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Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Seeking New Executive Director

By Guest Observer June 1, 2014

The Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, Inc. (Blackstone) seeks an Executive Director.

Established in 2010, Blackstone is a Massachusetts non-profit corporation governed by a board of directors consisting of between 15 and 25 members. Its mission is to work in partnership with the National Park Service and other key partner organizations in the Blackstone River Valley to preserve, protect and interpret the cultural, historic and natural resources found there, and in particular those which tell the story of American industrialization as it began and evolved in the Blackstone River Valley, including the Blackstone River, the Blackstone Canal, mills, mill villages, farms and other historic structures, sites and landscapes.

Blackstone traces its roots to 1986 when Congress established the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor (the “Corridor”), which encompasses all or parts of 24 communities extending from Providence, RI to Worcester, MA. As part of the authorizing legislation, Congress also established a bi-state federal commission under the auspices of the Secretary of the Interior (the “Commission”) charged with managing the Corridor for the purpose of “preserving and interpreting the unique and significant contributions to our national heritage of certain historic and cultural lands, waterways and structures within the states of Massachusetts and Rhode.”

The Commission’s progress over two decades led Congress in 2006 to direct the Secretary of the Interior to study whether a new unit of the National Park System should be established in the Blackstone River Valley. After conducting significant research and analysis over a period of several years the National Park Service concluded that a new unit was warranted which would include the Blackstone River and its tributaries, the Blackstone Canal and several specific sites in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Legislation to create the new unit is presently pending in Congress.

Blackstone is the regional partner organization charged with preserving, protecting and interpreting the many sites and landscapes in the Corridor that lie outside the boundaries of the proposed park. Since inception, Blackstone has worked with both the National Park Service and with cities, towns and local partner organizations in the Corridor on a variety of projects and issues, including the Blackstone River bikeway, gateway visitor centers in Pawtucket, RI and Worcester, MA, river access and water quality programs.

Building on this record of achievement and with a FY 2014 operating budget exceeding $497,000, the new Executive Director will have the opportunity to undertake a strategic planning process and invent new ways for the organization to influence the Valley’s future. He or she must keep abreast of life in the Valley and develop working relationships with municipal and non-profit partner organizations in order to identify and cooperate in promoting their common interests. The new Executive Director will lead efforts to deepen and broaden participation of local volunteers in Blackstone’s programs. The new Executive Director will oversee annual and major gift fundraising and keep the organization on a sound financial footing.

Qualifications: Blackstone seeks an entrepreneurial not-for-profit leader with a portfolio of demonstrable success and 5-10 years of management and supervisory experience. The ideal candidate will have an informed passion for historic preservation and environmental conservation advocacy. He or she will have expertise in fundraising, including foundation and government grant writing, membership development, annual fundraising and major gift programs. Experience in working with a volunteer board, in strategic planning, and in building organizational capacity is essential. The successful candidate will have excellent written and spoken communication skills and the ability to recruit and inspire others. A baccalaureate degree is required, and a graduate or professional degree in a relevant discipline, are preferred credentials.

How to apply:

Review of candidate materials will begin immediately and continue until an appointment is made. A complete application will include a letter of interest, a curriculum vitae or resume and contact information for five professional references who can speak about the candidate’s qualifications for this specific opportunity. Expressions of interest, applications, nominations and inquiries should be directed to Blackstone’s search consultant, Chuck O’Boyle of C. V. O’Boyle, LLC, at chuck@cvoboyle.com. All communications will be held in confidence and references will not be contacted without the candidate’s prior consent. Blackstone is an equal-opportunity employer, committed to principles of affirmative action in its recruiting and hiring practices.

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