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Executive Director


Joshua Tree, California, USA

Job description

Organization Background:

The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) is a non-profit 501(3)(c) organization, founded in 2006. Our mission is to protect the ecosystems of the California Desert and their scenic and cultural resource values. MDLT’s service area spans 24.5 million acres – the entire California portion of the eastern Mojave and Colorado Deserts. Our work ensures preservation and stewardship of ecologically sensitive desert lands and habitats in tandem with creating ways for people to experience and enjoy these extraordinary landscapes. We focus on acquiring and protecting properties within national parks and preserves, wilderness areas, areas of critical environmental concern, and wildlife linkage corridors. We have successfully conserved land in Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave National Preserve, Mojave Trails National Monument, and Death Valley National Park. MDLT has donated more tracts of land to the National Park system nationwide than any other non-profit since 2006. The California Desert is full of amazing opportunities for creative conservation strategies, and the need is great, as pressures on these landscapes are increasing, too.


Position Characteristics:

We seek an Executive Director who has a deep appreciation for California’s tremendous natural diversity including its vast and unique desert landscapes, and one who will take our track record of tremendous successes to a new level to match both needs and opportunities.


Position Summary:

The Executive Director (ED) will manage an annual operating budget (not including acquisition costs) of approximately $2 million and a staff of 20-25. Revenue and responsibilities are expected to continue to grow in coming years. The ED will be based at our headquarters in beautiful Joshua Tree, California.


Reporting to the Board of Directors, the ED has overall strategic and operational responsibility for MDLT staff, programs, acquisitions, and execution of our mission. The ED provides leadership in organizational management and development, financial oversight, fundraising, and strategic planning.


Key Duties:

• With staff and partners, develop and deliver a steady and growing portfolio of projects, initiatives, and acquisitions

that benefit the California Desert.

• Coordinate strategic planning with the Board of Directors and manage an agile annual planning process.

• Develop and manage strategic partnerships and alliances.

• Attract and retain high caliber staff in step with the organization’s growth, project portfolio, and fundraising needs.

• Secure public funding for projects and private funding from high net worth individuals, corporations, and foundations.

• Raise the visibility and importance of protecting the California Desert.




Organizational Strategy, Leadership, and Management

• Work closely with the Board of Directors and its committees on strategic planning, agile annual planning, and organizational development and governance.

• Support the Executive Committee of the Board in expanding the board and its capacity to support MDLT.

• Lead, coach, and develop, MDLT’s high-performance senior management team.

• Manage, inspire, motivate and empower a strong staff team at all levels.

• Actively engage and energize MDLT volunteers, board members, event committees, alumni, partnering organizations, and funders.


Project Development and Implementation

• Recommend timelines and resources needed to achieve strategic goals, keep our pipeline of acquisitions and other projects flowing, and ensure ongoing programmatic excellence and consistent quality of finance and administration, fundraising, communications, and systems.

• Collaborate with government, business, private landowners, and nonprofit partners to identify, advance, manage, and deliver high quality projects and initiatives throughout the California Desert.

• Research opportunities in new landscapes and markets and establish relationships with landowners and managers, funders, and political and community organizations to develop new project opportunities.

• Oversee land acquisitions and stewardship operations, public engagement programs, and our nursery and conservation seed bank departments and restoration efforts, as well as facility maintenance and capital improvement projects.

• Track progress and regularly evaluate programs to measure successes that can be effectively communicated to the Board, funders, partners, and other constituents.

• Assure MDLT compliance accountability to Board, funders, partners, government agencies, and regulatory bodies.


Public Policy

• Continue to position MDLT as a crucial and effective land preservation organization and voice for effective, sound policies for protecting the California Desert.

• Maintain good relationships and ongoing effective communication with local governments, state legislators, congressional offices, and key government agencies.


Fundraising, Communications, and Outreach

• Oversee the development of a diverse and growing funding base, including public funds, foundation grants, earned revenue, and corporate and individual support. Lead staff in identifying resource requirements, researching funding sources, establishing

strategies to secure large gifts, submitting proposals, and managing fundraising records and documentation.

• Build and maintain effective working relationships with constituencies, funders, important local partners, government agencies, and stakeholders in the California Desert.

• Oversee all public and media relations and act as the primary spokesperson for MDLT. Represent MDLT at all appropriate public functions and makes effective public presentations. And lead, support, and participate in all aspects of communication, from our web presence to external relations, with the goal of creating a stronger, widely recognized brand.

• Leverage communications to build relationships, open up new opportunities, and garner support for MDLT.


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