Development Lead

 FT/Year-round remote position based in Maine

+/- 40 hours per week 


Development Lead 


The development lead is responsible for fundraising and philanthropy for First Light. Responsibilities will include all aspects of seeking out, creating, and following up on grants and individual large donations, as well as the attendant record-keeping and communication necessary for overall smooth operations.  All core team members are employees of New Learning Journey, the 501c3 fiscal agent of First Light and other partnerships. Existing core team members are Ellie Oldach, Peter Forbes, and Brett Ciccotelli who focus on the First Light’s themes of relearning, recentering and returning. 

First Light is a collaboration in Wabanaki Territory (what is now Maine) between hundreds of leaders, 65 land-focused organizations and five Wabanaki Tribal communities: Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians; Mi’kmaq Nation; Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township; Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik; and Penobscot Nation. Together, the First Light community works to re-learn history, recenter Indigenous voice, and return land, resources and power to Wabanaki Tribes. We take direction and guidance from the Wabanaki Commission on Land and Stewardship. This position offers an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to land justice in the Northeast. We encourage you to learn more about our work at

The development lead is a full-time position.


This position is deeply rooted in Wabanaki Territory in what is now Maine, and it is important for core staff team members to live here. First Light core staff work with partners across the state, and we balance remote and in-person meetings in a hybrid work set-up. First Light’s administrative functions are based out of the nonprofit New Learning Journey, in Vermont, so we anticipate the Development Lead to spend time in Vermont for onboarding and training at the initiation of this position. 

Essential responsibilities and skills 

  • Manage an unrestricted grant portfolio of $1 million for First Light. Submit approximately 12 foundation proposals per year and do the necessary research to develop approximately 4 new leads per year.
  • In collaboration with other core team members, research and submit grant reports on all of the above.
  • Working with other core team members, advance an existing capital campaign for First Light and our Wabanaki partners. 
  • Working with core team members and partners, identify sources to specifically fund land acquisition and access projects.
  • Build solid relationships with various volunteers, working groups, and alumni who are the backbone of First Light.  
  • Build solid relationships with other core team members that enable graceful collaboration around program advancement that is reflected in trust-building, accountability and strong performance.
  • Perform due diligence, keep careful records and develop a transferable digital and paper filing system for all aspects of development.
  • Proficient in Google Workspace and Client Relations Managers (we use Bloomerang).
  • Comfortable with database management and organization.

Education and Experience 

Education or experience in philanthropy and fundraising, land justice and conservation work, project management, or related fields is required. Education or experience in Wabanaki or Tribal culture/studies, community development, social justice, education, communication, or related fields is preferred.  


  • Energetic desire to develop relationships that help Tribal communities recover lands. 
  • Passion for social justice and directly supporting these leaders.
  • Cultural humility, and respect and experience in working with a variety of diverse partners and individuals. 
  • Ability to manage a large and diverse project load (including a portfolio of 12 foundations, 25 individual donors), complete assignments, update partners, and work within established budgets. 
  • Strong organizational, planning, and multi-tasking skills with attention to detail and follow-up. 
  • Interest in learning more about land justice, facilitation, collaborative work. 
  • 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 philanthropy 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 maintaining relationships and work projects with partners across distant geographies. 


65,000 annual salary, plus paid time off. In addition, we provide financial support for healthcare and retirement savings up to 10% of the salary.

How to Apply 

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

  1. What is the role of philanthropy to land return (or land back) and why does it matter?
  2. How do your previous work and personal experience prepare you to become a core team member with First Light?

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. Your application is considered complete only once your resume and responses are submitted.

To submit your application, please send your resume and question responses to by February 1, 2024. 

Inclusivity Statement 

Much of our work seeks to reshape the legacy of place-making. As part of that, we hope to recruit, mentor, and support employees in this work who bring different backgrounds, stories and experiences to this field. 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 accommodation for individual needs in our job application process. Please send a note to to discuss how we can meet your needs to apply for this position. 

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