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OrganizationKara Balcerzak
TypeFull Time
Application DeadlineDecember 1, 2023
College Degree Required?Yes
Salary Range$100,000 - $120,000
Phone(612) 718-2244


Sustainability Matters seeks an Executive Director who is passionate about conservation and eager to join us in seriously making sustainability fun! Our innovative programming welcomes new people and communities into the environmental movement. Through our educational programming and community projects, we cultivate community through conservation. We are committed to making conservation fun, realistic, and inclusive of all.

Since our founding in 2018, Sustainability Matters has organized more than 250 educational and outreach programs for over 25,000 participants. Our partners include the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Virginia Department of Forestry, the State Arboretum of Virginia, the city of Winchester, Fairfax County, and many others. We’re a creator of webinars with global reach and an architect of innovative, scalable projects like Making Trash Bloom, which is working to transform the waste management industry by planting native pollinator-friendly meadows on trash cells.

Our focus is on outreach that is truly universal, including both traditional and non-traditional conservation audiences. Our approach to conservation is realistic and practical, never purist. We’re about people almost as much as we’re about the planet: the community we’re building, both in-person and virtually, catalyzes our impact. And that community starts with our staff and Board: we enjoy sharing photos of our pets, welcoming new staff members with staff- and board-hosted lunches, supporting each other in difficult times, celebrating our personal and collective successes, and working together to have a meaningful impact in our communities.

Job Duties

  • Strategic vision and leadership

    • Work with the Board and staff to continue producing high-quality, impactful programming

    • Spearhead work to expand programming, particularly Making Trash Bloom (growing pollinator meadows in landfills), across the state and into states beyond Virginia

    • Maintain a working knowledge of trends and developments in the conservation field

  • Staff management

    • Support and supervise 1 full-time staff member and 4 part-time staff members

    • Recruit, hire, and train 1-2 additional full-time staff within the first year

    • Maintain and foster a positive climate that values all employees and their individual areas of expertise

    • Maintain an organizational culture that encourages staff to share new ideas, dissenting opinions, and outside-the-box thinking in order to benefit the organization and the communities we serve

    • Manage staff performance through regular assessment processes, including routine check-ins and formal reviews

  • Community engagement

    • Articulate the work and mission of the organization in a way that makes all people feel welcome and excited to join us as partners, volunteers, learners, and donors

    • Serve as the face of the organization by participating in external events to increase our visibility and credibility

    • Develop and nurture strong relationships with partners, including state and federal agencies, county boards, city and county agencies, other nonprofits, schools, and the media

  • Financial Management

    • Plan, control, monitor, and evaluate the annual budget

    • Maintain payroll and benefit packages

    • Monitor and analyze financial data to inform decision-making and ensure financial stability

    • Ensure compliance with state and federal regulatory filings and reporting requirements

    • Regularly update the Board of Directors on financial matters

  • Fundraising

    • Steward relationships with institutional, corporate, and individual donors

    • Manage and work with a part-time grant writer to identify new funding opportunities, write and submit grant applications, and write and submit reports

    • Expand the donor base of the organization

  • Board engagement

    • Establish close, effective relationships with Board members, and support the Board in carrying out its governance responsibilities

    • Recruit additional Board members and identify opportunities for Board growth and development

    • Keep the Board informed about important developments and factors affecting the organization

Skills Required

Most importantly, the successful candidate will be passionate about leading an organization that roots our success in our unique approach: our commitment to working with non-traditional conservation audiences, our realistic and practical approach to conservation, and our emphasis on people as much as the planet. We are in a time of rapid growth and program expansion throughout the region, and looking for a leader who will shape and steer the organization as we grow out of our startup phase and expand our work throughout Virginia and beyond. We take quality and impact extremely seriously. We don’t take much else seriously, and we’re looking for a colleague who’ll laugh with us. If you have to ask whether we really need a spokescat, we might not be the best fit for you.

Additionally, the right person for this position will possess skills and qualifications including:

  • Passion for conservation issues and commitment to finding practical solutions to environmental concerns

  • Demonstrated knowledge of and curiosity about conservation, horticulture, and nature

  • Leadership skills, with the ability to serve as a unifying force and build excitement and positivity about conservation

  • Experience developing and managing an annual budget of $300,000+ as either an Executive Director or Program Director

  • Experience raising funds through a variety of means, such as individual and organizational donations, grants, and contracts

  • Experience successfully managing employees and fostering their professional growth

  • Facility for collaborative relationship building and appreciation for diverse constituent groups, including rural agricultural communities as well as diverse urban/suburban communities

  • Experience representing an organization in both professional and social settings

  • Ability to communicate clearly both to the public and to staff

  • Comfort with digital platforms including social media, databases, G-Suite, Zoom, etc.

  • An open, analytical mind, with the propensity to question established practices and opinions, in conservation and beyond

  • An advanced degree or other evidence of a heavy investment in learning, either formal or informal

Sustainability Matters requires all staff to keep COVID vaccination and boosters up-to-date.

Work Schedule

This is a full-time, salaried job with flexible hours that includes weekend and evening events. We offer unlimited paid time off; we work hard, fulfill our responsibilities (and then some), and take the time we need to recharge and enjoy full lives.

Additional Info


Our staff works remotely but must be available for regular in-person events and meetings throughout the Shenandoah Valley, northern Virginia Piedmont, and Northern Virginia. Programming, outreach, and fundraising primarily happen in person in the region loosely defined by Frederick, Fairfax, Rappahannock, and Shenandoah Counties. 


Sustainability Matters believes our people are our most important asset. We expect our staff to perform at the highest professional level, and we treat and compensate them accordingly. Salary range for this position is $100,000-$120,000. Benefits include:

  • Flexible working hours

  • Unlimited paid time off

  • Primarily remote work with likely weekly or twice-monthly day trips to events and meetings with partners in the Shenandoah Valley, northern Virginia Piedmont, and/or Northern Virginia

  • Reimbursement for mileage driven within the region, based on the federal rate

  • A cell phone and laptop, and a monthly stipend toward internet and cell service

  • Retirement account with an employer match

  • Dental and vision insurance

  • Life insurance

  • Short- and long-term disability insurance

  • Annual reimbursement allowance, accrued monthly, for pet healthcare and adoption expenses

  • Purchase of software as needed

Please note that as a small nonprofit, we are not currently able to provide health insurance.


Sustainability Matters is an equal opportunity employer, drawing strength from diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. We value potential employees’ intellect, capacities, and work ethic. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status, or any other non-merit factor. Bring your brain, and come as you are.


We are seeking to fill this position as soon as possible, but it will remain open until we find the right person. The Board will start reviewing applications on or after November 15, 2023.

For consideration, please submit the following to

  • Cover letter

  • Resume

  • Contact information for three professional references (including one person whom you have previously supervised but are not currently supervising). We will contact references for final candidates only.

  • Anything else you’d like us to consider