Chicago, IL

President and Executive Director, Forest Preserve Foundation

The Organization

The Forest Preserve Foundation is an independent, charitable foundation dedicated to raising funds and in-kind resources to support initiatives in the Forest Preserves of Cook County that are new, innovative and not able to be supported through public resources.  Since its founding, the Foundation has contributed over $2M to support programming across several core investment areas.

The Foundation provides ongoing support of youth conservation internships that are rooted in a commitment to bring more people of color and low-income young adults into the conservation field and supports two summer jobs programs for young people in Cook County. It also raises funds to supplement ongoing restoration projects to keep the Preserves ecologically healthy. To make sure everyone has access to the Preserves, funds from the Foundation support Nature Play areas, public nature-based art, and camp gear libraries.

Position Overview

The Foundation seeks a visionary and entrepreneurial leader with a passion and drive to enhance and expand access to parks and open space. This values-based individual will bring leadership characterized by unwavering integrity, an ability to garner broad community support, and the ability to lead and execute strategic plans that impact the needs and priorities of the Forest Preserves of Cook County.  Leaders of color and others with extensive experience addressing systemic racism and inequities to promote more just outcomes are encouraged to apply.

Proven personal success in fundraising is a key requirement.  In addition to professional leadership, this could include service as a fundraising volunteer, and should include active solicitation of contributions from individuals, foundations, or corporations. Fundraising experience should be comprehensive and reflect demonstrated success with high level donors, as well as in engaging small dollar, non-traditional donors.  Experience working in funding collaborations, including public-private partnerships with other institutional funders would be beneficial.  Prior philanthropic relationships with individuals, foundations and corporations is a plus.

The successful candidate will have well-honed skills in effective business and operations management of a similarly sized or larger organization and will have been a catalyst in expanding an organization’s vision. Experience in initiating and implementing strategic plans in pursuit of broad goals is expected. The ideal candidate will demonstrate a proven track record of successfully managing complex budgets and agreements with the municipal, state or federal agencies as well as private funders.

The successful candidate will possess the highest level of oral, written, mediation, partnership and interpersonal communication skills to effectively work with a broad range of individuals and organizations including Board members, professional colleagues, public officials and community partners, as well as the media. This candidate will build bridges of support for the organization and will have experience working in a collaborative environment with leaders across sectors to envision and implement a thoughtful approach to enhancing the role of the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Candidates must demonstrate the ability to build and nurture a positive, equitable culture, both in the Foundation as well with partners at the Forest Preserves of Cook County that is grounded in a shared vision, vibrant in teamwork and supported by mutual respect and an unrelenting pursuit of quality. A proven ability to hire, coach, lead and inspire employees as an effective team is a must.  High integrity, empathy, self-awareness and sound judgment are essential to success in this role. The Foundation seeks a person whose listening skills and strength of character are well demonstrated; and who is open, accessible and supportive of an energetic staff.

Experience in the fields of conservation, environment, and parks is a plus but not required.  Demonstrated fundraising success is required.  A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university is required.

How To Apply

To apply, submit a current resume and letter of introduction to Kittleman & Associates, LLC at (click on the Apply button at the bottom of the page).

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