Executive Director – 5 Gyres

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The Executive Director is the team leader of 5 Gyres responsible for overseeing the programs, fundraising, financial health and strategic direction of the organization. The Executive Director is focused primarily on the success and growth of the organization, while being committed to empowering action against the global health crisis of plastic pollution through science, education, and adventure.

The Executive Director reports directly to the 5 Gyres Board. This is a full-time position with benefits based in the 5 Gyres’ Los Angeles office.

Primary Responsibilities

Board Governance

  •  Support the Board in understanding and following best practices in nonprofit Board governance.
  •  Actively involve the Board in advancing 5 Gyres’ mission, goals, fundraising efforts and programs.
  •  Support the Board with the recruitment of new, diverse Board members and facilitate new Board orientation.
  •  Communicate regularly and openly with the Board; ensure that Board members are informed of matters and developments that warrant their attention and action.
  •  Provide regular reports to the Board on 5 Gyres financial standing, fundraising activities, program status and progress towards meeting strategic objectives.
  •  Encourage and maintain positive working relationships and collaboration between Board members and staff.


  • Work with the Board and Development Manager to create and carry out 5 Gyres’ Development Plan, including reaching or surpassing the organization’s $1M (now) – $5M (aspirational) year budgeted goal.
  • Drive and oversee fundraising, and remain actively involved in supporting the Development Manager with fund development. This includes conducting efforts to cultivate donors, meeting with and recognizing key donors, and planned, regular stewardship activities to promote donor retention.
  • Promote a culture of philanthropy among Board members, staff, and volunteers.
  • Demonstrated success in sustaining positive working relationships with individual, corporate and government funders.
  • Experience identifying, approaching and securing funds from various sources, including foundation, government, corporate and individual donors.
  • Able to develop and expand strategic, revenue-generating partnerships with individuals, local, state and federal government agencies, corporations, and foundations that currently or have the inclination and potential to support 5 Gyres.
  • A proven successful fundraiser with knowledge of industry best practices and experience recruiting and nurturing donors, including major gifts strategy and planning.

Team leadership

  • Build a positive work environment that values and supports an open exchange of diverse ideas, capitalizes on staff strengths, and creates a team-oriented culture.
  • In partnership with the Board, lead the team to assure 5 Gyres remains true to its mission and responds to new opportunities and changing conditions.
  • Regularly assess activities, celebrate accomplishments, and evaluate setbacks. Advise on course correction where/when necessary. Evaluate programs and recommend appropriate action including modifying existing programs and/or establishment of new programs or activities as needed and capacity allows.
  • Create a learning organization that encourages collaboration, seeks feedback, develops staff, and is responsive to opportunities.
  •  Develop and implement programs, activities, and services that fulfill the mission and accomplish the goals of the organization, consistent with the strategic plan.
  • Demonstrate and communicate best practices in all aspects of work.

Other Duties

  •  Responsible for the oversight of organization’s fiscal management by working with Operations Manager.
  •  Via the 5 Gyres team, responsible for successful implementation of 5 Gyres’ programs that carry out the organization’s vision and mission.
  •  Seek new opportunities for 5 Gyres visibility through cultivating partnerships, participating in coalition level efforts.
  •  Create Annual and Quarterly Goals and Objectives and Execution Plan with desired outcomes and lead team towards excellent execution.
  •  Provide professional development opportunities for staff.
  •  Highly involved with the hiring and managing of team members.
  •  In concert with Finance Manager, produce Annual and Quarterly Budget Forecast.
  •  Working with the Board, annually ensure that 5Gyres meets all of its legal responsibilities.
  •  Remain current on global plastic pollution movement trends and direction to drive executive level leadership and relevance.

Required Qualifications

  •  Minimum 5 years nonprofit experience.
  •  Experience leading fundraising efforts (or in a leadership position at an organization, ie, Development or Operations Director) for a $1M – $5M/year non-profit and working with nonprofit Boards of Directors.
  •  Demonstrated track record of passion for environmental and ideally ocean plastic related causes.
  •  Excellent management, leadership, communications and development skills.
  •  Existing network of donors interested in related causes and initiatives.

LOCATION: The position is based in Los Angeles, CA.

COMPENSATION: The salary and benefits are competitive and commensurate with experience.

TO APPLY: Qualified candidates should send their resume and cover letter to careers@5gyres.org

The 5 Gyres Institute is a nonprofit organization established in 2009 based in Los Angeles, with a global network of supporters united in the pursuit of a planet free of plastic pollution. 5 Gyres mission is to empower action against the global health crisis of plastic pollution through science, education, and adventure.

The 5 Gyres Institute is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital status, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other protected class under law.