The Russell Family Foundation is pleased to announce its search for two new board members to join its Board of Directors and two new Environmental Education and Food for Climate Solutions Grant Committee members. This is an exciting opportunity to participate in a family foundation with a regional and national reputation in its next phase of mission-focused, community-driven work addressing the climate crisis while prioritizing equity, justice, and belonging.
Mission and Guiding Values
Driven by a mission to invest in people and places to advance environmental sustainability and address the climate crisis, TRFF seeks a thriving, equitable, and sustainable Earth and focuses on its guiding values:
- Putting relationships at the center of our work
- Prioritizing equity, justice, and belonging in all that we do
- Caring for the natural world
- Being courageous and taking risks while continually learning
- Building trust through transparency and integrity
TRFF has directed its giving and programming through its values for over two decades, prioritizing community investment in grassroots leaders and environmental sustainability. During that time, TRFF has transitioned its investment portfolio to be nearly 95% values aligned. TRFF is committed to achieving net zero by 2030, which includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions across our entire portfolio consistent with a maximum temperature rise of 1.5°C. A brief overview of the foundation’s first nearly 25 years can be viewed here.
Current Program Areas
Catalytic Climate Finance – TRFF is committed to achieving net zero by 2030, which includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions across their entire portfolio consistent with a maximum temperature rise of 1.5°C. As part of the commitment, TRFF signed on to the UN-convened Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance (NZAOA), a member-led initiative of institutional investors committed to transitioning their investment portfolios to net zero GHG emissions by 2050.
This commitment is a natural and essential step for TRFF as an original signatory to the DivestInvest Philanthropy Pledge in 2014. TRFF joined 50 other foundations to sign the pledge at that time, divesting $10 million of the investment portfolio from fossil fuel-related investments. This milestone began a growing movement for TRFF and others to show that climate change isn’t simply an environmental issue; there are obvious economic and natural consequences of a warming world.
Environmental Education – Aimed at connecting youth to the environment in ways that inspire them to become environmental stewards and champions, this program provides support to organizations that offer outdoor environmental education experiences for youth in grades 5-12 across Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, Jefferson, Mason, and South King Counties in Washington state. The program has awarded more than $14M in grants since 2001.
Food for Climate Solutions – Addressing climate change while fostering a thriving regional food system. TRFF’s vision is to address the negative impacts of climate change while fostering a thriving local and regional food system and more equitable access to local, healthy, and sustainably grown food. To do this, TRFF will invest in organizations that are addressing farmland stewardship, increasing the sustainability of farm businesses, supporting farmers, strengthening the regional food system infrastructure, and promoting the adoption of climate-resilient, organic, and regenerative farming practices. This program was launched in 2023.
Jane’s Fellowship Program –A year-long program that brings together a diverse group of leaders actively serving Pierce County and addressing a wide range of community challenges. Jane’s Fellowship Program aims to deepen leadership skills, expand perspectives, and encourage equitable collaborations for grassroots and community leaders. The program is now in its eleventh cohort and has 115 program alums.
Core Competencies of the New Community Board Member(s) and Grants Committee Member(s)
TRFF welcomes Community Board Member and Environmental Education and Food for Climate Solutions Grant Committee candidates with a knowledge of and passion for addressing the climate crisis while prioritizing equity, justice, and belonging. As an organization deeply committed to diversity of experience and ideas, TRFF values the broad range of personal and professional backgrounds and perspectives represented on its Board. Ideal candidates will have diverse experiences in their background, combining work in the private, public, philanthropic, and/or nonprofit sectors.
Specific Information on being a Community Board Member
- Being an active, engaged Board Member of TRFF requires the commitment of time relative to the season of work for the board. Membership requires a total commitment of approximately ten days annually. Board activities include three one-day board meetings, one two-day board retreat per year, relevant committee service meetings, and other staff-board activities as appropriate. Many meetings can be attended via Zoom, although in-person is preferred for the two-day board retreat typically held in September each year.
- Community Board Members are full-voting board members.
- Community Board Members are supported to participate in conferences, forums, and other activities that deepen their knowledge of the Foundation’s work and opportunities and where they may engage as foundation Members in other contexts of service to the foundation’s goals.
- Foundation-related expenses are reimbursed. Community Board Members will annually receive either an allocation to recommend up to $25,000 in grants that fall within the Foundation’s guidelines or $25,000 in direct compensation or a combination of grants and compensation as desired by the Community Board Member.
- Length of term is three years and may be renewed twice (maximum of nine consecutive years).
Specific Information on being an Environmental Education and Food for Climate Solutions Grant Committee Member
- Being an active, engaged Committee Member of TRFF requires participation in quarterly meetings (typically 2-2.5 hours each) and optional grantee site visits in conjunction with TRFF Board meetings. Preparation for these meetings includes up to one hour of pre-reading.
- Committee Members are full-voting committee members.
- Community Members are supported to participate in conferences, forums, and other activities that deepen their knowledge of the program area.Foundation-related business expenses are reimbursed. Independent committee members will receive an allocation to recommend up to $5,000 in grants that fall within the Foundation’s guidelines or $5,000 in direct compensation as desired by the committee member.
- Length of term is three years and may be renewed twice (maximum of nine consecutive years).
The Board places significant importance on demonstrated skills to function as a fiduciary in decision-making, collaboration, goal-setting, communication, and board governance. These skills include the following professional and personal qualities and characteristics:
Passion for the Mission and Values of The Russell Family Foundation
The new member(s) will approach the mission of investing in people and places to advance environmental sustainability and address the climate crisis with solid values of putting relationships at the center of our work while prioritizing equity, justice, and belonging. As bold movers, they will embrace ideas, are courageous, and are willing to take risks while continually learning. They will find inspiration in TRFF’s commitment to building trust through transparency and integrity.
Relevant Expertise and Experience
As active contributors, the new member(s) will be intellectually curious, able to offer probing questions, and comfortable examining alternate points of view respectfully and collaboratively. They will be interested in maximizing total portfolio activation (using all philanthropic tools) where possible. The new member(s) will ideally bring experience in one or more of the Foundation’s focus areas or geographic regions, with the ability to engage networks on behalf of the Foundation.
Leading Through Influence
Collaborative in nature, the new member(s) will exhibit a thoughtful approach to working across the organization through their service. They will develop strong relationships and enjoy serving and working with people from diverse cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds to further the Foundation’s mission. They will respectfully push the boundaries of TRFF’s work and challenge the perspective of others to encourage mindful risk-taking, innovation, and proactivity.
Instructions for application to follow:
- View Board Member Job Description and Environmental Education and Food for Climate Solutions Grant Committee Job Description
- Email a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your application should include the following topics:
- Why you are interested in serving as a member of The Russell Family Foundation’s Board of Directors or Environmental Education and Food for Climate Solutions Grant Committee.
- Briefly outline your unique contributions as a Board Member or Environmental Education and Food for Climate Solutions Grant Committee Member.
- Briefly describe your experience in any of TRFF’s program areas, impact investing, or regional community efforts.
The Foundation is accepting applications through January 8, 2024.