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Dec 2 / BARD CEP

Whatcom Community Director- Washington

Organization: Futurewise

Position Title: Whatcom Community Director

Location: Bellingham, WA, 98225, US

Hours and Compensation: Full time Salary is commensurate with experience.  Benefits include medical, dental and vision, paid, leave, and retirement.

Application Deadline: Position is open until filled-first consideration will be given to applications received by December 13, 2013.


Organization Overview

Futurewise works throughout Washington State to create healthy livable communities, protect our working farmlands, forests, and waterways, and ensure a better quality of life for present and future generations.   We work with communities to implement effective land use planning and policies that prevent waste and stop sprawl, provide efficient transportation choices, create affordable housing and strong local businesses, and ensure healthy natural systems.  We are creating a better quality of life in Washington State together.


Futurewise seeks a Whatcom Community Director with experience and knowledge in the fields of community development, natural resources, and watershed planning.  Competitive candidates will offer experience and skills related to one or more of the following areas: community planning and policy assistance; natural resource lands and watershed planning and policy assistance; and community engagement, advocacy, and coalition development and support.

This is an opportunity to work in a dynamic, inter-disciplinary, and innovative environment to build a more sustainable and equitable future for the Whatcom County community.

The Whatcom Community Director requires the capacity to advance regional progress on environmental and community development outcomes, including excellent analytical, decision-making, interpersonal, organizational, and writing skills. The Whatcom Community Director will work independently and collaboratively with local governments, community groups, non-profits, and institutions to plan, manage and implement activities in the following areas: community planning and policy development, community-based coalition building, research and prepare policy reports, advocacy efforts that educate, inform, and motivate action among citizens and policy makers,  and donor cultivation, grant and contract management.

The Whatcom Community Director will play a central role in Futurewise’s work around creating a more sustainable Whatcom, from creating affordable housing to protecting agricultural resource lands and ensuring water quantity and quality throughout Whatcom County.

The Whatcom Community Director must exercise discretion, independent judgment, political acumen, and professional accountability in all situations.  The Whatcom Community Director will have an opportunity to strategically shape the regional program for the future.  This position reports to April Putney, Director of Statewide Policy & Advocacy, works with the Futurewise Whatcom Advisory Council, and is based in Bellingham, WA.


Program Management

• Work with communities in Whatcom to develop plans, policies, and programs to achieve more sustainable communities, from protecting natural resource lands and water resources, increasing affordable housing, green infrastructure, and multi-modal transportation opportunities to exploring climate mitigation and adaptation and improving health and economic outcomes for urban and rural communities;

  • Establish local policy priorities based on community conditions, needs and policy barriers and opportunities;
  • Build coalitions, achieve consensus, educate the public, produce written documents, and advocate in regard to smart growth planning and policies;
  • Identify, evaluate and strategize  local policy barriers and solutions to sustainable communities;

• Assist with program evaluation, including evaluating metrics, benchmarks, and impact for continuous program improvement;

• Collaborate with stakeholders including local government, community based organizations, and funding partners, and contribute to the broader organizational goals.

  • Facilitate meetings, convene stakeholders, and work with local government and community based organization partners;
  • Work with and assist a diverse group of partners and stakeholders in reaching consensus on strategies;

• Conduct and oversee the research, design, and development of strategies; and

• Measure and track progress to determine success of efforts and strategies and adjust based on emerging findings.

Leadership and Communication

• Develop and implement communications plan, including new media tools, to achieve project goals and share our policy positions and projects  with membership, coalition partners, local governments, and media;

  • Cultivate relationships to ensure  partner and donor satisfaction and continued investments in program;
  • Work with development teams to integrate and promote Futurewise Whatcom fundraising initiatives and communications messages;
  • Manage an annual feedback and strategic planning process with program;
  • Manage relationships with key stakeholders and partners;
  • Collaborate with statewide office to promote active online advocacy engagement;
  • Plan and help coordinate events that increase Futurewise Whatcom visibility and influence as a thought leader on smart growth planning and policy; and

• Maintain ongoing dialogue with Director of Statewide Policy & Advocacy, Executive Director, and other stakeholders to assess strategic and operational needs.


The ideal candidate will have the following qualifications:

• Three or more years of professional work experience working on issues of community planning, public policy and community development, natural resources policy, regional or urban planning or related disciplines;

• Experience leading or co-leading a major initiative, program or division to completion in a fast-paced environment;

• Experience working on a small team or independently as well as managing external partners;

• Demonstrated history of entrepreneurial work ethic;

• Knowledge of levers for improving community health and sustainability; and

• Masters degree in planning, public policy or public administration (preferred).

  • Familiarity with donor management and event coordination (preferred).

The ideal candidate will possess the following skills:

• Ability to facilitate information and participatory meetings and strategy sessions with a range of stakeholders;

• Ability to balance day-to-day operations with mid to long range strategic planning; and

• Ability to grow program.

The ideal candidate will possess the following attributes:

• Flexibility; must be able to respond and react to changing situations, shifting priorities, and new opportunities;

• Continuous improvement orientation; must be constantly thinking about how to evaluate the program’s effectiveness and make marked improvements to it;

• Must be able to take and react to critical feedback about ideas; and

• Desire to have fun while working with a highly motivated, high performing team who is committed to creating healthy, equitable and sustainable communities.

How to Apply

How to Apply: Position open immediately; for full consideration, please provide materials as soon as possible. Interested candidates should send a cover letter, resume, a writing sample, and at least three references in PDF format to   Please place “Whatcom Community Director” in the subject line of the email and address the cover letter to Angela Uhl.  Please label the cover letter and resume with your last name.  In the body of the email, please let us know how you found out about the position.

NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE. Due to the large number of applicants, only successful candidates will be contacted.

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