Executive Director

Blue Sky Funders Forum Published: January 6, 2023
Skill Level
Senior Level
Job Type
CEO/ Senior Mgmt/ Exec Director

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Blue Sky Funders Forum seeks a collaborative, strategic, and motivated new Executive Director to play an integral role in facilitating and surfacing the vision for existing programs and initiatives. The Executive Director will help determine and actualize the future direction of the Forum and support growing the network to continue to provide meaningful capacity to a wide range of funders.

The Executive Director will be a catalyst and network weaver committed to bringing people together from diverse sectors and life experiences. This is a unique opportunity to be part of a collaborative ecosystem helping to shift the role of philanthropy to truly center equity and justice as a core frame for access to environmental learning and meaningful experiences in the outdoors.

Established in 2014, the Blue Sky Funders Forum (Blue Sky) is a funders collaborative that exists to inspire and increase philanthropic investments and the community of funders supporting equitable access to meaningful outdoor experiences and connections to nature. Our vibrant membership welcomes all types of funders and supporters of this vision. We aspire to spark meaningful connections and collaborations and provide strategic vision for a stronger, more unified movement.

Blue Sky is a community united in the belief that when people have meaningful experiences outdoors their quality of life, health, and social well-being improve, and, in turn, their communities become stronger and more sustainable. Blue Sky engages and convenes funders to expand philanthropy that supports the many benefits of environmental learning and a stronger connection to nature; activates funder collaborations to advance shared goals; and showcases successful programs, strategies, and innovative partnerships to enrich and inform members’ grantmaking.

In addition, Blue Sky coordinates Rethink Outside™, a shared narrative campaign co-generated through a multi-year, inclusive process to move the vital work of connecting people with the outdoors from a 'nice to have' to an absolute necessity. Blue Sky is well-positioned to grow its membership and impact, engaging diverse groups of stakeholders to collectively shape and invest in efforts that elevate and strengthen the field; connect people and nature; and advance environmental literacy.

Blue Sky is led by a board of staff, trustees, and individual donors from Blue Sky members and EGA. EGA serves as the fiscal sponsor for Blue Sky, and Blue Sky’s Executive Director is an employee of EGA. EGA’s President & CEO, with the support of EGA’s board of directors, provides administrative, human resources, and financial oversight of Blue Sky.

About the Opportunity

Blue Sky’s Executive Director serves as the chief executive with primary responsibility for shaping Blue Sky’s vision and strategic direction; managing day-to-day activities and operations; and attracting new partners, funders, and members. Beyond growing and maintaining membership, the Executive Director is responsible for identifying potential funding sources and developing new funding partners for Blue Sky initiatives.

The successful candidate will possess proven entrepreneurial, organizational, interpersonal, and analytical skills, as well as knowledge of both the philanthropic and nonprofit communities; the environmental education, outdoor recreation, children and nature fields, and related public policy. The Executive Director will work collaboratively with the board to develop and manage strategic initiatives; implement policies, procedures, goals, and objectives; maintain and grow membership; engage committees; and partner with advisors and other leaders in the field.

The Executive Director will report to the board, directly manage one full-time staff, and work remotely, with shared office space provided, if desired. Key Responsibilities The Executive Director has responsibility for shaping and implementing the policies of the board across every aspect of the organization.

  • Reports To: Blue Sky Funders Forum Board of Directors/EGA President & CEO
  • Location: Remote (Anywhere within the U.S.; Must be willing to travel)
  • Open Until Filled


Leadership and Partnership (30%)

  • Provide visionary leadership in the development, promotion, and achievement of Blue Sky’s vision, mission, strategies, and activities;
  • Work with board leadership to design and facilitate board meetings and provide support for the Governance Committee, Program Committee, and any ad hoc committees;
  • Guide planning processes with members and direct all strategic initiatives;
  • Lead collaborative processes with members and partners to determine future direction and priorities;  Cultivate and maintain authentic relationships with partners in the nonprofit, academic, government, and philanthropic sectors; and
  • Represent and promote Blue Sky and its initiatives within the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors, and at related conferences and events.

Membership and Fundraising (30%)

  • Lead efforts to cultivate, orient, nurture, retain, and expand membership;
  • Secure funding for Blue Sky operations and initiatives and develop relationships with local and national funders for future growth opportunities;
  • Prepare regular updates to keep Blue Sky members, program committee, and advisors informed and engaged;
  • Foster the growth and development of members and support their efforts to advance effective grantmaking strategies and approaches; and
  • Oversee preparation of grant requests and reporting requirements as specified by funders.

Programs, Events, and Communications (20%)

  • Oversee and manage all design and implementation for Blue Sky programs and events including Rethink Outside™ and Rethink Outside™ Fellowship;
  • Partner with nonprofits and funder affinity groups to plan and co-host funder convenings;
  • Support Blue Sky staff in executing programs and initiatives;
  • Leverage momentum from convenings and programs toward collective action; and
  • Provide framing, structure, and guidance on communications across mediums including newsletters, publications, and social media.

Administration and Financial Management (20%)

  • Supervise and mentor Blue Sky staff and contractors;
  • Work with board to create and manage the annual operating budget of approximately $800,000;
  • Partner with EGA to plan and track revenue and expenses; and
  • Collaborate and review, as needed, with EGA on the parameters of the partnership MOU and Fiscal Sponsorship agreement.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

The Executive Director will be a proven, inclusive, and accountable leader; an excellent listener and relationship builder with an existing network in the field; a visionary thinker with strong content knowledge and related experience; and an inspiring communicator with the following knowledge, skills, and abilities:

  • Ten or more years of proven senior-level management experience across environmental nonprofits and/or philanthropy; state and federal policy; public/private partnerships; and/or collective impact w/deep understanding of and connections to the philanthropic community; environmental education; outdoor recreation; and/or the children and nature fields.
  • Ability to represent Blue Sky credibly in the philanthropic sector and thoughtfully engage the full spectrum of Blue Sky’s constituents with relevant experience leading diverse groups of stakeholders toward shared goals and collective action.
  • Cultural competence as a leader with a nuanced understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion that has informed experience managing, training, and/or overseeing a small team, inclusive of consultants, and engaging productively with boards.
  • Demonstrated passion for and commitment to inspiring philanthropy that supports thriving communities by advancing equitable opportunities for meaningful outdoor experiences and connections to nature.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, listening skills, ability to facilitate challenging conversations, and judgment in communicating inspirationally within a variety of settings across a variety of cultures.
  • Proven ability to fundraise with the credibility and experience to connect Blue Sky to prospective members and income derived from grants and other contributions including from high-net-worth individuals.
  • Excellent organizational, planning, coordination, and management skills including effective execution and follow-through and ability to meet deadlines while working independently and being resourceful.
  • Demonstrated skills at managing and overseeing budgets and administrative and financial systems.
  • Familiarity with Google applications and Microsoft Office.
  • Availability for ~15-25% travel (most frequent during spring and fall) and occasional work on evenings and weekends, preferably located near a major airport/hub.

Physical Requirements:

  • The successful candidate must have the ability to communicate via voice telephone, read and understand written communication, and generate written communication manually and using a computer.
  • The candidate must also be able to work at a desk for long periods of time (2–3 hours) and may need to lift and move documents and supplies (not to exceed 25 pounds).

Benefits and Compensation

  • This position will offer a competitive benefits package and a salary that is commensurate with education and experience. The target annual salary range for the role is $150,000 to $160,000.

About the Application Process

Blue Sky is partnering with Walker and Associates Consulting – an equity-centered national strategic management consulting and search firm – to facilitate this search.

  • Please click "Apply" below to email a cover letter, resume, and brief (1-3 page) writing sample, and type  Executive Director Search into the subject line. Please submit PDF or Microsoft Word files only, preferably with all materials in one combined file.
  • Resume review is ongoing and the position will remain open until filled.
  • Questions or Nominations? Contact Jeannine N. Walker at jwalker@walkeraac.com

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