Providence Preservation Society (“PPS”) seeks a new Executive Director, with a preferred start date of September 1, 2013. Founded in 1956, the Society is a 501(c)(3) membership organization whose mission is to improve the city of Providence through historic preservation and enhancement of the built environment. A pioneer of the American historic preservation movement, no city organization has had a greater impact than PPS on the identity, appearance and ethos of its community, beginning with the rescue of College Hill in the 1950s and 60s, not as a museum but as a revitalized neighborhood that today provides a dynamic setting for the world’s pre-eminent art school (Rhode Island School of Design) and one of its leading research universities (Brown). Among the Society’s more recent achievements, The PPS/AIAri Guide to Providence Architecture is an award-winning standard reference.
The City of Providence’s nearly four hundred-year history (it observed its 375 anniversary in 2012) included the first bloodshed of the American Revolution, economic shifts from the China Trade to manufacturing, the devastation of the Great Depression and the Hurricane of 1938, and then more than 50 years of post-war economic and cultural ascendance realized through grassroots efforts such as PPS, strong institutional and government leadership and enlightened investment of public funds. Providence is the only major city where the entire downtown (“Downcity”) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; altogether, the city has more than 196 listings on the National Register. As early as the 1950s, Providence initiated pathways to develop city historic districts through innovative funding and partnerships at all government levels; there are now 28 historic districts within the city limits, including the nation’s first thematic local historic district — the Providence Industrial and Commercial Building District.
PPS has always sought to educate and empower Providence’s citizens to be better stewards and connoisseurs of their architectural inheritance in the capital city of the Ocean State. Lectures on preservation, architecture, landscape design and urban planning are a hallmark of the Society’s educational programming, as are symposia, walking tours and workshops. Together with the annual Festival of Historic Houses, now in its thirty-fourth year, these provide regular opportunities for members and the public to engage with leading preservation practitioners and thinkers while gaining a greater appreciation for Providence’s unsurpassed inventory of historic architecture, ranging from colonial times to the modern era. The annual Most Endangered Properties List highlights historic sites that are threatened by neglect, deterioration, demolition, inappropriate development, insufficient funds and adverse public policy. PPS’s annual Historic Preservation Awards recognize significant contributions to the preservation of Providence’s historic fabric and the enrichment of its vibrant neighborhoods. Social events such as the annual Winter Bash, with more nearly 600 attendees, enhance PPS’s cultivation of an exuberant community of interest around historic preservation issues.
The Planning and Architectural Review (“PAR”) Committee serves as PPS’s primary planning and design review body. Through cooperative design review of proposed projects, PPS promotes respect for the scale, rhythm and patterns of urban development in Providence and sensitivity to historic buildings, neighborhoods and landscapes. PPS routinely offers the assistance of the Committee and staff to project sponsors engaged in Providence. Local professionals in the fields of architecture, planning, preservation and historic rehabilitation comprise the PAR Committee, which reviews and advises on the rehabilitation of historic properties, new construction in historic areas and urban design. PPS participation in the design review process has established its credibility as arbiter and advocate for historic preservation.
PPS’s Historic Property Marker Program recognizes buildings in the City of Providence that contribute in some positive way to the appreciation and understanding of Providence’s unique architectural, historical and cultural heritage. Possession of a Marker is a point of pride for Providence residents and a recognizable signature for properties that retain integrity of their original design, are appropriately and well maintained and are at least 50 years old.
PPS has a 33-member Board of Trustees and a staff of four, currently operating out of the Shakespeare’s Head Building (1772) in the College Hill National Historic Landmark District. With an operating budget of approximately $400K, an endowment of approximately $1 million and an operating reserve of $60K, PPS maintains a current membership of approximately 400. The Executive Director reports to and works closely with the Board of Trustees and serves as chief executive, principal fundraiser and public spokesperson for the Society. He or she has broad decision-making authority, implementing plans and programs in accordance with policies formulated jointly with the staff and board; as well as managing and coordinating the Society’s operations, including membership recruitment, events, public communication, finances, staff and revenue development.
The new Executive Director will have the opportunity to renew the Society’s programming, undertake a strategic plan and to find fresh ways to assert PPS influence as Providence enters its next phase of urban regeneration, with the reclaiming of 39 acres of downtown land made available by the relocation of I-195, the refurbishment of Kennedy Plaza as an iconic city center and the expansion of Brown University on College Hill and in the Jewelry District (among other initiatives) on the immediate horizon. He or she will help determine the disposition of The Shakespeare’s Head Building and the renovation of and likely relocation of the PPS offices to the newly acquired Brick Schoolhouse (1769). The new Executive Director will lead efforts to strengthen annual and major gift fundraising while preparing to launch a major, endowment focused, capital campaign. He or she will collaborate with an unusually strong network of distinguished preservation and land-use colleagues in Rhode Island.
Qualifications: PPS seeks for its new Executive Director an entrepreneurial not-for-profit leader with a portfolio of demonstrable success in broad-based resource development and 5-10 years of management and supervisory experience. An informed passion for historic preservation advocacy, knowledge of contemporary preservation principles and practices and expertise in fundraising, including membership, foundation and government grants and major gifts, are essential. Experience in working with a voluntary board, in strategic planning, organizational capacity building and sustainability, in written, electronic and spoken public communication and in managing volunteers is important. An earned baccalaureate degree and a graduate or professional degree in a relevant discipline are required.
Review of candidate materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment. A complete application will include a letter of interest, a curriculum vitae or résumé and contact information for five professional referees who can speak about the candidate’s qualifications for this specific opportunity. Expressions of interest, applications, nominations and inquiries should be directed to PPS’s search consultant, Chuck O’Boyle of C. V. O’Boyle, LLC, at . Telephone inquiries are also welcome and may be made to Mr. O’Boyle directly at (401) 919-5767. All communications will be held in confidence and references will not be contacted without the candidate’s prior consent. PPS is an equal-opportunity employer, committed to principles of affirmative action in its recruiting and hiring practices.