Executive Director

Yolo Basin Foundation

Posted: 11/18/2020

Position Type: Part-Time (Paid)

Function: CEO/ED/President

Primary domain: Environment

City: Davis

Postal code: 95618

State: California

Country: United States

Organization Information:


$0 - $1M



Mission statement:

Our mission is to expand public appreciation and stewardship of wetlands and wildlife in the Yolo Basin through education and innovative partnerships.

Position Details:

Job Description:

Organization Overview

The Yolo Basin Foundation is the leading community-based organization focused on environmental education and on protecting and restoring wetlands in the Yolo Bypass within the Central Valley of California.  Founded in 1990, its efforts ultimately resulted in the 1997 establishment of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area which now covers 16,800 acres of wetland, grassland, and farmland habitats.  This Wildlife Area is located in view of the Sacramento skyline, is owned by the State of California, and is managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to provide wetland habitats that are compatible with flood control, farming, and public use of the Bypass.

The Foundation continues to build on its partnerships to protect and restore wetlands and wildlife at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area while providing outstanding environmental education and public outreach activities. In support of its most important partner (the Department of Fish and Wildlife), the Foundation annually provides programs to over 10,000 visitors to the Wildlife Area (pre-COVID). This includes the Foundation’s signature Discover the Flyway education program which serves classes from 16 school districts in 5 counties throughout the region, and expends considerable effort on reaching Title 1 schools in low-income neighborhoods. Pre-COVID between 4,000 to 5,000 students annually participated in the program. Other activities include the summer Bat Talk and Walk program which, pre-COVID, annually introduced 4,000 members of the public to the spectacular colony of Mexican Free-Tailed Bats which breeds under the causeway, as well as public tours of the Wildlife Area during winter and spring.

The Foundation assisted the Department of Fish and Wildlife in developing the 2007 Yolo Wildlife Area Land Management Plan and, as a result, the Foundation closely follows budgetary, regulatory and habitat proposals that could impact management of these lands. In recent years, the Yolo Bypass has become a focus of plans to help resolve fisheries issues related to water supplies passing through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The Foundation advocates for maintaining and enhancing the multiple uses of the Bypass though collaboration with landowners, private and public wetland managers, hunters, farmers, wildlife viewers, conservation organizations, elected officials at all levels, as well as federal, state and local agencies. The Foundation also provides technical and administrative support to organizations studying and/or restoring wetlands and riparian habitats within and adjacent to the Bypass.

The Yolo Basin Foundation is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3), governed by a Board of Directors, operated by a professional full and part-time staff of nine, and supported by hundreds of volunteers and members.  The organization’s work is funded by grants and private donations. In 2020-2021, its annual budget is approximately $400,000 with a goal of increasing the budget by expanding fundraising efforts in coming years.  See www.yolobasin.org for additional information about the Foundation.

Position Summary

The Executive Director, reporting to the Board, leads the organization in executing its mission of using education and innovative partnerships to instill the appreciation and stewardship of wetlands and wildlife in the Yolo Basin.  The Executive Director is a mission-focused, innovative leader who works with the Board and staff to not only maintain existing programs, but to shape and execute a vision for the future of the Yolo Basin Foundation. This is a part-time position fully supported by a part-time Deputy Director. Depending on future budgets and the interests of the successful candidate, the position could become full-time in the future.

Duties and Responsibilities

Leadership, Vision and Strategy

  • Provide leadership and vision for the Foundation’s staff and volunteers with an eye towards strengthening and expanding education, outreach, stewardship, stakeholder collaboration and fundraising programs. 
  • Collaborate with the Board to execute the 5-year strategic plan developed in 2017 and update the plan by 2022.
  • Review the existing organization and programs and propose (1) improvements to existing programs, organization and/or staffing, and (2) new programs and services which achieve the mission and goals of the organization. Oversee execution of these programs.

Communications and Advocacy

  • As the primary spokesperson for the Foundation, be the chief advocate and external face of the organization at conferences, meetings, hearings, and other events. 
  • Advocate for protection and enhancement of resource values within the Bypass.
  • Oversee staff efforts to increase the Foundation’s visibility throughout the five-county region through focused media contacts and innovative use of internet tools.

Organization Management and Operations 

  • Oversee management of the Foundation’s operations and programs to ensure they are achieving the mission of the organization.
  • Using well-developed interpersonal skills, manage staff with appropriate direction and accountability and identify opportunities to improve staff effectiveness which may include training in leadership, management, decision-making, and team building, as well as in their own program areas.
  • With the Deputy Director, assure that all required paperwork to maintain non-profit status is prepared and submitted, as required.

Fiscal Management

  • With the Deputy Director, ensure an effective annual budget process and maintain a culture of operational excellence throughout the organization. 
    With the Deputy Director, provide appropriate financial and other management reports to keep the Board well-informed of the fiscal status of the organization.
  • Guide fundraising efforts by working with the Board, Development Coordinator and other staff to develop strong relationships with existing and potential major donors, corporate sponsors, and agency funders.
  • Collaborate with the Board and staff to develop and implement a fund development strategy, that includes events, corporate giving, major donors and grants.
  • Work with staff to cultivate relationships with existing Foundation members and donors, expand donor recognition and opportunities, and identify potential new major donors, corporate sponsors, and agency funders.

Partnerships and Strategic Alliances

  • Maintain a cooperative partnership with the Department of Fish and Wildlife in accordance with the established Memorandum of Understanding and to ensure the Foundation’s programs support the agency goals specified in the 2007 Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Land Management Plan and future updates.
  • With the Board and the Policy Director, maintain existing and develop new partnerships with other landowners, water agencies, and organizations operating within, or exerting regulatory control over, the Yolo Bypass.

Board Management and Development

  • Establish and maintain a strong relationship with the Board of Directors based on trust, candor, respect, and communication.
  • Work with the Board to seek out and train a broad and diverse array of new Board members as required. 
  • Oversee staff support to Board committees as requested.


Desired Qualifications

  • Strong leadership skills and the ability to inspire and motivate staff, volunteers, partners, and potential donors.
  • A passion for environmental stewardship, environmental education, and outreach programs.
  • The ability to build dynamic teams and relationships with a variety of people..
  • Experience managing a small team of professional staff.  
  • Knowledge of management of a non-profit organization, including the procedures and management policies required for a non-profit Board of Directors.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and ability to present ideas clearly and persuasively.
  • Direct experience with fiscal management, including establishing budgets and producing monthly financial reports.
  • A minimum of 3-5 years of management and leadership , with a preference of experience with a non-profit organization.


Compensation and Location

  • This is a part-time (50%) position. Depending on future budgets and the interests of the individual, the position could become full-time.
  • Salary is within the range of the region’s non-profit sector.
  • The Foundation office is located on the grounds of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Headquarters in Davis, California.


Commensurate with Experience

Posting Expiration Date:


How to Apply:

The full job description and application procedures can be found at:   http://yolobasin.org/contact/

Application Procedures

To apply for this position, applicants should submit the following:

  • A current resume
  • A cover letter which includes a summary of your interest, what you would bring to this position, and your desired salary range.

    by December 9, 2020.  Please note that applicants selected for interviews will be asked to complete an application with contact information for present and past supervisors, as well as three references.


To receive targeted job listings like this one by e-mail please create a job alert