Earth’s Call Executive Director Position Description
July 1, 2019
I. THE OPPORTUNITY
Earth’s Call Fund seeks a dynamic leader to help develop vision, strategy and stewardship for an important new climate change organization focused on grantmaking, movement-building, and effective communications. Recently launched as a new nonprofit, Earth’s Call Fund invests in, organizes community around, and communicates about urgent climate crisis solutions. The Fund begins its work with several outstanding headstarts. Its early financial stake and dynamic partnerships, described below, are strong and compelling. The Fund seeks an innovative, flexible leader to convert strong vision and already significant assets into impactful programs and results, a chief executive whose creativity, energy, background, curiosity, networks and talents can propel Earth’s Call Fund into significant field participation and leadership.
II. EARTH’S CALL
Newly galvanized and energized, Earth’s Call Fund (the Fund) has been operating as Earth’s Call. Our initial period concentrated on the relationship between music and the environment. That first phase concluded, and the new one began, with a weekend celebration in May 2019: a star-studded concert, and two days of important learning for over six hundred environmental, nonprofit, philanthropic, academic, indigenous and youth leaders who gathered in Aspen, CO.
Those Aspen events were hosted by the lead funder who is now shepherding Earth’s Call Fund into its next phase, sharpening its focus on effective climate-change grantmaking, strong partnerships with other funders and environmental leaders, and communications. The Fund has already established significant partnerships in organized philanthropy, and expects that its work will be carried out in collaboration with some of the most experienced and effective funders and activists in the United States. With an initial $50-million pledged by ECF’s lead donor, the Fund plans to raise significant dollars that amplify this early pledge, aligning additional donors with ECF’s investments. An out-of-the-box, early partnership with Lever for Change, MacArthur Foundation’s new affiliate (described here), helps ensure a strong place for ECF in the world of nonprofits and grantmakers strategizing around rapid and impactful action to address the climate change crisis. ECF is proud to be among Lever for Change’s first partners as it begins its work.
In this next, early phase as a reconstituted 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization, Earth’s Call Fund will pursue several inter-related goals. The Fund is now:
∙ Consolidating and energizing the 600 environmental, nonprofit and corporate leaders, activists and scientists who attended the May convening in Aspen. This community constitutes a current inner circle of action and influence available to the Fund.
∙ Determining a small number of most impactful investment directions for the Fund’s assets. At present, three key strands of work stand out: (a) carbon sequestration, the removal of carbon from the atmosphere for recapture in the soil, for which strong methods are now available; (b) focus on gender and climate, and the specific challenges faced by women globally, as well as ways women are already rising to meet these; and (c) crucial youth-movement organizing around the climate crisis, bringing youth energy and significant political muscle into meeting global climate goals. 2
∙ Selecting one of these directions is to be the focus of a custom competition pursued in conjunction with Lever for Change, the MacArthur Foundation affiliate, to which the Fund has committed an initial $20-million. As the competition results come into focus, additional investors will be brought into the emergent strategies;
∙ Developing its core communications, partnership and fundraising efforts. Communications will be anchored in a website/web platform for exchange of information, scientific advances and promising strategies, a space where a community of activist investors and others can gather, learn, collaborate and consolidate efforts. Desired partnerships will focus initially on high net worth individuals and corporations. Over time, grassroots fundraising opportunities will also be explored, possibly in conjunction with future concerts or other events.
∙ Building a strong new Board of Directors that will steer the Fund to successful grantmaking, and integration into an already robust marketplace of climate change solutions and strategies. The ED will also work with a newly forming Advisory Board.
III. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES
As a new nonprofit organization, ECF will look to its Executive Director to lead and coordinate these five strands of work. To do so effectively, the new ED will need to establish a strong rhythm and partnership with ECF’s lead donor in Denver whose initial investment has set the Fund in motion. Along with a new board of directors and advisory board capable of offering support of many kinds (deep environmental and climate knowledge and connections to many effective strands of work, legal and business skills, vision and movement-building experience), the Fund’s new ED will coordinate building a strong vision for a vibrant and sustained future, elevate the organization’s capacity to partner and execute through effective alliances and grantmaking, and also supervise or manage all operational aspects of ECF.
The Fund seeks an energetic, experienced, flexible collaborator. Her/his specific responsibilities center on:
● Leadership - The climate crisis is urgent, and ECF must pursue its goals and activities with firm-handed, strong, centralized leadership. The work will unfold at a fast pace, and on multiple fronts simultaneously. The ED will: lead and inspire a lean full-time staff (of four, initially); manage in-house coordination of communications, website and social media; conceive and direct all fund development; grow an active and capable ECF community of supporters and partnership.
The ED will work directly with ECF’s lead donor and board of directors, helping to cultivate financial and investment partners and partnerships. S/he will keep the Fund running smoothly overall, through both quieter and more hectic periods, for example when its activities expand to events (concerts) or convenings. ECF’s leader must be deeply motivated by the climate crisis, and committed to bringing together strategic choices and resources that can make a difference. The ED will oversee ECF’s organizational structures and strategies in order to deliver strong, consistently impactful outcomes. Importantly, s/he will serve as ECF’s key spokesperson, a respected thought leader in the field.
● Partnership and Program Development – As a Fund, ECF’s partnerships are its lifeblood. A founding relationship with Lever for Change is central to the Fund’s work, offering immediate
visibility and substance. Lever for Change will design a custom competition focused on one of ECF’s core areas of focus. A substantial opening investment of $20-million (paid out over four years) has already been committed by ECF to fund organizations identified in the competition. The Fund expects to attract additional donors to support this impactful approach to fund a climate change solution. Over time, other environmental sector efforts and organizations will also attract ECF funding, most likely spread across the three focus areas noted above. Maintaining effective, honest, transparent, positive and mutually beneficial relationships with Lever for Change and all funded nonprofits, as well as with donors partnering with ECF, will be key to both short and long-term success of the ED and the organization overall. Additionally, ECF will partner with many organizations it doesn’t fund, but which play signal roles in helping it achieve core goals. The ED will manage and maintain existing relationships, and drive institutional innovation by continuously scanning for new opportunities and partnerships. As a movement-focused organization, the community that ECF generates through its website and social media activities already represents multiple partnerships that will require evaluation, vetting, structuring, attention and response. Partnerships with youth-led, youth-connected activist organizations are anticipated.
● External Representation/Communication – The ED will serve as a visible and persuasive spokesperson for ECF’s vision for effectively addressing the global climate crisis, and its key methods for addressing it. S/he will expand ECF’s reputation and reach, skillfully educating and engaging the media and other important constituencies about the organization’s mission, services, programs, and partners. While communications staff support will be important, the leader must both set direction and manage outputs.
● Revenue Generation and Fundraising – Overall, the ED will be responsible for building a strong culture of philanthropy within the organization in which Board and staff engage in productive relationship building and fund development. ECF’s ED will work hand in hand with its lead investor to craft partnership and fundraising strategies that maximize access to and visibility in the business community. The ED will lead the work of revenue generation: from high net worth individuals, through a variety of strategies established by the lead donor and board; from institutional philanthropic partners, seeking to amplify the power and scope of investments; and potentially through grassroots, event or social-media based fundraising. Should revenue from concerts or convenings become part of the effort, the ED will supervise these opportunities as well.
● Learning and Executing – Having a passion for discovering, maximizing and spreading the word on impactful, quickly available, scalable solutions and partnerships should animate the ED’s efforts. S/he must establish continuous organizational improvement, ongoing learning, and accountability strategies. Maintaining a culture of respect and positive engagement will be key to the ED’s success.
● General Management – The ED will manage all ECF staff and consultants. As noted, staff is expected to remain lean for the foreseeable future. S/he will monitor and ensure fiscal sustainability and health, attending to both longer-term financial forecasting as well as the efficient administration of day-to-day operations. The ED will maintain the highest levels of accountability, transparency, and consistency with respect to all management systems, accounting, budgeting, financial analysis, funding, cashflow, and cost reporting.
● Board Relations – Establish a strong working partnership with the Board of Directors built on trust that enriches experience and leverages Board members’ best ideas and efforts in the governance and support of ECF. As a new Board, helping with board development and recruitment of new members, as needed, is expected as well.
IV. CANDIDATE CHARACTERISTICS/EXPERTISE
There is no fully fixed checklist of personal and professional characteristics for this position. Still, the Fund expects to identify an ideal candidate who can carry out all the tasks described above, bringing with him/her a passion for both strong management and innovation.
An ideal candidate will offer:
● Strong climate change knowledge, and demonstrated ability to work across a range of issue areas. Comfort with the Fund’s core issue foci will bring efficiency and communications skills to the effort. System-level analysis of climate, funding and the coordination of change strategies will be key to success.
● Interpersonal and managerial skills that will allow the Fund’s lead donor, and a small staff, to maximize opportunities through optimism, focus, and steady relationships. The ED will be called on to code-switch, working at times alongside business executives with their styles and needs, and at other times with idealistic youth activists building a movement in their unique ways.
● Energy – Strong drive and demonstrated success in past work are key. The ED will keep multiple balls up in the air at all times, and must maintain high energy and motivation.
● Bias to Action – The Fund’s activities will not be passive, and most probably won’t be overly repetitive. The ED must be an active problem-solver, with a strong interest in learning by doing, rather than over-thinking;
● Results Oriented – The ED must be able to conceive of effective outcomes and know how to build plans to achieve them, on multiple levels.
● Inclination to Teams – A strong ED will possess a willingness to share information and influence, give credit to others, and build a culture of collaboration for ECF overall. S/he values interdependence in relationships, and always treats others with respect.
● Belief in a common humanity, fear of coming climate impacts, and optimism about our prospects must exist together – ECF’s ED must believe in a shared future that surpasses the coexistence of private individual ones, allowing for and prompting the ability to see and set visions together for our collective future.
V. For consideration: To express your interest in this role please email resume and cover letter describing your background and approach to the challenge: [email protected] All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.