To provide exceptional learning experiences and to inspire lifelong environmental and community stewardship.
Nearly two decades ago, founder Debbi Brainerd and her husband Paul created IslandWood from a parcel of land on Bainbridge Island originally slated for development. Their decision was rooted in a belief that the natural world holds the power to educate and inspire not only the way we live, but the way we see. By gaining a new awareness—of nature, ourselves, and one another—we realize our true potential and our ability to chart a course to a better world.
IslandWood began in 1999 as an environmental learning center to improve access to meaningful, nature-based learning experiences for our region’s children. Since then, the organization has expanded the ways their work is advancing innovative and inclusive education that fosters greater environmental health, a sustainable future, and social and ecological wellbeing for all.
Each year, more than 10,000 students from approximately 100 schools participate in IslandWood programs – at IslandWood’s Bainbridge Island campus, in Seattle schools and neighborhoods, and at the Brightwater Wastewater Treatment Plant in Woodinville, Washington. In addition, IslandWood is extending its impact by co-developing science curriculums for Seattle Public Schools, providing teacher training in Next Gen Science Standards, offering two innovative Master’s level graduate programs, implementing a national and state policy engagement program, and through a newly launched app called Nature Passport.
- Reaches 4,300 students and 700 teachers from 90 schools across the Puget Sound Area every year through the School Overnight Program.
- Engages more than 4,300 students in water-themed science and engineering programs at the Brightwater Center every year.
- Delivers field studies for nearly 1,500 students in Seattle Public Schools.
- Is in the process of rolling out a new Community Waters 4th grade science unit in all Seattle Public Schools that empowers students to define a local stormwater problem and design a solution for it.
- Has more than 340 graduate alumni from two graduate programs: A certificate program in culturally responsive, experiential education in partnership with the University of Washington and a ground-breaking Urban Environmental Education Master’s program with Antioch University Seattle.
IslandWood is also a resource and gathering space for community-building and education, offering summer day camps; free and low-cost community programs; and conferences and retreat services for nonprofits and corporations.
For more information, please visit the IslandWood website.
Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
IslandWood recognizes that achieving a healthy, sustainable environment requires the participation and engagement of all people and that all people deserve a healthy, sustainable environment. Because of this, we are focused on advancing educational approaches that increase collective understanding and stewardship of the environment and that empower action that leads to greater environmental health, a sustainable future, and social and ecological wellbeing for all.
To do this work effectively, IslandWood programs and actions must be relevant, responsive, and accountable to the places and people they serve. This requires humility and an authentic commitment to continual learning and growth as it relates to diversity, equity, and inclusion. It also calls for IslandWood to acknowledge and address the different ways that people and communities are affected by systemic inequities.
To this end, IslandWood staff and board have made the following commitments:
- Ensure culturally responsive and inclusive practices across our organization, including in our programs, services, and policies;
- Provide equitable access to our programs, to employment opportunities within our organization, and to vendor and contract opportunities;
- Promote equity in our organization and field;
- Serve students and prepare educators who reflect the socioeconomic and cultural diversity of the region/s in which we operate;
- Be an authentic community partner; and,
- Be a learning organization.
IslandWood seeks a Vice President of Philanthropy to lead the development team and strategy. Reporting to the new Chief Executive Officer and serving on the senior leadership team, the Vice President will lead the development and implementation of IslandWood’s fundraising plans, portfolios, team, and systems. The Vice President of Philanthropy will focus on diversifying funding streams that allow for continued growth, while maintaining clear alignment and connection with the mission and work of the organization.
The Vice President of Philanthropy is responsible for a department budget of $785,000 and a staff of six with specific responsibilities for Major Gifts, Annual Fund, Corporate Sponsors, Special Events, Grant Writing and Systems Management. By providing structure, support, and clear action plans, the Vice President will empower staff and board members to continue building upon IslandWood’s base of support and nurture a culture of philanthropy throughout the organization.
- In partnership with the Chief Executive Officer, senior leadership, and the Board of Directors, design and implement a development strategy to help IslandWood diversify funding and scale.
- Ensure that IslandWood enjoys a sustainable, broad and robust donor base of both individuals and institutions for sustaining current operations and continuing future growth.
- Assess IslandWood’s current development operations to ascertain whether the structure and allocation of resources is in place to successfully scale and grow.
- Work collaboratively with the Chief Executive Officer, Senior Leadership Team and their departments to ensure alignment between departments, discover and develop synergies, and determine ways to strengthen the culture of philanthropy within the organization.
- Bring continued stability to the department by providing consistent leadership, professional development, team support, and clarity around roles with a collective focus on team success.
- Partner closely with the Marketing and Communications team to ensure consistent messaging and proper communication resources that provide the staff, board, and volunteers with the tools needed to support the fundraising and cultivation plan.
- Develop key performance metrics, creating individual accountability and providing visibility into team targets and successes.
The Vice President of Philanthropy brings significant development leadership experience and is eager to play a proactive and influential role in advancing IslandWood’s work. The successful candidate is excited to build a development strategy that provides clear infrastructure as well as a creative and fresh approach to advancing the mission. The ability to think strategically, create a comprehensive plan and provide best practice fundraising knowledge is essential.
The ideal candidate is a passionate advocate for children, education, and the environment and will effectively articulate the IslandWood story. The Vice President of Philanthropy shows an authentic interest in continuous cultural capacity growth on both a personal and organizational level and will embrace IslandWood’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The successful candidate is purposeful in seeking out and elevating diverse voices and partners and understands and acknowledges the implicit biases that can potentially undermine the impact of an organization’s work with and on behalf of diverse communities.
Candidates should have experience managing, leading, and inspiring a team of development professionals to establish and pursue aggressive departmental goals. The IslandWood Development Department has all the key ingredients needed to execute a broad fundraising strategy. Taking a wholistic view of the team’s abilities and skills, the Vice President of Philanthropy is energized by the opportunity to put the pieces in place to diversify funding streams and to grow and scale appropriately.
The Vice President of Philanthropy has a broad fundraising background and can leverage various methods and programs to drive success. The ideal candidate has direct experience in building a campaign, managing and growing an endowment, and cultivating new segments of donors. The Vice President of Philanthropy embraces the use of data, understands how metrics can be used to monitor the success of the development program, and balances the quantitative aspects of the position with the ability to collaborate and share learning and data across the organization.
Superior interpersonal skills with the ability to successfully forge strategic relationships internally and externally is essential. An excellent networker, the ideal candidate is comfortable engaging with all individuals, from kids attending camp to high net worth donors. The Vice President of Philanthropy also enjoys representing the organization in formal and informal settings.
Qualified candidates must have 10 or more years of progressively responsible and relevant experience in development with at least five years of management experience. Specific expertise in institutional or nonprofit settings is desired. A proven track record of developing and implementing fundraising strategies with an eye towards growth is essential. Impeccable communication skills with a natural affinity for relationship building and management are critical. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience is required, and an advanced degree is preferred.