Executive Director(22)

Organization: Save the Chimps
Location: Fort Pierce, FL, us
Job or Internship: Job
Save the Chimps, a §501(c)(3) non-profit sanctuary, based in Fort Pierce, Florida is seeking an Executive Director.

About the Organization

Save the Chimps’ mission is to provide and build support for permanent sanctuary for the lifelong care of chimpanzees rescued from research laboratories, entertainment, and the pet trade.

Save the Chimps (STC) was established in 1997, under the leadership of the late Carole Noon, Ph.D., in response to the U.S. Air Force’s announcement that it was getting out of the chimpanzee research business. After a year-long struggle, STC gained permanent custody of 21 chimps, survivors and descendants of those captured in Africa in the 1950’s and used by the Air Force in the original NASA “chimpanaut” program.

A generous donation by the Arcus Foundation enabled STC to purchase 200 acres and build a permanent sanctuary near Fort Pierce, Florida. The sanctuary environment was carefully designed to nurture and stimulate these sensitive and complex primates by creating a secure and enriching environment including the construction of 12 three-acre islands on which they may safely express natural behaviors without human interference. In 2001, the first 21 chimps arrived in Florida, were formed into a single cohesive group and given access to their island. In September 2002, the Coulston Foundation contacted Dr. Noon and offered to sell its laboratory, land and building in New Mexico to STC, and “donate” all of its 266 chimpanzees. With the future of the primates in jeopardy, STC received a second grant from the Arcus Foundation to purchase the New Mexico laboratory. In 2011, all of the New Mexico chimps “migrated” to the sanctuary specially designed and constructed for them in the Fort Pierce/Vero Beach area.

Today, Save the Chimps is home to approximately 265 chimps and has the current infrastructure to potentially care for and house up to 300. The chimps are cared for by approximately 60 professional staff, as well as 1 full-time veterinarian and 3 veterinary assistants, and a dedicated core of part time volunteers.

Save the Chimps is currently governed by an eight member Board of Directors. The 2013 budget is approximately $5 million.

The vision of STC was – and remains – to create a sanctuary where rescued chimpanzees can live out their lives without the threat of ever returning to a laboratory, the entertainment industry, or the pet trade. In keeping with this vision some of the core values established by STC are:

• Save the Chimps provides safety, privacy, lifetime care, freedom from exploitation and the best captive care possible to the chimpanzees that live at the Sanctuary. The cornerstone of STC’s philosophy is the belief that chimpanzees experience emotions such as joy, grief, anger, sorrow, pleasure, boredom, and depression.

• Chimpanzees are persons, not commodities, and STC will not buy, sell, trade, loan, or conduct any commercial commerce of chimpanzees.

• STC does not endorse captive breeding and will, to the best of its ability, prevent reproduction among the resident chimpanzees through vasectomies and female birth control.

• STC limits access to the sanctuary to the board of directors, employees, consultants, volunteers and vendors and allow visits or tours of other members of the public by invitation only.

• Chimpanzees are accepted only in circumstances where STC is assured they will not be replaced by the organizations or individual giving over guardianship.

• If it is in the best interest of an individual chimpanzee, STC will consider placement of that chimp at another sanctuary able to provide equally high quality care for life.

• Research is permitted only under limited circumstances. Such research must be observational and noninvasive and must demonstrate that it is of direct benefit to chimpanzees before approval by the leadership of STC.

As the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in the world, STC is cognizant of its role as a leader in the field, both as an organization that has established the highest standards of chimpanzee care and as a vocal advocate for chimpanzees living in untenable situations in laboratories, entertainment, or in the pet trade. Given its position within the larger chimpanzee sanctuary community in the United States and abroad, STC is necessarily committed to the following principles:

• Developing a stable, diversified funding base. STC will focus upon further diversifying revenue immediately. Establishing an adequately diverse funding base that can be considered stable, however, will take time through careful planning and implementation.

• Continuously strengthening and improving governance. STC will develop a larger, more active, expert and engaged governing body to oversee and support the growth and development of the organization. This can be accomplished by adding new board members, developing a clear board succession plan, and continuous clarification and oversight of roles and responsibilities.

• Strengthening administrative staffing infrastructure. STC is beginning to build a strong administrative infrastructure so that the organization will continue to thrive into the future.

For more information about Save the Chimps, please refer to our website at www.savethechimps.org.

Executive Director

The Executive Director should be a person who inspires confidence and engages the Board, staff, and critical constituencies in leading STC to an even higher level of organizational excellence in the execution of its mission. The Executive Director should possess an intrepid spirit to carry out the mission of the organization. Moreover, the Executive Director should be a person who brings authentic passion for and a commitment to the long-term care and dignity of rescued chimpanzees. Above all, the Executive Director should be a person committed to changing the way humans view chimpanzees.

The Executive Director reports to the STC Board of Directors and will serve as the chief executive of STC providing critical and strategic leadership in fundraising and all organizational matters. In this role, the Executive Director will work with a dedicated staff who believe in STC’s mission and support with great devotion the care of the chimpanzees who live in the sanctuary. The Executive Director will work with staff to assess and evaluate current practices, including carefully reviewing administrative and management systems and processes as needed. The highest goal for the work of the Executive Director is to provide a sanctuary where rescued chimpanzees can live out their lives with dignity and honor.

In the short term, the core challenge for the Executive Director is to build and implement a diverse sustainable and resilient financial base of support and to enhance the management of STC. The Executive Director must be able to engage major philanthropists and business leaders directly, conveying the excitement and possibilities of STC strategies, and be adept at asking individuals for large philanthropic investments. Given the innovative and entrepreneurial nature of the STC staff and Board, the Executive Director must operate comfortably in a hands-on, collaborative workplace culture. It is also crucial for the Executive Director to work closely with and develop positive collegial relationships with the Arcus Foundation Great Apes Fund staff and other key partners.

Ideally, the Executive Director will be based in the Ft. Pierce/Vero Beach/Treasure Coast, Florida area. The sanctuary is located along the Treasure Coast of Florida with a drive of approximately one hour to the West Palm Beach airport. There are a number of very desirable cities in which to live that are within an easy commute of the sanctuary. However, the Board realizes that It order to meet our long-term objectives it may be sensible and desirable to relocate the administrative offices away from the sanctuary. This could include somewhere along the Treasure Coast, another location in Florida or even possibly out of state. Therefore, there is some flexibility for where the best candidate may live and work.

In the first 12 months the broad goals for the Executive Director will be the following:

• To develop an integrated plan for fundraising and marketing including a staffing plan and to hire professional staff to implement the strategies necessary for success in fundraising at all levels including major donors, foundation partners, corporate sponsors, planned gifts, and other strategies appropriate for STC.

• Review the current STC staff infrastructure and make recommendations to the Board to improve the capacity of the organization to be successful and well-run. Included in this task will be primary leadership in developing plans for the future growth of STC both as a sanctuary and as an advocate for chimpanzees.

• Update the current strategic plan.

• Develop a strong partnership with the current Board, determining how each member can most effectively work with staff and assist STC.

• Enhance the working relationships with other sanctuaries and other key professionals involved in chimpanzee welfare.

• Assist with the expansion of the Board and provide leadership in the recruitment of new Board members

Because so much of what this person will do involves building and maintaining trust with Board members, staff, donors, and outside stakeholders, the Executive Director must possess the presence, judgment, and ability to operate effectively and professionally with a wide cross section of public, private, and philanthropic leaders.

Professional Qualifications and Personal Characteristics

The Executive Director should ideally possess the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:

• A deep commitment to the mission of STC and a passion for animal welfare.

• An ability to communicate a passion for and commitment to chimpanzees and to effectively advocate on their behalf.

• A proven record of planning and implementing a development budget of a minimum of $2 million or greater with an outstanding record in sustained growth.

• Outstanding interpersonal and leadership skills, including an ability to form lasting bonds with donors and build close working relationships with colleagues at all levels including a long-term vision for STC.

• Proven budget management skills and solid program and project management track record – a willingness to “roll-up sleeves” and personally handle all aspects of the position. Experience with managing a non-profit organization with at least 20 full time employees and a budget of $ 2 million.

• A demonstrated ability to inspire trust, organize people into effective teams, and motivate them to work well together.

• A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college, with a master’s degree preferred.

Personal Attributes

• High energy level, trustworthy, diplomatic, and possessing impeccable integrity.

• An ability to persuade, inspire, and motivate and an ability to be flexible and adaptive in consultative process with senior management and Board.

• An ability to inspire trust, and a proven ability to lead and facilitate and to move from ideas to action.

• An ability to communicate effectively and professionally with a diverse range of people from different environments, sectors, and society.

• An ability to stay grounded and to give credit and recognition to others, and a personal style of acting with humility and grace – in sum a superb professional with personal presence.

• An ability to be proactive, flexible and well-organized, with appropriate attention to detail and follow-through.

• A sense of commitment to and affinity for animals (not necessarily limited to chimpanzees).


Compensation for the Executive Director includes a competitive base salary and an excellent package of employee and health benefits.

Interested candidates should send their resume to edsearchstc@gmail.com.

Save the Chimps is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes a diverse pool of candidates for this search.