Executive Director, Save The Bay - Narragansett Bay

Job Locations US-RI-Providence
Posted Date 3 weeks ago(9/14/2023 3:35 PM)
Job ID
# of Openings
Environment and Animal-Related
Executive Search
Location : Name
Save The Bay - Narragansett Bay


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Executive Director



The Executive Director of Save The Bay – Narragansett Bay (Rhode Island) will lead a strong, established and growing organization with a passion for the mission to protect and improve Narragansett Bay. The new leader will serve as the fifth Executive Director to lead the 53-year-old environmental advocacy organization in its exciting new chapter. With recently expanded education programs, increased habitat restoration capacity, a strengthened board structure, a highly sustainable financial position, and an exceptionally strong leadership team, the Executive Director will take the reins of this highly functioning organization at a time of major expansion. This is a unique opportunity with a leading environmental organization offering a highly competitive compensation and benefits package.



Save The Bay is a member-supported, volunteer-powered nonprofit organization with a mission dedicated to protecting and improving Narragansett Bay and Little Narragansett Bay, and all of the waters that flow into them, from Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Save The Bay works to fulfill its mission and vision of a fully swimmable, fishable, healthy Narragansett Bay, accessible to all through activities that improve water quality, marine and aquatic ecosystems, and coastal habitat while training the next generation of Bay stewards. The organization focuses on three areas of work: advocacy and public policy, education and community outreach, and habitat restoration and adaptation.


Save The Bay is headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island with additional locations in Newport and Westerly. The organization is led by a growing and professional staff of 40, supplemented by hourly staff, interns and volunteers, and with an annual operating budget of approximately $3.5M. Governed by a 20-member Board with guidance from a board of trustees, committee members, and a President’s Leadership Council, Save The Bay thrives on the community support from thousands of volunteers, members, and students.



The next Executive Director will champion the care and stewardship of Narragansett Bay to ensure that it is healthy, protected, and treated with respect for the benefit of all. Key priorities for the Executive Director include:



  • Program Expansion: Expand Save The Bay’s presence and engagement with the opening of the new aquarium in the heart of Newport. Raise the visibility and impact of Save The Bay to reach communities that previously have not been involved with an environmental organization or issues.
  • Funding and Resource Development: Increase focus and cultivation of donors for expanding the education program and Save The Bay’s reach in Southeast New England. Continue to build the endowment, the new aquarium and Newport County fundraising. Maintain and build upon the organization’s strong financial foundation.
  • Staff Growth and Development: Explore opportunities for expanding operational areas; continue recruiting and building an exceptionally strong workforce.



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  • Implementing the DEI Goals Outlined in the Strategic Plan: Look across sector issues and diversity within the environmental sector to enact tangible ways to engage more diverse staff and Board leadership; cultivate the Board, staff and donor base to include a more diverse and representative population.
  • Staying True to the Advocacy Centered Mission: Manage and grow the Education programs leveraging the new aquarium and related funding without diluting Save The Bay’s primary function as an advocacy organization; ensure the success and self-sustainability of the aquarium in a way that retains a focus on advocacy.
  • Staff Retention: Support staff and the challenges associated with transition and growth. Retain and document the institutional knowledge of long-term staff.


Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director is responsible for:


Fundraising and Managing Donor Relationships

Lead fundraising efforts by developing and maintaining long-term relationships with major donors and funders; actively cultivate new donors and funders. Work with the Development team to formulate and achieve annual fundraising goals; align communications, events, outreach, and membership activities to foster long-term philanthropic support for Save The Bay.


External Spokesperson and Leader of the Organization

Serve as Save The Bay’s principal spokesperson, representing the organization’s perspectives and policy positions to all constituents, including with governmental, legislative, and professional leaders and high-end donors.  As spokesperson, the Executive Director must be able to understand complex issues and translate them into straightforward language that conveys passion and commitment to protecting and improving Narragansett Bay or other aspects of the natural environment.


Implementation of the Strategic Plan

Ensure that Save The Bay meets its strategic goals while staying true to the organization’s mission, vision, and values. Provide leadership and execution against the new strategic plan and objectives to strengthen the impact of Save The Bay’s work. The Executive Director is a strategic thinker who can help Save The Bay grow within the capacity of the current strategic plan, and beyond, while maintaining financial sustainability.


General Management and Operations

Work closely with senior staff to align department goals with strategic objectives and maintain the highest standard of excellence in all aspects of day-to-day operations. Ensure the organization is well positioned to recruit and retain a diverse, highly qualified and dedicated workforce. Set direction for external communications and messaging. The Executive Director is an effective team leader and consensus builder who seeks out, supports, and celebrates all the people doing the day-to-day work of Save The Bay and understands the importance of supporting senior staff to manage teams and their work.


Financial Management and Compliance

Oversee financial operations to ensure that the organization implements and maintains strong financial controls, procedures and practices. Ensure that the organization complies with relevant laws and regulations. Work with staff, committees, and the Board in preparing annual budgets and operate within budget guidelines. The Executive Director understands and manages reputational, organizational and financial risks and, as needed, initiates and completes capital projects.


Board Management and Development

Provide appropriate, timely and accurate information to the Board regarding all aspects of the organization’s operations. Provide support to Board committees. Monitor and share with the Board trends in non-profit governance, management, and philanthropy. Support the Board in fulfilling its governance and fiduciary responsibilities. Actively recruit new members to join Board committees.


Ideal candidates will meet most if not all of the following qualifications:

  • Passion for Save The Bay’s Mission and Values;
    • Candidates will have a demonstrated passion and commitment to protecting and improving Narragansett Bay or other aspects of the natural environment, including through membership or other involvement in nonprofit organizations, volunteer efforts, fundraising efforts, participation in events, or personal or professional projects. A solid understanding of the top issues affecting Narragansett Bay and an ability to quickly come up to speed on complicated environmental issues is essential to the role.
  • Exceptional communication skills to include excellent public speaking and presentation; strong interpersonal and conflict-resolution skills; and demonstrated leadership experience acting and speaking on behalf of organizations, including with governmental, legislative, and professional leaders and high-end donors.  

  • Track record of successful fundraising and experience with long-term major donor cultivation
  • Demonstrated general management and leadership skills with experience managing organizational operations and staff; collaborative leadership style (i.e., accessible to staff, not a micromanager)
  • Demonstrated experience in financial budgeting and planning
  • Understanding of/experience with environmental politics on federal, state and local levels from both regulatory and legislative perspectives or a strong willingness to learn
  • A natural passion for the environment; knowledge around water quality, watersheds, climate change adaptation
  • Relationship-building, cultivation and collaboration, both internally and externally
  • Commitment to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives; experience implementing diversity strategies; bi-lingual skills are a plus

How to apply




Interested candidates can apply for this job online via the link at the top right of this page.


Electronic submissions sent through the above link are preferred. All submissions receive acknowledgment and are confidential within the search committee and TSNE.


Candidates should include a resume and a cover letter that describes how their qualifications and experience match the needs and mission of Save The Bay, along with salary expectations and how they learned of the position. Candidates are strongly encouraged to apply by October 15, 2023.


The Executive Director position is full time and based in Providence, Rhode Island, with the opportunity for work-from-home days. Limited travel required. Save The Bay offers a comprehensive benefits package. Salary is competitive with relevant experience, within the framework of the organization’s annual operating budget, and in the approximate range of $150,000-175,000.  Save The Bay is committed to complying with CDC COVID-19 requirements and requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination for all employees.


Save The Bay is an equal opportunity employer. The goals and strategies identified in the 2027 Strategic Plan will allow Save The Bay to deepen community engagement by:


  • Embedding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the organization’s culture and practices
  • Evaluating projects through an Environmental Justice lens
  • Nurturing relationships with Environmental Justice communities in the watershed



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