Strategic Partnerships Officer

Water FoundationFlexible, California Preferred

About Water Foundation

The Water Foundation is a nonprofit philanthropy working to support lasting water solutions for communities, economies, and the environment. The Foundation complements strategic grantmaking with creative field-building and engagement with high-level decision makers and community leaders, and helps funders identify and act on opportunities to better manage water. 

The Water Foundation works in key watersheds across the West, as well as on federal policy, recognizing that water crosses political boundaries and natural places face similar challenges across the country. As a singularly focused water funder, the Water Foundation serves the entire water field, deploying staff expertise to move resources to the groups that can most effectively improve water systems that affect people and nature. The Water Foundation’s partners span a broad spectrum: conservation organizations, environmental justice groups, agricultural associations, water providers, business groups, and local, tribal, state, and federal agencies.  

In 2018, the Water Foundation developed an ambitious strategic framework to guide the efforts and impact of the organization in the coming years. This strategy, which reflects extensive field input from partners and stakeholders, takes a systemic approach. It prioritizes securing safe, clean water for people, restoring and sustaining freshwater environments, and building resilience to a changing climate. These three goals are critical to the future of water. In pursuing these goals, the Foundation supports the field in tackling immediate water problems, including polluted drinking water and collapsing ecosystems, in ways that alter system drivers, such as social inequality and outmoded infrastructure. While this strategy will be updated over the course of the next year, the big picture goals remain constant.   

Inequity and injustice underlie many of the challenges the Water Foundation is working to address, such as the failure to provide clean, safe, and affordable drinking water or access to free-flowing rivers and green space to all communities. Over the last two years, the Water Foundation engaged in an initiative designed to provide the learning, competencies, and tools necessary to ensure that the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice are embedded and embodied in their individual behavior, institutional operations, and strategic programming. There is a deep commitment to ongoing growth and learning in this area.

The Water Foundation’s work is driven by the following organizational values:

Collaboration: Strategize, act, and learn in partnership with colleagues internally and externally to advance our collective goals. Deepen connections across and between water sector networks and related issues like climate, health, nature, food, and equity.

Humility: Recognize and center the knowledge, experiences, and leadership of our partners and the communities we serve, while honoring the power of nature. Listen to and learn from our partners and nature, so that we support a community-led and nature-based vision for a resilient water future.

Sustainability: Advance resilient, intergenerational solutions that sustain the environment and those who depend upon it while honoring the intrinsic value of nature and strengthening organizations and communities that seek an equitable, alternative vision for the future.
Transformation: Shape our strategies, work, and practices for systemic change towards a collaborative, just, and sustainable water future in the US.

Justice: Align our policies, practices, and resources so that all people and ecosystems have genuine opportunities to thrive.

More information about the Water Foundation can be found at

The Opportunity

The Water Foundation seeks a creative development professional to join a vibrant and dynamic institution with a compelling mission to ensure reliable, clean water for people and nature. Reporting to the Senior Strategic Partnerships Officer and working in close partnership with teams across the entirety of the Foundation, the Strategic Partnerships Officer is responsible for helping to raise $20M – $25M annually to support the Water Foundation’s programming and overall operations. The Strategic Partnerships Officer position offers the opportunity to engage in and build experience across a variety of fundraising activities, including prospect research, grant writing, donor cultivation, and project management, while supporting the organization and its partners in advancing solutions to address some of the most critical water issues of our time. 

Key Responsibilities

Development Operations

  • Manage the Strategic Partnerships calendar and workplan to ensure the team is meeting deadlines, prepared for donor meetings and trips, and ensuring consistent follow-up
  • Support the planning and execution of small and medium-sized events that cultivate strong relationships, enhance brand perception, and engage and steward donors and prospects
  • Work collaboratively with the Senior Strategic Partnerships Associate to capture and update donor and prospect data

Material and Research Development

  • Craft high-quality, persuasive grant proposals and reports—ranging in size, scope, and complexity—to foundation, corporate, and individual donors
  • Research and identify prospective funding partners, including private foundations, family foundations, and high-net-worth individuals in alignment with the Water Foundation’s mission and in water-adjacent sectors
  • Compile detailed donor profiles, briefings, and other essential background content to ensure Water Foundation staff are appropriately informed

Cross-Functional Collaboration

  • Acquire a strong understanding of the Water Foundation’s programs, goals, and financial needs in order to develop compelling proposals, seek new funding opportunities, and report back to funders on impact
  • Build internal relationships and work closely with Water Foundation staff members to synthesize program activities, data, and financials for proposals and reports and help foster a culture of philanthropy across the organization
  • Work with the Program and Finance team colleagues to report on a quarterly basis on public sources of funding

Ideal Candidate

Above all else, the ideal candidate will bring a strong interest in the issue, a sense of purpose and optimism, and a drive to significantly increase funding to support lasting clean water solutions that advance freshwater ecosystems, social justice, and human health. With an excitement about joining a team committed to making systems level, sector-wide change, the incoming Strategic Partnerships Officer will bring the intellectual curiosity and passion for water to learn sector-specific knowledge.

The Strategic Partnerships Officer will bring a deep understanding of how to create complex and persuasive grant proposals, reports, and other donor collateral. With a high level of competency in writing, editing, and donor research, they will be highly detail-oriented and an organized communicator. Ideally they bring experience translating complex topics into relatable, compelling content for a range of funder audiences. The Strategic Partnerships Officer will also bring experience managing and maintaining data.

A natural self-starter, the ideal candidate will bring strong project management skills and the ability to oversee multiple projects, timelines, and priorities. The incoming Strategic Partnerships Officer must display an aptitude for anticipating needs, team collaboration, tracking progress, and diligent follow up. They will have the ability to collaborate, strategize, and communicate effectively with colleagues across the organization, while bringing a sense of enthusiasm and humility to their work.

Desired Qualifications

With the understanding that no person will offer every desired skill and characteristic outlined below, compelling candidates will offer much of the following:

  • Passion for, and commitment to, the Water Foundation’s mission
  • 5+ years of experience working in fundraising and development or related field
  • Proven experience in writing successful, high-quality grant proposals and/or other donor communications
  • Demonstrated success in managing and prioritizing multiple, complex projects with competing deadlines
  • Strong writing, editing, research, and data management skills
  • Excellent interpersonal and relationship management skills
  • Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office programs. Experience with Salesforce or similar CRM platforms preferred
  • Exceptional attention to detail
  • Strong work ethic, initiative, follow-through, and good judgment
  • Patience, grace, and humor under pressure
  • Commitment to advancing the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in the workplace and in the Foundation’s work with its partners

The Water Foundation strongly encourages Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Intersex, Trans and Gender non-conforming people; individuals from under-resourced communities; immigrants; differently-abled people; and others with diverse perspectives and experiences to apply.

Location & Salary

The Water Foundation offers an excellent benefits package and a competitive salary that is commensurate with experience. The starting salary for the position is $105,000 – $120,000 depending on experience. The Strategic Partnerships Officer will ideally be based near Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, or Los Angeles; however, remote work for those with easy access to a major airport in the western US will be considered. Intermittent travel within the US will be required. The Water Foundation follows public health agency guidelines with respect to Covid-19 and requires testing for in-person events.

To Be Considered

Please submit your resume and cover letter expressing your interest in the position and fit for the role via the “Become a Candidate” button.  

Applicants applying by October 2nd will be given priority consideration, with the position open until filled.

Strategic Partnerships OfficerWater Foundation Flexible, California Preferred

GoodCitizen has been exclusively retained by Water Foundation to lead this search. For questions, please contact:

Melissa Merritt
Managing Director
Direct: 206.792.4300

Celene Haque Tanner
Engagement Manager
Direct: 206.462.6189

Gabe Sapuay
Senior Associate
Direct: 206.792.4221