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27 Jan 2024

Full-Time Executive Director

Highlands Biological Foundation, Inc. – Posted by [email protected] Highlands, North Carolina, United States

Job Description

The Highlands Biological Foundation (HBF) seeks candidates for the position of Executive Director to oversee HBF’s operations, finances, development, programs, and staff.

Position Type: Full-time permanent position with a robust benefits package; some remote work available

Salary: Starting at $75,000; Commensurate with experience

Target Start Date: April 15, 2024

Reporting Relationship: This position reports directly to the President of HBF’s Board of Directors.


HBF is a non-profit organization dedicated to stimulating, promoting, and funding biological research and education in the southern Appalachians. With an annual budget of approximately $500,000, HBF is currently comprised of two full-time staff members and is on a trajectory of exciting growth. HBF oversees a wide array of educational programs at the Highlands Nature Center (part of the Highlands Biological Station) and outreach programs across the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau, fostering a deep connection between nature and the community. Playing a pivotal role in regional funding projects, HBF contributes to the scientific exploration and preservation of the southern Appalachians’ rich biodiversity.

HBF is seeking a dynamic and visionary leader for the position of Executive Director. The position involves shaping strategic initiatives, overseeing day-to-day operations, and fostering key partnerships for the organization’s continued success. The Executive Director will lead in development, strategic planning, budget execution, and the cultivation of a philanthropic culture. With a keen focus on details, integrity, and transparency, the chosen candidate will inspire an environment where donors and members feel deeply connected to the impact of their contributions while shaping HBF’s key educational and research endeavors.

This role is an invitation to join a close-knit team, making a meaningful impact on HBF’s vital mission in the stunning southern Appalachians.

Responsibilities & Duties:

1. Strategic Leadership:

  • Provide strategic direction and leadership in line with HBF’s mission and goals
  • Collaborate with the Board of Trustees to develop and implement long-term strategies

2. Operations and Administration:

  • Oversee day-to-day operations, ensuring efficiency and compliance
  • Manage HBF properties
  • Facilitate Memorandums of Understanding/Facilities Use Agreements with partners as needed

3. Staff Management:

  • Retain a diverse, highly qualified staff and volunteers
  • Manage and lead HBF staff, fostering a positive and productive work environment
  • Oversee HR functions and coordinate benefit renewals with partners

4. Financial Management:

  • Develop and execute HBF’s annual budget
  • Oversee all financial aspects including banking, budgeting, payroll, grant tracking, and bookkeeping
  • Coordinate with auditors to prepare HBF’s annual audit, 990 filing, and solicitation licenses, ensuring compliance with financial regulations

5. Development and Fundraising:

  • Apply for grants, report on received grants, and explore funding opportunities
  • Lead development and cultivation activities, including CRM management, tax receipts, and communications
  • Develop and distribute seasonal fundraising appeals, including HBF’s Annual Report, Fall Newsletter, and Year-End Appeal
  • Plan, coordinate, and implement HBF’s annual fundraising events and campaigns, including the Summer Soiree and Highlands on the Half-Shell
  • Collaborate with partners to initiate business fundraising program

6. Program Management:

  • Work closely with the Lead Education Specialist to plan and implement HBF’s educational programs, including nature camps, annual lecture series, and Nature Center activities

7. Board and Committee Collaboration:

  • Plan and execute all board and committee meetings
  • Provide regular reports on organizational activities to the Board of Trustees
  • Keep records of meeting materials, including reports and minutes

This description is not designed to be a complete list of all duties and responsibilities required for this job.

Requirements & skills:

  • Proven work experience, relevant training and/or certifications as a Non-Profit Executive Director or similar role
  • Experience running fundraising initiatives and grant writing
  • Strong knowledge of non-profit financial management
  • Experience managing donor databases (CRM) and financial software (QuickBooks)
  • Strong organizational skills that reflect the ability to perform and prioritize multiple tasks seamlessly with attention to detail
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to build collaborative relationships with stakeholders, including Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, members, and the public
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Demonstrated proactive approaches to problem-solving with strong decision-making capability
  • Ability to analyze data and to understand current giving and membership trends
  • Ability to handle confidential information with discretion
  • Experience in nonprofit organization(s) is preferred, especially in fundraising, accounting, and membership and donor database maintenance
  • Able to load/unload/haul supplies over moderate distances for programs and events
  • Must be available for occasional weekend and evening work

Other Qualifications:

Applicants must have a vehicle and valid driver’s license as some travel is required for this position (mileage reimbursements provided). Applicants must successfully pass a background check.


  • Health, Vision, and Dental Insurance paid 100% by organization for employee and 50% for dependents
  • Life Insurance
  • IRA match up to 3%
  • Flexible PTO
  • Professional development opportunities
  • HBF can offer assistance in finding local housing

Apply today to lead a vibrant organization at the intersection of biological research and education.

The Highlands Biological Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race; color; religion; sex; sexual orientation; gender identity or expression; national origin; age; disability; genetic information; political affiliation; National Guard or veteran status, consistent with applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations, and policies, and the policies of The Highlands Biological Foundation. This nondiscrimination policy applies to employees, volunteers, participants, and all aspects of our operations.

Given the nature of this work and the financial responsibilities of the position, HBF completes an annual background check on each staff member as a condition of employment.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through Wednesday, February 21, 2024, or until the position is filled. To apply, submit one document that includes your cover letter, resume, and three references via email with the subject line “HBF Executive Director”.

Send application to:

Winter Gary, Interim Executive Director: [email protected]

Job Categories: Environmental. Job Types: Full-Time. Salaries: 60,000 - 80,000.

Job expires in 28 days.

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