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Posted on November 7, 2022

Associate Vice President of Institutional, Legacy and Major Giving

New York, NY, San Francisco, CA, Seattle, WA or Washington, D.C.

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We take on the biggest, most precedent-setting cases across the country. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health; to preserve magnificent places and wildlife; to advance clean energy; and to combat climate change. We partner with thousands of groups, supporters, individuals and communities to engage the critical environmental issues of our time, and bring about positive change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Founded in 1971, Earthjustice has a distinguished track record of achieving significant, lasting environmental protections. We achieve this by hiring people who share a passion for justice and a healthy environment. Our headquarters are in San Francisco with offices in Anchorage, Bozeman, Chicago, Denver, Honolulu, Houston, Juneau, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Seattle, Tallahassee and Washington, D.C.

The Associate Vice President of Institutional, Legacy and Major Giving (“AVP of ILMG”) reports to the Vice President of Development and is responsible for the day-to-day management of four Development subteams, including Major Gifts; Planned Gifts; Foundation Relations; and Donor Marketing and Engagement (together “Development Giving”). This includes providing department-level leadership in the development and implementation of the Development Department’s fundraising efforts, advancing a long-term strategy for fundraising growth, and ensuring that staff on each subteam are successful, ethical and effective.

The AVP of ILMG proactively identifies opportunities to enhance and improve the fundraising of the Development Department, including essential giving strategies, and works in collaboration with the Senior Vice President of Development, Vice President of Development, and Development Leadership Team (“DLT”) to set strategic direction for the Department. The AVP of ILMG is responsible for overall strategic leadership, alongside the Director-level leads of the major gift, institutional and legacy giving programs, securing over $90 million annually from individuals and foundations. Earthjustice is half-way through an $825 million, five-year fundraising campaign of which $340M will come from major donors, $160M from institutional donors, and $48M from planned gifts in outright funding and $150M+ in revealed bequest intentions.


Management (50%)

  • Oversees the day-to-day operation of the giving program, ensuring that each subteam is developing and executing on increasingly sophisticated and effective fundraising strategies.
  • Supervises the Director-level leaders of four teams: Major Gifts; Planned Gifts; Foundation Relations; and Donor Marketing and Engagement, working with each to ensure a professionally challenging and personally enjoyable workplace for them and their staff.
  • Prepares and conducts performance reviews for direct reports.
  • In collaboration with Human Resources and the Vice President of Development, recommends and makes salary, hiring and termination decisions for department.
  • Establishes performance standards and priorities for subteams and staff.
  • In collaboration with Human Resources and other teams across the organization, develops and ensures department staff have training and professional development opportunities.
  • Prepares and submits annual budgets and work plans for subteams, manage the implementation of those budgets and work plans and ensures the staff’s best effort to meet those targets.
  • Develops strong, cooperative relationships between the Development department and other units, ensuring mutual understanding of shared goals and objectives and thoughtful decision making on funding opportunities.
  • Responsible for ensuring all fundraising meets the highest ethical standards, including appropriate and effective stewardship of donor contributions and building of donors’ satisfaction with and commitment to Earthjustice.
  • Ensures that donor restrictions are communicated and honored in our budgeting and that we have appropriate systems in place to spend donations for the purposes that they were committed and to report back to donors on the use of their funds.
  • Recruits and hires qualified candidates who fit position requirements and the work environment.   
  • Promotes change in terms of the expected benefits, as well as removing or lowering the impact of potential obstacles.  
  • Sets clear team direction that aligns with Earthjustice strategy, mission, and vision. 
  • Develops staff by identifying and encouraging training and professional development opportunities appropriate to role and creating development plans for all staff. 
  • Provides staff with consistent performance feedback – both positive and constructive -- and acts as a coach and mentor. 
  • Creates a learning culture, by encouraging debriefing after completion of significant stages of projects. 
  • Ensures that any direct reports who have supervisory responsibility are properly executing those functions. 
  • Creates a respectful and inclusive work environment for team and models respectful and inclusive behavior. 
  • Promptly addresses micro-aggressions and other concerns brought to their attention. 
  • Resolves interpersonal conflict among team members and brings in outside facilitators as needed. 
  • Communicates regularly with existing employees and encourages staff to raise concerns and to provide ongoing feedback. 
  • Creates or identifies strategic opportunities for team building and individual and overall staff engagement with one another in order to strengthen teamwork, interaction and collaboration.   
  • Values and uses individual differences and talents to improve employee satisfaction and the quality of collective work.  
  • Celebrates successes and helps team members to understand and manage setbacks. 

Strategic Leadership (25%)

  • Collaborates with the Senior Vice President of Development, Vice President of Development and DLT to lead the exploration, development, evaluation and implementation of long-term fundraising strategic plans.
  • Collaborates with the Senior Vice President of Development, Vice President of Development, and DLT to create metrics and reports for the Board of Trustees, Development Committee and Finance Committee to highlight progress and areas of growth for the Development Department.
  • Leads constant effort to improve the Earthjustice fundraising program, including adopting creative and innovative approaches to donor stewardship and engagement, and a drive for continuously improving fundraising efficiency.
  • Leads efforts in broadening donor pools for expanding donors supporting the organization through generating leads for donor qualification.
  • Collaborates with the VP of Development and DLT to determine logistics and agendas for annual retreats for the Development Department, and quarterly retreats for DLT.
  • Attends Earthjustice Board Meetings and Development and Marketing Committee meetings.
  • Maintains professional relationships with counterparts in other non-profit organizations, and keeps abreast of latest developments in fundraising rules and regulations, best practices and demographic changes.

Direct Fundraising (25%)

  • Key responsibility for ensuring that Earthjustice employs effective strategies for raising significant revenues from Earthjustice donors, board members and institutions, including maintaining a highly donor centric approach.

Supervisory Responsibilities

  • Direct Reports
  • Senior Director of Major Gifts
  • Senior Director of Planned Gifts
  • Senior Director of Foundation Relations
  • Senior Director of Donor Marketing and Engagement


The successful candidate will have a minimum of 10 years of experience in increasingly responsible positions in development and nonprofit management.  A minimum of five years of management experience, leading development programs. Prior capital campaign experience is a plus.


  • Ability to effectively manage and lead a diverse team with emotional intelligence (self-awareness and understating of the impact of their behavior) and cultural humility (an understanding of the need for additional learning about different cultures, backgrounds and orientation and implementation of that learning daily management practices);
  • Ability to give and receive regular formal and informal feedback in a timely, constructive, respectful, and consistent manner and to incorporate debriefing into the team’s operations; 
  • Strong team mentorship and communication skills; 
  • Understands the individual and team strengths and areas for development and develops plans accordingly; and  
  • Commitment to and experience in developing team skills and talents to meet the evolving needs of an organization. 

Other desired qualifications and attributes include:

  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills and ability to inspire and motivate others toward stated goals.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills and ability to inspire and motivate others toward stated goals;
  • Exceptional people management skills;
  • Strong operational skills, ability to see opportunities for better program integration and effectiveness;
  • Demonstrated success in raising gifts from institutions and individual donors;
  • Proven track record in diversifying donor base;
  • Superior written and oral communications, interpersonal and presentation skills;
  • Entrepreneurial approach to building fundraising and development program;
  • Highly sophisticated relationship building skills;
  • Demonstrated mastery of a range of fundraising techniques (i.e. foundations, major gifts, planned gifts, special events, marketing);
  • Ability to think strategically and creatively;
  • Highest level of personal and professional integrity;
  • Collaborative interpersonal style and high level of emotional intelligence;
  • Ability to demonstrate grace under pressure;
  • Good sense of humor;
  • Believes in the importance of Earthjustice mission and programs;
  • Evening and weekend work for events is required;
  • Demonstrates an awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds and orientations; and
  • Contributes to recruiting, hiring, developing and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Salary is based on experience and location.

Salary range in San Francisco, CA, and New York, NY: $269,500 - $299,400

Salary range in Seattle, WA, and Washington, DC: $256,100 - $284,500

We offer a mission and employee-focused work environment and a competitive compensation package including excellent benefits.  Earthjustice is an equal opportunity employer and highly values diversity. As a 501(c)(3) organization, Earthjustice is a qualifying employer for purposes of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.

To Apply:

Earthjustice has retained the services of ThinkingAhead Executive Search. Please submit your resume and expression of interest to: Chris Spagnola, Partner, at and Jessica Martinez, Partner, at

The application screening process is ongoing until a candidate is hired.

Earthjustice is driven by a passion for justice, partnership, and excellence. Our core values lead us to seek a broad range of perspectives and backgrounds to achieve our mission and to maintain an inclusive environment where all staff are valued and respected. As an equal opportunity employer, we are committed to employment practices that ensure that employees and applicants for employment are provided with equal opportunities without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, religion, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, or any other factor that is not related to the position.

For positions located within the City and County of San Francisco: Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment-qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.

For positions located within the City of Los Angeles: We will consider qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring.


If you need reasonable accommodation in order to complete the application, interview or some other portion of the selection process for a job at Earthjustice, please contact Human Resources at

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