Open Call to join TWP’s Board of Directors
The Watershed Project (TWP) is recruiting for 3-5 new members to join our board of directors, as several members move on from their long-tenured terms. We’re looking for a diversity of candidates, particularly from the East Bay, where our deepest community programming takes place.
Do you share a vision to inspire San Francisco Bay Area communities to understand, appreciate, and protect our local watersheds? In our greater SF Bay watershed, water connects us all, from neighborhoods upstream down to the bay and the Pacific Ocean. It’s a joy to take part in meaningful local work that has a regional impact.
TWP envisions a future where everyone in our neighborhoods has equitable access to a healthy environment that provides clean air and water. We invite you to join us, along with our many community and local group partners. Through educating, community organizing, restoring creeks, shorelines, and native plant communities, and by implementing powerful green infrastructure projects, we are building environmental resiliency and equity in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Since 1997, headquartered in Richmond, California, The Watershed Project has worked to protect the unique ecosystems that make up the San Francisco Bay area. We bring a watershed perspective to the urban environment, promoting green design and supporting natural cycles. We offer K-12 STEM-based and outdoor-focused environmental education programs in mostly Title I schools in Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco, and San Pablo.
Since our founding, TWP has supported communities impacted by environmental degradation to make a difference in their local neighborhood, watershed, or school to benefit their community health and the environment. Our initiatives in Richmond and North Richmond and numerous Title I schools across the San Francisco Bay area exemplifies this ethos. We have multiplied our impact through opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, teacher training, and train-the-trainer models. During the last 26 years, we have trained 7,000 educators in place-based environmental education, served 33,000 students, 100 paid interns (since 2009), and trained 55,000 restoration and stewardship volunteers.
Our award-winning environmental education and volunteer stewardship and restoration training programs give children, youth, and adults a deeper understanding of how watersheds work and how their actions translate into healthier, stronger local communities. Bringing nature back into the city, TWP’s green infrastructure demonstration projects show the value of nature-based solutions like bioswales and rainwater harvesting. Green schoolyards take asphalt out of playgrounds and add cooling trees and gardens.
We employ and train young people from Richmond and San Pablo through our Green Collar Corps Workforce Development Program. Lastly, TWP supports grassroots watershed organizations through fiscal sponsorship and ongoing training and mentoring. These initiatives provide multi-benefit equitable solutions for neighborhood beauty, connectivity, safety, and health. They also provide outdoor classrooms and green jobs.
Our network of Community Leaders in North Richmond receive project-based stipends for their neighborhood- and community-level involvement in urban greening (like tree planting), habitat restoration (planting and maintaining sidewalk pollinator gardens), climate adaptation, and stormwater management projects. Through taking part, these leaders build their capacity to engage in meaningful participatory planning projects. For example, the North Richmond Shoreline Adaptation Project, aimed at mitigating sea-level rise and flooding and creating greater community amenities to enjoy this beautiful shoreline.
The Watershed Project has chosen to work to protect and educate about the San Francisco Bay Area because we love it! It’s a region of unparalleled beauty and significance. We are motivated to protect it and to share its wonders with kids and adults of all ages through education, green infrastructure, and numerous opportunities to volunteer for activities that promote a healthy watershed, equitable access to green spaces, and neighborhood beautification.
The Watershed Project Board of Directors has a critical role to play in shaping and leading TWP over the next twenty-five years. We celebrated our first 25 years in 2022, a major milestone, and we are meeting the current moment by promoting nature-based solutions to our growing climate crisis and our community health. Our Board functions as a working board providing strategic direction, volunteering, fundraising, networking, and fiduciary and organizational policy oversight. Get to know our current board members, potentially your future colleagues, here!
We’re looking for a talented new cohort of members to join our wonderful existing board to provide the vision, leadership, and connections to guide The Watershed Project to an even more impactful future. Over two and a half decades, our organization has grown from not only nurturing watershed health but also centering the communities within our watersheds, especially those most under-invested in and impacted by environmental inequities. We want to attract a true diversity of members, and have some resources available for board training for those who are interested but feel they may need or want build their skills in order to take an active part in TWP’s board of directors.
In terms of where The Watershed Project is at as an organization, in the last 3 years our budget has nearly doubled, from $550,000 to close to $1,000,000, and we are well-positioned to keep growing at a modest pace. We are working to diversify our funding sources, which are largely government contracts and grants, supplemented by foundation grants and a modest sponsorship program. TWP has historically had a small individual donor program that we are also working to build at a slower pace. A trusted external fundraising consultant has supported our fundraising efforts over the last 3.5 years.
TWP’s staff has grown over the past 2 years as we have added several positions and gained full funding for the Green Collar Corps workforce development program. There will undoubtedly be leadership shifts over the next five years, and we just received a capacity-building grant to add an executive/administrative support position. We are considering at what level to hire that post.
One area in which we have not had a lot of capacity is in communications, although we’ve been consistent in our social media this year. As a result, we have many stories that are yet to be effectively told. TWP enjoys strong goodwill in the community and in some ways we are one of the best-kept NGO secrets in the East Bay. Our small but mighty team punches above its weight, and the more visibility we have the more support we’ll be able to garner.
The Watershed Project dreams of a world in which we all share a sense of the beauty and joy of nature’s rhythms and processes in our local watersheds. Where we share a deep personal connection with the earth and work together to nourish a healthy San Francisco Bay watershed.
If all of this seems like a place where you can make an exciting contribution, we welcome your application! Providing as much information as possible will help us in considering it.
Please help us spread the word widely in the San Francisco Bay Area and especially the East Bay and Richmond!
OUR COMMITMENT TO EQUITY & RACIAL JUSTICE
The Watershed Project was founded with the intention of connecting people with their watersheds. Over the years, we have seen how individual and community-level action is key to watershed health. We have also seen the inequity of access to healthy watersheds. We acknowledge that underserved communities are disproportionately overburdened by layers of inequity. Black, Indigenous, and low-income communities are disproportionately impacted by industrial and transportation pollution and are especially vulnerable to climate change. These natural environments are often over-exploited, neglected, uninviting, and inaccessible to the people that live in their proximity and to visitors. We envision a future where we all have equitable access to a healthy environment that provides clean air and water.
As a non-profit, we work toward improving these conditions locally, and strive to put ourselves at the forefront of advocating and protecting the rights of communities that have access to less resources, including governmental resources. The Watershed Project centers our work on solutions with a mindful approach to building partnerships that actively support leaders in communities where we work. We provide resources to these impacted communities advocating for their own, and we work with governments to reduce such disparities and promote equitable and sustainable education, development projects, funding, and policies. However, authentic participation and partnership require mutual trust, built through meaningful relationships. The Watershed Project seeks feedback from community members and partners to ensure that our programs invite participation at each step of the process.
We recognize that existing systems, including the systems The Watershed Project works within the most—education, community organizing, and advocacy—are inequitable. We seek to decrease barriers that keep people from fully participating in The Watershed Project’s work, and we aim to foster a welcoming and healthy work environment for our staff, encouraging equal contribution in planning and decision-making of all of our staff.
The Watershed Project values diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our work. We believe that diversity makes us stronger and more innovative, and we prioritize connection, collaboration, empathy, and compassion to achieve this goal. We recognize that building meaningful relationships with people from diverse backgrounds requires listening, learning, and understanding. By embracing these principles, TWP aims to build a more equitable and inclusive world where people from all backgrounds feel valued and respected.
WHO WE’RE LOOKING FOR
TWP is seeking individuals who have the skills, abilities, and willingness to:
- Listen, analyze, and think clearly and creatively;
- Work well with people individually and in a group;
- Ask questions, take responsibility, and follow through on a given assignment;
- Open doors in the community and assist with community-building efforts;
- Develop certain skills, such as to: cultivate and solicit funds, cultivate and recruit board members and other volunteers, read and understand financial statements;
- Prepare for and attend board meetings (generally bi-monthly);
- Commit to a full term.
The Watershed Project’s work is guided by these principles: