Position announcement: River Corridor Director

River view

About us

Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR) is a leading and growing nonprofit organization working to protect, restore and enhance the Mississippi River and its watershed in the Twin Cities region. FMR's goals are to improve water quality; conserve important lands; inspire widespread commitment to this natural wonder flowing through our community; and protect the river's unique scenic, natural, cultural and recreational qualities.

The organization has an annual budget of $2.5 million and employs a dedicated, professional staff of 20 who work to improve the health of the river through policy advocacy, education and engagement, land conservation and restoration and other disciplines.

Over 25 years, FMR has established deep relationships and credibility with thousands of citizens, landowners, neighborhood organizations, volunteers, government agencies and elected officials. The organization has become a national model for conservation and watershed protection. 

In the coming years FMR sees an opportunity to build on its past accomplishments and increase its impact. With a well-known and respected brand, a seasoned and effective staff, a strong Board of Directors, and a growing base of support, FMR is poised for continued growth and success.

FMR believes the Mississippi River belongs to all of us and its gifts should flow equally to everyone in our community. We strive to be culturally competent, welcoming and inclusive of all people. We are working toward greater social and environmental justice, using our resources and influence to redress structural inequality in our own organization and where it intersects with the health and vitality of the Mississippi River. We encourage interested applicants from all backgrounds to apply.

Position description

The River Corridor Program Director leads and manages FMR’s efforts to ensure that the natural, scenic, cultural, historical, recreational and public values of the Mississippi River corridor are understood, protected, enhanced and celebrated. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director leads the River Corridor team (which currently includes a part time policy advocate) and works closely with other staff who coordinate the organization’s communications and grassroots advocacy work.

In 1976, the state designated the lands along the 72-mile metro-area stretch of the river as the Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area and set up a program to guide development within it. Since that time, Congress has designated this segment a National Park and many communities and developers have come to recognize its value as both a cultural amenity and economic driver. However, as we move to embrace the river and capitalize on its exceptional value, we risk degrading or even destroying the very qualities that make it so special. 

Strong state standards and community-based advocacy for a healthy and vibrant River Corridor are now more important than ever. At the state level FMR successfully advocated for the adoption of administrative rules governing land use in the Critical Area/National Park. Locally, we partner with residents, local governments and other organizations to support river-positive development and improved public access, helping people protect the river’s unique cultural, scenic and natural features as our communities turn towards the Mighty Mississippi. 

We envision a large and diverse constituency committed to protecting the River Corridor — for its ecological significance, its place in our history and our quality of life — and we’re actively working to expand our base of advocacy volunteers throughout the Twin Cities metro. 

This position is right for a seasoned professional with expertise in urban and regional planning and experience in public policy advocacy and grassroots organizing. The ideal candidate will have a passion for protecting and restoring the natural environment — a person who wants to use their leadership, experience and energy to grow and deepen the organization’s impact. 

Responsibilities

• Serve as a key member of FMR’s senior management team
• Provide leadership, direction, management, and evaluation of FMR’s River Corridor Program policy and advocacy efforts including the development of the annual program budget and work plans
• Inspire, lead, support, and supervise FMR’s river corridor staff and interns
• Lead the implementation of the program’s multi-year strategic plan
• Work closely with the Executive Director, staff and board to set river corridor policy priorities and develop and drive the organization’s advocacy strategy and tactics
• Work closely with the Communications Director and other staff to ensure outreach, communications and messaging are effective and consistent with the organization’s river corridor policy objectives
• Work with the Development Director in proposal development and reporting for fundraising activities associated with the River Corridor Program
• Identify and foster positive working relationships with partner organizations, local governments, state and federal agencies, and community leaders to inform our work and attain program goals
• Serve as a strong and vocal advocate for the public values of the river corridor and represent the organization as a lobbyist with local, state and federal government officials and agencies

Qualifications

• Commitment to and passion for the mission of Friends of the Mississippi River
• Bachelor’s degree (advanced degree preferred) in urban and regional planning, environmental policy and management or a related field
• Experience developing, initiating and managing environmental policy, advocacy, and/or community engagement programs
• Ability to organize, lead, and inspire teams of staff, interns, volunteers, activists and coalition partners
• Exceptional interpersonal communication skills and the ability to work collaboratively with multiple internal and external partners
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills and comfort speaking and presenting to groups
• Strong organizational skills including the ability to plan work, meet deadlines, and balance multiple projects and priorities
• Ability to work a flexible schedule, including occasionally long hours, some evenings and occasional weekends

Salary & benefits

This is a full-time position. Friends of the Mississippi River offers a competitive salary commensurate with experience. Benefits include health and dental insurance, a retirement plan with employer match, parking/transit allowance and generous paid time off.

To apply

Please consolidate your application into one PDF document that includes: a cover letter summarizing your interest in and qualifications for the position; a 1-2 page résumé; and the names, titles and phone numbers of three professional references (or two professional and one personal reference).

Please include your last name in the file name and email it as an attachment with “River Corridor Director” as the subject line to sdekok@fmr.org.

Application deadline

The position will remain open until filled. Applicants are encouraged to apply by Friday, January 11, 2019. 

(Please note: FMR is also hiring a Development Officer. Also, current River Corridor Director Irene Jones is not leaving FMR but shifting into a part-time role.)