Reports to:

President, Foundation for Dane County Parks and Board of Directors

About the Foundation for Dane County Parks (FDCP): 

The Foundation for Dane County Parks is a non-profit organization that supports the diverse, expansive and beautiful Dane County Parks system. For nearly 10 years, the Foundation has served as an independent source of financial support for Dane County Parks, providing grants to volunteer groups, organizing programming though community partnerships and fundraising for special projects like accessible piers. Its engaged and committed Board of Directors have raised over $2.5M to support its mission. Our financial support supplements, but does not supplant, the County’s investment in the park system. Dane County Parks manages over 17,000 acres of parks, wildlife areas, and natural resource areas, over 100 miles of trails and benefits from the work of over 1600 volunteers. As partners, we work together to ensure that our parks, trails and open spaces are cared for not only today but for generations to come. This well-established Board of Directors is looking to hire its first Executive Director. 

MISSION: The mission of the Foundation is to support and raise funds for Dane County Parks and promote peoples’ connection and access to nature. 

VISION: Dane County will sustain a thriving park system that improves the quality of life for all residents and strengthens our community’s resilience to the effects of climate change. 

The Foundation is based in Madison, WI around four lakes that are the ancestral home of the Ho-Chunk Nation. Additionally, our community of parks users is diverse in race, age, gender, ability and cultural background. The Foundation strives to be inclusive and equitable in our work and seeks to reflect the diversity of our community in our Board of Directors, staff, volunteers and other operations. We are actively seeking a diverse pool of candidates who represent the many communities we serve and who bring experience in anti-racist work to our organization. 

About the Position: 

This position is based in Madison, Wisconsin and responsible for fostering an organization focused on creating lasting benefits for how people and land come together. The Executive Director will be a dynamic, thoughtful, and strategic leader with a proven ability to work closely with the Board of Directors to raise funds to support the Foundation's work. In addition to driving execution of the mission and the strategic plan, the ED represents the organization in the greater Madison community and the larger conservation community. The ED ensures the continued evolution of the organization, its partnerships, and understands what it means, and what it takes to support parks and trails as permanent benefits to the community. 

The Foundation maintains a close, working partnership with Dane County Parks and the ED will work closely with parks staff on a variety of projects. The ED’s office is in a Dane County Parks office building, to ease communication with parks staff and build collegiality. 

The ED will be a goal-oriented visionary leader committed to building on our successes of this new organization to establish a long term sustainable financial footing. The ED will engage with our Board to inspire and build partnerships to expand the Foundation for Dane County Parks (FDCP) and make our work useful and relevant to all communities. The ED will be a steward of the mission and build on 9 years of success supporting Dane County Parks (DCP). The ED will expand our core mission to raise funds to support the cherished county lands and lead FDCP to meet emerging challenges in our rapidly growing community. Current challenges are: 

  • Sustaining an independent non-profit organization, while working and communicating closely with DCP staff to identify needs and promote awareness of the benefits of parks. 
  • Promoting the engagement in parks and trails as major elements in community physical, mental health and wellness. 
  • Responding to people’s changing needs and desires about how to enjoy and use conservation lands, such as raising funds for accessible piers and kayak lifts for people with mobility issues. 
  • Promoting park and trail accessibility for all members of the community by helping to overcome barriers for all, especially Indigenous, Black, and Other People of Color. 
  • Helping DCP in preserving land to meet the demands of our growing Dane County population. 
  • Maintaining our existing donors and finding new and creative ways to grow and sustain the FDCP into the future. 

Executive Director Duties: 

Fundraising Responsibilities (in conjunction with the Board of Directors) 

  • Coordinate all fundraising activities. 
  • Develop fundraising strategies that support the FDCP Mission & Vision. 
  • Cultivate, solicit and steward major individual, foundation and corporate donors. 
  • Solicit and secure major program and unrestricted gifts, planned gifts, and endowed gifts and help meet organizational fundraising goals. 
  • Seek out and apply for grant opportunities that align with FDCP goals. 
  • Work with the Fundraising Committee and Board to set fundraising plans. 
  • Review and revise the Foundation’s Sustainability plans. 
  • Develop and Implement fundraising events. 

Strategic Responsibilities 

  • Ensure that time and resources spent align with the FDCP Mission & Vision. 
  • Engage regularly with Board of Directors to maximize their time and talents. 
  • Identify and cultivate potential new partners that align with FDCP Mission & Vision. 
  • Maintain/build relationships with individuals and organizations that further the Foundation’s mission and inspire community connection to Dane County Parks. 
  • Coordinate with Dane County Parks staff on shared projects and identify parks needs that align with the Foundation’s capacity/strengths. 
  • Represent proudly the FDCP in community settings.

Operational Responsibilities 

  • Ensure that day-to-day activities support the FDCP Strategic Plan, Mission & Vision. 
  • Engage regularly staff and partners to ensure alignment with FDCP goals. 
  • Schedule and facilitate FDCP Board and Committee meetings. 
  • Ensure accurate reporting of FDCP work and financials. 
  • Manage FDCP annual budget/finances in coordination with the Board Treasurer and the Bookkeeping Service, and participate in the audit review or audit process. 
  • Assist with FDCP communications and promotion activities. 
  • Coordinate a strategic planning process with FDCP Board members. 
  • Manage existing FDCP partnerships. 
  • Support the Foundation’s grant allocation program for volunteer groups. 
  • Help with administrative needs like donation processing & donor database management. 
  • Help manage social media and website. 
  • Execute external contracts for FDCP administrative and human resource needs. 
  • Develop a program with Dane County Parks for Memorials/Tributes donated to benefit parks and trails. 
  • Develop a Personnel Manual with the help of the Board and the HR Contractor. 
  • Supervise part-time staff. 

Professional Skills and Qualifications: 

While it’s rare for a single individual to possess all the desired experiences and qualifications, the successful candidate should bring many of the following qualifications, skills, experience, and qualities to the role: 

  • Several years of fundraising experience. 
  • Familiarity with the Grant Writing process, as well as local, State, Federal Grantmaking organizations. 
  • Proven ability to cultivate, solicit and steward major individual, foundation and corporate donors. 
  • Proven financial management, fundraising, project management, and supervisory experience. 
  • Demonstrated ability to work with diverse communities of donors, board leaders, community leaders, managers, and employees. 
  • Non-profit or public sector experience. 
  • Awareness of social inequalities and the competencies required to foster an inclusive, diverse, and accessible anti-racist organization. 
  • Experience initiating, leading, team building and problem-solving with strong interpersonal and emotional intelligence skills. 
  • Must have effective oral and written communication skills. 
  • Experience, training or degree in natural resources, community conservation or related fields. 
  • Ability to work independently. 
  • Excellent time management and organizational skills 
  • Operational knowledge of Social Media. 

This Job Is Ideal for Someone Who: 

  • Is passionate about nature and parks – values the critical roles of the environment in our lives. 
  • Likes to fundraise – is comfortable fostering donor relationships. 
  • Thinks strategically – can look at the big picture and has practical problem-solving skills 
  • Is historically aware – knows history & role of conservation organizations & issues of racism in conservation and need for removing barriers to inclusiveness for all. 
  • Is inspiring – can motivate the FDCP volunteer team and staff. 
  • Is humble – understands that there is a lot we don’t know. 

How to Apply: 

If you are interested in being considered for this exciting opportunity, and can demonstrate the required abilities and knowledge, please submit your resume and cover letter to Judie Pfeifer at foundationfordanecountyparks@gmail.com or call 608.334.0070 for information. 

Applications will be reviewed as received with the goal of identifying an outstanding candidate before September 15, 2022. The position will remain open until we have an accepted offer. 

The expected start date for the position is October 1, 2022. 

Salary Range & Benefits: 

  • $75,000 - $80,000 per year based on experience and qualifications. 
  • FDCP will contribute towards the access and cost of Healthcare Insurance coverage. 
  • 11 Paid Holidays, plus 20 additional days of Paid Time Off (PTO) annually. 
  • Additional family, parental, and other forms of paid/unpaid leave can be negotiated after 1-year of employment. 
  • Hybrid/Flex-time available. 
  • Simple IRA retirement is available for voluntary contributions by the employee. 

Work Conditions: 

Monday through Friday (and occasional evening and weekend work); ability to provide one’s own transportation for work at the DCP’s office and for community work. The Darren Marsh Parks and Lake Management Facility (DCP office building) is located at 4212 Robertson Rd, Madison, 53714.