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The United Way of Thurston County is recruiting for the position of Executive Director

More than a fundraising organization, United Way of Thurston County (UWTC) is a community catalyst and a partner for creating measurable social impact that enhances the quality of life for the residents of greater Thurston County, Washington. An affiliate of one of America’s most respected nonprofit brands, UWTC works with a broad range of individuals and organizations to identify and mobilize solutions to address the community's most critical issues.

UWTC professional staff and volunteers work to advance the common good and to improve the lives of those who need help the most. United Way of Thurston County is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, one of the nearly 1,300 local US affiliates of the United Way worldwide network.

The mission of United Way of Thurston County is: To improve lives, strengthen our communities, and advance equity by mobilizing the caring power of people in Thurston County.

UWTC envisions a community where people work together to ensure that:

  • Every child grows up with hope and the opportunity to be successful,
  • Income equity is growing and poverty is rare, and,
  • All community members are thriving and healthy.

To achieve this vision, UWTC provides grant funding to 21 nonprofit organizations, spanning 31 programs, in its focus areas:

  •     Preparing children and youth to learn and succeed,
  •     Meeting basic needs & promoting self-sufficiency,
  •     Creating financial stability for families and individuals, and
  •     Improving people’s health, wellness and healthy behaviors.

UWTC organizes and directs a comprehensive approach to achieve strategic and measurable community impact through systems-change. UWTC is a visible community leader, convener, and funder, working with community partners from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to analyze and create solutions for a broad range of needs. Currently, UWTC is moving toward an approach where critical child and family needs and services can be met using collective impact principles aligned with schools and other nonprofit partners.

United Way of Thurston County is a founding member of the Community Investment Partnership (CIP), which includes Thurston County and the Cities of Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater, Bucoda, Rainier, Tenino and Yelm. Created in 2013, the CIP members work together and pool resources to address common needs in meeting health and human service needs throughout the Thurston County Region. While the exact funding contribution varies according to annual circumstances, approximately 25% of UWTC’s total budget supports the programs of the Community Investment Partnership, which, in total, provided over $4M to 31 organizations in its 2017 funding cycle. More information about the Partnership can be found at:

UWTC also operates Volunteer Thurston, which offers an array of volunteer promotion and placement programs that inspire targeted community engagement through personal and corporate volunteerism. Programs include: the federally-funded RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program); AmeriCorps*VISTA regional administration; Volunteer Connection, an online volunteer matching service; Day of Caring; and other volunteer support services.

United Way Leadership and Community Support

A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, UWTC is governed by a 19-member board of directors. The organization’s 2017-2018 budget of $1.3M supports 9 full time staff including the Executive Director, as well as 3 VISTA volunteers. The incoming Executive Director will succeed Paul Knox, UWTC’s outgoing Executive Director, who led the organization for the past 7 years.

United Way of Thurston County is the largest private-sector nonprofit grantmaker in the County. UWTC’s largest funding source is the approximately 175 workplace giving campaigns among Thurston County employers. Approximately 25% of UWTC’s funding is sourced from grants and contracts and approximately 15% is derived from special events. With the increasing numbers of choices facing charitable givers, the growth in competitive workplace campaigns with ever-increasing choices for designated giving, and the rise in giving options presented by the internet, UWTC’s workplace campaigns have been declining for the past several years both in terms of gross dollars raised and the amount of net funds available for discretionary distribution to high-need programs and services.

The Leadership Opportunity

Like many United Way organizations across the country, UWTC is in the midst of a transition to focusing on achieving measurable collective impact through sustainable community change. UWTC works toward collective impact not only through targeted grantmaking but also through strategic collaboration with other community partners. United Way of America began the transition in 2000, and United Way of Thurston County launched its collective impact strategy in 2014.

Today, UWTC has made significant progress in its shift toward collective impact. Its grantmaking, community problem solving, and volunteer programs are all targeted to the board-determined focus areas noted above. Yet, the magnitude of the community need in these focus areas calls for greater resources than the level that UWTC currently raises and has available to apply toward systemic solutions. A great deal of work remains to be done to achieve deep and lasting impact in these focus areas.

The board, professional staff, and key stakeholders have identified significant leadership opportunities that exist for UWTC to further align its internal systems with plans, while further refining its broad community problem solving strategies to include an operational plan for refining the organization’s focus for optimal community impact.

The Position and Priorities

The Executive Director will inherit an organization with a powerful brand and a strong reputation in the community. Yet the organization requires significant transformation to achieve its vision of creating lasting community impact. The Executive Director guides UWTC’s strategic direction and is responsible for organizing and engaging people who want to amplify their impact to achieve the collective impact goals in the focus areas noted above. S/he will lead, organize, and mobilize staff members, community partners, and volunteers to achieve goals. Near-term priorities for the first 12-18 months of the new Executive Director include:

  • Continued clarification of specific desired community impact, including greater specificity to implement the strategic plan, with additional analysis and planning as necessary to achieve robust implementation in the first 12 months.
  • Develop and cultivate community partner relationships to enable effective collaboration with a goal of leveraging the greatest possible collective impact in implementing the strategic plan.
  • Develop a new revenue model that can feasibly be expected to raise significant, new, sustainable resources to achieve collective impact. Take advantage of the opportunity and latitude granted by the board to launch innovative approaches to fund development within Thurston County’s philanthropic environment, and play the leading role in implementing the new revenue/development plan.
  • Align staff and volunteer leadership with updated strategies for collective impact, manage the necessary change process, and build a collaborative, high performing staff and board team to implement the impact plan.
  • High community visibility and participation as a recognized collaborator among many stakeholder groups. Actively represent the interests of UWTC in key organizations and recognized circles of local influence and information-exchange.

Experience, Skills and Attributes

The Executive Director personifies the mission of United Way of Thurston County. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the ED provides vision and leadership to the organization, and is responsible for the overall management, fundraising, accountability, and administration of the organization to ensure the organization achieves its goals, according to board approved policies and procedures. Ideal candidates for this position will be passionate both about UWTC’s mission and about the fundraising, community organizing, organizational leadership, and management activities needed to achieve the mission. The ideal candidate will have proven fundraising and nonprofit management skills, and be an inspirational and collaborative team builder. The ED must exhibit a facilitative leadership style, active listening with a diverse group of people, public speaking skills, a transparent work ethic, and openness in considering and valuing the contributions of many in a collective impact effort. Essential qualifications include:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in public, non-profit, or business management, plus five years progressively responsible experience in nonprofit leadership and development, including fundraising, community organizing, planning, budgeting, and fiscal management. Educational qualifications may be waived depending on work history. Executive level corporate or public sector experience with significant volunteer leadership roles may substitute for nonprofit experience.
  • Knowledge of non-profit management and human resources best practices, laws and regulations.
  • Strong change management skills to build effective community- and organization-wide systems and structures to raise funds and create impact.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills in inspiring, empowering, and developing current and future staff to achieve strategic organizational goals. Experience implementing performance management and/or accountability systems.
  • A proven track record of fundraising and relationship development; ability to successfully develop new revenue sources within the local market conditions.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills at all levels, with staff, board, and community stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated effectiveness in inspiring support and confidence, representing organizational vision, mission, goals, and outcomes to a diverse group of stakeholders in a variety of venues.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the nonprofit sector, with an understanding of the importance of building and maintaining relationships with nonprofit partners, and ability to develop and implement collaborative strategies and plans.

Job Requirements

  •     Valid driver’s license, safe driving record, current vehicle insurance, and ability to use personal vehicle for UWTC business.
  •     Willingness to travel within UWTC’s service area.
  •     Must be able to pass criminal background check.

Working Conditions

Work is performed typically in an office environment and a variety of settings among diverse stakeholders and audiences. A considerable amount of time will be spent in meetings, at a computer screen for extended periods, at UWTC events, and speaking before public audiences. Frequent use of phones and e-mail will be required to communicate with stakeholders. Frequently works outside normal working hours and will drive due to work performed with donors and other stakeholders in the community. Occasional travel out of town and out of state will be required.

Compensation: Salary: $90,000-$100,000 DOE plus medical and dental coverage, life and disability insurance, and employer contribution toward pension plan.

Application Process

To apply, interested candidate should e-mail his or her resume and cover letter to: (E-mail applications are required)

Other inquiries may contact: Jan Glick (206) 276-7174

United Way of Thurston County is an Equal Opportunity Employer and makes its hiring decisions without regard for race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.