Executive Director (RPSF)

Flexible Location – California or New England preferred

Full Time - 80% considered


The Position

Do you want to cultivate the next generation of environmental change-makers?  Are you dedicated to mobilizing a diverse set of leaders from all disciplines and building a network that promotes integrated solutions to environmental problems?  The Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation is seeking an Executive Director to oversee and grow its environmental fellows and leadership programs.  With one foot rooted in vision and the other in implementation, the Executive Director will  direct a small and talented staff in managing programs that entail awarding academic fellowships and project grants, sponsoring professional and leadership development activities, and fostering a growing national network of Switzer Fellows, environmental practitioners, and organizations.  In addition to leading the work to drive positive environmental change for the benefit of natural and human communities, the Executive Director cultivates an inclusive community among staff, Fellows and the broader Switzer Network that is committed to scientific integrity, and principles of equity and inclusion in the environmental field.


The Organization

The Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation is a results-driven family foundation that invests in environmental leadership through fellowships to individuals and grants to organizations that drive positive environmental change. Founded in 1986 and with assets of $19 million, the Foundation is a grantmaking organization that trains and mobilizes leaders from diverse disciplines in the environmental field. Through the Switzer Environmental Fellowship Program and related grants, the Foundation supports a Network of over 600 Switzer Fellows who are leaders in the nonprofit, public policy, philanthropic, business, academic and government sectors working to solve today’s diverse environmental challenges. The Foundation’s values include a commitment to environmental improvement through leadership development, justice and equity, and positive environmental impact. For more information on the Foundation and the Switzer Network, go to www.switzernetwork.org.  


Principle Responsibilities

The Executive Director reports to, and works closely with, the seven-member Board of Directors. The Board of the Foundation includes Switzer family members, former Switzer Fellows and individuals with expertise in the fields of science, policy, research and education.  This unique composition creates a strong board that provides a solid foundation for the Executive Director’s direction.


The Executive Director is the lead staff person responsible for foundation management, Program operations and Board support. The Executive Director has lead responsibility for carrying out the annual goals of the Foundation as directed by the Board.  Specific responsibilities generally include:



  • Provide clear vision and direction toward achieving the Foundation’s mission, setting and executing strategy.
  • Set priorities, develop plans with the staff team, and establish and monitor benchmarks to gauge progress.
  • Provide thought leadership and operational oversight for everything we do, from conception through execution.
  • Recruit, retain and oversee a talented, mission-driven staff.
  • Conduct annual staff performance evaluations and recommend pay or salary adjustments to the Board as required.
  • Cultivate a strong relationship with the board, sharing opportunities and challenges and leveraging support.
  • Represent the Foundation to stakeholders inside and outside the organization.
  • Foster an inclusive culture of creativity, experimentation, excellence, and equity.
  • Cultivate a collaborative learning environment that encourages and rewards novel and impactful individual and team initiatives.
  • Help the organization evaluate and act on new ideas, directing resources as appropriate.


Growth and Sustainability

  • Assume full P&L responsibilities, including developing long- and short-range financial plans, monitoring the budget, and ensuring sound financial controls.
  • Work with Foundation legal counsel, accountants and other professional advisors to ensure that operations and practices are consistent with Foundation policies and the law.


Program Operations

  • Grant Programs - oversee quality, substance and direction of all grant programs. Create and manage systems for the effective implementation of these and grant programs and other new initiatives of the Foundation.
  • Communications - Serve as primary point of contact for the Foundation. This includes Trustees, Fellows, consultants, colleagues and others.  Develop appropriate collateral materials for foundation programs and promotion. Develop annual Communications and Network Plan with Program staff.  Work to raise the profile of the Foundation, promote Fellows and their activities and create approaches for attracting the highest quality applicants.
  • Network - Develop and oversee Switzer Network Program activities including planning and organizing Fellowship retreats, career coaching and mentoring efforts, gatherings of Fellow alumni for trainings and special events and engaging Network participants in program activities.


Board Operations

  • Board Priorities - Carry out the annual objectives of the Board, with assistance of the Executive Committee. Attend all Board meetings and assist the Board chair in developing and administering agendas, work plans and timelines.  Work with Executive Committee on day-to-day policies and management issues as well as oversight of progress towards annual goals.
  • Committee operations - Serve as staff person for all Board committees and provide other reports and analyses as directed.
  • Budget - With the Executive Committee, develop and oversee the annual budget of the Foundation.
  • Policy - Maintain and update Foundation policies as needed.



  • At least 5 years management experience in environmental policy, science, philanthropy or non-profit management with staffing, project and budget development and management responsibilities
  • Demonstrated success in motivating team members to fulfill and exceed personal and organizational goals in an environment that rewards sharing, collaboration, and experimentation
  • A proven track record of leading racially diverse and gender inclusive teams, with the ability to understand and validate alternative views, desires, and goals
  • Highly developed critical thinking, problem-solving, and priority-setting skills
  • Demonstrated training in environmental policy, science, philanthropy or non-profit management
  • Experience working with non-profit or foundation boards
  • Experience interacting with scientists and senior level professionals in the academic, non-profit and government sectors with the ability to work with individuals from different cultural and disciplinary backgrounds
  • Experience working in a non-profit and/or a mission driven organization focused on the environment and sustainability and knowledge of dynamics and developments in the sector
  • Excellent writing skills and public speaking ability
  • Strong organizational skills, excellent attention to detail and ability to innovate
  • Demonstrate initiative, flexibility, resourcefulness, and ability to manage a variety of tasks simultaneously, set priorities, meet deadlines, and work both independently and as part of a team
  • Commitment to environmental justice and equity and the highest level of personal and professional integrity and quality standards
  • Knowledge and previous engagement on environmental justice issues, efforts to diversify the environmental field, and work underway to embed justice and equity values in the sector.
  • Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree or equivalent professional experience desirable


Compensation, Location, and Timing

Switzer Foundation offers an excellent benefits package and a competitive salary that is commensurate with experience. For candidates with significant, relevant experience, an 80% FTE work week will be considered. The Foundation’s headquarters are currently located in Belfast, ME; the location for this position is flexible within the United States with a preference for California or New England.


To Apply

CEA Recruiting is assisting Switzer Foundation with this search. To be considered for this position, interested candidates must follow the link below to submit a resume, cover letter, and salary requirements through CEA’s job portal. Please direct all applications and inquiries to CEA Recruiting.


http://job.ceaconsulting.com/jobs/Switzer ED - 104273


The Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation is committed to the principle of equal opportunity employment and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, marital status, age, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical​​​ condition, pregnancy, genetic information, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, or any other status protected under federal, state, or local law. All are welcome to apply.


CEA Recruiting works with leading environmental nonprofits, foundations, and businesses to recruit top talent and design effective organizational staffing strategies. For more information, visit www.cearecruiting.com.

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  • Biz Ghormley
    published this page in Job Board 2018-10-19 21:40:10 -0400