Senior Vice President and Director of Institute for Parks and Public Land
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come.
Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land is rooted in the belief that all people need and deserve access to nature and the outdoors, close to home, in the cities and communities where they live, as a matter of health, equity, and justice. These founders sought to bring the benefits of parks and nature to the people, and communities that needed them most.
The organization has created over 5,000 parks and protected areas across the US, protected over 3 million acres of land, and helped pass more than 600 ballot measures—creating $80 billion in voter-approved public funding for parks and open spaces. We have put a park within a 10 Minute Walk of over 9 million people. The people we serve reflect the diversity of our country—69% of people who live close to our projects identify as Black, Hispanic, Asian or Indigenous; we work in every part of the country including in the largest cities and smallest towns; and we work respectfully and constructively with across political, social and economic divides.
The Institute for Parks & Public Land
Preparing to celebrate our 50th anniversary, TPL is at an exciting inflection point in our growth – leveraging five decades of expertise and insight from community and civic partnerships to catalyze greater access to outdoor spaces. Building on a history of deep expertise and collaboration, we are seeking to scale and deepen our impact, including through cross-sector collaboration towards a 21st century park vision.
The Trust for Public Land is establishing an Institute for parks and public land research, data analysis, innovation and technology that draws on multiple disciplines and uses a collaborative approach: to address systemic challenges involving health, climate, equity, and community; to identify barriers and solutions to achieving quality parks and open space for all; and to stimulate greater progress through cross-sector reports, plans, policies, and projects.
The Trust for Public Land seeks a leader who is ready to seize this moment and drive the development of a compelling vision and roadmap for the Institute, and who will champion this vision with stakeholders and constituencies at the local and national levels. The SVP will be a dynamic, forward-thinking, collaborative leader who will help to define and cultivate the Institute’s role as a springboard for inclusive thought leadership in the parks and open space sector. They will be the central architect in harnessing the collective expertise of diverse partners and allies, and will garner the respect of all stakeholders within the organization and the broader community.
The SVP serves as the entrepreneurial leader of the Institute that builds the public case for access to nature as essential for thriving communities; develops policies and strategies to accelerate progress; and advances TPL’s work to ensure that every community is connected to the parks, trails, green schoolyards, and public land they need and deserve. The Institute will be TPL’s focal point for collaboration and partnership across academic and other anchor institutions at a national scale. The SVP will serve as an inclusive and innovative leader and work with the philanthropy team to ensure that the Institute can fully support its growing work. In order to help the organization meet its bold goals and vision, the SVP, Institute will lead our efforts to achieve the following objectives:
- Evolve the traditional conservation movement narrative to include broader participation and representation.
- Develop, publish and publicize insights, including from TPL’s experience and data, that advance the importance of access to nature in public discourse. In particular we seek to maximize the value of our best-in-class GIS work in the field, and build salience of our mission. The Institute will use reports, advisory and peer groups, and other mechanisms to earn media, marketing, and storytelling opportunities.
- Promote and support mutually beneficial partnerships and exchange of best practices—including policies--to, from and across TPL’s nationwide network to advance our vision and goals.
- Develop shared cross-sector research agendas for the field of park creation and equitable access to open space: taking a facilitative leadership role in identifying priority topics for exploration and catalyzing new research with partners.
- Develop transparent, accurate data and metrics to advance and measure success for outcomes in equitable park development and land protection. In partnership with others, apply those metrics to advance our mission through ParkScore, ParkServe and other analytics.
- Develop and foster internal connections to advance our commitments to equitable, climate-smart and healthy communities in all of TPL’s work.
- Collaborate to inspire investment and philanthropic giving: develop organization-wide strategies and partnerships that galvanize major institutional and individual funding at the local, regional and national levels.
The SVP serves as a thought leader in shaping the department’s mission and strategies; effectively implements its plans and programs; resourcefully and efficiently administers its operations and finances; strategically connects with relevant individuals and groups on behalf of the Trust for Public Land; and actively promotes the equitable parks and open space movement. The SVP works closely with the Executive Team, the Board of Directors and staff across the organization, with the following characteristics:
The SVP will report to the President/CEO and oversee a team of 20; directly reporting to the SVP are the Directors of Equity, Climate, and Health, as well as the Director of Research & Innovation. The SVP will be a member of the senior executive management team. The SVP, Institute will participate in TPL Board matters, with direct interaction with board members. The SVP, Institute will be responsible for the following:
- Work in partnership with the CEO and the Executive Team to integrate and operationalize strategy across focus areas of climate, health, equity and community in order to align internal and external stakeholders.
- Identify and implement improvements to team and organizational processes, systems, culture and structure that enhance TPL’s performance and impact.
- Identify relevant opportunities and trends in the broader parks, conservation, equity, and technology space.
- Identify and work with prospective donors and institutions to inspire support for the work of the Institute, in partnership with TPL’s philanthropy team.
- Grow the fee-for-service revenue of the path-breaking and successful Research and Innovation team, as part of the Institute.
- Identify new business models that can scale the impact of TPL’s work and the work of the Institute.
- Promote TPL’s mission and impact through writing, publishing, speaking, convening, and networking.
- Promote TPL’s mission and impact through academic, nonprofit and corporate partnerships and initiatives.
- Collaborate with the marketing and communications team to guide the organization’s strategic communication efforts related to the Institute, including messaging, tone and approach.
- Maximize and measure the impact of programs and initiatives.
- Develop and lead growth initiatives that enable increased impact.
- Represent TPL to funders and supporters.
- Lead the exploration and execution of new opportunities and initiatives for the organization, including issues related to structure, funding, and mission alignment.
- Bring together Institute staff, stakeholders and philanthropy across TPL to ensure revenue from both philanthropy and fee for service contracts/consulting cover the full costs of the Institute.
For a visionary executive who is passionate about the mission, this is a fantastic opportunity to build on tremendous expertise already in place and stimulate even greater substantive and enduring change in achieving equitable access to parks and open space. This executive will possess the following characteristics:
Domain Expert and Leader
The SVP will be an intersectional, entrepreneurial, and bold leader who can articulate and implement an innovative vision for the collective impact of parks and open space in connection with equity, health, climate and community. Curious by nature, the SVP will be energized by thinking creatively about the power of partnerships across these sectors. They will bring proven domain experience, knowledge and expertise, and a track record of operationalizing a vision and ensuring that strategy, funding, operations, and systems are aligned and functioning for maximum impact. The SVP should have a keen ability to develop new and unique approaches to revenue generation and to communicate to stakeholders how to capitalize on those new areas of growth.
Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
This compassionate leader will have a deep understanding of the issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and will embed this approach in the management of staff, in partnering with all stakeholders, and in developing programming. Experienced in working with diverse populations, the SVP will have the skills necessary to develop rapport with people of varying experiences, backgrounds, and philosophies. They will demonstrate a record of success in advancing equity initiatives and creating inclusive environments in every facet of their leadership. The SVP will have experience successfully working to empower historically-marginalized communities.
The SVP will be both inspiring and inspired – quick to share vision and aspiration that galvanizes a team, and equally quick to share enthusiasm and celebration for what internal teams have themselves created. They will be an energetic and highly respected member of the Executive Team, able to lead the organization as a whole and work closely with the Board of Directors. They possess the ability to build and inspire a staff with a diverse set of skills, to create an inclusive & productive work environment, and to invest in professional growth opportunities that result in team cohesion and drive results. The SVP should have experience taking stock of an organization and developing a plan in partnership with key staff.
An Orientation for Results
The SVP will be wired for impact and will see the potential that extends beyond TPL’s current reach. They will develop shared insights to be leveraged across sectors while also providing for the mutually beneficial exchange of insights to and from TPL’s field and policy work -- thereby increasing the parks and open space movement’s total impact. Knowing that the organization’s models must continue to evolve to stay relevant to the communities it serves, the SVP will foster a culture of data rigor and continuous learning to achieve increasing results and impact.
Fundraiser and Ambassador
The SVP will develop and articulate a vision and plan which can galvanize transformative investment, fueling both today’s operations and investing in TPL's future. This leader will have deep experience in fundraising and ideally will have knowledge of and existing relationships with relevant and aligned funders. They will bring experience advancing and disseminating an organization’s mission and seeking out opportunities to participate in public forums, movement spaces, and press outlets. The SVP is responsible for maintaining a regular public presence through writing, public speaking, and events that expand TPL’s reach and make its work and the work of the Institute highly visible.
- 10+ years of non-profit sector experience, preferably including a background in parks, land conservation, environmental health/equity, and/or community development.
- 5+ years of executive-level experience, including supervision and management. Knowledge and experience in organizational management principles and practices.
- Demonstrated leadership skills in creating and managing diverse teams of professionals, including experience with strategic planning and developing, directing and managing multiple projects.
- Executive leadership skills including external awareness, team building, change management, problem solving and financial management
- Successful experience in partnership development (community, government, etc.) including extensive networking with high-level contacts; political astuteness.
- Philanthropic experience and experience working with volunteers, including attracting funds from public and private sources.
- Proven interpersonal, communication, and negotiation skills. Candidates should have public speaking ability for formal as well as impromptu presentations to a broad public as well as excellent writing skills.
- Ability to develop strong rapport and ability to work with boards/councils, as well as a diverse staff and community.
- The successful candidate will have a strong work ethic, a collaborative work style, self-initiative, a high energy level, and a sincere dedication to the mission and philosophy of TPL.
- Willingness to travel extensively required.