Position Open: Associate Director (COO)

The Cornucopia Institute is seeking a full-time employee to join our team.  The Associate Director will assist with the overall management of Cornucopia’s operations in support of its mission.

The Associate Director will oversee the organization’s financial management and development activities (including supervising staff involved with proposal writing and grants administration, fundraising mailings, occasional fundraising events, etc.).  This person will also be involved with overseeing communications (publishing research reports, electronic and print newsletters, and web and social media, etc.) and related staff supervision in addition to overall HR management.  The Associate Director will report to and work closely with Cornucopia’s Director to carry out organizational activities.

A heartfelt passion for protecting the environment, the good food movement, human health, humane livestock husbandry, and social/economic justice for family farmers is essential. 

The Cornucopia Institute has become one of the most preeminent and effective public interest groups, focusing on regulatory and market-based implications of agroecology in the United States.  The organization acts as an organic industry watchdog protecting organics and alternative marketing mechanisms, allowing farmers and consumers to connect.  We seek to defend the integrity of the organic food label from governmental regulatory indifference as well as from agribusiness profiteering due to the use of unethical, illegal or questionable food and agricultural practices.

Strong candidates will have practical experience and/or a strong academic background in a number of key areas of responsibility:

  • Experience working in a non-profit organization, including employee supervision and hiring
  • Understanding of and experience in fundraising, including grants, direct mail, online giving, major gifts, and donor solicitations
  • Overseeing communications functions in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to strategize and engage with other key staff in the successful planning and execution of policy and research initiatives
  • Experience (or strong academic credentials) in double entry accounting systems/nonprofit financial management
  • Understanding of (and preferably involvement with) organic farming and food issues (understanding of production agriculture is especially beneficial)
  • Understanding and/or past experience of overseeing involvement in a number of popular social media platforms and a strong web presence
  • Other general business management responsibilities

The ideal candidate would possess the following qualifications and skills:

  • Commitment to the mission of The Cornucopia Institute
  • Self-starter and ability to work independently
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Excellent writing/editing skills applicable to print and electronic newsletters, research reports, press releases, web content, and other communication vehicles
  • Ability to juggle multiple projects thriving in an exciting and fast-paced environment
  • Ability to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines
  • Ability to interact effectively with co-workers, members, and the general public
  • Superior work ethic and careful attention to detail
  • Highest degree of personal and professional ethics
  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in the humanities, business or a scientific field and/or a directly applicable professional resume. An MBA, MPA (preferably with an emphasis on nonprofit management) or other graduate-level degree, or a track record of increasing managerial responsibility, would be an asset.


  • Salary is commensurate with experience
  • Medical insurance with 80% employer contribution is available in most, but not all, states (where unavailable, a compensation adjustment is made)
  • Long-term and short-term disability insurance
  • Retirement contribution
  • Two weeks paid vacation during first year, escalating based on length of employment


The Cornucopia Institute is formally based in Cornucopia, Wisconsin but is “virtually-officed,” and thus has no central location.  Staff members telecommute from home offices around the country.  Because of this, applicants must be highly motivated and able to work independently. We have a dozen staff members and additional support from part-time employees and dedicated contractors.

The Associate Director is expected to provide his or her own dedicated worksite.  Because of this, work with Cornucopia is possible anywhere in the U.S.  Candidates residing in, or relocating to, the Upper Midwest are encouraged to apply — facilitating periodic face-to-face meetings.  But ultimate hiring decisions will be made based on the qualifications of the candidates and their track record and ability to be successfully self-directed.

Several core-staff and contractors are located in or near the Driftless Region of Wisconsin, in Vernon County, Wisconsin (thought to have more organic farmers than any other county in the nation).  Candidates open to relocation might find this gorgeous and rugged environment, and its unique agrarian/arts community, a wonderful option.

The Cornucopia Institute is an equal opportunity employer.

How to apply:

If you have an interest in exploring the opportunity to merge your background and skills with the chance to fight for something you believe in, please send a cover letter, resume, salary history and expectations, contact information for 3 professional references, and one relevant writing sample to [email protected] using the subject line: Associate Director Position. This advertisement will remain posted on our website until the position is filled. Please, no phone calls.

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