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Oregon Zoo Foundation, Executive Director

Oregon Zoo Foundation
Oregon, United States
$200,000.00 - $230,000.00
Closing date
Dec 12, 2023

View more

Position Type
Advocacy, Animal Protection, Environment
Employment Type
Full Time


The mission of the Oregon Zoo Foundation is to foster community pride and involvement in the Oregon Zoo, and to secure financial support for the zoo’s conservation, education, and animal welfare programs.



The Oregon Zoo is a world-class animal welfare, wildlife conservation and education institution spread across 64 acres of natural beauty in Portland’s Washington Park. With annual attendance of around 1.5 million, the Oregon Zoo is one of the most popular destinations in the Pacific Northwest and one of the most highly respected zoos in the country.

The zoo provides the highest quality of care to 165 species and subspecies of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. The zoo protects more than 20 endangered and threatened species – from California condors to Oregon silverspot butterflies. The Oregon Zoo is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and meets the high standards of AZA accreditation.

The zoo’s annual operating budget is derived from a tax base through Metro, the Portland-area regional government that is the zoo’s governing body, plus zoo admissions, concessions, events, education programs, and grants. The Oregon Zoo Foundation, the zoo’s philanthropic partner, is leading fundraising efforts to support the critical needs of the zoo and plays an integral role in supporting the zoo’s animal welfare, conservation, and education programs.



Organized to support and benefit the Oregon Zoo, the Oregon Zoo Foundation is an independent nonprofit that encourages charitable giving in order to advance the zoo's mission of inspiring the community to create a better future for wildlife. Overseen by a Board of Trustees, OZF works in partnership with the leadership of the Oregon Zoo to execute strategies to broaden and deepen engagement and philanthropic support for the zoo’s capital projects, education programs, and conservation initiatives.

OZF has annual revenues of over $7 million, including membership and foundation support, individual contributions, corporate gifts, and events. The Foundation has a 20-member staff of membership, development and administrative professionals, augmented by volunteers who are actively engaged in zoo activities throughout the year.


OZF runs the zoo’s highly successful membership program. The OZF team is also responsible for stewarding and growing individual donor programs, planned giving, corporate and foundation support, events, and campaigns related to major capital projects. Every year OZF provides financial support to the zoo for general operating expenses, strategic priorities and program specific support, and also funds endowments for conservation, education and animal welfare.



This is an opportunity for a relationship-driven executive with proven skills in fundraising, constituent relations, and team building to take OZF to a new level of performance as it supports the vital work of the Oregon Zoo. The new Executive Director will be part of a passionate, talented, and highly qualified team of leaders continuing the Oregon Zoo’s groundbreaking work in animal welfare, environmental education, and conservation science.

The Executive Director of the Oregon Zoo Foundation will provide visionary leadership, fundraising strategy, and management skills, collaborating with the Oregon Zoo Director, board, staff and stakeholders to shape the organization’s long-term success. The Executive Director will exemplify creative leadership by working in partnership with the Zoo Director within the local community to broaden the zoo’s reach and deepen the community’s appreciation for the educational and conservation resource that it is. The Foundation will continue to raise its visibility, expanding development and outreach efforts. The Executive Director will guide the Foundation’s evolution, acting as a steward for the support dollars raised to enhance the zoo’s world-class animal care, educational and conservation mission.



The Executive Director provides the vision, leadership and day-to-day management to ensure the long-term success of OZF in supporting the Oregon Zoo. Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the Executive Director oversees all aspects of the organization, including membership, fundraising, board and volunteer relations, strategic planning, staff leadership and management and business operations, including financial and human resources management.

The Executive Director ensures that the organization is financially healthy, achieves or exceeds budgeted goals, is a great place to work, and is highly successful in growing and sustaining membership and philanthropic support for the Oregon Zoo.

“This job matters!”




  • 7+ years of professional experience in roles of increasing responsibility in fund development
  • 7+ years of senior management experience, including leading a senior management team and developing and executing strategy and vision for an organization
  • Experience working in nonprofit organizations
  • Fiscal accountability: proven track record of effectively managing budgets with multiple funding sources
  • Experience with building relationship with donors/funders, including foundations, institutions, corporations, and/or individual donors

Highly Preferred:

  • Experience raising funds for scientific research, environmental education, and/or conservation programs
  • Experience supervising 3+ direct reports and 10+ employees


  • Proven ability to identify, solicit and steward major donors, with experience successfully securing six- and seven-figure gifts
  • Prior experience working for a conservation, wildlife or animal welfare organization
  • Experience in a complex, multi-level or matrixed institution
  • Proven track record of managing change through a transition and/or transformation
  • Capital campaign experience



  • Ability to work with political leaders, elected officials, and other stakeholders to achieve advocacy objectives that benefit the Oregon Zoo
  • Strong organizational skills and a results orientation that leverages and optimizes resources
  • Able to develop, implement, assess, and improve fundraising programs over time
  • Comfort with using data and metrics to set goals and measure performance
  • Ability to recognize and capitalize on strengths of staff
  • Able to build and sustain an organizational culture of teamwork, collaboration, accountability, and employee development
  • Outstanding communicator: excellent speaking, writing, and listening skills


Personal Characteristics

  • Familiarity and understanding of zoos and the role they play in community and conservation
  • Empathy, high EQ
  • Collaborative, ability to build consensus
  • Trustworthy with a high degree of integrity
  • Comfortable making tough decision
  • Commitment to principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion


The salary range for this position is $200,000 to $230,000 with a competitive benefits package.



Brakeley Search is conducting this search on an exclusive basis on behalf of OZF. Interested candidates should apply via email by sending a resume and a letter outlining qualifications as PDF or Word documents to Chelsea Burr at with “Executive Director OZF” in the subject line.



The Oregon Zoo Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer and a drug free workplace. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of this position.


BRAKELEY SEARCH is a search firm focused exclusively on the nonprofit sector. As a division of Brakeley Briscoe, Inc. (BBI), Brakeley Search works with local, national, and international nonprofits to help them hire exceptional senior-level leaders.

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