Collaborative Fund Manager

Wabanaki Commission on Land and Stewardship

Opening posted: 05/08/2024 | Expires: 06/14/2024

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The Collaborative Fund Manager will work with the Wabanaki Commission on Land and Stewardship, Commission staff, Wabanaki Nations, Communities and citizens to manage and develop the $1.5 million Wolankeyutomone kisi apaciyewik “Let’s take good care of what has returned” Fund. The purpose of this fund, whose assets have been raised by land trusts, conservation groups, foundations, and individual donors with coordination by First Light, is to repair, rebuild and sustain Wabanaki relationship, kinship, access to place, and to directly help Wabanaki people and institutions to fulfill their care-taking responsibilities of lands and waters across Wabanaki Traditional Territory, in what is now known as Maine. 

This newly created position calls for a person who is innovative and able to work independently, an excellent communicator, has a solid familiarity with Wabanaki people and land-based cultures, and a strong interest in Tribal collaborative development and grantmaking. Collaborative development and grantmaking for us means deepening relationships with partners built on trust and a common vision, while making it easier for all to pursue our shared goals.

The position will involve establishing and maintaining communication lines and relationships with Wabanaki communities to ensure Tribal priorities and Tribal processes are followed for all grantmaking and development work. It will also involve learning or having a solid understanding of collaborative grantmaking, non-profit development, and accounting best practices.

This position is part of the Wabanaki Commission on Land and Stewardship, which represents the five Wabanaki Tribal governments (Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians; Mi’kmaq Nation; Passamaquoddy Tribe at Motahkmikuk; Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik; and Penobscot Nation) in what is now Maine.  Its mission is to improve the health and well-being of Wabanaki people through a sustained effort to expand our access, management, and ownership of lands to practice our land-based cultures across Wabanaki homeland. 

This position offers the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to an important body of work as the Wabanaki Commission seeks to regain access to culturally important lands, while the conservation community in Maine continues to learn to work in partnership with Wabanaki Tribal Nations. As such, the role represents a learning opportunity, with mentorship from both conservation and Tribal leaders from within the Wabanaki and First Light communities.  

The Collaborative Fund Manager will be employed by the Wabanaki Commission on Land and Stewardship. The full-time position is funded for two years.

The Collaborative Fund Manager must be able to reside within a reasonable proximity of the Wabanaki Communities in what is now Maine (e.g., ideally in Washington, Aroostook, or Penobscot Counties), and will be expected to be able to travel among these Wabanaki communities regularly and throughout the state as grants to support Wabanaki land work come online. The Manager must be capable of remote work and may work from a home or a remote office.

Essential Job Functions

  1. Coordinate Fund development with the Commissioners, other Commission staff, First Light staff, and the First Light Fund Working Group.
  2. Establish financial protocols reflecting non-profit best practices.
  3. Have a willing ability to work autonomously while also collaborating and staying in communication with multiple entities including Commissioners, Tribal governments, Tribal citizens, and various nonprofit organizations.
  4. Follow Commission appointments to create, convene, and support the Fund Advisory Council.
  5. Participate in monthly and other Commission meetings, reporting on the status of the Fund, grantmaking protocols, and grant activities.
  6. Develop a system for receiving and reviewing grant proposals.
  7. Communicate often and transparently about the Fund to Wabanaki and non-Native people.
  8. Build and maintain relationships directly with Tribes and Tribal NGOs—to facilitate applications to the Fund. Part of relationship building is to help applicants through the application process.
  9. Assure that grant-making meets the policies and aims set by the Commission and follows the Commission’s By-laws.
  10. Perform due diligence, keep careful records, and develop a transferable digital and paper filing system for every and all grants and development work as well as processes developed by the Wabanaki Commission on Land and Stewardship.

Education and Experience

Education and/or experience in a field such as natural resources, business, law, real estate, or communications is required. Specific experience in development and collaborative grant-making, project management and related fields is preferred. Experience or education in Wabanaki or Tribal culture/studies also preferred.


  • Energetic desire to develop grant-making processes that help Tribal communities maintain and re-establish care-taking responsibilities to recently recovered lands.
  • Experience in collaborative grant-making is strongly preferred. This could include individual or team experience in identifying, negotiating, and managing or receiving grants from foundations.
  • Cultural humility, and respect and experience in working with a variety of diverse partners and individuals.
  • Ability to manage grants to Wabanaki Tribal governments, Non-Profits, and citizens.
  • Strong organizational, planning, and multi-tasking skills with attention to detail and follow-up.
  • Interest in developing and maintaining relationships with Foundations, individuals, and other funders, as well as with Tribal governments, Non-profits, and individuals.
  • Patience and persistence to accomplish projects while navigating delays and challenges with grace, particularly when working with diverse timelines.
  • Ability to transition between the small details of grant-making and development work and the big picture of communicating with partners about this work.
  • Demonstrated capacity and willingness to learn new skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to communicate in writing or speaking.
  • Experience with remote work preferred.
  • Proficiency in word processing, email, accounting/grant management software and basic databases.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands:

Office work is performed in a normal office environment not subject to extremes of noise, temperature, odor, etc. The ideal candidate will have regular access to a car to build and maintain direct, in-person relationships with Wabanaki communities.  While not required, a candidate may be capable of walking lands and boundaries and occasionally paddling or riding in a boat to engage partners with their land-based work. As such, field work may be performed outside in all weather conditions. Occasional evening or weekend meetings will be necessary.


$60,000 – $65,000 annual salary, plus paid time off. We will provide financial support for healthcare and retirement savings up to 10% of the salary.

How to Apply

To apply, please send us your responses to the following questions:

  1. What does collaborative grant-making mean to you, and how do you see it operating in a Wabanaki Tribal context?
  2. How does your previous work and personal experience prepare you to help the Wabanaki Commission support land recovery and access work?

Please take as much space as you need to respond to these questions—you may feel you need anywhere from a paragraph to a page to convey your response. We are interested in hearing your big-picture perspective as well as specific contributions that relate to this role.

To submit your application, please send your question responses and a 1-page resume to by Friday, June 14, 2024.

The Hiring Committee will review applications and set up first-round Zoom interviews to begin in late June. Second-round interviews will ideally occur in person in mid-July. During second-round interviews, applicants will have a chance to meet with representatives from the Wabanaki Commission, as well as staff at First Light.

We intend to complete the hiring process in late July.

Contacts for Questions About this Position

Darren Ranco, Wabanaki Commission,

Axandra Boselli, New Learning Journey, .

Inclusivity Statement

Much of our work seeks to reshape the legacy of conservation. As part of that, we hope to recruit, mentor, and support employees in this work who bring different backgrounds, stories, and experiences to this role. We encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.

We offer accommodations for individual needs in our job application process. Please send a note to Axandra Boselli to discuss how we can meet your needs to apply for this position.

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