Shelter Director

This is a unique opportunity to lead the premier cat shelter in Boston, Massachusetts. You will work closely with a well-connected and committed Board of Directors, an experienced team of staff, and a dedicated group of volunteers. The Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter is committed to the wellbeing of cats, providing excellent care and finding them loving homes in the Boston area. If you have a passion for cats and a track record of successful leadership, we invite you to apply for this position.

Qualifications and Duties

The Shelter Director of Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter is responsible for overseeing the organization's consistent achievement of its vision and mission and supporting the organization’s financial objectives. The Shelter Director is also responsible for planning, organizing, and supervising all aspects of the organization’s operations, supporting the board of directors in development and implementation of a strategic plan for the long-term growth and success of the agency, and ensuring quality animal care while sustaining the successful lifesaving work of the agency.

The ideal candidate for this position will be:

• Passionate about and have a deep commitment to the mission of Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter.

• Experienced and have demonstrated past successes in management and leadership.

• Energetic, self-motivated, team oriented, and flexible.

Important areas of demonstrated past experiences and skills include:

• A high level of professionalism.

• Management of organizations in the non-profit or for-profit sector with demonstrated success establishing and achieving goals.

• Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal; able speak to a variety of audiences.

• Strong interpersonal skills including conflict resolution and sound judgment; possessing patience and tact.

• Building and directing high-performing teams.

• Mentoring and coaching skills.

• Dealing effectively and politely with people from all types of backgrounds and experience and in all types of difficult situations.

• Effectively working with boards of directors.

• Strong organizational skills that ensure smooth operations.

• Attention to detail and follow-through on commitments.

• Ability to multi-task.

• Desire and ability to absorb and apply new information including a solid commitment to keeping up with the latest industry best practices.

• Evaluating problems accurately and displaying good, sound judgment.

• Working efficiently and effectively without supervision.

• Coping with the emotional stresses of animal sheltering.

• Ability to use computer systems and programs and to learn new computer programs as needed.

• Knowledge of animal welfare issues; animal shelter or related work experience is a plus.

Successful candidates must be willing to:

• Make a minimum three-year commitment to Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter.

• Relocate to the Boston area.

• Be physically capable of performing all the duties of animal care.


• Leadership: Working with the board, staff, and community to ensure that the mission and core values of the Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter are realized and working with the board to ensure that the organization has sufficient resources to support its work into the future.

• Program Development: Assuring that the organization has a strategy for program evaluation and development which supports the mission. This will include the planning, execution, and assessment of programs which engage the public and provide animal care such as adoptions, outreach, and other programs designed to meet the needs of cats and the people who care about them.

• Animal Care and Standards: Overseeing the care for all animals that come under the protection of the Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter and ensuring their humane treatment. This includes implementing short- and long-term strategies which increase adoptions, improve animal care, provide enrichment and medical rehabilitation, encourage spaying and neutering, and help pets stay with their responsible caregivers.

• Community Outreach and Relations: Working with community groups, businesses, and other animal welfare organizations within the community to increase support for Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter and meet the needs of the animals in the community.

• Communications: Supporting marketing and publicity for the organization’s activities, programs, and goals.

• Development: Supporting a comprehensive development plan to ensure adequate resources for the work of Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter.

• Staff Management and Development: Maintaining a climate that attracts, retains, and motivates a diverse staff of top quality people who support and promote the mission, goals, and core values of Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter. Overseeing human resources (both paid staff and volunteers) including recruitment, employment, direction, management, and release of all personnel. Ensuring that job descriptions are maintained, regular performance evaluations are conducted, motivation systems are utilized, and sound human resource practices are in place that abide by local, state, and federal laws.

• Budget and Finance: Supporting and maintaining sound financial practices including helping to prepare budgets for approval and monitoring compliance of expenditures within approved budgetary constraints.

• Compliance with Laws, Regulations, Policies, and Guidelines: Ensuring that policies are periodically reviewed, updated, and shared with staff to ensure compliance. Understanding and ensuring operational compliance with current federal, state, county, and local laws, regulations, and guidelines that affect operations. Overseeing record-keeping practices for legally compliant animal tracking and veterinary care, adoptions, staff personnel files, budgetary accountability, and all other functions. Maintaining official records and documents.


• Education: Bachelor’s degree preferred.

• Experience: Minimum of three years of experience in a leadership or senior management position with strong, transferrable skills and some animal shelter experience.

• Location: Residence in or relocation to the Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter service area.

• Ability to work with and around animals: Need to be able to work with and around diseased, injured and/or fractious animals, loud noises, chlorine and other chemicals, and inclement weather. Allergic conditions which would be aggravated when handling or working with animals may be a disqualification.

• Physical ability: Role is physical in nature and may require carrying up to 40 pounds and climbing up and down stairs.

• Computer skills: Proficient with Microsoft Office products.

• Time commitment: A minimum commitment of three years to Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter.

• Valid Massachusetts Driver’s License: Possession of or ability to obtain a valid Massachusetts Driver’s License within 20 days of starting employment is a requirement for continued employment and will be verified. Maintaining a satisfactory driving record and valid Massachusetts Driver’s License are ongoing conditions of employment.

Nature of Employment

The Shelter Director reports to the Board of Directors with the primary liaison being the President of the board. It is an exempt position, which requires a minimum of 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week and may include weekend, night, and holiday work.


The annual salary range is $60,000 to $75,000. Starting salary is dependent upon experience.


include paid time off, health insurance, and other optional insurance with employee contribution. Relocation costs can be negotiated if needed.

How to Apply

Email a one-page cover letter and resume to: The Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter Search Committee c/o Diane Blankenburg of Humane Network at the email address provided elsewhere in this listing. Acknowledgement will be emailed back upon receipt of your cover letter and resume. Applications will be reviewed as they are received. Applications received after September 26 may not be considered.

About Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter

With an annual budget of $700,000 and approximately seven staff members, Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter is a free-roaming, no-kill cat shelter that provides adoption services, sheltering, medical care, spay/neuter services, and behavioral rehabilitation to an average of 700 cats each year. Since its inception 130 years ago, Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter has become a recognized nonprofit organization in the Boston area. Located at 30 Undine Road in Brighton, the Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter was the first free-roaming, no-kill shelter in the area.

About the Community

Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter, located in Brighton, Massachusetts, serves the Boston area.

Brighton is a vibrant neighborhood in the northwest part of Boston. It has a population of approximately 42,000 residents. It is part of the historic city of Boston – with a population of over 692,000 residents. Boston is sometimes called a "city of neighborhoods" because of the profusion of diverse subsections. Boston is one of the oldest municipalities in the U.S., founded in 1630 with numerous historic landmarks and many colleges and universities making the city a leader in higher education. Boston is also a thriving information and biotechnology research hub. Households in the city claim the highest average rate of philanthropy in the United States.

The city is also known as a cultural center with many world class art museums, a vibrant symphony orchestra, and other arts institutions and major arts festivals. Boston has teams in the four major North American professional sports leagues as well as soccer.

Boston is also home to many parks, including the oldest public parks in the country – Boston Common, Beacon Hill, and Boston Public Garden which is part of “the Emerald Necklace,” a string of parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.

Boston has a robust public transportation system and is known for its world-class medical care. It is located within easy driving distance of many outdoor recreation and vacation destinations, including Cape Cod, Newport, and the Berkshires as well as nearby states of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

This is a unique opportunity to lead the premier cat shelter in Boston, Massachusetts. You will work closely with a well-connected and committed Board of Directors, an experienced team of staff, and a dedicated group of volunteers. The Ellen M…

Details at a Glance

  • Time Commitment
    Full Time Schedule
  • Start Date
    October 4, 2021
  • Application Deadline
    September 26, 2021
  • Education
    4-Year Degree Required
  • Professional Level


USD 60,000 - USD 75,000


Paid Time Off

Paid Time Off


30 Undine Rd, Brighton, MA 02135, USA

How to Apply

Please send cover letter and resume to: Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter Search Committee c/o Diane Blankenburg of Humane Network at Acknowledgment will be emailed upon receipt of application. Applications will be reviewed as they are received. Applications received after September 26 may not be considered.

Please send cover letter and resume to: Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter Search Committee c/o Diane Blankenburg of Humane Network at Acknowledgment will be…

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