Matt Zencey

Archive for the ‘Non-profit experience’ Category

Non-profit manager

In Non-profit experience on September 20, 2012 at 8:07 pm

During a 3-year break in my journalism career, I ran the Alaska Rainforest Campaign, a coalition of groups working to improve conservation protections for Alaska’s national forests, a project administered by the Alaska Conservation Foundation. (Yes, Alaska has rainforest, along the coastline in the southeastern panhandle.) I supervised a budget of $1 million a year, a staff of three, and numerous consulting contracts. Our project succeeded in getting President Bill Clinton to include Alaska’s Tongass National Forest in his national roadless area protection policy, despite the bitter opposition of Alaska’s powerful Republican Senator Ted Stevens., and despite internal differences about tactics and goals. I had to delicately manage the diverse agendas and sometimes contentious personalities of the groups and leaders in our coalition. I succeeded by being a straight shooter, not being afraid to ask for advice, and maintaining a sense of humor.

In the late 2000s, I was volunteer president of my local Little League, supervising all aspects of operations, from recruiting coaches and umpires, maintaining fields, troubleshooting problems, and managing the budget. During my tenure, we obtained and executed a grant to install an irrigation system and new dugouts at our fields. We also doubled the annual budget by bringing in revenue from a charitable gaming partner. I learned how to deal with the challenges of recruiting volunteers and persuading them to do things.

Much earlier in my career, before entering journalism, I ran the energy department of Rural Alaska Community Action Program. Its services included weatherization, emergency fuel loans, and educational presentations about energy conservation to tiny, predominantly Native villages, located far off Alaska’s road system, where many of the impoverished residents could not afford the painfully high energy prices of the early 1980s. I oversaw a budget of approximately $1 million, mostly for weatherization, and supervised several staff members.

I will gladly provide references from my work on these projects.

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