Janet Milkman moved to Falmouth from Pennsylvania three days before the first major snowstorm hit New England last January, not the best time to be looking for a job.
But she found one of the first jobs she applied for. Milkman, 53, is the new executive director of the Marion Institute, a nonprofit in Marion, taking over in early June.
“The timing worked out, and the fit was good,” she said.
The Marion Institute was founded in 1993 as “an incubator for initiatives that work for positive social changes in the areas of health, nature, mind, and food,” Milkman said. “It’s a very exciting, different place to be working.”
Milkman has a wealth of experience in nonprofit work and the green movement. She most recently was executive director of the Delaware Valley Green Building Council, and has filled similar roles at Erthnxt and 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania.
“When you work in the small nonprofit field, you look for ways to make an impact,” Milkman said of her main reason for coming to the institute.
“The big question is always how to have that impact when you’re a million-dollar nonprofit. It’s like running a small business, except the goal isn’t to make a profit or break even, but to make an impact and make the world a better place.”
She was impressed with the institute’s long history of helping others, she said, including being an early funder of Wangari Maathai, the late Nobel Peace Prize recipient from Kenya who founded the Green Belt Movement, and for its support of Cambodian Living Arts, a music organization.
Milkman said the institute has also long supported the work of the Himalayan Project, founded by Marion resident Sally
Hunsdorfer. Locally, the institute is a partner with Grow Education in New Bedford, which teaches students about food and gardening.
As to immediate goals in her job, Milkman said it’s about “finding and taking advantage of our sweet spot, seeing what we have [that] no one else does, and taking advantage of it.”
“We have a lot of success to build on,” she said. “I’m very excited about that.”
Paul E. Kandarian