Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA)

Foundation Relations Director

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Posted On: Thursday, 4th January 2018
Category: Administrative
Location: Washington, DC
3501 New York Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002
Job Type:
Full Time

Job Description:


About FONA
Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit membership organization with the mission to preserve and enhance the U.S. National Arboretum (USNA). The Arboretum is a division of the US Department of Agriculture and FONA is its primary private partner, providing direct financial support as well as directly managing numerous public programs.

FONA is growing rapidly in its work to advance the Arboretum’s dual missions of research and education. We’re adding staff and new public programs in 2018
and need to enhance our funding base to support these additions.  Established in 1982, FONA has a strong track record of success, a professional staff and
big ambitions.

About the Position
FONA’s Washington Youth Garden (WYG) outreach and education program already receives substantial support from the foundation funding community. We’re
seeking a dynamic, foundation-focused fund-raising professional to help us increase foundation support for the Youth Garden as well as extend it to other
FONA public programs for which we have historically not solicited much foundation support. The Foundation Relations Director will also play a key
role in the development, funding, and fielding of new programs as FONA’s public programs grow in coming years.

Day-to-day work will focus on prospecting, researching and writing compelling grant proposals to secure support primarily from private foundations-- as well
as pursuing government and corporate opportunities as appropriate.  An additional primary responsibility is providing insight and support as FONA develops and launches new public programs.

This position requires extensive collaboration with FONA and USNA staff to maximize the reach of our programs and build a community of support for both
USNA and FONA. It’s based in FONA’s office on the grounds of the US National Arboretum in Northeast Washington DC.

This position is for candidates who can have immediate impact and is not a role for candidates looking to make career transitions to new fields. 

Educational & Experience Requirements

  • five or more years’ experience in foundation andinstitutional fundraising
  • strong interpersonal skills
  • proven ability to lead projects in a group setting
  • special horticultural, educational
    or environmental knowledge or experience is a plus.
  • Bachelor’s degree required.


  • Experience in a non-profit environment, particularly one with a rapid growth trajectory
  • A proven, strategic approach to foundation and similar institutional fundraising
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to build rapport and collaborate with staff at all levels within the organization
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills
  • Excellent organizational skills; ability to work on and track multiple projects in a deadline-oriented environment
  • Expertise in managing complex organizational partnerships and balancing the needs of diverse stakeholders
  • Familiarity with grant management systems a plus but not a requirement

Reports to
Executive Director—but responsive to and works closely with the Director of Philanthropy, Director of Washington Youth Garden, other FONA staff and Board of Directors, and senior USNA staff. No direct supervisory responsibilities.


  • Develop and deploy strategies to maximize support from existing and prospective donors—including strengthening relationships with current donors, conducting prospect research, and laying the groundwork for cultivation of new foundation, corporate and government prospects
  • Write compelling proposals, letters of inquiry and reports to select foundations and corporations in collaboration with Executive Director and Program Director(s)
  • Ensure timely submission and tracking of proposals and reports
  • Support FONA long-term planning and program development initiatives as well as annual planning and budgeting activities
  • Conduct regular program evaluation and provide periodic financial reports and budget projections
  • Work with Director of Philanthropy and others on staff to plan and manage cultivation events for prospective donors, make presentations to
    potential grantors, and represent FONA at select meetings and events
  • Perform other duties as needed

Working Conditions
This is a flexible position and, depending on candidate’s fit and availability, could range from 60% to full-time. It is ideal for a mid-career development professional seeking career and schedule flexibility. Daily work
schedule will be set based on fundraising program needs and individual goals--some work can be done remotely but considerable office time is required.

Salary Range
Commensurate with education & experience. Generous benefits—and a great work environment.

To Apply
Send resume, cover letter to at by January 19th, 2018.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Position is open until filled.  While NOT initially needed, be prepared to provide 3-4 writing samples if requested.

The Friends of the National Arboretum is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any classification protected by federal, state, or local law.

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