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Executive Director

Contact: Mary Ellen Whitney
STRIDE Adaptive Sports


STRIDE Adaptive Sports

Executive Director Position


STRIDE is one of the nation’s most highly respected, volunteer driven non-profits focusing on year-round adaptive recreational sports and activities.  Established in 1985 as an outgrowth of adaptive physical education in public schools, STRIDE is dedicated to impacting lives through year-round adaptive experiences for people with disabilities. It creates life-changing opportunities by facilitating safe, educational and fun participation in programs and activities designed to promote healthy active lifestyles.  The programs teach individuals with varying degrees of ability to strive toward independence through sport, whether on the water, land or snow.   

STRIDE’s sport, therapeutic recreational, educational, and social programs create possibilities for individuals of all ages with any disability by offering year-round adaptive experiences such as skiing, snowboarding, biking, swimming, tennis, dance, archery, tent-camping in 18 sports located in 26 venues located primarily in the NY Capital region, the Berkshires of Massachusetts and in western Connecticut. STRIDE provides more than 11,000 instructional lessons annually. STRIDE Wounded Warrior Programs offer integrated adaptive recreational activities to military veterans and their families. The organization operates two facilities; an 85-acre camp in Chatham NY; and a fitness community center in West Sand Lake NY.  The annual budget for STRIDE is approximately $500K+ $300K in-kind donations.

Position Summary:

STRIDE Adaptive Sports is seeking a new Executive Director to provide effective leadership and build collaborative relationships with all of its key stakeholders.  

The new Executive Director must provide over-all thought leadership and management of this growing organization including organizational stewardship and expansion, human resources management, financial controls and philanthropic development.  Further, this candidate will be expected to foster and steer long-term collaborative relationships with 3 host ski mountains and many other partners.

Key priorities facing the new Executive Director are enhancing and expanding a solid base of financial resources to fund its programs, nurturing relationships with staff, operational partners and volunteer leaders and working with community partners to meet STRIDE’s long-term goals. The successful candidate will spend 6 months to one year in transition mentorship with the out-going CEO/Founder.


Leadership & Management

  • Ensure ongoing program excellence, rigorous program evaluation, consistent quality of financial and administration systems and controls, fundraising, communications and advocacy.
  • Provide thought leadership and engage the board, staff, partners and other key stakeholders in charting the strategic future of the organization.
  • Effectively lead, coach, and develop a diverse, highly qualified staff by providing supervision, career coaching, performance reviews and professional and personal development opportunities. Implement and supervise the operation programming, including exploring opportunities for innovation
  • Oversee the requitement, training and motivation of volunteers to support programs and fundraising events (300+ volunteer staff and college interns)
  • Maintain the financial integrity of STRIDE and ensure compliance with all accounting, legal, contractual and fiduciary obligations.

Fundraising and Communication

  • Cultivate relationships with donors, community leaders, the press and the broader community to secure the resources needed to meet program goals through fundraising and other revenue-generating activities including in-kind resources which is 30% of the budget.
  • Develop relationships with other local and national NFPs to identify opportunities for partnerships, new programs, available equipment, and trends in the adaptive sports area.

     Professional Qualifications & Personal Characteristics

  • Passion for the mission of STRIDE and building a world of equality for people with disabilities.
  • Inspirational leader with excellent organizational and team-building skills. Minimum of 5-10 years of management experience. Specific experience in working with people with disabilities is a plus—especially in the areas of adaptive recreation and outdoor education.
  • Positive experience in leading a volunteer workforce within a not-for-profit enterprise.  
  • Business development experience in a service industry or with a nonprofit with a proven track record of setting and achieving targeted goals.
  • Strong verbal communications skills and demonstrated ability to write clearly and persuasively.
  • Demonstrated success in fundraising, including major gifts, capital campaigns, marketing and grant-writing.
  • Collaborative style and ability to build strong relationships and partnerships with key stakeholders.
  • Budgeting, accounting, financial and risk management experience.
  • Affinity for sport and outdoor recreation. Adaptive experience preferred.
  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. Advanced degree in business or relevant fields preferred.

     Board Governance:

  • Recruit, develop, maintain and support a strong Board of Directors and Advisory Board. Seek and build Board involvement with strategic direction and planning.
  • Communicate with the Board of Directors and provide information necessary for the Board to make informed decisions. Schedule and plan agenda for monthly Board Meetings.

     Innovation and Learning:

  • Manage the change process while maintaining operating effectiveness.
  • Stay informed on latest trends and predictions in the non-profit marketplace and keep informed of changing government regulations related to the organization.

Location & Compensation

STRIDE Adaptive Sports is headquartered in upstate New York. Salary is commensurate with experience and consistent with local norms.


STRIDE Adaptive Sports is fully committed to equal-opportunity employment, both in principle and policy. All matters of employment as well as all operations of STRIDE will be conducted in a non-discriminatory manner. Candidates for employment are selected on the basis of qualifications, skills, education, relevant experience, and ability to perform essential functions of the position sought, as outlined in the position job description.

Application Process

To apply for this position, submit cover letter and resume [email protected] 

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