Cinnabar Foundation

Missoula, Montana

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details .75FTE, salary commensurate with experience, generous benefit package
Deadline Feb 15, 2021

The Cinnabar Foundation helps protect and conserve water, wildlife and wild lands in Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem by supporting organizations and people who share our vision and work to implement strategic conservation solutions to preserve and restore our natural heritage and communities as they adapt to change.

Overview of the Cinnabar Foundation

Founded in 1983 by four longtime conservation activists, the Cinnabar Foundation is a private independent foundation born out of a conundrum — how best to support long-term the constitutional right of Montanans to a clean and healthful environment. The seeding of the Foundation came from Len and Sandy Sargent, who later donated the bulk of their estate to the Foundation. The intent was, and continues to be, to invite others to join in growing this permanent fund by consolidating and strategically directing resources in perpetuity.

To continue providing grants for generations to come, the Foundation seeks and obtains charitable gifts, invests those contributions prudently, and then disburses available funds for charitable purposes through a competitive grants process consistent with the Foundation’s purposes. The Cinnabar Foundation is Montana’s only homegrown, statewide conservation fund.

Our Board of Directors meets at least twice a year with virtual meetings as necessary. With passion and commitment, the Board and Staff work collaboratively to help protect and conserve water, wildlife and wild lands in Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) by supporting organizations and people who share our vision. We do this by investing in organizations and projects where opportunities for impact and success are supported by sound science, strategic planning, effective organization, strong leadership, and community-based constituencies. We also collaborate with other private conservation funders through the mutual sharing of information to leverage support for conservation efforts in Montana and the GYE.

Position Description

As a Board-led organization, the Cinnabar Foundation seeks an experienced, collaborative and personable Executive Director (ED) who is willing and able to participate in and guide all aspects of the Foundation’s work including fund development; implementation of the Foundation’s Strategic Framework; grants management; and financial and administrative oversight. The successful candidate will have extensive experience and current relationships with a variety of funders such as private individuals and other foundations working in Montana on conservation issues.

Realizing that the Foundation’s growth is dependent upon a widespread understanding of its mission, the ED must be able to identify and utilize the existing strengths of the Board and others. The Executive Director must be an exceptional listener; open-minded; highly organized; lead by example; know how to build and sustain enduring relationships; and work effectively and efficiently with a broad range of people who represent our constituency, including grantees, donors and donor prospects, financial advisors, government agencies, media, and the general public. 

The raising of funds, managing financial accounts, as well as the administration of grants, require the ED to maintain precise records and reporting systems. This position requires a person with demonstrated experience in managing a nonprofit organization, fundraising, grants management and assessment, budgeting, investments, public relations, marketing and program development. Additional requirements include: demonstrated leadership and fundraising ability; proven communication and marketing skills; and an ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines. Further, this position requires a person who can work a flexible schedule, including occasional work in the evenings and on weekends.

Work Location

The ED will work at his/her home in Montana and attend the Foundation’s biannual Board meetings, which will be held at various state locations.

Since Cinnabar Foundation Board members and conservation partners are scattered throughout Montana and the GYE, the ED must be familiar with and willing to use technology such as Dropbox, email and Zoom.

Job Responsibilities

Grants Management Services (40% of time)

  • Assume primary responsibility for all aspects of grants management, which include: updating the Foundation website; updating application forms; posting notifications of the upcoming grant cycle; communicating with applicants/grantees; preparing grant materials and grant recommendations for the Board of Directors; preparing follow-up reports/letters; managing grant contracts; overseeing disbursement of grant funds; managing the Foundation’s annual reports.
  • Guide the Board’s grant-making decision process. 
  • Build and maintain relationships with grantee conservation partners.
  • Recommend to the Board of Directors ways to streamline and improve the grants management process.

Fund Development & Marketing Services (40% of time)

  • Assume primary responsibility for Foundation fundraising, including the implementation of the Development Plan to ensure annual development goals and objectives are met.
  • Create and maintain individual, foundation and other relationships with the aim of raising and leveraging funds.
  • Represent the Foundation in regional funder networks.
  • Assist in writing fund development and marketing materials.
  • Guide the Board’s engagement in fundraising activities.
  • Represent the Cinnabar Foundation in regional funder networks.

Administrative, Financial and Outreach Services (15% of time)

  • Check in regularly with the Chair and members of the Board of Directors.
  • Participate in and provide guidance to Finance, Fund Development and Program Committees.
  • Assist the Chair with planning and preparing Board meetings and agendas, provide background information on relevant issues, and suggest strategies for implementing Board decisions.
  • Attend all Board meetings in an ex-officio capacity. Prepare Board minutes and disseminate them to Board members.
  • Assume responsibility for and general oversight of the Foundation’s fiscal health.
  • With the Board Treasurer, prepare and manage an annual budget.
  • Assist in writing and production of annual reports.
  • Ensure implementation of the Strategic Framework.
  • Recommend to the Board ways to streamline and improve administrative operations.
  • Represent the Cinnabar Foundation to the public-at-large.
  • Build and maintain relationships with nonprofit conservation organizations, public agencies, and the media.

Miscellaneous (5% of time)

  • Other duties as assigned by the Board of Directors.

A Successful Candidate Will Demonstrate:

  • Strong commitment to community-based conservation, Montana and the GYE, and the vision/mission of the Cinnabar Foundation.
  • Capacity to develop innovative and creative solutions to problems.
  • Highest level of personal and professional integrity, including honesty and humility.
  • Willingness and desire to be a collaborative partner within a working Board culture.
  • Strong work ethic and the ability to work at home.
  • Sense of humor.

Required Experience and Skills:

  • Minimum of five years’ experience in nonprofit management.
  • Demonstrated success in fundraising and network-building, preferably within the nonprofit community.
  • Experience in developing budgets and interpreting financial reports.
  • Working knowledge of banking procedures and insurance issues.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and an exceptional listener.
  • Experience working collaboratively with people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
  • A bachelor’s degree.
  • Knowledge of environmental issues in Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
  • Familiarity with environmental groups in Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
  • Excellent computer skills, including the ability to use office technology like email, Microsoft Office Suite, Apple PAGES program, online document storage systems, computers, telephones and printers. [Experience with grant and donor software management programs a plus.]
  • Travel required: must possess a valid driver’s license and provide proof of full-coverage automobile insurance.
  • Ability to do light lifting, bending, and walk outside on uneven footing.

Please submit a cover letter describing your experience and qualifications and a resume in one combined PDF document to: Robin Tawney Nichols at with the subject line “Executive Director Application.”

We encourage qualified candidates to apply even if the deadline has passed; the position will remain open until filled. The review of applications will begin February 22, 2021.

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.