Stewardship & Education Program Director

Friends of the Mississippi River

The Mississippi River is one of the world’s great rivers, a natural resource of global significance. Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR) is a leading nonprofit that protects, restores and enhances the Mississippi River and its watershed primarily in the Twin Cities region. The organization has become a national model for conservation and watershed protection. Our goals are to: improve water quality; conserve important lands; engage people in learning about and taking action to protect and enhance the river; inspire widespread commitment to this natural wonder flowing through our community; and protect our river’s unique scenic, natural, cultural and recreational qualities.

The organization has an annual budget of $4.3 million and employs a dedicated, professional staff of 26 who work to improve the health of the river through policy advocacy, education and engagement, land conservation and restoration and other disciplines. Over 30 years, FMR has established deep relationships and credibility with thousands of local residents, landowners, neighborhood organizations, volunteers, government agencies and elected officials.

With a well-known and respected brand, a seasoned and effective staff, a strong Board of Directors and an ever-growing base of support, FMR is poised for continued growth and success. The workplace culture at FMR is collaborative and fun, and staff share a common love of the river and dedication to the mission of the organization.

Our office is located in St. Paul’s West Side community, in a historic building across the street from Harriet Island and the river. We enjoy a pet-friendly workplace and a hybrid working arrangement (Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the office; Monday, Thursday and Friday anywhere you choose). 
FMR believes the Mississippi River connects us all, and that social and environmental issues are woven together. Its gifts should flow equally to everyone in our community. We strive to be culturally competent, welcoming and inclusive of all people and are committed to using our resources and influence to redress structural inequality where it intersects with the health and vitality of the Mississippi River.

The Position

The Stewardship & Education Program Director leads and manages FMR’s work to engage thousands of people each year in activities that connect them with the river and help them to take action to protect and enhance it.
FMR’s Stewardship & Education Program strives to cultivate connections between individuals, communities and the river that inspire an ethic of active participation in stewardship and conservation. Through this program we annually engage nearly 4,000 people in 150+ environmental education and volunteer stewardship events. We’re also working to foster the next generation of river stewards through our growing youth programs through opportunities like storm drain stenciling, classroom lessons, on-site stewardship activities, community science, and mentorship and internship programs. In addition, the director works to support the continued development of a Collaborative Pathways program, a cross-organizational effort aimed at diversifying the racial and cultural makeup of mainstream environmental organizations’ staff in Minnesota.

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Stewardship & Education Director leads the Stewardship & Education team (which currently includes the director and five full and part-time staff) and works closely with other staff and departments who coordinate FMR’s land restoration, fundraising, communications and grassroots advocacy work.
This position is right for a professional with experience developing, leading and growing support for education and volunteer programs for youth and adults. The ideal candidate will have a passion for and a desire to engage diverse audiences through innovations in program design and engagement.


  • Serve as a key member of FMR’s senior leadership team
  • Provide leadership, direction, management and evaluation of FMR’s Stewardship & Education Program, including the development of the annual program budget and work plans
  • Inspire, lead, support and supervise FMR’s Stewardship & Education staff and interns
  • Lead the implementation of the program’s multi-year strategic plan
  • Work closely with the Development Director to raise funds to support the program’s work, including drafting grant proposals and reports, tracking deliverables and building relationships with funders
  • Oversee the development and growth of FMR’s youth programs, including the Environmental Stewardship Institute (now in its sixth year), and occasionally participate in programming
  • Occasionally develop, coordinate, host and/or support personal behavior change and educational workshops and restoration events for community members to benefit water quality, habitat and the river
  • Oversee the Stewardship Team’s work to plan, promote, recruit and coordinate school and community group involvement in our suite of education and stewardship programs
  • Work closely with the Communications Director and other staff to ensure effective outreach, communications and messaging as well as accurate and timely data entry 
  • Work closely with the Land Conservation Director and department staff to coordinate stewardship needs, opportunities and events at FMR’s 40+ habitat restoration sites
  • Identify and foster positive working relationships with partner organizations, local governments, state and federal agencies and community leaders to inform our work and attain program goals


  • Commitment to and passion for the mission of Friends of the Mississippi River
  • Experience in partnership development, stakeholder engagement or program management roles
  • Experience writing and managing program and project grants, budgets and work plans, including grant applications, reporting and evaluation
  • Relationship-building and networking skills, with the ability to engage and collaborate with public, private, nonprofit and community organizations.
  • Ability to organize, lead and inspire teams of staff, interns, volunteers, activists and coalition partners
  • Exceptional interpersonal communication skills and the ability to work collaboratively
  • Commitment to leading with empathy, cultural humility and inclusivity
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills and comfort speaking and presenting to groups
  • Experience developing, managing and delivering education, volunteer or youth programs
  • Strong organizational skills including the ability to plan work, meet deadlines and balance multiple projects and priorities
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule, including occasionally long hours, some evenings and weekends
  • Reliable personal vehicle for transportation to project sites
  • Ability to occasionally haul field gear in support of volunteer stewardship and environmental education events

Salary & Benefits

This is a full-time position. The salary range is $76,000 – $84,000, commensurate with experience (benchmarked against the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Salary & Benefits Survey). Benefits include health, dental and short-term disability insurance; a retirement plan with employer match; and generous paid vacation, sick, personal and holiday leave.

To apply

To apply, please consolidate your application into one PDF document that includes: a cover letter summarizing your interest in and qualifications for the position and a 1-2-page résumé. Please include your last name in the file name and submit it through our online portal(link is external).

The position will remain open until filled. Applicants are encouraged to apply by July 31, 2024.

Learn more about Friends of the Mississippi River and our commitment to advancing equity.

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, July 31, 2024