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Major Gifts Officer


Seattle, WA, USA



Award-winning Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle is famed for pioneering naturalistic exhibits and setting the standard for zoos all over the world. We connect people with wildlife and hit them in the heart with a visceral reminder of what's at stake in our changing world. Our job is to motivate people to take action and provide them with the tools needed to join us in saving endangered species. That means our conservation efforts start right here at the zoo and in our community. 

Join us on our mission to save wildlife and inspire everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives.  DESCRIPTION

Woodland Park Zoo is currently seeking a Senior Manager of Early Childhood Programs to provide transformational leadership and strategic vision to define the future of early childhood and parent/caregiver programming at the zoo. Woodland Park Zoo has the largest attendance of young children and families of any cultural organization in the region and has been an early adopter of nature play. Constructed in 2006, our Zoomazium indoor nature-inspired play space is a convening place for children and their caregivers. In the coming years we will take an expanded leadership role in promoting nature play and social-emotional development at the zoo and in the greater community. We are seeking a dynamic and entrepreneurial candidate who will build on the zoo’s assets to create an innovative, theory-informed and evidence-based world class program.

The ideal candidate for this position will be a pioneering and adaptive leader with extensive knowledge and background in early childhood development theory, policy and best practices, as well as practical experience applying those principles in an informal or natural setting The successful candidate should have demonstrated success fundraising and grant writing; creating revenue generating programs; developing and managing budgets; supervising staff; and initiating and implementing transformational planning processes and programs with partners and across cross functional teams. Familiarity with equity and inclusion principles, universal design concepts and demonstrated proficiency in developing and maintaining effective community partnerships are key competencies.

The Senior Manager of Early Childhood Programs will be a critical part of the Learning Innovation Leadership Team to help shape the future of learning and innovation at the zoo and in our community.


  • Provide strategic vision and direction to create leading-edge, inclusive, relevant and adaptive early childhood and family programs which are financially sustainable and promote the zoo and its mission.
  • Manage early childhood fundraising and revenue efforts under direction of the Vice President of Learning Innovation and the Director of Learning & Engagement. Work with the Development Department to write proposals and grants reports; participant in fund-raising and donor cultivation efforts. Pursue and manage revenue-producing programs and initiatives
  • Oversee Zoomazium programs, early childhood and caregiver classes/programs, camps and trainings
  • Participate as a member of the Learning Innovation Leadership Team
  • Develop and strengthen internal and external partnerships including oversight of the Zoo’s Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ZECAC)
  • Promote and support early childhood principles and best practices across the zoo and work with other teams and departments to integrate those practices into exhibits and programs both on and off zoo grounds.
  • Directly supervise supervisor(s) and lead facilitator(s) and oversee the daily operations and implementation of early childhood programming.
  • Carry out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization's policies and applicable laws. Recruit, interview, hire, and train employees; plan, assign, and direct work; appraise performances; mentor, reward and discipline employees
  • Actively support and assist in department strategic and operational planning
  • Develop and manage program budgets, expenses and financial records
  • Manage cross-departmental program development and/or implementation teams and collaborate cross-departmentally on projects and programs
  • Develop, write and oversee development of promotional materials, blogs, reports, statistics, fliers, publications, communications/interpretive materials and other promotional and support materials
  • Oversee the development, implementation and evaluation of early learning projects and programs
  • Represent WPZ on external committees that serve to strengthen the zoo’s position as a leading early learning and conservation education organization locally and across the state
  • Other duties as assigned.


Supervise supervisors and lead facilitators. This position requires the ability to interact effectively with employees in order to direct workflow, assess performance, and assign duties.


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Strategic, global and creative thinker who is able to challenge current assumptions and isn’t afraid of pushing the boundaries; able to imagine, explore and implement cutting edge and experimental programming.
  • Entrepreneurial and revenue focused. Ability to identify and implement creative and dynamic earned and contributed revenue opportunities for early learners and families
  • Strong interpersonal skills, ability to lead and motivate teams, bring in and support different perspectives, and to work with diverse populations and a variety of stakeholders (staff, executive leaders, donors, board members, school and government administrators, volunteers and visitors, etc.)
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills. Ability to listen, give and receive feedback in a productive and professional manner. Able to translate vision into planning and organizational implementation.
  • Ability to set priorities and manage multiple tasks, agendas and projects in a fast-paced environment with high energy and creative problem-solving skills
  • Ability to anticipate needs and challenges, take initiative, ask questions, and provide solutions to achieve department and organization objectives
  • Adaptable to changing business situation and environments
  • Highly professional public presence and strong customer service orientation
  • Ability to oversee programmatic operations and manage supervisory and front-line staff.
  • Ability to establish strong working relationships and partnerships, both internally and externally, and work effectively with others throughout the institution. Understanding and sensitivity to public and private partnerships
  • Ability to speak a language in addition to English is highly valued
  • Must be enthusiastic and customer service oriented and deal with clients in a courteous and professional manner.
  • Enjoy working with the public including diverse populations and people of all ages and abilities.
  • Must be able to oversee cross-departmental planning and implementation teams to support mission-driven change.; develop and sustain external relationships and partnerships; lead mission initiatives, including grant development and corporate/individual donor relationships.
  • Commitment to the mission of the zoo and the institution’s Core Values.


Master’s or PhD in Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood Development or similar field. A minimum of 10-12 years combined education and experience in early learning, natural or social sciences, informal and/or environmental education. Two to four years of supervisory experience and proven ability managing staff and operations of a work team required.


Ability to read, analyze, and interpret common scientific and technical journals, financial reports, and legal documents. Ability to respond to common inquiries or complaints from customers, regulatory agencies, or members of the business community. Ability to write speeches and articles for publication that conform to prescribed style and format. Ability to effectively present information to zoo management, public groups, donors and zoo board members.


Ability to work with mathematical concepts such as probability and statistical inference. Ability to apply concepts such as fractions, percentages, ratios, and proportions to practical situations. Ability to develop and manage multiple program budgets and prepare analytical reports.


Proficient and experienced with Microsoft Office applications; particularly Word, Excel, PPT and Outlook. Must be able to work with customized databases and technology, and conduct Internet research.


Ability to define problems, collect data, establish facts, and draw valid conclusions. Ability to interpret an extensive variety of technical instructions in mathematical or diagram form and deal with several abstract and concrete variables.


Valid Washington State Driver's License preferred


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use hands to finger, handle, or feel and talk or hear. The employee is frequently required to sit. The employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; reach with hands and arms; climb or balance and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl. The position requires an ability to walk or transit across the 92-acre facility and enter non-public and behind the scenes staff areas.


The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally exposed to outdoor weather conditions. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.



Applications are only accepted online through our Jobs page at; no other forms of application will be accepted. Cover letter and resume are REQUIRED when applying for this position. NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE.

Woodland Park Zoo is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, dedicated to a policy of non-discrimination in employment on any basis including race, color, age, sex, religion, national origin,

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