Website Friends of the Rouge

Location: Plymouth, Michigan


In partnership with the Board of Directors, the Executive Director is an ambassador and advocate for FOTR’s mission. The Executive Director is responsible for the organization’s consistent achievement of its mission through relevant initiatives, strategic planning and fundraising, on-going integration of DEI and environmental justice in its work, as well as meeting financial objectives and oversight of the operations of the organization.

The Executive Director is a leader who can guide the organization with strong change management skills to ensure organizational stability along with a clear vision to inform the organization’s new strategic plan. The Executive Director is the face of the organization, is an active member of the community and works directly with partner organizations. In partnership with the Development Director, the Executive Director works actively on fundraising and development.


Strategy and Execution:

  • Provides transformational leadership in developing strategic plans and vision in collaboration with the Board of Directors and staff, and ensures successful execution of plans and priorities
  • Maintains a working knowledge of significant developments and trends in watershed conservation and funder preferences/requirements to ensure that mission, vision, and strategy embrace creative and leading-edge approaches and practices
  • Successfully partners with Board and staff in the execution of vision and strategies
  • Centers DEI and environmental justice in organizational practices and external partnerships

Resource Development/Fundraising and Community Partnerships:

  • Advances FOTR’s mission by establishing and nurturing relationships with partners and key community stakeholders
  • Proactively cultivates existing and new community partnerships
  • Maintains and enhances fundraising success in partnership with the Development Director and Board of Directors
  • Actively engages with a prioritized personal portfolio of potential funders, with weekly and monthly goals/progress for all fundraising activities
  • Strategically diversifies the funding base and revenue streams to maintain and enhance organizational sustainability
  • Ensures identification and execution of successful approaches to grant applications and deliverables
  • Demonstrates exceptional ongoing relationship management with funders, donors, stakeholders, and key community partners

Team Relations/Supervision

  • Establishes trust and rapport with the team through authentic relationships
  • Instills recognition systems for staff and adopts regular venues for listening and responding to staff ideas and needs
  • Leads a high-performing, mission-driven team; responsible for the successful recruitment, coaching, and performance management of direct reports
  • Creates clarity of accountabilities by ensuring responsibilities are clearly documented, regular evaluations are held, and sound personnel management practices are in place
  • Demonstrates commitment to, and leadership in, DEI-centered workplace.
  • Maintains a climate that attracts, retains, and motivates a diverse staff of peak-performing professionals

Internal and External Communications:

  • Represents the organization in various community forums and to funding agencies to advocate for FOTR’s mission
  • Communicates with the board to ensure trustees are fully informed on all activities and matters of importance to FOTR’s mission
  • Reports metrics against goals, with input from board members, committees, and staff; and alerts board members to concerns about financial and other impacts
  • Oversees the dissemination of information regarding FOTR activities to increase community awareness of the mission and goals of the organization
  • Establishes sound working relationships with outside entities
  • Crafts, contributes to, or approves all relevant collateral and communication vehicles (Annual Report, website, social media)

Finance and Business Plans

  • Oversees development and maintenance of sound financial practices, including oversight of annual financial audit
  • Partners with staff and board in preparing a budget; ensures that the organization operates within budget guidelines and follows proper accounting practices
  • Ensures that program and operational expenditures are properly balanced with fundraising/revenue


Education and Experience

  • Experience in executive senior leadership, or at least five years of progressively responsible experience in a leadership/supervisory role with a proven track record in building relationships with staff and volunteers
  • Experience working in a nonprofit, economic development, governmental, or public sector setting with proven experience in responding to the needs of various stakeholders
  • Experience working with a volunteer board
  • Experience raising funds, including successfully closing major gift solicitations with individual high-capacity donors or foundations

Competencies and Attributes

  • Ability to exercise a high degree of judgment and diplomacy as well as maintaining the highest integrity and ethics
  • A drive towards collaboration, innovation, and pursuit of new opportunities, along with comfort in leading change
  • Strong interpersonal skills and comfort with the philanthropic community and major donors
  • Solid, persuasive verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to deliver inspiring and succinct presentations and conduct productive meetings
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently, as well as a proven record of working collaboratively and diplomatically with others
  • Demonstrated ability to lead a diverse team and effectively manage, motivate, and mentor staff
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically and develop organizational strategic plans
  • Strong business acumen and decision-making skills; ability to set priorities; strong process and project management skills
  • Valid driver’s license and vehicle

Desired/Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in Environmental Studies, Business Administration or a related field
  • A connection to the environment or watershed management/conservation
  • The successful candidate may also be a resident of SE Michigan, have lived experience in communities disproportionately impacted by environmental injustice, or experience working with/in communities impacted by environmental injustice.

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