The Executive Director (ED) is responsible for leading all aspects of Potlatch Fund’s work. Working closely with the Board of Directors, the ED leads the organization in establishing a clear strategy to support the organization’s mission. The ED is a thought leader across all areas of the organization’s work and the lead advocate in fostering the vision, promoting goals and influencing others to take action. The ED is one of the organization’s lead spokespeople, along with the Board of Directors. The ED is responsible for securing and sustaining the long-term future of our Native-led community foundation.
Externally, the ED cultivates, establishes and maintains funder and donor relationships while deepening strategic partnerships and relationships within the Native non-profit and philanthropic sectors. Internally, the ED works with the Board and committees to ensure the effective governance and long-term sustainability of the organization while applying a diversity, equity and inclusion lens to our work. The ED leads the staff in executing overall strategy and ensures successful operations, funding and accountability of all programs.
The ED is a passionate and enthusiastic advocate for Potlatch Fund and motivated by the opportunity to play a leading role strengthening Native communities, Native philanthropy and building bridges between funders and Native communities. The ED should be prepared to foster a culture where every member of the staff will feel a deep personal connection to the organization’s work and work together to achieve our vision and values. The ideal ED will model the positive attributes needed to strengthen our organizational culture and is an inspired and dynamic leader who draws strength from the mission, values and vision of Potlatch Fund.
About Potlatch Fund
Potlatch Fund is a community foundation and leadership development organization. We are dedicated our mission to expand philanthropy within Tribal Nations and Native Communities in the Northwest by inspiring and building upon the Native tradition of giving.
Among Northwest Coastal tribes, a potlatch is a coming together in ceremony, celebration and giving. Potlatches have always embodied the best of what Native culture had to offer: community building, food, song, and above all else, sharing. Today, the spirit of the potlatch – of philanthropy in its most traditional form – continues to thrive in every Native community.
To honor this traditional value of giving, Potlatch Fund was formed in 2002. We support Native people by sharing tools and resources needed to strengthen communities. We champion investment in our future leaders so they may serve others. We bring the realities of Native America to the philanthropic community. And we share the resources with those dedicated to keeping Native communities, arts and cultures alive.
What We Do
Potlatch Fund’s model is based on serving needs, investing in Native communities, building bridges, advancing Native philanthropy, and strengthening community. To serve the needs of Native communities, Potlatch Fund works to build the capacity of Tribal institutions and leadership, to bring new philanthropic resources to these communities, and to administer direct grantmaking programs that benefit Native communities.
Despite the vast cultural wealth held by Native Americans, Native communities continue to be under-resourced and underserved at all levels, from education to the arts, from social services to basic community infrastructure. In other communities, the philanthropic sector – with its many private, corporate, family and community foundations – serves the invaluable role of addressing such disparities. These resources have yet to reach Indian Country.
According to the Foundation Center, Native Americans receive less than one percent of philanthropic dollars in the United States. Yet these communities continue to experience disproportionately high rates of poverty, unemployment and disease. At Potlatch Fund, we focus on promoting diversity, equity and inclusion within mainstream philanthropy.
Before colonization many Native communities lived a life of abundant wealth. The laws of the potlatch and Native society address redistribution of wealth and acts of reciprocity. It is Potlatch Fund’s desire for Native communities to return to these ways.
We are a small team and we truly live within the work we do. We meet communities where they are at and take an asset-based approach to community development. We recognize and respect the sovereign status of Tribes and our role in supporting and complementing the work of Tribal governments and Tribal community initiatives. We honor Elders, children, and future generations and respect all peoples that we work with. We aim to honor, enrich, share and protect traditions, culture and the natural world. We also have a commitment to educate non-Native communities about Northwest Indian Country.
Ultimately, we work with Tribal leadership, Native communities, nonprofit leaders and Native artists to bring the idea that – with the help of philanthropic dollars – they can create their own destinies.
Since 2002, Potlatch Fund has distributed over 4 million dollars in grants. Through our Grantmaking Program we provide annual grants of $10,000 through five categories:
Community Building - supports organizations and community programs that impart values, histories and knowledge across generations to make our communities stronger and healthier. The well-being of individuals and community-based organizations is integral to the well-being of a community as a whole. This program seeks to build the capacity of individuals, organizations and communities.
Language Preservation - funds the development of language transfer systems - a groundbreaking approach to increasing fluency. Support is offered for: community language assessments, strategic plan development, and implementation of the plan.
Native Arts - seeks to lift up both traditional and contemporary projects working to strengthen Native art forms, practices and knowledge that develop a stronger sense of identity and cultural vitality of the community.
Healthy Pathways for Native Youth - supports initiatives that assist Native youth in their transformation from childhood to young adulthood by equipping them with culture, resilience, strength, and health and wellness.
Native Student Success - encourages organizational learning and building capacity for Tribal communities and Native-led nonprofits to develop local solutions for Native students. We are interested in the development, implementation and sharing of effective practices in community-determined project areas and achieving community-determined outcomes.
An integral part of Potlatch Fund’s work is providing leadership and nonprofit management trainings to remove the barriers to nonprofit creation and success. This is achieved through the Capacity Building Program, which is comprised of our Grantmaking Program grantees. We offer intensive 10-month training sessions utilizing a cohort model that focuses on Nonprofit Management, Native Arts, and Language Preservation.
The Capacity Building Program is about our people—empowering emerging leaders and developing sound strategies in nonprofit management—as well as fundraising and grant writing to increase organizational capacity of Native-led organizations. We know that increased nonprofit development catalyzes the expansion of philanthropy, which is our organization’s mission.
Office Location: Seattle, Washington
Reports to: Executive Committee and Board of Directors
Salary and Benefits: $95,000 - $105,000, depending on experience, with 4 weeks paid vacation, 403b employer match, medical and dental insurance, a parking stipend and professional development budget. Full-time, exempt.
Position Summary: The Executive Director (ED) is a dynamic visionary leader responsible for securing and sustaining the long-term future of our Native-led community foundation. Externally, the ED cultivates, establishes and maintains funder and donor relationships while deepening strategic partnerships and relationships within the Native non-profit and philanthropic sectors. Internally, the ED works with the Board, Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Gala Committee, Development Committee and Overarching Grant Committee to ensure the effective governance and long-term sustainability of the organization while applying a diversity, equity and inclusion lens to our work. The ED supervises the Managing Director, Program Director and other staff to ensure the successful operation, funding and accountability of all programs.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
- Implements Potlatch Fund’s mission to inspire the Native tradition of giving and to expand philanthropy in Northwest Indian Country.
- Implements Potlatch Fund’s strategic plan, grantmaking and capacity building programs, and educates funders about the needs and opportunities within Pacific Northwest Tribal Nations and Native communities.
- Directly supervises the Managing Director and Program Director.
- Provides leadership for the planning, implementation and evaluation of the organization’s programs and services. Works closely with the Managing Director to develop and implement the annual grantmaking program to ensure sustainability, growth and program expansion.
- Ensures that Potlatch Fund’s grantmaking program strategy contributes to our mission and reflects the priorities of the Board.
- Provides oversight to the Managing Director in collection and analysis of grant evaluation data and presentation of findings to the Board of Directors, foundations and donors.
Capacity Building (20%)
- Provides leadership for the planning, implementation and evaluation of the organization’s programs and services. Works closely with the Program Director to develop and implement the delivery of the capacity building program to ensure sustainability, growth and program expansion.
- Ensures that Potlatch Fund’s capacity building program strategy contributes to our mission and reflects the priorities of the Board.
- Provides oversight to the Program Director to collect and analyze the capacity building program evaluation to determine program effectiveness and opportunities for continuous improvement.
Fundraising & Communications (40%)
Provides leadership to the Managing Director and Development & Communications Manager to create and implement an annual development and fundraising plan. Our comprehensive plan includes:
- Establishing and maintaining donor relationships and cultivating new donors.
- Developing the major components of grant proposals to tribes, private foundations, corporations and governmental agencies.
- Creatively pursuing resource development opportunities and expanding Potlatch Fund’s base of supporters.
- Creating budgets, timelines and goals to ensure work plans and deliverables are met to ensure grant deliverables are met.
- Overseeing the planning and budgeting for organizational fundraising and marketing efforts.
- Coordinating with all staff around the timely filing of all final reports.
- Provides oversight to the Managing Director, Development & Communications Manager, Fundraising Gala Committee and staff to plan annual fundraising gala, including developing an annual work plan and project budget.
- In collaboration with the Managing Director and the Development & Communications Manager, oversees the strategy of all communication materials focused on donors and the general public, including website content, social media, brand enhancement, donor solicitations, newsletters and other related messaging.
- Represents Potlatch Fund at events that further our mission.
Provides oversight to staff in Human Resources functions.
- Ensures the organization has clear and sound fiscal policies and management policies.
- Works with the Managing Director, Program Director, Finance Committee and Board to prepare and implement a comprehensive budget.
- Administers Potlatch Fund’s funds according to the approved budget and manages the budget projections and cash flow of the organization. Provides consistent financial reports to the staff, Finance Committee and Board.
- Works with Board to set, implement and regularly revisit the strategic plan for the organization.
- Develops an annual work plan that outlines how strategic initiatives will be met.
- Provides guidance and recommendations to the Board with respect to policies and procedures, new program opportunities and critical information and trends within the sector.
- Assists the Board of Directors as needed.
- Prepares materials and reports for the Board of Directors and works closely with the Executive Committee to develop meeting agendas.
- Participates in all meetings of the Board of Directors and serves as an ad hoc member in all committees of the Board of Directors.
- Performs other duties as needed.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
- An entrepreneurial spirit to explore opportunities for innovation, collaboration, growth and continuous improvement.
- Ability to apply a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) lens to all facets of the organization’s work. As a member organization, we seek to emulate Philanthropy Northwest’s commitment to and definitions of diversity, equity, and inclusion within our grantmaking.
- Extensive experience in working with Native American communities or Tribal Nations.
- Experience managing, delegating and working with staff, consultants and volunteers.
- Excellent organizational and project management skills with exceptional attention to detail.
- Strong verbal and written communication skills.
- Ability to establish priorities, multitask, and proceed without supervision. Ability to work both independently and as a member as a team.
- Consistently produce high quality deliverables on a timely basis.
- Ability to function under deadlines and pressure, including producing written documents such as proposals and letters under difficult time constraints.
- Experience convening and building consensus with Native or diverse groups.
- Experience developing and making public presentations and facilitating meetings.
- Ability to flourish, with humor, in a fast-paced, rapidly growing non-profit foundation and community-based leadership development organization.
- Ability to manage finances of a medium sized non-profit.
- Ability to raise money both from mainstream and emerging funders and also from donors.
- Master’s degree strongly preferred from an accredited college or university, with an MBA or MPA desired.
- A minimum of 6 years of experience working in a 501(c)3 nonprofit, philanthropic organization, Indian Tribe or equivalent combination of education and experience. Experience successfully manging programs and grants for Tribal or Native nonprofit organizations preferred.
- Demonstrated experience in fundraising, grantmaking and communications. As Potlatch Fund seeks to launch a major fundraising campaign within the next couple of years, a successful record in fundraising and donor cultivation is this is a key requirement.
- Proven experience working with Northwest Native communities and diverse populations, including knowledge of Tribal protocols.
- Ability to travel extensively throughout the Northwest, with some potential travel outside the region.
- Ability to read, analyze and interpret general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures or governmental regulations. Ability to write reports, business correspondence and procedure manuals. Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, clients, customers and the general public. Ability to recognize when Native languages are being spoken and to be able to demonstrably show respect for the same.
- Proficiency with Microsoft products (Office Suite, Visio, and Windows). Familiarity with Adobe products (Acrobat, Dreamweaver, InDesign, and Photoshop), Salesforce and social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) is preferred.
- Must be available to work a flexible schedule as requested by the Board of Directors. Work schedule will involve some evening and weekend work. Executive Director must have the ability to travel for several days in a row.
- A clean driver’s license required and a comprehensive background check will be undertaken of the successful applicant.
- Must be able to work effectively in an open, co-located environment where all staff shares space.
How to Apply
Please send your cover letter & resume in PDF format via email to
Anne Katahira, The Giving Practice at [email protected]
Please include “Potlatch Fund Executive Director Search” in the subject of your email. Materials will be reviewed on a rolling basis and may be submitted no later than 5:00pm Pacific Time, Friday, June 29, 2018.
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