Silver Spring, MD

Vice President, Development, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

The Organization – National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

About National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

Founded in 2000 by America’s most influential ocean conservation leaders, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation works with communities and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries to inspire the conservation of nationally significant protected areas in our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes.

The National Marine Sanctuary System is comprised of 15 national marine sanctuaries and two marine national monuments ( that encompass more than 620,000 square miles of our waters. Marine sanctuaries and monuments belong to all of us. We seek to connect people to their ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes, inspiring their stewardship and a lifelong devotion to their care and protection. The wonders that lie beneath our protected waters are hard for most people to see, coral reefs flourishing with glowing life, shipwrecks and cultural resources that tell our histories, organisms that explain life on earth; these marvels may exist out of reach of our daily lives, but they are ours, they are yours.

The world’s most pressing challenges are similarly difficult to see. Pollution, climate change, reef degradation, and species extinction. These problems live beyond the clouds and beneath the surface. They unfold invisibly, but they are ours to overcome.

Sanctuaries and monuments are the essential network of protected waters owned by every American and championed by us. Connected by currents, they sustain miraculous species, coastal communities, and our shared heritage.

Our work extends from the ocean floor to Capitol Hill. We inspire, creating energetic ambassadors for ocean conservation. We connect, working in close partnership with NOAA and in the many communities who depend on and care for the sanctuaries. In addition, the Foundation hosts Capitol Hill Ocean Week, known as CHOW, to bring together a wide range of voices on the most important policy issues, and to build a strong constituency for our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes. Through partnerships and sponsorships, we are able to offer “open source” programming that brings together hundreds of people from diverse backgrounds to engage in the discussion and formulation of new ideas.

We educate, showing the world how the sanctuaries can serve as a model for protecting marine ecosystems around the world. Supporting our marine sanctuaries and monuments connects us to our communities, our country, and our world. They fill those who know them with wonder. They beckon us to explore beyond our horizons. Each one protects a habitat unlike any other on earth. The sanctuaries are places where we can conserve our waters, for the good of the world and everything in it.

The Foundation is a leading voice for U.S. protected waters, working with communities to conserve and expand those special places for a healthy ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes. Working together, we safeguard species and the places they call home and preserve America’s maritime history. The Foundation acts as a key partner to the National Marine Sanctuary system, one of the core ways in which the Foundation operates is as a re-granter in the philanthropy ecosystem, which includes leading national philanthropic institutions.

For more information on the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, please visit

Position Overview

The Opportunity

The Vice President, Development (VP) is a newly created role. It will serve as a critical member of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s (Foundation) senior leadership team, including the Vice Presidents of Program Operations, External Affairs, and Finance helping advise on organization-wide vision and strategy for the transformation of Foundation giving and operations. The VP reports to the organization’s President and CEO and will have four direct reports. In addition to building and leading a talented team, the VP, in partnership with leadership, will act as the primary partner for the National Marine Sanctuary system.

The VP will oversee and manage the Foundation’s fundraising strategy, development, and execution. They will develop new fundraising streams to drive revenue growth in support of multiple fundraising channels, strategic initiatives to increase public engagement with the 15 national marine sanctuaries and two national marine monuments, and support the vision of the Foundation. The VP role requires an individual who is a strong, entrepreneurial leader and can partner with the Leadership Team and the Board of Trustees ( to advance the mission. This is an ideal opportunity for an innovative, forward-thinking development leader to help advance the organization to its next stage by expanding the possibilities of the Foundation’s impact and growth.

Working with the CEO, Board, and staff support, the VP serves as the organization’s lead fundraiser with foundations, individuals, and corporations to:

● Oversee diversifying revenue streams, increasing major and individual giving, corporate partnerships, and foundation support.

● Maintain strong relationships with partners and attract new funding for the Foundation’s programs and operations.

● Leading development efforts with an eye on the dual identity of the Foundation as a fundraiser and a re-granter.

● Coordinate with the Leadership Team on federal and state awards.

The VP will apply a philanthropic lens to the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, strategic planning, and advising the President on opportunities to build a support base for initiatives that could make an even bigger impact. They will develop and implement a holistic fundraising plan in relevant channels in the first year to achieve short-term goals and work towards long-term goals, manage a growing fundraising team (Major Giving Officer, Corporate Relations Manager, Development Manager, regional fundraising leaders, and freelance contractors/consultants) and make strategic hires in development as needed. They will make staffing and tools recommendations to support plans, including strategic investments in data and analytics, constituent management, events management, and campaigns. The VP, working in partnership with the leadership team, will institute best practices in development, foster a culture of philanthropy, own fundraising messaging and marketing strategies, and the supporting operational and compliance infrastructure, department strategic plan, and budget.

Specific responsibilities include but are not limited to:

Fund Development

● The Foundation will develop new funding pipelines to meet the strategic funding needs of a new national philanthropic agenda (NPA). The VP will develop a robust plan to attract individual, institutional, and corporate support for several new funds as part of the NPA, including in partnership with the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries ( at NOAA.

● Work collaboratively across the organization to coordinate with and engage others in the organization’s annual and long-term development plans, including external affairs.

● Develop and oversee all solicitation efforts, including appeals, coordinating grant funding opportunities, donor targeting, fundraiser event planning, major and planned giving, endowed giving, and bequests with a focus on increasing sustainable, unrestricted, private revenue.

● Ensure ongoing fundraising excellence per the organization’s values, mission, vision, and plans.

● Create and implement strategies to constantly improve the organization’s fundraising processes to maximize support.

● As appropriate, engage the President and External Affairs Committee members in cultivating and closing gifts.

Donor Stewardship, Operations, Systems, and Database Management

● Oversee existing processes to ensure timely acknowledgment of gifts and donors and produce corresponding materials for external and internal communications.

● Collaborate with the CEO to co-manage the Board of Trustees fundraising activities and progress toward goals; evaluate and provide training as necessary.

● Gather data and collaborate with the Vice President of Finance to develop and produce regular analytic reports for staff and Board that synthesize the financial progress and trends of fundraising activities and measure progress towards the goals outlined in the strategic plan.

● Leverage the data and metrics on fundraising and donors to adjust development strategies and tactics accordingly.

● Oversee Development operations to ensure the effective use of systems and the proper maintenance of all grant portfolios and monitor compliance.

Campaign Planning and Fundraiser Event Management

● Ensure campaigns are comprehensively researched, planned, executed, monitored, and reported.

● In collaboration with External Affairs, lead the planning, management, goals, and execution of the annual Ocean Awards Gala (, CHOW (, and Blue Beacon sponsorships (

● With External Affairs, co-produce impact reports and impact storytelling, ensuring major donors are stakeholders in key messaging.

● Research, design, and recommend Capital Campaign strategies, including writing and updating a Case for Support.

● In collaboration with Communications, evaluate and drive the use of new technology funding vehicles, including social media and electronic platforms aligning the organization’s website and online tools for supporters.

Candidate Profile

The Vice President, Development will be an entrepreneurial development professional. Qualified candidates will bring significant experience and an impressive track record in fundraising or other revenue-generating roles. They will demonstrate best practices around recruitment, cultivation, stewardship, and relationship building. The VP will bring deep, personal commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion and to elevating and working with diverse communities and Indigenous peoples.

We recognize that there is a spectrum of lived and professional experience that will set candidates up for success in this role. While no one candidate will have every experience outlined in the position description, ideal candidates will display the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:

Expert fundraiser – You bring substantial and creative fundraising experience and diversification of resources and apply it to your work.

Strategic – You are a long-term thinker who stays on top of key funding trends, prepares for the future, and anticipates what is coming.

Highly skilled communicator – You listen well, ask the right questions, motivate your colleagues and team, and inspire ever-improving results.

Persuasive and succinct storyteller – You know the right story to tell in the right way and how to pivot depending on the audience.

Innovative – You are always looking for ways to improve and learn more.

Team builder – You hire, motivate, and retain the best talent while fostering a

performance-based culture and center DEI in the community you build.

DEI – You demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as a core

organizational value and have a track record of advancing DEI within an organization

and an understanding of how decision-making impacts DEI at all levels.

Metrics-driven – You track the numbers and measure success as it aligns to fundraising

and achieving annual goals.

External Ambassador – You love connecting with other development leaders and

building healthy long-term relationships with partners rather than seeking just short- term gains. You use these relationships to identify new opportunities and best practices in development and team leadership.

Passion for the Foundation’s mission – You are inspired to advocate for the conservation of the ocean in partnership with others and are motivated by the footprint the Foundation has to date and opportunities for growth.

In addition, strong candidates will offer:

● At least 5-7 years of experience in a senior nonprofit position, ideally at a conservation, environmental, or science-based organization, managing a development team.

● A proven track record of effectively building and leading a fund development, outcomes-based operation with a strong development cycle and pipeline management.

● Proven ability to integrate development strategy with the organization’s overall strategy.

● Experience with and an ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders, including high net-worth individuals.

● Persuasive, credible, and polished communicator with stellar interpersonal skills.

● Ability to work independently and collaboratively.

● An unwavering commitment to quality and excellence.

● Sound judgment, high emotional intelligence, and detailed orientation.

● Integrity, confidence, positive attitude, sense of humor, mission-driven, and self- directed.

● Appreciation for the coastal lifestyle and aquatic outdoor recreation (diving, snorkeling, surfing, fishing, boating, etc.)

● Willing to travel to all Board of Trustee meetings, annual Gala, donor meetings, chapter and national fundraisers, and to national marine sanctuaries on occasion to cultivate a broad network and understanding of the system (45% travel).

● We are looking for a BA degree, and recognize that there is a spectrum of lived and professional experience that will set candidates up for success in this role and we encourage candidates from a variety of professional experiences to express interest in this opportunity.

Compensation & Benefits

Salary for the role is currently anticipated to range from $175,000 – $225,000, commensurate with experience. National Marine Sanctuary Foundation offers the following benefits:

● Two weeks paid annual leave, paid time off between December 25 and January 1, and 12 paid holidays.

● Two weeks of paid sick leave.

● Health Benefits: Medical with an FSA option, dental, and vision.

● Foundation paid life and disability insurance.

● Preparing for the Future: 403(b) with employer contribution after one year of service.

● Commuter benefits.

This role is based at Foundation headquarters in the Washington, D.C., metro area (office in Silver Spring, MD), with an option to work remotely two days a week. The Foundation offers excellent commuter benefits.

How To Apply


Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Turner Delano and Angie Sessoms of Koya Partners are leading this search. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to the Koya applicant portal:

Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We prohibit discrimination and harassment of any kind based on race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, genetic information, pregnancy, or any other protected characteristic as outlined by federal, state, or local laws. This commitment applies to all employment practices within our organization, including hiring, recruiting, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, leave of absence, compensation, benefits, and training. The Foundation makes hiring decisions based solely on qualifications, merit, and business needs at the time.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit

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