Tanka Fund seeks an Executive Director to lead and grow the organization and its programs.

Do you want to lead an innovative, solutions-driven organization focused on bringing buffalo, health and prosperity back to Indian Country? Do you want to support reservation families in creating opportunity while restoring the grasslands and fighting climate change?

Tanka Fund, a South Dakota nonprofit organization, is seeking an Executive Director to lead the organization’s growth. This is work to create systemic change from the root of the grass to the community to the nation. Join our team and apply for this job opening today!


Tanka Fund is on a mission to return buffalo to Native lands, lives and economies. Our long- term goal is to return buffalo to one million acres and renew health and prosperity in reservation communities. Our strategy is to partner with Native buffalo ranchers to break through the obstacles they face in growing herds that restore healthy grasslands, healthy people and healthy local economies.

Tanka Fund operates three strategic, interrelated programs to fulfill our mission. These include direct aid to buffalo ranchers through grants, the development of a buffalo caretakers cooperative called Tanka Resilient Agriculture, and a national Tanka Returns campaign to engage the public in supporting the buffalo’s return to Native communities.

Position Overview

The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors, and is responsible for the organization's consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives. This role demands significant fundraising and organizational development expertise as well as a deep commitment to Tanka Fund’s work to build regenerative Native buffalo herds that foster healthy Native lands, people and economies.

The Executive Director may work remotely. Currently, two Tanka Fund consultants assist the Board of Directors in advancing Tanka Fund’s strategies and programs. The Executive Director will supervise these consultants to build organizational capacity, infrastructure and resources.

Key Responsibilities

Financial Performance and Viability
The Executive Director is responsible for:

  • Leading all foundation, government and individual donor fundraising and developing the resources necessary to actualize Tanka Fund’s mission and goals.
  • The fiscal integrity and health of Tanka Fund, developing and maintaining sound financial practices, ensuring maximum resource utilization and maintaining the organization in a positive financial position.
  • Preparing a proposed annual budget for the Board of Directors and ensuring that the organization operates within the approved budget and budget guidelines.


Organization Mission and Strategy
The Executive Director is responsible for:

  • Overseeing strategic planning in collaboration with the Board of Directors and assuring that the organization has a long-range strategy toward which it makes consistent and timely progress.
  • Developing and implementing Tanka Fund’s programs and campaigns to carry out the organization’s mission to return buffalo to Native lands, lives and economies.
  • Developing partnerships and sound working relationships with community groups and aligned regional and national organizations to build capacity and engagement.
  • Leading Tanka Fund in a manner that supports the organization’s mission and core values.


Marketing and Communications
The Executive Director is responsible for:

  • Leading the marketing strategies and activities of the organization, including promoting programs, achievements and the stories of our Native buffalo partners and engaging the public in supporting Tanka Fund’s work.
  • Maintaining a working knowledge of the history and significant developments in the fields of regenerative agriculture, buffalo restoration, indigenous food systems and food sovereignty as well as overarching trends in philanthropy and USDA programs.
  • Acting as a spokesperson for the organization to agencies, organizations, and the general public via media, conferences, events, and meetings.


Organization Operations
The Executive Director is responsible for:

  • Effective administration of operations.
  • Signing all notes, agreements, and other instruments made and entered into and on behalf of the organization.
  • Maintaining official records and documents, and ensure compliance with federal, state and local regulations.


Board Governance
The Executive Director is responsible for:

  • Communicating effectively with the Board of Directors and providing, in a timely and accurate manner, all information necessary for the Board to function properly and to make informed decisions, including information on the financial health of the organization and all important factors influencing it.
  • Providing leadership in developing program, organizational, and financial plans with the Board of Directors, and carrying out plans and policies authorized by the board.


Building Capacity
The Executive Director is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that appropriate scopes of work are developed for consultants and deliverables are achieved.
  • Contracting, hiring and the release of all personnel, including consultants, staff and volunteers.
  • Maintaining a climate that attracts, keeps, and motivates top quality people.


Professional Qualifications

  • A bachelor’s degree
  • Transparent and high integrity leadership
  • Three or more years nonprofit management and development experience.
  • Solid budget management skills, including budget preparation, analysis, decision-making and reporting.
  • Strong organizational abilities including strategic planning and program development.
  • Knowledge of effective marketing and storytelling strategies to reach and engage a broad audience.
  • Skills to collaborate with and engage partners, allies and donors; ability to interface with diverse volunteer and donor groups.
  • Strong communication skills and public speaking ability.
  • Proficiency writing grant proposals and fundraising and marketing materials; demonstrated success with individual donor campaigns is a plus.
  • Demonstrated ability to oversee and collaborate with a team.


Tanka Fund offers a competitive salary and a benefits stipend.

How to Apply

Please send your cover letter and resume to info@tankafund.org by Monday, March 11th, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. Central Time. Your cover letter will be considered your first interview, so please tell us why you are the person to lead Tanka Fund at this pivotal and exciting time in the organization’s growth.