Environmental Works Community Design Center - Executive Director

Seattle, Washington, United States



The Organization

Environmental Works Community Design Center (EW) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community-based architectural firm that provides sustainable architectural, landscape architectural, and planning services to low-income and under-served communities to empower Washington’s most vulnerable people and communities to create the spaces they need to succeed. EW provides feasibility/pre-development studies and complete architectural services for human services agencies, community facilities, affordable housing providers, and public art projects.

Environmental Works was founded in 1970 as a community design center, and 50 years later retains a deep commitment to community design. Community design is a collaborative design process that engages the community in critical planning and design decisions about their project’s layout, materials, and appearance. Community design empowers end users and creates culturally responsive spaces. It builds community among neighbors and peers, strengthening relationships and building bridges– especially valuable during these divisive times.

Working in both the public and private sectors, the staff of Environmental Works understand the need for community involvement, the impacts of having multiple funding sources, and ways of working effectively with pre-established budgets.

Environmental Works is based in Seattle’s Capitol Hill, has a team of 28, and annual budget of $4.3M. EW is committed to creating quality architecture and landscape architecture and sustainable communities, while making effective use of capital funds and contributed grants and ensuring that the ultimate social purpose of the building is well-served in each architectural design. To learn more about EW, visit www.eworks.org.

The Position

The Executive Director (ED) is responsible for overall strategic and day-to-day management and operations of EW, ensuring that the organization succeeds in fulfilling its mission. The ED leads with an equity lens and continues to build the organization’s community design center with a commitment to social justice. In this, the ED is a team builder and demonstrates and models respectful interactions with all stakeholders internally and externally.

  • The ED oversees and manages all aspects of the organization including design and program delivery, finance and budget management, business development, fund development, administration, facilities, and staffing.
  • The ED fosters a culture of design excellence, integrity, and positive energy, and ensures that the organization follows all laws, rules, and regulations under which it operates and receives funds.
  • The ED partners with, reports to, and is accountable to the Board of Directors, currently at 11 members, and fosters the relationship between the Board and the staff of 28 architects, landscape architects, designers, and administrators.

EW is working through a thoughtful planned transition with the search consultants, ED Succession Committee and current 10-year ED who will be supportive in helping set up the next leader for success.

This position is an excellent opportunity for an experienced leader with a passion and commitment to empowering vulnerable groups through community design and advocating for those who do not have a say in their ecosystem. EW is unique as the only non-profit design firm in the area focused on only working with non-profit clients. This, along with 50 years of demonstrated impact on the lives of those most vulnerable, a mission-driven staff, dedicated and engaged board, and committed clients and partners, makes for an exciting and gratifying environment in which to lead and grow.


Compensation and Benefits

This is a full time, exempt position with a salary range of $120,000 - $150,000 depending on experience, plus bonus structure. EW also offers a generous benefits package including: employer paid medical and vision coverage; life insurance, long term disability insurance; paid time off that includes vacation, sick leave, twelve (12) paid holidays; 16 hours of paid time annually for volunteering; a 403(b) with employer match.




Candidate materials are reviewed on an on-going basis and candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as is practical. The Lead Search Consultant will begin initial interviews by mid-June.

Please submit a resume and a two-page (or less) cover letter addressed to the Search Committee.

Please upload the resume and cover letter as a single, combined WORD or PDF document.

You may direct questions to Liz Swanson at liz@valtasgroup.com or 425.761.6721.

Environmental Works has an engaging and equitable culture that empowers development of well-rounded professionals and acts as a model for positive change in the world. Our work is fostered by organized processes that are collaborative and transparent to design creative solutions. Consideration for employment will not be based on a person’s race, color, religion, gender (including gender identity), sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, age, or disability.