Organization: Wilburforce Foundation

Location: Seattle, WA

Express Interest

Wilburforce Foundation

About Wilburforce Foundation:

Wilburforce Foundation’s vision is that native wildlife thrive throughout networks of connected lands and waters in Western North America. Wilburforce helps conserve important lands, waters and wildlife in Western North America by supporting organizations and leaders advancing strategic solutions.

Wilburforce believes that there are positive, achievable solutions to current challenges based on sound science, conservation policy, and community action. We believe that conservation is powered by a hopeful vision in which wild places and wildlife thrive in harmony with human communities. The future of conserving nature relies upon a collaborative community of individuals, organizations, agencies, and allied partners who together seek to sustain wildlife and wild lands.

To date, Wilburforce has invested more than $150 million in conservation efforts across Western North America, and is seen as an international leader in collaborative conservation.

Wilburforce is science-driven, continually seeking out knowledge from a wide range of natural and social sciences. Our Conservation Science Program invests in research to make sure the right data is available when and where the decisions are being made. And we ensure scientists, advocates and decision makers have the capacity and skills to take the science, engage in meaningful ways, and use it to inform conservation decisions. Wilburforce believes that when scientists are part of the conversation, we get better and more durable conservation outcomes.

Wilburforce also makes a significant commitment to grantee capacity building. Our Capacity Building Program invests in leaders, organizations, and campaigns through specialized consulting, coaching, and training on leadership development, fundraising, financial management, human resource management, communications, strategic planning, technology, and more.

For more information on Wilburforce Foundation, please visit

Wilburforce Foundation

The Opportunity:

The Program Officer for Science & Capacity advances Wilburforce’s mission by developing and implementing strategies that ensure grantees, scientists, and partners have the knowledge, tools, and skills necessary to be effective in their work.

In addition to the responsibilities and duties described below, work associated with this position includes:

  • Creating and implementing the Foundation’s strategies for science consistent with the Foundation’s overall Strategic Framework.
  • Grantmaking to support natural and social sciences, knowledge dissemination, and use of data to support the conservation outcomes in which Wilburforce invests;
  • Acting as a primary liaison with Wilburforce’s Science Advisor to inform and advise Wilburforce’s program staff, grantees, and other partners;
  • Funding programs that build the capacity of grantees, scientists, and partners to increase knowledge, develop necessary skills and expertise, use technology, and communicate more effectively in their conservation planning and advocacy work.

General Responsibilities:

Program Officers work closely with other staff and partners to advance the outcomes described in the Foundation’s Strategic Framework. Core responsibilities include:

  • Developing, implementing, and revising strategies to advance conservation outcomes;
  • Leading and/or participating in grantmaking, capacity building, and other program activities to advance those strategies;
  • Researching, preparing, and delivering reports or other presentations to the Foundation board and staff; and
  • Working with the Executive Director to create and maintain a collaborative, team-oriented work environment.

The ideal candidate will have the following personal competencies and characteristics:

  • Research issues, programs, and organizations that are associated with conservation opportunities and/or threats, and make recommendations to the Foundation’s Board to advance strategic outcomes.
  • Collaborate with staff on issues and/or strategies that may affect the work of other programs and impact the goals and mission of the foundation as a whole.
  • Review and analyze materials submitted by grant applicants and prepare written and verbal recommendations about proposals for consideration by the Foundation’s Board of Directors.
  • Develop and maintain strong relationships with grantees, funders, and other partners to communicate and advance foundation strategies. Represent the foundation at conferences and meetings with grantees, foundations, government agencies, community officials, and other stakeholders.
  • Work closely with the Foundation’s capacity building service providers and program staff to assess, prioritize and address the capacity needs of grantees.
  • Act as a liaison with, or convener of, grantees, funders, and other conservation partners to facilitate the exchange of information, ideas and strategies.
  • Inform Foundation staff and Board of current conservation, philanthropic, economic, and political or other issues that may have an impact on the Foundation’s strategies or grantmaking practices.
  • Evaluate program activities, grants, and strategies.
  • Assist in implementing the Foundation’s communications plan, which includes developing content for the website and other communication platforms. Represent the Foundation to the media, when appropriate, on issues and regions relevant to your program.


  • A strong and demonstrated commitment to conservation and environmental issues
  • Advanced degree, or significant commensurate work experience on conservation or environmental issues.
  • Three or more years of experience working with foundations and grants, from a grantseeker’s and/or grantmaker’s perspective.
  • Demonstrated ability to create and implement a program from start to finish; ability to build lasting work relationships with grantees, other foundations’ staff, government officials, and other colleagues.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of conservation biology, ecology, or other biological or social sciences.
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills, including the ability to articulate the Foundation’s mission and areas of interest to diverse audiences.
  • Understanding of the types of capacities important to nonprofit organizations, such as fundraising, governance, planning, evaluation, etc.
  • Understanding of financial management issues within nonprofit organizations, and the ability to read organizational budgets and financial statements.
  • Ability to organize and effectively handle multiple projects, meet regular deadlines with consistency and accuracy, work independently while within a team structure, and work under pressure with ease and humor.
  • Ability to travel for meetings, conferences, and site visits, as needed. The typical number of days of travel for program officers ranges from 25-40 (but can sometimes be greater), includes evenings and weekends, and can sometimes take you to remote and wild landscapes.
  • Extensive experience with email and the Internet, and familiarity with PC computer programs, including Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint.
  • Critical thinking and analytic rigor in framing problems, synthesizing information, and proposing solutions.

All Wilburforce employees are expected to: perform with high standards of integrity; demonstrate maturity; listen actively; value self-understanding; exhibit deep commitment; use good humor; and communicate effectively.


Wilburforce Foundation has engaged Liz Lombard and Turner Delano of Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here.

Wilburforce Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations, educational institutions and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information, visit