The Search

Community Conservation Inc. seeks an Executive Director. Since 1985, Community Conservation has successfully catalyzed 27 projects in 15 countries, protecting over 1.5 million acres, based on the work of our founder, Dr. Rob Horwich. In 2017, Dr. Horwich passed away and a board member stepped into the role of director and successfully transitioned the organization. Community Conservation is now ready to enter a new phase of growth and expansion.

Community Conservation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization currently located in Gays Mills, Wisconsin. Reporting to a five-member Board of Directors, the executive director oversees two part-time staff and a budget of ~$125,000.

The position calls for a thoughtful, creative, strategic, and decisive leader and spokesperson with a passion for and experience in community conservation. Skills in collaboration and partnership development are critical, particularly in an international context. The position requires demonstrated leadership and management experience, and a commitment to lead the organization through growth and change. Communications and fundraising skills are essential, as is a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

All inquiries, nominations, and applications should be directed in strict confidence as indicated at the end of this document.

Conservation Approach

Community Conservation catalyzes, facilitates, and empowers local people to manage and conserve natural resources within the social, cultural, and economic context of their communities and facilitates widespread, global adoption of community-based conservation. We envision a world built on democracy and trust in which governments, non-government organizations (NGO’s) and communities work together to protect areas where people live and work, to promote sustainable use of their natural resources and to maintain a system of forests and ecosystems that contribute to healthy global biodiversity.
At Community Conservation, we believe that local people are the best stewards of their lands. We promote the highest level of participation on the part of the local community, and encourage the formation of community-based organizations that empower local people to manage their own projects and lands with minimal outside influence.


Community Conservation informally began in 1984 when Rob Horwich and Jon Lyon initiated the Community Baboon Sanctuary. Response by the communities in Belize stimulated Horwich to see how effective working with communities could be in protecting the environment. He took concepts and practices learned in Belize and began applying them in the US, in Wisconsin, and in other countries, sometimes initiating projects in response to requests for help. Community Conservation was formalized as a legal non-profit organization in 1989 in Gays Mills Wisconsin. For the past 29 years Community Conservation has been involved in 25 projects in 14 countries in which our NGO and CBO partners are protecting over 1.24 million acres of natural areas. Collectively, the projects show the following indications of success.

All projects but one are on-going, showing a high degree (96%) of social sustainability. This indicates that when communities are introduced to a good idea and are treated with respect, they will take responsibility to maintain the project even after we have left the project and often without financial support.

The most critical factor in achieving success in community conservation projects is in encouraging the formation of community-based organizations (CBOs) and more complex community-managed governing institutions that take responsibility for managing their own involvement in the project. In 72% of our projects, 44 new CBOs have been formed. In four projects more complex federations have been formed, usually built on the new CBOs.

Since the most effective conservation involves government working together with NGOS and CBOs, involving communities and CBOs to protect and/or create legal protected areas (government, private or community) is also important. Ten of our projects began to help protect already formed protected areas and 44% of our projects have created 22 new protected areas, some of which are private or community protected areas.

Community Conservation’s methods focus on catalyzing conservation projects rather that owning them, leaving project ownership to communities. This strategy provides longevity and allows our catalyzing effect to spread not only geographically but also temporally into the future. An example of this occurred from the conservation contagion that the Community Baboon Sanctuary created in Belize. Inspired by the success of the sanctuary, communities lobbied the Belizean government to create 20 new protected areas encompassing almost 177,000 hectares.

Since our primary goal is environmental protection, measures or anecdotes of increases or steady rates of wildlife populations or forestation is one method of measuring success. In 52% of the Community Conservation projects, the communities or others are actively protecting the forests, often by patrolling, confronting encroachers and confiscating illegal materials. In 52% of the projects where data or anecdotes were available, there was an increase in focal species or other wildlife. In no case was a decrease noted. For example, in the two Assam, India projects, through active community protection the Indian golden langur population increased from 1,500 langurs to over 5,600 langurs in about 12 years. The golden langur population of the small 17 km2 Kakoiljana Reserve Forest increased from less than 100 golden langurs to over 500 langurs and the forest canopy increased from 5% to over 80%.

The two most important aspects in Community Conservation’s methods of practice that make Community Conservation unique are 1) acting as catalysts rather than project owners, leaving the ownership to the on-site communities, and 2) informing local residents of the uniqueness of their area’s forests and wildlife and then asking for their help in protecting them.

Community Conservation Today

In early 2020, Community Conservation completed a strategic visioning process. The vision is ambitious and prioritizes a period of growth and strategic action. The primary goals of Community Conservation over the next 3-5 years are to undertake substantial fundraising and increase Community Conservation’s visibility and impact.

Executive Director Position Description

The Executive Director is the key management leader of Community Conservation. The Executive Director is responsible for overseeing the administration, programs and strategic plan of the organization. Other key duties include fundraising, marketing, and community outreach. The position reports directly to the Board of Directors.
This position is flexible in terms of level of effort and location, although Madison and Gays Mills, WI, are preferred.

Executive Duties
Develop a strategy for the organization to accomplish its mission where conservation action is needed.
Implement activities that result in community conservation of land, water, and wildlife.
Perform fundraising to grow capacity to catalyze effective community conservation.
Maintain appropriate communications in organizational relationships: communities, collaborators, funders, and other stakeholders.
Work with board members to develop board capacity and recruit new members.
Maintain legal status of the organization and its activities.
Provide the board with sufficient information to evaluate organizational performance.

Board Governance
Works with board in order to fulfill the organizational mission.
Responsible for leading Community Conservation in a manner that supports and guides the organization’s mission as defined by the Board of Directors.
Responsible for communicating effectively with the Board and providing information necessary for the Board to function properly and to make informed decisions.

Financial Performance and Viability
Develops resources sufficient to ensure the financial health of the organization.
Responsible for the fiscal integrity of Community Conservation to include submission to the Board of a proposed annual budget and quarterly financial statements, which accurately reflect the financial condition of the organization.
Responsible for fiscal management that generally anticipates operating within the approved budget, ensures maximum resource utilization, and maintenance of the organization in a positive financial position.
Responsible for fundraising and developing other resources necessary to support Community Conservation’s mission.

Organizational Mission and Strategy
Works with board, staff, and partners to ensure that the mission is fulfilled through programs, strategic planning and community outreach
Responsible for implementation of Community Conservation’s programs that carry out the organization’s mission.
Responsible for respecting and implementing strategic planning to ensure that Community Conservation can successfully fulfill its mission into the future.
Responsible for the enhancement of Community Conservation’s image by being active and visible in the community and by working closely with other professional, civic and private organizations.

Organization Operations
Oversees and implements appropriate resources to ensure that the operations of the organization are appropriate.
Responsible for effective administration of Community Conservation operations.
Responsible for the hiring and retention of competent, qualified staff.
Responsible for signing all notes, agreements, and other instruments made and entered into and on behalf of the organization.

Qualifications and Experience

Community Conservation seeks a leader and spokesperson who is passionate about community conservation and farsighted about its potential. The director must be sufficiently experienced and knowledgeable about community conservation to be a credible representative of Community Conservation with its partners and donors worldwide. The director must be experienced in building organizations and fundraising.

Community Conservation Inc. welcomes a director who is prepared to work closely with the board on building the organization and ensure an operationally successful and fiscally strong organization.

An ideal candidate for the director position at Community Conservation Inc. will bring many of the following professional experiences and personal attributes:

• 5+ years of work experience, including in community conservation and with field experience outside the U.S.
• Record of leadership and effective management. Experience managing growth and change. Proven organizational acumen, including discipline and focus in setting priorities and meeting or exceeding goals.
• Fundraising skills. Ideally significant experience raising funds from a variety of sources, especially individuals and private foundations. Without question, an enthusiasm for fundraising and willingness to be actively engaged in development.
• Very strong communication and presentation skills, including in public speaking. A keen sense of marketing. Experience with media, including social media, would be an advantage.
• Demonstrated ability in network development and growth and in establishing partnerships locally and internationally.
• Experience working with or reporting to a volunteer board would be an advantage.
• Demonstrated commitment to and experience in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
• An outgoing, open personality. Authenticity and approachability. The ability to connect with people at all levels, across cultures and communities.
• Entrepreneurial spirit and drive.
• High integrity, gracious self-confidence, and good humor.
• B.A. required; relevant postgraduate degree strongly preferred.
• Willingness to travel internationally, to field locations, to meet with donors, and to represent the organization.

For more information or to apply

Inquiries, nominations/referrals, and applications (including resumes, 1-3-page letters of interest responding to the objectives outlined above, and at least 3 references) should be sent electronically to

Applications will be held in strict confidence. Community Conservation Inc. welcomes and actively encourages a diverse pool of candidates in this search. The position will remain open and applications will be reviewed until the position is filled.

In the administration of its employment policies and practices, Community Conservation Inc. does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, citizenship, age, personal appearance, family responsibilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, veteran status, matriculation, political affiliation, or genetic information.

Photo by Done Henise.