Vice President, Foundations Relations

Job Locations US-VA-Arlington
Job ID
Employment Type
Employee (Full-Time)

Position Overview

About Rare:

Rare’s mission is to inspire change so people and nature thrive. For more than three decades, Rare has partnered with local organizations to run more than 400 conservation projects in nearly 60 countries all of which rely on humans changing behaviors through community-led solutions such as coastal fishery recovery, regenerative agriculture, and now climate mitigation.


Our people-centered approach is rooted in behavioral science and design thinking. We partner with local leaders and their communities to identify and break down barriers to adopting sustainable environmental practices and make change easier to adopt. We spotlight local solutions that enable communities to develop ownership, responsibility, capacity, and pride in conserving their natural resources and protecting the environment. And together, we shift social norms to make sustainability the default and ensure lasting change.


Change is what we do. That’s what makes us Rare.


Rare’s organizational culture is largely defined by its five core values: The Courage to Take Risks, A Commitment to Accountability, A Mindset of Solutionology, Investments in People, and The Spirit of Celebration. Our mission is the “what” we do, and our values are the “how” we do it!


Rare’s culture is results-oriented and entrepreneurial. We are working toward ambitious goals and creating measurable social change. The VP, Foundation Relations will play a critical role in achieving these goals by working closely with the leadership team, program staff, and key supporters to raise the funds we need to implement and grow our programs around the world.


Position Overview:

The Vice President, Foundation Relations is responsible for advancing and implementing Rare’s foundations fundraising strategy.  The VP will play a critical role in working with the CDO to plan creative approaches to increase Rare’s foundations’ support and with the Development and Communications Leadership Team and Program Leads to meet Rare’s ambitious fundraising goals.  They will manage a pool of high value donors and prospective donors; implement strategies to build the pipeline and lead specific Development and Communications department and possibly cross-department initiatives.


They will also manage a team of 3 additional portfolio owners and will have shared services support from our prospect research and operations team. 


The VP will carry a multi-million-dollar goal and will work in close collaboration with the CEO, CDO, and regional leadership to cultivate and steward the foundation relationships.  The VP will also build their own relationships with new donors and cultivate relationships with existing Rare donors through in-person meetings and utilizing senior program staff. The VP will coordinate activities and strategies with the VP of Individual Giving and the VP of Global Development (public funding).


Key Responsibilities:

The Vice President will exercise independent judgment regarding the following areas of significance:

  • Across the team, manage a portfolio of approximately 100 high-potential donors and prospects with special emphasis on $1,000,000+ gifts.
  • Develop and implement a multi-million five-year foundations donor strategy to meet ambitious fundraising and budgetary goals.
  • Work with the prospect researcher, segment leads, Rare leadership, and board members to expand the pipeline and deepen relationships with foundation leaders.
  • Design and implement creative and cutting-edge donor forums and consortiums.
  • Manage and coach Foundation Relations team.
  • Write and edit some concepts and proposals as well as coach others to write concepts, proposals and reports.
  • Develop and implement annual plans and budgets.
  • Effectively manage and track donor cultivation activities in Salesforce database and provide regular progress reports to CDO and the leadership team.
  • Ensure that every major foundations’ donor has a clear strategy and timeline for cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.
  • Provide weekly and monthly revenue forecasts, reports, and analysis to senior management
  • Lead Development and Communications department and cross-department initiatives.
  • Serve as leader on Development and Communications Leadership Team and liaise with counterparts (VP, Individual Giving, VP, Global Development, VP Communications and Marketing) to shape Rare fundraising strategy and team engagement.

Experience and Education:


Seasoned Professional

  • At least ten years of fundraising experience, particularly with foundations.  Experience as a thought leader with Foundation program leads and executives.  Experience raising funds from high net-worth individuals a plus. Success managing a team and working in cross-functional organizations.
  • Experience in international development and conservation issues.
  • Demonstrated ability to surface and implement best practices in fundraising, engage participation from all levels, and generate immense excitement for Rare’s work, both internally and externally.
  • Strong sense of fundraising ethics and respect for confidentiality of donor information.

Outcome driven

  • Results-orientated, with the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously within budget and deadlines.

Persuasive Story Builder

  • Ability to transform ideas and strategies into impactful, effective donor proposals.
  • Outstanding interpersonal, oral and written communication skills, with the maturity, integrity, and experience to gain the trust and confidence of Rare’s donors, leadership, staff, colleagues, and partners.

Inclusive Partner

  • Demonstrated ability to recruit and manage high performing, empowered team.
  • Ability to build strong relationships in a multi-cultural, global organization.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.

Additional skills and areas of interest:

  • Willingness to be hands-on in a role that is demanding and requires a high level of energy.
  • Willingness to participate in regular national travel as needed to build relationships and support fundraising goals; occasional international travel is required.
  • Strong computer skills are required; knowledge of Salesforce database is preferred
  • Familiarity with global conservation issues, opportunities and donors is a plus.
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required. Masters degree a plus. 
  • Work experience in developing countries a plus.

Rare is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes all to apply; EOE/M/F/D/V


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