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Suncoast Waterkeeper: Guardian of The Bay

As readers are no doubt aware, I love to write about all things fishing, including the need to actively work to protect the resources that support this special area. That’s why I work with and write about Suncoast Waterkeeper, the organization that I believe is the driving force in protecting water quality in Sarasota Bay and Anna Maria Sound.

The organization has experienced significant growth recently and is now seeking an executive director. A member of the International Waterkeeper Alliance, the group was formed in 2012 by attorney Justin Bloom. A graduate of New College in Sarasota, Bloom worked in New York City as Waterkeeper Alliance’s Eastern regional director before moving back to Sarasota and founding Suncoast Waterkeeper. The mission of Suncoast Waterkeeper is to protect and restore the Florida Suncoast’s waterways through enforcement, field work, advocacy and environmental education for the benefit of the communities that rely upon these precious coastal resources. The group’s stated priority is to work with local municipalities to ensure that appropriate laws are being followed, and to take corrective action when they are not. Their work is supported by science, statutes and environmental ethics.

This is a terrific opportunity to lead an organization with a committed board that has a proven track record of success and has seen exponential growth over the past few years. While the organization’s focus is on the coastal waterways of Sarasota and Manatee counties, it has negotiated major settlements with Sarasota County, St. Petersburg and Largo. These settlements have led to millions of dollars of investment in upgrading outdated wastewater treatment facilities that have and will have a major impact on preventing nutrient loading to Tampa Bay and Sarasota Bay. The organization is highly respected in the community as a leader in protecting the resources that are the economic engine of the region.

Suncoast Waterkeeper is located in an area that is rich in philanthropy, at the center of three National Estuaries, and is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the United States. This position provides direct access to some of the area’s most influential decision-makers.

Suncoast Waterkeeper’s executive director will lead the organization’s daily activities while developing sustainable streams of revenue through fundraising. The director will have overall operational responsibility for Suncoast Waterkeeper’s programs and will work with Publitics, the organization’s public relations firm, to manage its social media presence and website management. The director will report directly to the board of directors. This is a remote/virtual workplace position to start and has the potential for an office location in the future.

The director will be expected to communicate a clear vision for Suncoast Waterkeeper, coordinate and implement ongoing strategic planning and direct fundraising and budgeting. A major focus will be on identifying, applying for and monitoring grant applications. The director will also oversee committees to strengthen membership, donations and sponsorship programs.

Strong communications skills will be necessary to effectively serve as the official spokesperson and to clearly articulate a compelling case for supporting the mission. The director will work with a variety of audiences, particularly city and county officials, community leaders and major donor prospects. The director will attend community, government and agency meetings to represent the organization. In addition, the director will advise and inform board members, recommend policy and provide clear and accurate reports for the board to effectively monitor the organization’s progress. The director also will be charged with establishing evaluation systems and organizational processes to monitor project and program outcomes and improve quality services.

Financial planning, compliance and management skills will be needed to work with the treasurer and accountant in preparing and presenting the annual budget with the board’s direction and guidance. The director will also monitor cash flow and provide regular, comprehensive reports to the board on revenues and expenditures. The director will oversee all necessary registrations and certifications to comply with state requirements for non-profits.

Qualifications require a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences and/or environmental studies or non-profit management. An advanced degree is a plus. Equivalent experience in environmental sciences and/or environmental studies or non-profit management will be considered. The director should also have a proven track record of 3-5 years in a leadership role, preferably in a non-profit. Public speaking and media experience will be a critical component.

Suncoast Waterkeeper is an equal opportunity employer. The organization celebrates diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees, contractors, volunteers and members of our community. Salary and benefits are commensurate with experience.

Applicants should submit:

  • Cover letter
  • Resume/CV
  • Three references (references will only be contacted during the final round of interviews)

Submit applications to: [email protected], P.O. Box 1028, Sarasota, FL 34230 • 941-202-3182 •