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18 Jun 2021

Full-Time Executive Director

Blue Water Baltimore – Posted by [email protected] Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Blue Water Baltimore

Job Description

Blue Water Baltimore, the leading water quality nonprofit organization in Baltimore, seeks a passionate, energetic, and inspirational leader to serve as its next Executive Director. This is an amazing opportunity to provide visionary leadership to an organization doing important work to restore the quality of Baltimore’s rivers, streams, and Harbor to foster a healthy environment, a strong economy, and thriving communities.

The Organization

The water quality of Baltimore’s waterways has long been impacted by polluted stormwater runoff, trash, sewage, and toxic chemicals. Poor water quality harms the environment, threatens residents’ health, and endangers the vitality of the local economy. In 2010, five local grassroots environmental organizations joined forces as Blue Water Baltimore to collectively address water quality issues in Baltimore. Over its ten-year history, Blue Water Baltimore has built an engaged base of more than 20,000 supporters. Now one of the largest environmental groups in Maryland, Blue Water Baltimore informs, engages, and empowers people in Baltimore City and the surrounding region, working together toward a future where its streams, rivers, and Harbor are healthy, thriving ecosystems accessible and safe for residents, visitors, and commerce. To achieve these goals, Blue Water Baltimore monitors Baltimore area waterways for pollution, integrates arts and education into community greening and stormwater management projects, and works with an array of partners including schools, congregations, and hospitals to effect change on the ground. In addition to restoration activities, we also inform and mobilize residents in advocacy efforts for stronger clean water policies and programs, both locally and statewide. Blue Water Baltimore unites residents and public and private partners to accomplish more by working together than any one group could do alone for Baltimore’s water quality.

Key Programs

Major programs of Blue Water Baltimore include:

  • Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper, which monitors water quality at 49 stations in the rivers, streams, and harbor of the Patapsco River watershed and uses science and the law to hold polluters accountable and ensure that the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws are upheld by everyone living and working in Baltimore’s watersheds.
  • Herring Run Nursery, which sells more than 250 native species of trees, shrubs, vines, and flowers to retail and wholesale customers, educates residents to reduce local stormwater pollution by greening the city’s landscape, and generates unrestricted funds to support the organization’s work in the communities Blue Water Baltimore serves.
  • Restoration and Engagement, which works with local communities, faith organizations, and other partners on stormwater, greening, and education projects like removing impervious surfaces, planting trees, and installing rain barrels.
  • Ecoliteracy Education and Outreach, which designs and delivers educational programs and experiences for all ages (preschool to adult), with many integrating the arts into water quality education as well as incorporating service learning and volunteer opportunities to increase engagement and knowledge retention.
  • Policy and Advocacy, which works in partnership with local communities and other organizations to improve the environment and tackle water quality challenges.

Recent Accomplishments

In pursuit of its mission, Blue Water Baltimore has recently:

  • Engaged 278 community volunteers at 8 events held in Spring 2021 to plant 352 trees, and gave away 531 trees to additional watershed community members from Baltimore City and County to plant at home.
  • Increased sales of native plants at the Herring Run Nursery in Spring 2021 by more than 25% over Spring 2019.
  • Advocated strongly and successfully for Baltimore City to put in place significant permanent improvements in Baltimore City’s response and assistance for residents experiencing sewage backups as well as increased legal protections for the city’s tree canopy.
  • Published a scientific trends analysis of ten years of local water quality data (2009-2019) looking at bacteria levels and key water quality metrics related to stormwater management.
  • Surpassed 2020’s substantial fundraising goals (including the unrestricted gift target) and doubled the number of monthly sustaining donors.

Blue Water Baltimore is proud of its talented team, hard-working volunteers, and engaged community partners that advocate for its mission and work together to improve the watersheds and water quality of Baltimore’s waterways. The organization is governed by a 21-member board of directors. Current staffing consists of 20 dedicated professionals, with a senior management team that includes the Director of Finance and Administration, the Director of Development, the Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper, the Senior Manager of Restoration, and the Senior Manager for Ecoliteracy and Engagement. The organization’s current budget is $2.5M with revenue sources that include private foundations (27%), government grants/foundations (22%), individual and corporate donors (20%), program fees (18%), and income from the Herring Run nursery (13%). For more information, please visit

The Position

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director serves a crucial role in providing strategic direction for Blue Water Baltimore to expand and further strengthen its well-known and respected reputation as a science-based education, restoration, and advocacy organization. The Executive Director publicly represents Blue Water Baltimore in carrying out its mission in accordance with its values, working with a wide range of partners and stakeholders to achieve shared goals to improve local watersheds and water quality, public health, and quality of life in all of Baltimore’s communities.

Initial Priorities for the Executive Director

At the onset of Blue Water Baltimore’s executive transition, staff, board members, and stakeholders identified the following key areas for the next Executive Director to address:

  • Relationship Building: Establish and maintain relationships with staff, board members, and other stakeholders. Work closely with staff to create a unified and supportive work environment as the organization emerges from COVID-19 and begins to resume in-person activities. Maintain a collaborative work environment and learn what motivates staff.
  • External Visibility and Effectiveness: Increase the visibility of Blue Water Baltimore’s efforts to improve water quality and help the organization work more effectively with community-based partners, other environmental organizations, and local and state government agencies.
  • Strategic Planning and Leadership Development: Operationalize the strategic plan, champion the articulated organizational vision, and empower the team to think strategically and work autonomously as they continue to advance the organization’s mission.
  • Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI): Work with staff, board members, and an experienced JEDI consultant to develop a shared vocabulary and understanding of JEDI concepts across the organization. Determine how JEDI can be effectively and authentically incorporated into the organization’s operations, programs, and culture.

Key Responsibilities

Building off the organization’s current momentum, the next Executive Director will be expected to:

  • Lead the organization in developing and delivering on a shared vision to improve water quality.
  • Develop effective strategies (in collaboration with staff) that align with Blue Water Baltimore’s values to achieve Blue Water Baltimore’s mission.
  • Continue to operationalize and implement the strategic plan.
  • Serve as a spokesperson for Blue Water Baltimore and collaborate with the Waterkeeper to achieve a strong and clear voice advocating for restored watersheds and clean water.
  • Develop and maintain partnerships with other organizations that align with Blue Water Baltimore’s mission to make safe, clean water a reality in Baltimore.
  • Build and strengthen coalitions with government agencies to support Blue Water Baltimore’s advocacy work.
  • Oversee the annual budgeting process and ensure alignment with strategic priorities in collaboration with the Director of Finance and Administration and the Board Treasurer.
  • Provide direction, guidance, and support to staff while fostering strong staff morale and an inclusive and collaborative work environment.
  • Attract and retain a productive workforce and work to ensure their continued professional development and growth.
  • Develop and maintain a strong working relationship with the board while facilitating information sharing and board engagement with committees, fundraising, and volunteering.
  • Build and maintain relationships with funders and donors to support and expand leadership-level grants, sponsorships, and individual gift opportunities.

Experience and Attributes

Ideal candidates for this position will have confidence and the leadership skills to elevate the organization’s visibility and direct the staff to achieve the mission. Desired skillsets and attributes include:

  • Demonstrated history of successfully articulating a mission and leading an organization to effectively work towards achieving it in accordance with an organization’s values.
  • Visionary mindset with a successful track record aligning multiple stakeholders with differing perspectives around a common vision and collaborating on strategies to work together to achieve it.
  • Stellar leadership and organizational management skills, including the ability to attract and maintain a strong and diverse staff as well as experience supervising and mentoring high-level personnel.
  • A commitment to accountability for themselves and others with a focus on strategic outcomes and goals.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively (verbal and written) with internal and external stakeholders at all levels. Experience educating, inspiring, persuading, and motivating diverse audiences including staff, the media, donors, elected officials, and government agencies.
  • Experience creating, overseeing, and managing budgets with a strong understanding of fiscal management.
  • Ability to lead an organization through times of uncertainty and transition with experience in crisis management and conflict resolution.
  • Demonstrated passion for the environment and an interest in learning about water quality issues (if not already familiar with them) along with the ability to develop into an effective and persuasive spokesperson to the public on these issues.
  • Capacity to understand complex environmental legal issues and the regulatory framework concerning water pollution and waterway protection (but not necessary to be a subject matter expert in these areas, as other staff provide that expertise).
  • Possess a sense of humor, humble approach, empathy, and compassion.
  • Experience in supervising or participating in the process to evaluate and realign an organization’s operations and programs to increase equity and reduce disparities.
  • Significant senior management experience.
  • A knowledge of the Baltimore metropolitan region.

Salary is commensurate with experience and is expected to be in the range of approximately $105,000 to $125,000. Blue Water Baltimore has a generous benefits package.

How to Apply

  • To apply, upload resume, cover letter, and salary requirements by clicking here. For other inquiries, contact Adrienne O’Rourke at [email protected]. Resume reviews begin immediately.
  • Blue Water Baltimore has a policy of non-discrimination and is fully committed to the principles of equality in employment and opportunity for all employees. Blue Water Baltimore provides equal employment opportunities without regard to race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, pregnancy or recent childbirth or related medical condition, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, the use of a guide or support animal because of blindness, deafness or physical handicap of any individual, citizenship, veteran or military status, genetic information, marital status, familial status, domestic or sexual violence victim status, possession of a GED instead of a high school diploma, or any other protected characteristic under applicable federal, state or local laws.
  • About Raffa – Marcum’s Nonprofit & Social Sector Group: On behalf of Blue Water Baltimore, Raffa – Marcum’s Nonprofit & Social Sector Group is working with the Board of Directors to advance the search. Founded in 1984 and recently merged with Marcum, Raffa is, and always has been, a mission-driven professional services firm seeking to do more for nonprofits and socially conscious companies like Blue Water Baltimore. Learn more about our work at

Job Categories: Water. Job Types: Full-Time. Salaries: 100,000 and above.

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