POSITION: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
ORGANIZATION: TREE HOUSE HUMANE SOCIETY
LOCATION: 7225 N. Western Avenue, Chicago, IL 60645
REPORTS TO: Board of Directors
Tree House is a humane organization that promotes the inherent value of every animal and
strives to educate the public about proper and responsible animal care, with a focus on the
care and placement of stray cats with special physical and emotional needs. Tree House is
committed to finding every healthy and treatable animal a home.
Since its founding in 1971, Tree House has created innovative and progressive approaches to
animal welfare that not only enhance the lives of companion animals in the community but also
bring a greater awareness of animal welfare issues to the public. Therefore, in advancing its
mission, Tree House opened its new 15,000 sq. ft. shelter and clinic on the north side of
Chicago this past July. This modern, progressive and attractive building allows the cats in its
care to live in a cage-free, comfortable and cozy environment while awaiting forever homes.
The primary mission of Tree House is unique in that it centers around the rescue,
rehabilitation, adoption of sick, injured, abused, and neglected cats. Since its founding, Tree
House has rescued and adopted more than 25,000 cats. Furthermore, Tree House has
sterilized more than 30,000 animals through public spay/neuter programs as well as the
Community Cats/T-N-R (trap-neuter-return) program.
Community Cats is one of the hallmark services of Tree House. The T-N-R program provides
volunteers step-by-step instructions on how to handle feral cats in their neighborhoods for
trapping, what to expect during “Spay Day” and setting up the colony once the cats return to
the previous locations. The Cats at Work Project, a “green” humane program, removes
sterilized and vaccinated feral cats from life-threatening situations and relocates them to new
territories where their presence will help control the rodent population. The cats are humanely
managed by volunteer caretakers for the entirety of their lives with ongoing support from Tree
House as mandated by Cook County’s 'Managed Care of Feral Cats Ordinance'. Last year,
Tree House placed 308 cats through this program.
In addition to these programs, Tree House has a pet food assistance program which provides
supplemental free cat and dog food, and supplies when available, to individuals facing
economic challenges or who feed many cats in a cat colony.
Tree House Animal-Assisted Therapy is a program that has been in existence for 42 years.
At Tree House, Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) program reaches hundreds of people each
year. Volunteers visit people living in nursing homes, women’s shelters, and assisted-living
environments. As the volunteers are educating residents on topics of animal welfare and
fostering organic social interactions with the residents, the AAT cats are also benefiting from
these human interactions.
The Tree House foster program helps to get more kittens/cats off the street. By keeping
vulnerable kittens/cats in foster homes, they are less likely to be exposed to disease than they
would be if they stayed at the shelter. Foster kittens/cats are placed in homes according to
how much supervision they need and the ability of the foster home to care for them.
A truly community-minded organization, Tree House incorporated a “Catfé” in its lobby where
locals will be able to sit and enjoy their beverages among special needs cats, giving them
additional human contact and nurturing.
The Board of Directors determined that with the concept of the new shelter, clinic and future
expansion of community services, new leadership with extensive experience in animal welfare
was needed. The Board hired an Interim Executive Director to assist with the immediate
projects of outfitting the shelter, drafting policies and procedures for staff and establishing new
protocols for the services they provide. With these mandates now completed, it is time to find a
new Executive Director who can lead Tree House into its future. With less than a year of
operation in the new facility, the new Executive Director will have the opportunity of developing
a vision and strategic plan to determine the path to success for the organization.
Currently the Board is comprised of nine individuals who have been dedicated to the success
of Tree House during this remarkable transformation. Going forward, there is an opportunity to
work closely with the Board to develop and implement a Board recruitment strategy.
Additionally, the Board would like to be supported in its efforts by creating effective subcommittees
and engaging them in fundraising efforts.
The Clinic is an integral program of Tree House since the animals that come to the shelter, as
stated above, are sick, injured, abused or neglected. Within the new Clinic, plans include
constructing a low-cost Wellness Clinic for the public, which would provide spay/neuter
services as well as vaccinations. This exciting new service would benefit not only cats but
dogs as well. The new Executive Director will have the opportunity of taking this raw space and
transforming it into a state-of-the art Clinic for the community.
With all these new developments, Tree House is ready to draft a strategic plan to clearly define
their objectives as they move forward. The new Executive Director will be an integral part of
this process working alongside the Board of Directors. There is so much potential for this
organization that it is time for all involved to set out specific strategies and timelines to clearly
define the future vision, direction and goals for the organization.
Although Tree House has development programs in place, more concentrated effort in
securing new donors is needed. Corporate and foundation supporters must be identified and
cultivated. Although bequests are readily received by Tree House, an organized planned giving
program is needed to secure the monetary future of the agency. The new Executive Director
will be instrumental in these efforts, working alongside both Board and staff to accomplish this
Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director is responsible for the oversight of
Tree House, which includes administration of all programs and services. The Executive
Director will develop and oversee a budget of $2.5M. Additionally, the Executive Director is
responsible for the strategic processes of the organization, managing and developing a
talented paid staff of 40 and more than 150 volunteers. The direct reports for the Executive
Director are currently the Director of Veterinary Services, Director of Operations, Director of
Marketing and Development and the Executive Assistant.
The Executive Director will assist the Board in the development and execution of a strategic
plan as well as the development of strategic directions and policy in the fulfillment of the
agency’s mission. This individual is responsible for the overall management and operation of
Tree House in compliance with Board-adopted policies and with all applicable local, state, and
federal regulations and laws. The Executive Director provides a leadership role in initiating and
maintaining community relationships and securing the operating and investment funds
necessary to sustain current and future operations.
In conjunction with the Board, provide vision and direction for the future growth of programs,
policies and procedures for Tree House. In collaboration with the Board of Directors provide
support in all its activities; suggest direction toward the achievement of the Tree House
mission, philosophy, and strategy; provide guidance, stability, support and collaboration to a
staff of talented professionals; and implement Board driven long-range and strategic plans to
ensure that the goals and objectives of Tree House are successfully achieved. Work with the
existing Board to review and revise By-Laws. Support the Board in recruitment and
ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT
Guarantee that staff is well informed of decisions that affect them and the agency and ensure
that those policies are explained and communicated clearly and concisely. Develop and
implement procedures to ensure good management, administrative and fiscal practices;
ensure that staff understands the vision and direction of Tree House and that in return they will
be able to develop and mature in their roles and responsibilities; lead by example and maintain
the highest professional standards and practices for Tree House.
Oversee the Tree House budget and business plans and ensure sound fiscal management
and capital allocation. Maintain and implement fiscal policies and procedures in accordance
with Board directives. Oversee and guide the policies for the investment of fiscal resources for
the organization to achieve reasonable returns.
Demonstrate development skills to reach a new population of donors especially corporations
and foundations. Continue to develop and nurture past relationships with donors. Develop
new, creative fundraising opportunities and earned revenue sources with staff in order to
secure the Tree House’s financial position. Strengthen planned giving programs thereby
adding financial security to Tree House.
PUBLIC RELATIONS AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH
Serve as a spokesperson for Tree House and effectively represent its goals and mission to
individuals, private foundations, government leaders, the media, sponsors and donors to
attract the widest interest and support. Ensure that Tree House is represented locally,
regionally and nationally at coalitions, membership organizations and other humane field
PROGRAM AND SERVICES DEVELOPMENT
Establish short range objectives and work plans, research and evaluate potential programs for
Tree House in consultation with other staff. In conjunction with the Board, develop a new
strategic plan outlining plans, goals and related activities.
We seek a highly experienced leader and manager with demonstrated vision and passion for
the humane and ethical treatment of animals. A successful track record of strong, innovative
and inclusive leadership, which will facilitate open communication to harmonize staff, the
Board and the other constituents with whom he/she will interface, is sought.
Experience in a senior leadership role where he/she has either reported directly to or worked
closely with a Board of Directors is expected. The ideal candidate will bring strong and
successful leadership of an animal welfare/control agency or from another nonprofit
organization if there is a demonstrated level of both passion for, and involvement with, an
animal welfare organization. The person we seek should demonstrate a balance between
creative thinking and management acumen as well as the ability to assess and maintain
policies and procedures for moving an organization to a new level of excellence. Qualified
candidates will have exceptional interpersonal skills and will be able to relate to all
constituencies. This individual has demonstrated success in building and sustaining coalitions
toward the achievement of goals.
The successful candidate will have significant financial management experience as well as
demonstrated accomplishments in fundraising, including securing major and planned gifts from
individual donors, foundations and corporations.
An understanding of business principles applied to a nonprofit enterprise, including a
background of good budget management, is necessary.
We seek an exceptional communicator who can demonstrate a successful background in
external relations, including experience speaking with the media in a variety of situations. This
person will be articulate and passionate about the humane treatment of animals and will
welcome and respect the multiple perspectives and groups that demonstrate an active interest
in animal welfare.
Personnel management skills that include an ability to work collaboratively, listen, provide
feedback, build morale, delegate, “roll up one’s sleeves” and make decisions are essential.
The candidate should be motivated by the best interests of the organization and will bring high
emotional intelligence to effectively continue the organization’s transition to a highly effective
operation. Demonstrated success managing change, planning, forecasting and determining
courses of action is needed.
An undergraduate degree from a four-year college or university is desired however
demonstrated experience leading an organization will be considered. CAWA credential is
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