disclosure

kpCompanies believes in practices that create real equity and pay parity regardless of background or identity and we freely discuss compensation with all qualified candidates the first time we interview them. Saving the salary discussion for the first conversation allows us to fully understand the needs of each candidate and to ensure that qualified candidates, even those who’ve historically been overlooked and/or underpaid, don’t self-select out of the processes based on salary alone, as our experience and research suggests.

In addition to those who opt out because they fear the salary may be out of reach for them, we equally don’t want to miss out on conversations with candidates who are slightly over the range when in some cases the total compensation including factors such as bonuses, flexibility, and better health benefits, etc may exceed expectations. Finally, as a search firm – we are always looking for top notch talent to introduce to our clients. Should the salary or any other requirement not be a fit, there is often a chance that someone on our team is working on another position you may be a better fit for. If you would like to discuss your qualifications for this role as well as discuss salary and compensation, please contact kpCompanies.

YOUR DONATION helps ensure the parks in our city remain accessible, equitable and serving everyone.