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After more than three decades of exemplary service to the diverse communities of the Philadelphia region, the Philadelphia Folklore Project (PFP) is seeking its third executive director.

Founded in 1987 by Deborah Kodish, PFP is an independent public folklife agency that documents, supports, and presents Philadelphia-area folk arts and culture–both the arts of people who have been here generations and of those who have just arrived.  We work to strengthen the folk cultural life of our communities because we believe that the quality of urban life is directly related to the persistence, diversity, and vitality of our vernacular folk cultures.  Select program highlights from the past few years include a feature length, award-winning documentary film, Because of the War, focused on Liberian women and their use of traditional music to make peace in their communities; documentation and an exhibition focused on Tibetan life in Philadelphia; and cultivation of participatory community klezmer music and dance.

Annually, PFP offers exhibitions, concerts, workshops, and assistance to artists and communities.  By conducting ongoing ethnographic research into community-based local arts, history, and culture, PFP continues to preserve a record of Philadelphia's folklife. Its arts education programs, online publications, documentary films, exhibitions, and other resources offer alternative versions of Philadelphia that deepen the public’s understanding of local traditional arts and those that create them.

A small ($400,000 annual budget), but financially sound, nonprofit organization, PFP has an engaged board of seven and an energetic staff of three, plus contractors.




Job Title: Executive Director

Reports To: Board of Directors

Supervises: All PFP staff, currently 2 FTE plus contractors

Status: Exempt, Full-time

Posted: February, 2019



Mission: The Philadelphia Folklore Project works to sustain vital and diverse living cultural heritage in communities in our region through collaborative projects, research, documentation and education, prioritizing folk and traditional arts in service of social change.

Work: The Philadelphia Folklore Project identifies and supports the work of local folk and traditional artists; produces public programs that advance folk artists and traditions significant to Philadelphia communities; develops education programs benefiting children and adults; and documents outstanding practitioners and practices.



Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director has overall strategic and operational responsibility for PFP’s staff, programs, fundraising, and execution of its mission.  The position requires collaborative approaches (with board, staff, artists, and community members) and diverse perspectives are valued as central to the core mission.  The Executive Director will:

  • Ensure ongoing programmatic excellence, rigorous program evaluation, and consistent quality of finance and administration, fundraising, communications, and systems;  

  • Develop and execute a plan for raising $400K annually for PFP operations through effective grant writing, contracts, and individual donations;

  • Manage the organization’s budgets, oversee audit, compliance, and the work of the accountant (including payroll and payment of vendors);  

  • Oversee all aspects of communications—from web presence to external relations—with the goal of consistently strengthening PFP’s brand and visibility;  

  • Represent PFP in public settings: serve as a local and national presence communicating program results with an emphasis on the successes of PFP and the relevance of our methodologies beyond our own programs;

  • Collaborate with PFP staff to advance public programming by supporting staff fieldwork and interpretation initiatives; maintaining and advancing PFP’s methodology and training staff and community participants in these methods; and through direct participation in fieldwork, program design and program evaluation;  

  • Ensure adequate staffing by contracting with, supervising, supporting and evaluating staff.


  • Commitment to racial and cultural equity and social justice;

  • Graduate degree in Folklore or allied field, Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree preferred;

  • Five-seven years related work experience or equivalent combination of education and experience;

  • Demonstrated excellent oral and written communications skills; comfort in role of public spokesperson;

  • Experience in artistic programming, coordinating meetings and/or public events;

  • Experience in nonprofit budgeting, financial management, and fundraising, prior experience with grants management and individual giving preferred;

  • Strong data analysis and assessment skills;

  • Experience supervising staff;

  • Experience in community collaboration and networking skills.


The Philadelphia Folklore Project is fully committed to Equal Employment Opportunity and to attracting, retaining, developing, and promoting the most qualified employees without regard to their race, gender, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, citizenship status, veteran status, or any other characteristic prohibited by state or local law. Philadelphia Folklore Project is dedicated to providing a work environment free from discrimination and harassment and where employees are treated with respect and dignity.


The salary for this position will be dependent upon experience; the range is $60,000-$67,000. Benefits include health care stipend or retirement contributions, paid sick days, vacation, and holidays, and an annual research sabbatical of one month in January after completing the first year of employment.


Send a letter of interest that outlines the skills and experience that make you a good candidate and include a resume and the names, addresses, email addresses, and telephone numbers of three references to: jobs at  In the email, please indicate your earliest availability, your salary requirements, and whether we need to keep your application confidential. In addition, please provide a writing sample with an explanation of the sample context and who else was involved in the writing or editing.

Application Checklist:

  • Letter of interest

  • Resume

  • References

  • Availability

  • Salary requirements

  • Confidentiality

  • Writing sample

For more information or a confidential conversation, serious candidates should consult our search consultant Melanie Beene at 415 648-0174 or beenemelanie at


Applicants will be reviewed as received, beginning February 2019 until April 15, 2019.