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Executive Director

Seattle International Foundation

Executive Director, Seattle International Foundation

Full time
Location: The position can be filled in Seattle or in other locales.



Vision – We are guided by a vision of just, peaceful, and prosperous societies in Central America.

Mission – To champion good governance and equity in Central America through rule of law and a robust civil society.

Seattle International Foundation (SIF) was founded in 2008 as a supporting organization to Seattle Foundation for the dual mission of increasing and enhancing international philanthropy and development from the Pacific Northwest, as well as alleviating poverty in Central America. SIF managed that dual mission, including its Central America program, until 2018, when the organization refined its strategy to focus 100% of its work on the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras), Mexico and Nicaragua – countries with growing political, social and economic interdependence with the US. This strategic shift has ultimately allowed SIF to increase the efficiency, impact, and sustainability of its efforts.

Since its inception, SIF has granted more than $24 million to 243 high impact organizations in 81 countries. SIF’s current grantmaking strategy includes three primary programs: Independent Journalism Fund, Anti-Impunity Fund, and the Central America and Mexico Youth Fund. In addition to its grantmaking programs, SIF implements key initiatives in the region, including the Central America Donors Forum, Donor Roundtable, Centroamérica Adelante leadership program, intermediary Donor Services, and activities through its Central America in Washington, D.C. program. More details on SIF’s programs and grantmaking can be found here.

To strengthen critical and strategic actors and spaces in pursuit of its vision of just, peaceful and prosperous societies in Central America, SIF works within four focus areas: strengthening organized civil society; mitigating the drivers of forced migration; amplifying the impact and reach of independent media; and reinforcing the need for good governance and rule of law in the region. You can find more information about each of these focus areas here.


Key strategies of the four focus areas include:

• Committing sustained funding directly to civil society organizations in Central America and Mexico that address pervasive challenges in the region and work toward progressive change

• Convening key stakeholders committed to the region to facilitate conversation, promote collaboration, and build networks that drive positive and lasting political, economic, and social change.

• Conducting and supporting relevant research that encourages dialogue, promotes further analysis, and informs social action.

•Supporting and facilitating peer-to-peer leadership development, networking, and learning opportunities to empower emerging and seasoned change-makers.

You can find more general information about SIF here.


The Executive Director (ED) leads SIF’s efforts to further its vision and meet its goals for building a more just and equitable Central America. The ED works closely with the Board of Directors and the Foundation’s talented staff (located in the US, Mexico, and Central America) to fulfill the Foundation’s mission and build upon four strategic priorities across its programs. The ED also works to build partnerships and engage donors to co-invest in critical change initiatives across the region.

As the external face of the Foundation, the ED represents SIF’s work with civil society change- makers, business leaders, the media, other donor partners, and at convenings locally, nationally, and internationally. The ED engages in public dialogue with opinion shapers and policy makers to influence the prevailing narratives about democracy and rule of law, migration, equity, and the role of civil society in Central America.

Primary responsibilities include:

  • Setting the vision and strategic direction for SIF
  • Leading the staff and team management
  • Forging strategic partnerships and fundraising for key programs
  • Modeling and inspiring effective philanthropy in Central America
  • Organizing and conducting convenings
  • Overseeing Board relations
  • Budgeting and fiscal management.

The ED has direct supervisory responsibility for a Management Team of four (4) directors and a Change Team of four (4) with a roster of seventeen (17) budgeted staff positions currently. SIF’s 2020 total grant-making and operating budget was approximately $4.5M. The position can be filled in Seattle or in other locales.



There have been a number of changes at SIF over the last few years including the departure of the organization’s founders from the board, the transition of its previous Executive Director in 2020, a refined strategic focus of SIF’s grants and programming in Central America and Mexico, expanded policy advocacy work in Washington, DC, and the COVID-19 pandemic, among others. As such, the new ED will focus their early efforts on:

  • Connecting and genuinely engaging with every staff member and board member to form productive working relationships characterized by trust, transparency, and mutual respect.
  • Meeting with and forming relationships with all current funders.
  • Getting involved with and playing a leadership role in SIF’s on-going efforts to identify and cultivate new funders to expand the organization’s revenue and ensure long-term financial stability.
  • Continuing SIF’s efforts to revise, standardize, and communicate to staff internal processes, systems, and decision making with an equity and inclusion lens.
  • Fostering an anti-racist culture of care internally.
  • Identifying and implementing trust-based and decolonized philanthropic practices across all programs.

Longer-term priorities include:

  • Creating and implementing a comprehensive communications plan that articulates, quantifies, and amplifies the impact of SIF’s work in supporting on-the-ground movements in Central America and Mexico with the intention of attracting more collaborative partnerships and funders.
  • Creating internal collaborative and creative spaces that encourage staff to identify and implement new positive ways to operate and conceive of SIF’s work.
  • Developing and executing an endowment campaign to establish a stable, reliable funding base for administrative costs.
  • Partnering with the funder community to increase philanthropic investment in Central America and Mexico.
  • Working with the staff, board, and other stakeholders to solidify practices of collaborative reflection and learning from implementation to strategy to make continuous improvements for the next chapter in SIF’s evolution that clearly aligns with the organization’s values and vision for the region. These practices should be based on the knowledge and expertise of grassroots communities and leaders and should articulate ways for SIF to collaborate internally across programs and initiatives to deepen the impact of the work.


Candidates will be evaluated on the full range of their lived and learned experience, professional background, volunteer activities and direct and transferable skills. Candidates MUST be fluent communicators in both Spanish and English. SIF seeks candidates with a compelling combination of demonstrated experience and skills in some, or all of the following areas:

  • Experience serving as a CEO, Executive Director, Managing Director, Program Director or senior staff member of an organization, division, or department of significant size. A record of management excellence and operational and fiscal leadership skills honed in social impact, mission-driven organizations, preferably in a philanthropic, government, or non-profit organization where grantmaking has been a central mechanism. Exposure to fundraising, endowment campaigns, and/ or capital campaigns, which may come from board, volunteer, or staff service, would be a plus.
  • Candidates must bring a deep connection and/or roots and experience in Central America and Mexico and a deep knowledge and understanding of the social and political landscape of Central America and Mexico, particularly in areas of human rights and civil society. In addition, candidates with an understanding and experience in system change efforts, leadership development and the power of networks are preferred.
  • Experience in multiple sectors and work in cross- sector roles is a plus; a successful track record of fundraising and development partnerships with foundations is highly desirable.


  • Good governance and equity in Central America and Mexico through support for rule of law and a robust civil society.
  • Improve human rights and strengthen civil society to reduce oppression and enhance the lives of youth, LGBTQIA+ peoples, indigenous peoples, reproductive justice, and women.
  • Just, peaceful, and prosperous societies in Central America and Mexico.
  • Anti-racism, social and racial justice, gender equality, accessibility and disability inclusion, human rights, and decolonizing wealth.
  • Seek and consider others’ input when making significant decisions on behalf of the organization.
  • Provide opportunities for professional development and on-going training and education for staff.
  • Transparent communication among and between various constituencies such as staff, board, funders, partners, and other stakeholders.
  • Compassionate, ethical, inclusive, and open leadership.


  • Lead operational activities while maintaining a focus on the broader vision.
  • Articulate a clear leadership philosophy and demonstrate effective leadership practices.
  • Communicate effectively in both Spanish and English, orally and in writing, in a variety of settings across varying cultures and audiences.
  • Work with a broad array of external stakeholders including elected and appointed officials in Washington, D.C., elected officials and civic leaders in Central America and Mexico, funders and donors, leaders of partner organizations (including United Nations agencies and other NGOs), and journalists both in the US and in the region SIF serves.
  • Think creatively and inspire others within the organization to innovate and excel.
  • Lead with the highest standards of honesty, integrity and transparency and exhibit unquestionable character driven by a strong set of values and ethics.
  • Remain both accessible and approachable to staff members, board members, donors, partners, and other stakeholders.
  • Catalyze efforts to advance anti-racism through a decolonizing approach to program operations and grantmaking.
  • Strengthen and nurture the SIF team based on effective leadership practices and anti-racism values, with a feminist perspective.
  • Influence multi-lateral development agencies and official development aid by donor countries.
  • Lead by example, set clear expectations, and establish systems for shared learning, collaborative decision-making, and high positive impact.
  • Effectively manage staff in various geographic locations in the U.S. and other countries.
  • Travel domestically and internationally while observing all current COVID-related restrictions.

Other qualities, skills, and experience:

• High emotional intelligence

• Intellectual curiosity

• Thought leadership

• Board relations

• Budgeting and fiscal management

• Compassion and empathy

• Active listening

• Strategic thinking

• Critical thinking skills

• Consummate networking skills

• Bachelor’s degree and advanced degree preferred. Commensurate level of education and experience will be considered in lieu of degree.


Annual salary range is $155,000 – $185,500 in US Dollars or equivalent value if based outside the United States, DOE, plus benefits.



The priority deadline to submit application materials is May 17, 2021. Candidate materials will be reviewed on an on-going basis with interviews with Valtas, recruiting company hired by SIF, beginning by mid April. Please upload your resume and a cover letter in one combined DOC or PDF file by May 17, 2021 to the following URL:

In your cover letter please describe how your professional experience and passion aligns with the Executive Director position and the mission of Seattle International Foundation. For more information, feel free to contact Ed Rogan ( Phone: +1-206-697-8428)



SIF provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, marital status, amnesty or status as a covered veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws. SIF complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.