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Executive Director for an Urban Forestry Nonprofit

Location: Sacramento, CA
Salary: DOE


This is a unique opportunity to serve as Executive Director of a nationally recognized leader in community-based urban forestry. Since its founding in 1982, the Tree Foundation (STF) has gained well-earned recognition for innovations in urban forest education, civic engagement and partnerships. The Executive Director oversees all aspects of STF including leadership, management, program development and oversight, Board relations, public and government relations, and fund development. The organization has 27 staff members and a $2.6M budget.

The Tree Foundation’s Mission
To grow thriving communities through stewardship of our urban forest.
We envision an urban forest canopy that benefits the entire region and every neighborhood, especially those that historically have been underserved and under-canopied.

Dedicated to reaching the largest audience possible, the organization builds partnerships and empowers communities to create the best places to live and work by investing in their urban forest. It has an engaged Board, a dedicated and passionate staff, and strong partnerships with local governments, SMUD, CalFire, the US Forest Service, state agencies, colleges and universities, and other nonprofits with complementary missions.



  • Build a positive work environment that values and supports an open exchange of diverse ideas, capitalizes on staff strengths, and creates a team-oriented culture.
  • In partnership with the Board, lead strategic planning to assure the Foundation remains true to its mission and responds to new opportunities and changing conditions.
  • Assess the Foundation’s activities, celebrate accomplishments, and evaluate setbacks.
  • Create a learning organization that encourages collaboration, seeks feedback, develops staff, and is responsive to opportunities.
  • Communicate best practices and participate in advancing urban forest policies, budgets, programs and best practices at national and statewide levels.
  • Ensure that the staff and Board reflect the diversity of the communities served and that the organization is a leader in addressing racial, social, economic, and environmental injustice.


  • Oversee the day-to-day operations of the Foundation, including programs, activities and staff.
  • Develop and maintain operational policies and procedures.
  • Manage employees and ensure programs are implemented efficiently, effectively, safely, and professionally.
  • Ensure HR policies are in place to recruit, hire, train, develop, and evaluate a diverse group of dedicated employees.
  • Ensure performance issues with staff are effectively addressed, both timely and constructively.
  • Make changes to the Foundation’s structure as appropriate for effective, efficient operations.
  • Provide fiscal oversight, including contracts; budgets; investment, endowment and retirement funds; and statements of financial position. Ensure financial policies and procedures are documented and followed.
  • Recommend to the Board an annual budget that aligns with the mission and strategic goals.
  • Secure financial audits and ensure preparation of tax documents
  • Ensure the Foundation is in compliance with policies, procedures, and regulations pertaining to the operation of a nonprofit organization.
  • Oversee the Foundation’s facilities to ensure proper operation and maintenance.

Program Development and Oversight:

  • Develop and implement programs, activities, and services that fulfill the mission and accomplish the goals of the organization, consistent with the mission statement and strategic plan.
  • Evaluate programs and recommend appropriate action, including modifying existing programs and/or establishing new programs or activities as needed, and as capacity and funding allows.
  • Identify, explore, and manage partnerships with educational, community, and government organizations that will advance the Foundation’s impact throughout the region.

Board Relations:

  • Serve as the principal resource to the Board, Executive Committee, and key Board committees.
  • Attend all meetings of the Board or designate an appropriate delegate when unavailable.
  • Assure Board members know and understand established policies, and provide the Board with policy recommendations and assistance with policy formulation and interpretation.
  • Support the Board in understanding and following best practices in nonprofit Board governance, including regular training on governance issues.
  • Assure new Board members receive appropriate and effective onboarding and orientation.
  • Actively involve the Board in advancing the Foundation’s mission, goals, and programs.
  • Support Board with the recruitment of new, diverse Board members from throughout the region.
  • Communicate regularly and openly with the Board; ensure that Board members are informed of matters and developments that warrant their attention and action.
  • Provide regular reports to the Board on the Foundation’s financial standing, activities, and progress towards meeting strategic objectives.
  • Encourage and maintain positive working relationships and collaboration between Board members and staff.

Public, Government, and Academic Relations:

  • Serve as a visible and effective ambassador for the Foundation; promote the organization through proactive outreach to the media, elected officials, outside organizations, and the community.
  • Serve as the primary spokesperson for the Foundation and play a key role in communicating the organization’s image, strategic plan, and fundraising opportunities to all constituents.
  • Develop and maintain effective relationships with other community-based organizations, governmental agencies, academic institutions, researchers, program partners, and other stakeholders.
  • Oversee public relations, marketing and communications strategies to strengthen outreach and relationships, as well as raise the Foundation’s visibility throughout the region.
  • Stay abreast of local, regional, state, and federal initiatives and policies that impact the Foundation’s mission and programs.
  • Promote and advance scientific and evidence-based urban forest research and innovation.

Fund Development:

  • Work with the Board and Director of Development to create and execute the organization’s Development Plan.
  • Oversee fundraising and remain actively involved in supporting fund development efforts including cultivating donors, meeting with and recognizing key donors, and conducting planned, regular stewardship activities to promote donor retention.
  • Promote a culture of philanthropy among Board members, staff, and volunteers.

Along with knowledge of urban forestry and natural resource management and the ability to articulate the crucial role that trees play in building thriving communities, successful candidates will have the following combination of knowledge, skills, and personal attributes that will allow them to be an effective leader who can partner with the Board to accomplish the mission of STF.


  • Able to activate STF’s Strategic Plan and use it to align STF’s activities with the Board’s vision.
  • Respect STF’s history and core values and use them as a springboard for launching the organization forward.
  • Able to cultivate a learning organization.
  • A strategically opportunistic and entrepreneurial leader who takes informed risks, maximizes resources, and achieves organizational sustainability while maintaining quality of services.
  • Balance of internal and external focus; easily moves from interacting at the executive level to working with front line staff and volunteers.
  • A practical visionary — an aspirational and optimistic leader who can tie present activities to future ideals.
  • A culturally-aware leader who has demonstrated commitment and action to address equity and social justice and has a passionate desire to make STF’s goals and mission meaningful to diverse, under-represented and under-canopied communities.
  • Thinks about STF in a broad way that encompasses social equity, social justice, and sustainable communities and is able to communicate organization’s connection to these concepts to a diverse group of stakeholders.


  • Inspirational manager who values diversity, empowers team members, and builds an inclusive, collaborative environment for staff and volunteers.
  • Outstanding coach and mentor who creates a culture of learning by encouraging innovation and creativity, developing talent, and actively seeking out growth opportunities for staff.
  • Shares ownership with the staff and is able to delegate responsibility appropriately as well as lend a hand when needed, connecting with staff to understand their day-to-day work.
  • Successful experience developing, managing and evaluating budgets for complex programs and funding streams.
  • A proactive decision maker with advanced business and finance skills, including the ability to read, analyze, and interpret business documents, manage contracts, and develop, read, interpret, manage, and explain financial statements.
  • The ability to navigate Covid-19’s impact on workplace issues and risk management, including work environment, remote work, and workplace culture.

Board Relations

  • Skills to provide leadership and appropriate support to the Board.
  • Well-versed in the nonprofit board development and governance practices that create an engaged, high performing Board.
  • Adept at identifying and leveraging the Board’s strengths and building a strong, collaborative relationship between Board members and staff.
  • A creative strategist who can bring new ideas, alternatives and options to the Board and recommend an effective path forward.

Government and Public Relations

  • A visible and effective ambassador who can successfully generate enthusiasm and support for STF among elected officials, government representatives, and community leaders and engage the public in the organization’s mission.
  • A gifted marketer and brand manager who can tell a compelling story about STF and its positive impact on the community.
  • A skilled and charismatic influencer who uses their understanding of local government and political systems to secure support, funding, and other resources.
  • Demonstrated ability to convene communities and partners to create mutually beneficial regional programs.
  • Has a history of being a connected community leader who is able to understand (and love) the unique personality, culture and political landscape of Sacramento.
  • Deep understanding of the connections and drivers behind citizen engagement, private investment, public policy and research.
  • Background in building successful regional collaborations, including public-private partnerships and relationships with other nonprofits; inspires respect and trust from stakeholders

Fundraising and Revenue Generation

  • Familiarity with government grants including grant cycles, proper administration of funds and necessary reporting requirements.
  • Demonstrated success in sustaining positive working relationships with individual, corporate and government funders.
  • Experience identifying, approaching and securing potential funders, including local, county, state, federal, corporate and individual support.
  • Able to develop and expand strategic, revenue-generating partnerships with individuals, local, state and federal government agencies, corporations, and foundations that currently or have the inclination and potential to support STF.
  • A proven fundraiser with knowledge of industry best practices, and experience recruiting and nurturing donors, including major gifts strategy and planning.

Professional Skills

  • Exceptional oral, written, and interpersonal communications skills to successfully engage with individuals from differing socio-economic, cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds.
  • An open, transparent communicator with superior active listening skills.
  • A consensus builder and neutral, credible facilitator who can pull diverse stakeholders together for a common goal, and who values and encourages a diversity of voices, opinions, and perspectives.
  • Tech savvy professional with proficiency in Word and Excel, Web and social media, virtual meeting platforms, and the ability to use technology to create organizational efficiencies.
  • Maintains a good sense of humor, especially in times of stress.
  • Patient and approachable, with a willingness to address issues and concerns as they arise.
  • Cultural competency and an approach that is appreciative, affirming, and inclusive of all cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic and religious backgrounds.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to ethics and integrity in all matters.
  • At least three years of senior management experience in a nonprofit organization or equivalent
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher

Competitive salary + benefits, dependent on experience


Priority review of applications will begin Friday, July 24 and will continue until the position is filled. Submit cover letter and resume to Andrea Weiss, Search Consultant,, 530-756-8219.

Video screening interviews will be held in early August, Search Committee interviews will be held the week of August 31, and full Board interviews will be held the week of September 21.


The Sacramento Tree Foundation is committed to the full inclusion of all qualified individuals. As part of this commitment, STF will ensure that persons with disabilities are provided with reasonable accommodations. If reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and/or to receive other benefits and privileges of employment, please contact us at or 916-924-8733.

Employer Info

191 Lathrop Way, Suite D
Sacramento, California 95815


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