Executive Director, Rhode Island Land Trust Council

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Saunderstown, RI
United States

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The Rhode Island Land Trust Council seeks a strategic and experienced leader to work with the Board to promote and grow the organization. The Executive Director will be a conservation advocate and champion able to partner with a strong grassroots network of land trust leaders, organizations, and community members across Rhode Island and New England.

Rhode Island stands at a pivotal moment in open space and natural land conservation. Prime farmland, important forestland, diverse habitat areas, and water resource protection areas are being lost to increasing sprawl development across the state. Land trusts and agencies are stretched thin and have limited resources to deal with perpetual stewardship of protected lands. Creative solutions are needed to inspire and bring together the leaders of our diverse local organizations, motivate them, and give them tools for informed conservation action. Inspired and informed legislation on these issues is needed to effect change at the state house. The next Executive Director of the Council will play a key role in impacting positive change at a critical time in Rhode Island conservation

About Rhode Island Land Trust Council

Rhode Island Land Trust Council (Council) is a statewide non-profit organization that works to permanently conserve open and natural land in Rhode Island by supporting land trusts, promoting responsible use and stewardship of conserved lands, and advocating for sound land conservation policy.  As a statewide coalition for Rhode Island’s land trust community the Council is dedicated to helping the people and communities of Rhode Island protect their land and water resources.

The organization was founded in 1999 by land trust leaders and currently has a staff of 2.0 (Executive Director, half-time Program Coordinator, and half-time Philanthropy Associate), an annual operating budget of $200,000, and a 12-member Board of volunteer trustees.  The Council’s 5-year strategic plan adopted in February 2020 envisions the council’s growth to a staff of four and an annual operating budget of $500,000.

RI Land Trust Council goals are:

  • Advocate for land conservation and land trust matters at the state level.
  • Facilitate collaboration among land trusts.
  • Position the RI Land Trust Council to lead in strengthening land trust’s capacity for governance, effective land conservation stewardship and community engagement.
  • Provide direct support to land trusts to reduce the backlog of deferred documentation and improve stewardship practices.
  • Ensure the long-term protection of municipal conservation properties.
  • Increase public awareness of, and build public support and engagement for, land conservation.
  • Strengthen the Council’s capacity to operate and implement programs and activities as well as address new opportunities and urgent problems.

The RI Land Trust Council is a respected and effective voice for land trusts and the land conservation community in state policy discussions.  Through multi-partner campaigns since 2004, the Council has helped secure over $63 million in Land Conservation Funding through State Open Space Bond Referendums.  Collectively, Rhode Island's land trusts conserve hundreds of properties including more than 26,500 acres of natural areas, farmland, forest, and wildlife habitat.

Role of the Executive Director

The Executive Director is charged with leading a respected, growing non-profit conservation organization.  The founding Executive Director, Rupert Friday, is retiring after 18 successful years leading RI Land Trust Council and will be available in a consulting capacity for the transfer of institutional knowledge to the new Executive Director.

The Executive Director provides both internal and external leadership, engages an active Board of Directors, and serves as a spokesperson on behalf of land trusts, all toward enhancing the vision of land conservation in Rhode Island.  The Executive Director works with the Board to lead and oversee fundraising to ensure adequate resources for long-term sustainability.  They work closely with land trusts and the conservation community, both in Rhode Island and regionally to promote the RI Land Trust Council’s mission and goals.


  • As a result of the 2020 strategic planning process, the Board determined that:
  • A primary attribute of the organization is advocacy and thought leadership in the Rhode Island State House; and
  • To enable greater efficacy throughout the organization’s constituent communities, increased financial resources will be raised to support additional staff and new initiatives.
  • The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and will have responsibility for the following areas:
  • Vision & Planning

Advances and oversees the vision, mission, and strategic plan for RI Land Trust Council in relation to specific goals and standards and recommends modification where appropriate.  Develops commitment from Board of Directors to ensure that the organization is focused on advancing organizational development and anticipating future challenges and opportunities.


With the Board of Directors and Development Committee, develops and implements long-and short-term fundraising plans building on the Council’s Development Plan adopted in November 2020 and oversees implementation.  Cultivates relationships with current and potential foundations, major donors, and other funders.  Coordinates with Board and staff to identify new sources of funding and ensure that fundraising goals are met.  Writes foundation grant proposals to support the Council’s operations and programs.

Public Policy

Serves as a spokesperson for state and regional policy issues affecting land conservation and land trust work in Rhode Island.  Identifies the need for legislation and state policies to support land conservation and land trusts and participates in state public policy processes for issues that impact land conservation and land trusts.  Drafts or works with partners and General Assembly sponsors to draft proposed legislation and amendments that support land conservation and land trusts.  Coordinates land trusts’ support for (or if necessary, opposition to) legislation, state funding and state policies that impact land conservation and land trusts.  Creates, builds, and manages strong collaborative relationships with key partners and leaders, including legislators, government agencies, conservation and environmental organizations, businesses, and other constituencies.


Directs growth of RI Land Trust Council, working with the Board to build upon the mission and strategic plan that guide programmatic work and policy agenda.  Sets financial goals and budgets that anticipate future challenges and opportunities.  Provides overall operational direction for programs.  Engages Board of Directors in governance and fundraising activities, developing Board leadership and recruiting new members.  Oversees and is accountable for RI Land Trust Council’s operations, including sound financial controls and reporting.  Works collaboratively with the Council’s fiscal sponsor to manage budgets, financing, and contracts. Hires, leads and supervises the Council’s staff.

Capacity Building & Technical Support

Develops, leads and oversees programs to help land trusts with capacity building and direct support including an annual conference for land trust leaders.

Outreach & Networking

Serves as spokesperson and the public face of RI Land Trust Council, identifying creative opportunities to raise the public profile of land trusts, land conservation, and the Council.  Maintains current and builds new relationships for RI Land Trust Council with political leaders and other key allies across the political spectrum.  Facilitates communication and networking among land trust leaders throughout the state.

Experience and Qualifications

  • Proven leadership and effective management skills including:
  • Experience managing organizational growth and change.
  • Strategic and financial planning skills; and demonstrated ability to work effectively with a Board of Directors.
  • Strong understanding of land conservation and stewardship processes and best practices.
  • Exceptional communication skills, verbal and written, and the ability to innovate and implement successful communications strategies.
  • Experience and working knowledge of public policy processes and public policy issues affecting land trusts and land conservation, preferably in Rhode Island.Proven ability to develop and implement new and imaginative strategies for public policy.
  • Proven track record in fundraising, including both public and private funding sources.Significant experience working with foundations and individual donors.
  • Demonstrated experience working effectively and collaboratively with a wide range of people and organizations
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in a related field.

Personal Characteristics

  • Big Picture vision and an understanding of connections and actions required to achieve that vision, including the need for innovation.
  • Outstanding professional and personal ethics.
  • Ability to balance being proactive and responsive.Ability to balance communication and listening.
  • Flexibility and willingness to work with Board to maintain sustainable work-life balance while achieving organizational goals.
  • Clear and open communication style, intellectual curiosity, commitment to teamwork, and appreciation of humor as a critical component of an effective workplace.
  • Interest and ability in building and maintaining relationships with diverse groups, community leaders and policy-makers.

How to Apply:

Application Guidelines

This executive search is being conducted by TSNE and consultants Mimi Brunelle and Jodi Dowling. Interested candidates should submit materials at:


Electronic submissions sent through this link are preferred. All submissions will be acknowledged and are confidential within RI Land Trust Council and TSNE.

Candidates should include a resume and a cover letter that describes how their qualifications and experience match the needs and mission of the Rhode Island Land Trust Council, along with salary expectations and how they learned of the position. Applications will be accepted until the position has been filled.

Additional Information

RI Land Trust Council has office space at the Social Enterprise Greenhouse at 10 Davol Square in Providence, Rhode Island.  Statewide and regional travel is required as part of the position as well as some national travel for conference and land conservation meetings. The salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.  RI Land Trust Council is not incorporated as an independent 501c3 organization.  The Council operates legally as a project of TSNE which is the Council’s fiscal sponsor and is a 501c3 non-profit organization.  The Executive Director is an employee of TSNE which provides a full benefit package, including medical and life insurance, annual vacation time, and a retirement plan.  TSNE delegates all fundraising and management responsibilities for RI Land Trust Council to the Council’s Executive Director and Board of Directors.

Rhode Island Land Trust Council actively seeks a diverse pool of candidates and welcomes people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds, abilities, gender identities, religions, ages, and sexual orientations to apply.

Rhode Island Land Trust Council will not discriminate in its employment practices due to an applicant’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin or ancestry, age, sexual orientation, gender identification, genetic information, veteran or disability status or any other factor prohibited by law.