Vice President for Government and Community Relations

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy seeks to fill the Vice President for Government and Community Relations position in our Pittsburgh office.

This is a high-level and important leadership position for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC), one of the largest land trusts in the nation, with a range of conservation programs and ownership of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. This position is over government and community relations in relation to all programs of the Conservancy, community greening and natural heritage programs.

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has been dedicated to protecting and restoring the region’s exceptional natural places since 1932. As a member-based nonprofit organization, we work in cities and towns across Western Pennsylvania and rely on the help of thousands of members, partners and volunteers. We are making a difference in our region’s water, land and life. We do this work for the benefit of wildlife and people who call Western Pennsylvania home, and for future generations.

The Vice President for Government and Community Relations leads and oversees the development and continuation of strategic partnerships and strong relationships with representatives of government agencies and elected officials at the local, state and federal level to achieve WPC’s mission across all WPC programs. This includes influencing responsible conservation policies and securing government grants and contracts at an annual level around $11 million, representing approximately one third of WPC’s total operating revenue. This position reports directly to the President and Chief Executive Officer.

In addition, and as described below, the VP also directly leads and provides administrative oversight for two primary program areas of WPC’s work: community greening (urban and community forestry, perennial/annual gardens, bioswales and green infrastructure, downtown planters, downtown hanging baskets, and other greening work) and the Natural Heritage program to protect threatened and endangered species and their communities, often in relation to climate issues), where government partnerships and funding are integral to successfully meeting annual program objectives

Natural Heritage Program
The VP directly leads WPC’s Natural Heritage Program, which works closely with the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the PA Game Commission, the PA Fish and Boat Commission and in close collaboration with the National Fish and Wildlife Service to provide statewide scientific information and expertise to support the conservation of the state’s biological diversity. In part, this work is carried out through inventories, studies and the management of a central database of information for land use project planning purposes. The VP provides oversight to annually develop a balanced budget for the Natural Heritage Program of approximately $4 million and regularly monitors revenue and expense to ensure a balanced budget. While annual revenue is primarily derived through government grants and contracts, the VP also works to secure private funding for special projects in close coordination with WPC’s Institutional Advancement staff. The VP ensures that the work of the Natural Heritage Program is closely interconnected with the work of WPC’s program areas of land conservation and stewardship, watershed conservation and community greening to fully maximize WPC’s mission. The VP also ensures that WPC’s communication to staff is regularly updated on various projects to enable effective reporting to the WPC membership, the media and the general public.

Community Greening Program
The VP directly leads all aspects of WPC’s community greening work including community forestry tree plantings and other related activities, community flower and vegetable gardens, floral planters and hanging baskets in business districts, storm water mitigation projects, school grounds greening, a diverse volunteer force, and ecological surveys and implementation projects aimed at helping communities and public parks achieve effective greening approaches. The VP oversees developing and maintaining working relationships with local government agencies and authorities, elected officials, community leaders, local groups and citizens of all ages and all walks of life. The VP develops the Annual Community Greening Action Plan with emphasis on implementing projects in underserved communities and integration of the Community Greening priorities with the objectives of other WPC program areas in keeping with WPC’s Strategic Plan. The VP ensures that greening projects are carried out in conjunction with effective community outreach and engagement, and with optimum efficiency and effectiveness. The VP develops the annual budget for all Community Greening projects of approximately $4 million and regularly monitors revenue and expense to ensure breakeven results. The VP directly oversees securing funds from government grant programs, business sponsorships, foundations and individuals to ensure sufficient revenue to meet project expenses. For business/corporate, foundation and individual funding, the VP works closely with WPC’s Institutional Advancement staff.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Annually develops and implements the Government Relations and Policy Action Plan in keeping with WPC’s Strategic Plan.
  • Develops strategic local, state, and federal government relationships and partnerships to advance public conservation funding opportunities with emphasis on executive leadership of the agencies key to achieving WPC’s mission.
  • Secures federal, state and local funding for all WPC programs to advance WPC’s conservation mission and objectives.
  • Convenes regular meetings with staff across programs to plan for specific government grant application rounds to secure project funding.
  • Heads WPC’s sustainability committee and leads sustainability efforts.
  • Ensures appropriate grant application requirements are met such as authorizing board resolutions and timely internal review of applications.
  • Identifies new sources of local, state and federal government funding and proactively assists staff in matching opportunities with project needs and submission of grant applications.
  • Through direct outreach, advances an understanding of WPC’s priority conservation areas with senior government agency officials and elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels.
  • Takes a leadership role in fostering and promoting sound and responsible public policies by building awareness and engagement of public officials to advance and support conservation and restoration of Western Pennsylvania’s exceptional places.
  • As needed and in close coordination with the President, facilitates discussions with the Board or its committees to examine and consider specific legislative issues.
  • Leads and manages staff, consultants and volunteers in advancing government partnership relationships.
  • Directly oversees all interactions and activities with WPC’s government relations consulting firm representative.
  • Provides government relations coaching for staff, as needed.
  • Oversees the management of the Community Greening program including:
    • Ensures all community greening work is keeping with WPC’s mission and objectives.
    • Annually develops and implements the Community Greening Action Plan in keeping with WPC’s Strategic Plan.
    • Ensures prioritization of projects in underserved communities in keeping with WPC’s Strategic Plan.
    • Ensures optimum efficiency, sustainability and effectiveness of the program.
    • Works to meet annual budget revenue needs through fund raising strategies and cost cutting measures.
    • Oversees grant proposals/applications/reports preparation.
  • Oversees the management of the Natural Heritage Program, including:
    • Ensures all heritage work is keeping with WPC’s mission and objectives.
    • Annually develops and implements the Natural Heritage Program Action Plan in keeping with the Strategic Plan.
    • Provides oversight to the Natural Heritage Program to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in operations and major program efforts including biodiversity inventories, studies and management of the central database of information.
    • Oversees the state PA Natural Heritage Program contractual partnership between WPC and governmental agencies. Manages the contractual role of Natural Heritage staff employed on behalf of government agencies in order to avoid conflicts of interests or appearances of conflicts of interest.
    • Ensures optimum efficiency, sustainability and effectiveness of the program.
    • Ensures adequate funding and cost management strategies.
    • Regularly provides current information on projects and activities to WPC’s Institutional Advancement staff for sharing with WPC members, the media and the general public.
  • Provides regional and national representation of WPC on matters of public policy, community greening, and natural heritage.
  • Carries out management responsibilities in accordance with the Conservancy’s policies, programs, and procedures. Responsibilities include development and administration of budgetary information; recommending and/or approving staff hiring, changes or actions; ensuring appropriate training and staff development; providing advice and guidance on the more complex aspects of the job; and resolving complaints or related issues.
  • Regularly reviews programmatic activities, costs, operations, and forecast data to determine progress toward stated goals and objectives.
  • Confers with executive officers and other administrative personnel to review achievements and discuss required changes in goals or objectives resulting from current status and conditions.
  • Maintains an effective system of communication throughout programs and across the organization.
  • Represents and promotes the mission of the Conservancy with donors, members, government officials and the public.
  • Supports the Conservancy’s cost containment and fundraising efforts and needs, as applicable.
  • Serves as member of various management committees.
  • Performs additional duties and responsibilities as required.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

  • An excellent conservation political strategist, with 8-10 years successful and progressive experience in non-profit management, and/or in federal, local and state policy or government affairs.
  • A bachelor’s degree is required; a graduate degree, preferably in conservation or a related field, government relations, political science, community affairs or law is desirable but not required.
  • Significant leadership and managerial experience to manage in a team environment involving planning, new project development, budgeting and assigning/directing projects, resources and people are required.
  • Must be an excellent public speaker with outstanding written communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to inspire and motivate others. Knowledge of conservation-based programs, non-profit conservation issues, and WPC’s operations and programs are necessary.
  • Must have a strong commitment to WPC’s mission
  • Must be able to complete all physical requirements of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS / WORK ENVIRONMENT

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Communicate, converse, exchange information in-person, telephone, and remotely
  • Ability to utilize a keyboard
  • Ability to operate standard office equipment
  • Pushing, pulling, lifting and carrying up to 25 pounds
  • Remain in a stationary seated position for up to 8 hours

Position Duration: This is a full-time opportunity which includes a robust benefits package

Starting Rate: $162,000 – $196,000. In consideration of advanced qualifications and years of experience, the pay may be higher than this range, as candidate pay will commensurate with experience.

Application Process: Please send a cover letter, resume, salary expectations, and referral source (how did you hear about this position?) to [email protected] and list Vice President for Government and Community Relations in the subject line.
Application Deadline: August 31, 2024

Benefits We offer a robust and competitive benefits package which includes paid time off, medical, dental, vision, life insurance/AD&D, short-term disability, long-term disability, 403(a) and 403(b) retirement plans including generous employer match, EAP, and more.


The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, protected veteran status, disability, age, or other legally protected status. We are fully committed to diversity and inclusion. We seek contributors from all backgrounds to join our team.

How to Apply

Please send a cover letter, resume, salary expectations, and referral source (how did you hear about this position?) to [email protected] and list “Vice President for Government and Community Relations” in the subject line.

Application Deadline: August 31, 2024

WPC website job posting: https://waterlandlife.org/about-us/careers/job-openings/