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The Nashville Food Project

Chief Executive Officer

The Nashville Food Project


Job Summary

About The Nashville Food Project

The Nashville Food Project (TNFP) brings people together to grow, cook and share nourishing food, with the goals of cultivating community and alleviating hunger in Nashville. The Nashville Food Project grew from the idea that all people should have access to the food they want and need. They know that one in eight people in Nashville lacks access to enough food to sustain a healthy lifestyle, but they also know that more than 40 percent of food in Nashville goes to waste. Solutions to hunger take more than a simple handout. Poverty, unemployment, low wages and escalating housing costs all contribute to the challenges that the most vulnerable residents of Nashville face.   

TNFP believes that food can be a powerful tool to foster health, belonging and justice in the Nashville community and that’s why they focus on three key programs.  

Grow—The Nashville Food Project grows organic food intensively in their gardens and shares those resources with others interested in growing their own food. 

Cook—In the Nashville Food Project’s kitchens they use recovered, donated and garden-grown food to prepare and cook made from scratch meals.  

Share—In the Nashville community the Nashville Food Project shares nourishing meals in partnership with local poverty-disrupting nonprofits and community groups. 

The Nashville Food Project embraces a vision of vibrant community food security in which everyone in Nashville has access to the food they want and need through a just and sustainable food system.  

For more information on TNFP, please visit www.thenashvillefoodproject.org.

Job Responsibilities

The Opportunity

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for TNFP staff, programs, expansion and execution of its mission. They will have, and continue to develop, deep knowledge of the field, core programs, operations, community need and strategies to support a thriving nonprofit. 


Candidate Profile

The CEO should be thoroughly committed to TNFP’s mission with a strong understanding of the interconnection of social justice and food justice. The CEO should be a proven leader and have exhibited the maturity and management experience leading in the nonprofit sector. The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills and characteristics: 

Passion for Food Justice and Social Justice 

The CEO should possess an unquestionable passion for the mission and focus of the work of TNFP. The ideal candidate will have an understanding of the social impact that food justice has within vulnerable populations in Nashville and surrounding counties. The CEO will have a strong passion to continue the work of alleviating poverty and hunger by leading a young, smart and driven organization that has garnered the respect of the Nashville community. 

Empathetic Leader and Relationship Builder 

The CEO should play a crucial role in the leadership and development of TNFP’s high-performing, devoted and passionate staff and work closely with the Founder to strengthen and broaden existing relationships both internal and external stakeholders. They will actively engage and energize TNFP volunteers, board members, staff, donors, partnering organizations, institutional funders and other stakeholders of the organization. The CEO understands at their core, that with any leadership change in an organization, relationships and a strong foundation of trust need to be prioritized before the execution of new innovative strategy. The CEO will lead with empathy, kindness and a strong personal and professional passion for justice as they collaborate with staff and key external partners. The CEO will also develop, maintain and support a strong Board of Directors; serve as ex-officio of every standing board committee; and seek and build board involvement with strategic direction for strong governance and fiscal management. The ideal candidate will build upon existing relationships of TNFP and seek new relationships to garner new opportunities for TNFP. 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lens 

The CEO should lead TNFP through a deep commitment to issues of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. They will be knowledgeable of how food justice is inextricably linked to racial, environmental, economic, and health justice. The CEO will unify and reinforce a positive, highly engaged team and culture that will also exhibit an abiding passion and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging throughout all aspects of the organization, including hiring and retention, building and nurturing relationships with BIPOC-led organizations, and diversifying the TNFP donor and volunteer bases. This person must demonstrate the ability to advance organizational DEI objectives and influence others to approach all work with an equity lens from within their team and function. The CEO will know when and how to focus on organizational culture through listening and observing, and they will model consistency in using the organizational values as a guiding light for decisions and behaviors.  

Strategic Leadership and Vision 

A Trustworthy partner to the Board of Directors and staff, the CEO should be a strategic thinker with the vision, capacity, and experience to understand a complex array of needs. They will be an intuitive planner with a demonstrated ability to set priorities as well as develop and implement thoughtful, clear, action-oriented growth strategies for The Nashville Food Project. They will continue to build partnerships and establish relationships within the community, including funders, local political and community leaders, potential board members, and other supporters. The ideal candidate is systems-oriented and has a desire to pull together stakeholders to lead big picture change of the food system. The CEO will be creative, with a mind for designing the strategic planning process as well as implementing and evaluating all strategic initiatives. They will be a local voice and thought leader externally for topics within TNFP’s field and scope of work, and they will recommend timelines and resources needed to achieve strategic goals. The CEO will have significant experience leading teams and managing people and have a demonstrated track record of functional excellence while simultaneously being an ardent developer of talent. This leader will be a decisive, results-oriented leader with a team-oriented working style. They will have a proven record of visible and effective management tactics and the demonstrated ability to build, coach, and motivate teams while focusing on impact. They will empower and cultivate staff through active and effective communication, honest constructive feedback, delegation, and promotion of teamwork and collaboration.  

Nonprofit Leadership – Financial and Operational Acumen 

The CEO should translate the strategic vision into a financial and operational structure that is fiscally responsible and supportive of the mission. The CEO is a proven leader and problem solver and brings a breadth of passionate nonprofit experience to TNFP. The ideal candidate has a track record of programmatic experience, operational leadership and development, and excels at leveraging those functions to oversee and expand all TNFP revenue generating activities to support the organization’s growth. Determined and motivated, the CEO will bring demonstrated successes in meeting ambitious fundraising goals and working with development leadership on securing gifts from a wide range of funders including: major and individual gifts, corporate partnerships, and institutional giving. The CEO will be especially adept at telling the story of The Nashville Food Project and helping potential donors to understand the organization’s journey and where the innovative opportunities lie for alignment and support.  

Deep Experience in Nonprofit Development 

The CEO should bring a deep knowledge of nonprofit development with proven success across a multitude of fundraising functions. The CEO inspires through storytelling to encourage fundraising activities to support existing program operations. They will deepen and refine all aspects of communications – from web presence, public speaking, print materials, etc., with the goal of creating a strong brand. The CEO will ensure ongoing mission delivery, programmatic excellence, rigorous outcomes evaluation, and consistent quality of financial management, fundraising, communications and systems.   

In addition, strong candidates will offer: 

  • Excellence in organizational management with the ability to develop staff, manage, and inspire high-performing, passionate teams; 
  • Past success working with a Board of Directors with the ability to cultivate stakeholder relationships; 
  • Passion, idealism, integrity, a positive attitude, mission-driven, and self-directed; 
  • A track record of effectively leading and scaling an outcomes-based organization and staff; 
  • Ability to point to specific examples of having developed and operationalized strategies that have taken an organization to the next stage of growth; 
  • Unwavering commitment to quality programs and program evaluation; 
  • Ability to work effectively in collaboration with diverse groups of people and cultural competency; 
  • Experience setting and achieving strategic objectives, and managing a budget; 
  • Strong marketing, public relations, and fundraising experience with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders and cultures; 
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills; a persuasive and passionate communicator with excellent interpersonal skills; 
  • Possession of an action-oriented, entrepreneurial, adaptable, and innovative approach to business development and strategic planning; 
  • Bachelor’s degree, 5 years of management experience; and 
  • Strong interest in anti-hunger work and food justice (prior experience a plus). 

Additional Information


Compensation & Benefits

This is a full-time, exempt salaried position of 40 hours per week that reports to the Board of Directors. Weekend and evening hours may occasionally be required.

The salary range for this position is $100,000 – $110,000.

Benefits include:

  • 75% Employer paid health insurance with voluntary dental and vision insurance options;
  • Employer paid term-life insurance and AD&D insurance, and long-term disability insurance coverage;
  • Employee Assistance Program;
  • Cell phone stipend;
  • Nine paid holidays plus two floating holidays;
  • Paid Time Off program; and
  • Parental Leave.

How to Apply


The Nashville Food Project has engaged Koya Partners to help in this hire. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here, or email Christy Farrell directly at cfarrell@koyapartners.com. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


The Nashville Food Project does not discriminate against any applicant for employment because of age, race, religion, color, handicap, sex, physical condition, developmental disability, sexual orientation or national origin.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a member of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

At Koya, we don’t just accept difference—we celebrate it, support it, and thrive on it for the benefit of our team, our clients, and the communities we serve.

Koya is an equal opportunity employer fully committed to creating an environment and team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, styles, and experiences. We encourage all to apply because we believe a diversity of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone. Koya does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, military status, veteran status, genetic information, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.


  • Date Posted: March 12, 2021
  • Type: Full-Time
  • Job Function: Executive Leadership
  • Service Area: Community Development
  • Salary Range: $100,000 - $110,000