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Executive Director Full-time

Published at 2021-07-29 - Viewed: 2111 times - Free Software Foundation (Worldwide/Remote)

Job description

The Free Software Foundation (FSF), a Massachusetts 501(c)(3) charity with a worldwide mission to protect computer user freedom, seeks a principled, compassionate, and capable leader to be its new executive director. This position can be remote or based in our Boston office.

The FSF is committed to the notion that users are entitled to control their computing, individually and collectively, and therefore to control the software that does that computing. The executive director will work closely with the president, board of directors, and all Foundation staff to achieve this goal.

The FSF faces many challenges as software becomes increasingly central in the exercise of all fundamental human freedoms, including speech, association, privacy, and movement, and as software owners seek to exploit their control over us to profit at the expense of those freedoms. The executive director has a vital role in enabling the FSF to continue meeting these challenges, starting from the strong base that has been built in the last thirty-five years. The Foundation has recently reached record-high membership numbers and was awarded a perfect score from Charity Navigator, as well as its eighth consecutive four-star rating. Efforts to improve the Foundation’s governance are underway.

The executive director is the FSF’s chief employed officer. The position reports to the president/CEO and the board of directors, and is responsible for management of all other staff, all day-to-day operations, and oversight of the Boston physical office. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to hire for additional key positions in the management team.

While not a member of the board of directors, the executive director provides support for the board, including facilitation for and participation in meetings, strategic planning, goal setting, and policy formation. The executive director, working with the president, is the public face of the Foundation.

Job responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Mentor, inspire, coordinate, and manage all FSF staff, building a culture that upholds the FSF’s ideological principles and includes accountability, empathy, efficiency, and excellence;
  • Accept responsibility for all work done at the FSF, setting the necessary standards for performance across the organization, monitoring outcomes, and executing adjustments as needed;
  • Report periodically on the activities of the Foundation to the Board of Directors;
  • Work with the FSF staff union and the board to structure the working arrangements at the FSF, including job descriptions, compensation, benefits, and organizational policies;
  • Work with the president and other FSF officers to set priorities and to design and implement tactics and strategies for attaining the objectives set by the board of directors;
  • Design, propose, and manage the annual budget;
  • Lead the FSF’s fundraising efforts in a way that provides a diverse set of support sufficient to operate successfully while keeping the FSF accountable only to its mission;
  • Represent the FSF at community events, in the media, and to partner organizations and other stakeholders;
  • Enforce appropriate financial controls and accounting practices, including the FSF’s annual external audit;
  • Grow and coordinate the FSF’s legal team; and
  • Loyally uphold the integrity of copyleft and the GNU licenses, and lead the compliance staff in the enforcement of those licenses.

Benefits and salary

This job is a non-union position. For information about our salary ranges, please review our public 990 forms at

Other benefits include:

  • Full individual or family health coverage;
  • Subsidized dental plan;
  • Four weeks of paid vacation annually;
  • Seventeen paid holidays annually;
  • Weekly remote work allowance;
  • Public transit commuting cost reimbursement;
  • 403(b) program through TIAA with employer match;
  • Yearly cost-of-living pay increases (based on government guidelines);
  • Health care expense reimbursement budget;
  • Ergonomic budget;
  • Relocation expense reimbursement if appropriate;
  • Conference travel and professional development opportunities; and
  • Potential for an annual performance bonus.

Application instructions

Applications must be submitted via email to The email must contain the subject line “Executive Director.” A complete application should include:

  • Cover letter;
  • Resume;
  • Three recent references;
  • Two writing samples; and
  • Link to a conference presentation you have given (optional).

Because the free software movement is global, fluency in multiple languages will be a plus. The FSF is an equal opportunity employer, and will not discriminate against any employee or application for employment on the basis of race, color, marital status, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, handicap, or any other legally protected status recognized by federal, state or local law. We value diversity in our workplace.

All materials must be in a free format (such as plain text, PDF, or OpenDocument). Email submissions that do not follow these instructions will probably be overlooked. No phone calls, please.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. To guarantee consideration, submit your application by Thursday, June 24th.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users’ right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software — particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants — and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at and, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF’s work can be made at Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

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