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Director of Foundation Relations

Company: Woods Hole Research Center
Date Posted: September 21, 2017

The Woods Hole Research Center seeks an experienced front-line fundraising professional to join a dynamic and expanding Development team as their next Director of Foundation Relations.


Located on a 10-acre campus near the village of Woods Hole, the Woods Hole Research Center (the Center) is a private, non-profit research organization and acclaimed leader in addressing the great global environmental issues of our time through science and policy. Its core focus is to conduct high quality scientific research, and policy analysis and implementation, on environmental and economic issues. The Center concentrates on climate change and related issues such as: deforestation, resource limitation, food security, forest, soil and water conservation, and biodiversity conservation. Original research and scholarly reviews are published in the world’s best peer-reviewed scientific journals. These findings and discoveries form the basis of credibility for applying science to the policy challenges of stewardship and sound management of the Earth’s ecosystems in an increasingly resource-limited world.  Center scientists are involved in policy processes ranging from international climate negotiations to decisions at the community level in developing countries.


Founded in 1985 by renowned ecologist George M. Woodwell, Woods Hole Research Center is known for conducting research that is targeted to fill knowledge gaps and inform public policy. A leader in its field, Woods Hole Research Center has 60 staff members, and attracts some of today’s top experts on global environment issues.


Falmouth and the village of Woods Hole have become a hub for marine, biomedical, and environmental science, hosting a number of world-renowned laboratories and institutions. These organizations together have created a stimulating, intellectual, and strong civic community.


For more information about Woods Hole Research Center, please visit 


About the Position

The Center seeks an experienced front-line fundraising professional to join a dynamic and expanding Development team. Reporting to the Chief Development Officer (CDO), the Director of Foundation Relations will manage relationships with foundations and other institutional donors, and will contribute significantly to the planning, organization and execution of a comprehensive program to expand private gifts and grant support from these donors. The Director will maintain effective stewardship of existing institutional donors, and take the lead in identifying and securing new funding sources. The Director will work closely with Center scientists and other staff to coordinate the proposal development and submission process, and manage all associated deadlines and reporting. This position requires strong interpersonal skills, an interest and aptitude for environmental/science issues, and an understanding of the environmental philanthropy landscape.

Key Responsibilities

Core responsibilities include prospect research and identification, proposal and report writing and submission, prospect and donor relationship management, and monitoring progress toward goals of grants within portfolio.


The Director will:

  • Identify, cultivate, and solicit new foundation prospects and steward existing funders.
  • Work closely with scientists to package programs, and develop concepts and cases of support for new initiatives; this requires ongoing effort to build and maintain a thorough knowledge of WHRC’s priorities and activities.
  • Play a key role in assigning and managing the portfolio of relationships to be cultivated by WHRC scientists and in coaching these staff to effectively steward those relationships.
  • Secure meetings with foundation contacts, craft messaging, and facilitate meeting logistics and follow up.
  • Help to manage administration of current grants, including tracking deadlines, collecting information from program staff and the finance department, and writing and submitting timely proposals, reports, updates and stewardship reports, and letters of inquiry.
  • Work with scientists, finance, and other staff to monitor progress toward grant goals and accurate spenddown of grant funding.
  • Support staff and/or Board members working with foundation donors and prospects.
  • Assist with other departmental projects and related major gift solicitations as assigned by the CDO


Key Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree and 5+ years directly relevant development or grant experience
  • Knowledge and interest in environmental science/issues
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills (writing samples will be required)
  • Experience with Raiser’s Edge and fundraising/grant prospect research tools is helpful
  • Exceptional interpersonal, presentation, and communication skills, with the ability to interact with a wide range of constituents, including scientific experts and donors
  • Ability to work well independently and as part of a dynamic team in a constantly evolving environment, with people of diverse backgrounds, cultures, and nationalities


Please email your cover letter and resume in confidence to


Woods Hole Research Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer.  It is our policy to not discriminate against any applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, marital status, genetic information, disability or because he or she is a protected veteran.