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Executive Director - Mainspring Conservation Trust

Franklin NC

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To apply, send resume, cover letter and three work-related references in email attachments here. Applications are due by October 31, 2019.


Mainspring Conservation Trust, Inc. seeks an Executive Director with a passion for land protection and stewardship of the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. The Executive Director (ED) will bring a vision of growth to a highly-regarded nonprofit recognized for its conservation accomplishments and strong connection to its communities. The successful candidate will be an experienced leader, capable administrator, skillful advocate, solid relationship-builder and demonstrated fundraiser, with a talent for building consensus among partners, stakeholders and communities.


Background of Mainspring

In 1995, a group of visionaries began meeting informally to discuss the rapid pace of development in western North Carolina and the impact it could have on the region’s important natural resources. This was the beginning of the nonprofit that is now Mainspring Conservation Trust. Mainspring’s mission is to conserve the waters, forests, farms and heritage of the Little Tennessee and Hiwassee River basins. Mainspring’s service area of 1.8 million acres includes the six western-most counties in North Carolina – Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon and Swain – and northern Rabun County, Georgia. Mainspring employs a staff of 11 and is guided by a 15-member volunteer board of directors, with a budget exceeding $1.5 million. The main office is in Franklin, NC, with satellite offices in Murphy and Sylva. Mainspring has been accredited since 2010 by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission through the national Land Trust Alliance

Mainspring has conserved more than 26,000 acres, including viewsheds of the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway. From more traditional conservation methods like conservation easements, to programs that teach youth about the importance of cool, clear water, to transforming contaminated brownfield sites into green community spaces, Mainspring is the motivating force for conservation in the Southern Blue Ridge.


About the Region

Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, the Southern Blue Ridge is steeped in beauty, history and extraordinarily diverse flora, fauna and aquatic life. As one of the most desirable places to live in the United States, Mainspring’s region offers an ideal combination for conservation, environmental education, and connection to the mountains, waters and culture through education and outreach. The US Forest Service is a major land owner in the region. Home to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), Western Carolina University, the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this thriving region is a great location to achieve a full work-life balance. The Executive Director will reside in Mainspring’s service area.



With the retirement of the current Executive Director, who successfully led the organization following the retirement of the founding director, the third ED will be a strategic leader who believes in the value of land conservation, restoration of waterways, preservation of cultural heritage and strong connections with the community. Working with an effective, capable, strong staff, the new leader will have the vision to move Mainspring forward in directions consistent with its mission, while valuing traditions, respecting the past, and nurturing new energies among staff, volunteers, board members and the conservation community.

The ED will bring fresh perspectives and proven experience to execute the strategic plan, work closely with the deputy director, staff and Board to accomplish the organization’s direction, and continue partnerships with donors, land owners, community groups, local and regional government officials, and the EBCI.

The ED will be a skilled manager of staff, finances and operations, with a history of improving systems and processes. The successful candidate will be a talented, proven fundraiser who will evaluate and improve current fundraising activity and expand the discovery and cultivation of new donors to diversify and strengthen Mainspring’s donor base, while stewarding existing donors. The new leader should have experience with, and be comfortable recruiting, cultivating, and soliciting major donors, foundations and public agencies.


Posted October 1, 2019

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