National Environmental Education Foundation

The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), seeks a President and Chief Executive Officer. Based in Washington, D.C., this individual will manage the organization's budget and staff, act as its lead spokesperson before the general public, and will successfully translate the organization into specific goals and expectations relative to market development, research, education, and government affairs activities. 


Chartered by Congress in 1990, the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) is a private 501 c‐3 non‐profit organization. It is a recognized leader in researching, developing and implementing highly successful new approaches to infusing environmental knowledge into everyday life for all Americans. In 2012, the NEEF board and staff committed to a bold vision: By 2022, 300 million Americans actively use environmental knowledge to ensure the wellbeing of the earth and its people. The organization is committed to bringing about nothing less than a cultural shift: enabling all Americans to better understand the role the environment plays in their lives so that acting on behalf of the environment is normalized. NEEF links environmental education to many of society’s core goals such as: better health, improved education, sustainability and volunteerism in local communities. NEEF programs, including its campaigns, meet people where they are, revolve around new and innovative partnerships, make creative use of technology, and reflect an authentic commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity.

NEEF programs focus on four key areas:

  • Connecting people to nature
  • Preparing the next generation
  • Engaging people very day
  • Advancing the field

NEEF partners include public agencies, private companies, nonprofits, schools and community groups. NEEF is an operating foundation and provides around $750,000 in small grants annually focusing on capacity building and community engagement. Over the past ten years, NEEF has successfully launched an audacious vision, and retooled and restructured the organization to be better able to achieve this vision through a refreshed brand, business plan, theory of change and integrated program strategy. NEEF is now seeking its next leader to further the organization’s effectiveness, expanding and diversifying its donor base and building national large-scale partnerships to ensure all Americans have access to environmental knowledge they can apply to daily life where they live, work and play.

NEEF is governed by a 13‐member board of voting trustees who are nominated by the organization and are each approved by the Administrator of the U.S. EPA, as part of NEEF’s congressional charter. The CEO serves as the board secretary in a non‐voting role. Unique among environmental organizations, NEEF also has a distinguished ex‐officio board made up of leaders of federal agencies including the Departments of Health, Education, and Defense as well as the National Park Service, NOAA and others. NEEF’s federal ex-oficio board members provide a unique perspective and partnership including access to science, and program and funding opportunities.

NEEF Programs

A Research and Best Practices Unit ensures NEEF’s credibility, effectiveness, and relevance in advancing knowledge and discourse around NEEF’s focus areas: nature, weather and climate, health, and education. The Unit uses research and emerging trends to foster innovation and inform NEEF’s programming, applying cutting‐edge social science knowledge most relevant to lifelong environmental education. Highlights of work in this Unit include:

  •  Developing and implementing Learning by Doing Engagement Campaigns such as a first of its kind text‐to‐action campaign to share energy efficiency tips with millions of National Basketball Association (NBA) fans.
  • Advancing corporate Employee Engagement programs in Sustainability with guidance from a group of corporate thought leaders including Toyota, Baxter, Duke Energy, PwC and Spectrum Brands, to examine the return on investment of employee participation in sustainability initiatives. NEEF’s employee engagement work has produced several impactful reports .
  • Advancing the field through a National Environmental Literacy Report highlighting innovative approaches to environmental education that are best suited to help all Americans address environmental challenges and that can be replicated by other environmental educators.
  • Convening public health leaders to assess and discuss the field of environmental education and health, and to set a course for NEEF’s role integrating health and wellness in environmental education programs.

A Program Services Unit is staffed with subject matter experts who conceptualize, develop and implement NEEF’s programs and initiatives for specific targeted audiences. This Unit focuses on advancing interdisciplinary approaches to environmental education based on strategic partnerships leading to collective impact nationwide. Highlights of work carried out by this Unit include:

  • National Public Lands Day ‐ The nation’s largest single‐day volunteer effort stewarding our public lands‐federal, state and local, attracting over 200,000 volunteers who collectively contribute over $20 million in services every year.
  • Hands on the Land ‐ A national network of field classrooms and agency resources to connect students, teachers, families, and volunteers with public lands and waterways.
  • Rx for Outdoor Activity ‐ Training health care providers in how to encourage active time in nature to help prevent serious conditions like obesity, diabetes and mental health issues.
  • Greening STEM Learning Center ‐ Offering resources to support educators in using the outdoors to facilitate real‐world, project based, STEM learning.
  • SunWise ‐ Delivering sun safety education and materials to our nation’s educators and the public.
  • Grants ‐ NEEF awards a range of grants including building the capacity and outreach of local non‐profits organizations to engage their communities with public lands as well as providing support for development and innovation of school programs connecting STEM with environmental education.


The President and CEO is the leader of NEEF.  S/he directly oversees the management of a $4 million budget and an 18-person staff in Washington, D.C. S/he is responsible for fundraising/revenue generation and ensuring the organization meets its budget. S/he is responsible for translating the mission of the organization into specific goals and expectations relative to market development, research, education, and government affairs activities. S/he also serves as the lead spokesperson for NEEF before current and prospective members, government leaders, key business partners and stakeholders, media, other nonprofit organizations, and the general public.

Strategic and Intellectual Leadership

  • Direct the development of the strategic plan, budgets, programs, and campaigns required to achieve the objectives of the organization.
  • Exercise responsibility for the overall strategic direction, coordination, and execution of NEEF programs.
  • Direct the organization’s fundraising strategy and serve as chief fundraiser, supported by a development team.
  • Identify and engage partners to build alliances that advance NEEF’s mission.
  • Manage the relationship with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies.
  • Identify and execute on opportunities to advance the field of lifelong environmental education and raise its profile among potential funders, policymakers and the public.

Executive Management

  • Establish operating policies and standards within the general framework established by the Board; recommend courses of action.
  • Administer the financial affairs of NEEF within applicable Board policies, budgets, and accounting controls to ensure the overall fiscal health of the organization.
  • Develop, recruit, retain and mentor a high-quality staff.

Resource Development and Fundraising

  • Supported by a two-person development team, lead NEEF’s fundraising efforts from current and new donors including federal agencies, foundations, companies and individuals.
  • Design a strategic and comprehensive fundraising plan to grow NEEF’s existing donor base.
  • Showcase entrepreneurial thinking to keep the organization solvent and always growing.
  • Implement the fundraising strategies with partner organizations and board leadership.
  • Build and manage relationships with major donors.
  • Create new revenue streams so the organization can diversify its funding.

Board Relations

  • Create an open, thoughtful, and dynamic relationship with the NEEF Board, working collaboratively with Board members to set a strategic direction and responding nimbly to a constantly changing external environment. 
  • Maintain regular communications with the Board, informing the Board of critical issues as they arise and coordinating with Board discussions and decision-making.
  • Ensure the Board receives timely and useful reports and information and access to staff, partners, and others to enable them to form appropriate judgments.

External Affairs/Outreach

  • Serve as a spokesperson for NEEF before a wide variety of government leaders, the media and related organizations.
  • Maintain contact with appropriate regulatory and legislative bodies, associations, public service representatives and organizations to achieve NEEF objectives and to enhance the image of the organization.
  • Build effective relationships with individuals and organizations with shared interests.


The next NEEF President and CEO must be a dynamic leader and one who will build on the organization’s legacy, sustaining current investments, and one who will be entrepreneurial, seeking new opportunities to increase impact. Ideal qualities and skills for candidates include:

  • A commitment to and passion for NEEF’s mission, vision and purpose.
  • A track record of establishing high level strategic alliances and other partnerships that enable NEEF to amplify and grow its mission.
  • Proven fundraising skills, an existing network, and a demonstrated commitment to raise general and project funds from diverse public and private sources.
  • Proven project management experience.
  • A clear grasp of interdisciplinary approaches to advancing environmental education, including having an open mind to non‐traditional approaches.
  • A proven commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity.
  • Ability to guide, inspire, coach, mentor and manage a diverse and expert team.
  • Ability to work within a complex policy and legislative process involving securing funding for NEEF and the larger environmental education community through congressional appropriations.
  • Ability to work with a dynamic, supportive board of directors and assist the board with board recruitment.
  • Ability to attract and sustain federal agency representation on the NEEF board including advising NEEF program strategies.
  • A proven ability to lead, capable of big picture, out‐of‐the box thinking that can move from ideas to measurable outcomes.
  • Passion and ability to market NEEF’s multitude of programs across various social and digital platforms raising the organization’s brand profile among stakeholders and potential funders and partners.
  • Excellent written and public speaking skills, including serving as a visible and effective spokesperson in the press and public forums.
  • Demonstrated capacity to ensure NEEF upholds the highest standards in financial and administrative systems including audit, financial reporting and personnel systems.
  • The highest level of integrity and personal and professional standards.
  • An appreciation of the natural world and its importance for humanity to thrive.


A Bachelor’s degree is required.  A master’s degree or doctorate degree is highly desirable.


A competitive compensation and benefits package will be offered.