Jobs & Internships

Northwest Folklife is currently seeking candidates for the following positions:

Managing Director

Development Director

Managing Director Position Profile:

About the Organization

Founded in 1972, Northwest Folklife creates opportunities for all to celebrate, share, and participate in the evolving cultural traditions of the Pacific Northwest. Our cause has never been more relevant than it is now given today’s national and local challenges and divisions  – we believe a just, respectful and empathetic society is rooted in shared understanding and in shared experiences.

We believe that every community has a unique, vibrant and powerful voice most eloquently expressed through its arts, culture and traditions. Our role is to support the expression of those voices, to partner with communities as co-curators, and to create opportunities and resources for the presentation of those voices.

“Access for all” to our programs without any economic barrier has always been and remains a fundamental operating principle. Access to the arts and culture of this Pacific Northwest region belongs to everyone – not just for those who can afford the price of a ticket.

Northwest Folklife is positioned to engage in the next exciting phase of our organizational journey, moving from an event focus to a focus on our cause:

Creating opportunities for all to celebrate, share, and participate in the evolving cultural traditions of the Pacific Northwest.

With strong roots and partnerships in and with our community, a committed Board, a dynamic professional staff, a robust volunteer corps, a broad support base and a dedicated audience, we are ready to re-envision the future and build the organization, the programs, the resources, the financial stability, and the community support to get us there.

Our Programs

Our largest and best-known program is our annual Northwest Folklife Festival, now being planned for our 47th consecutive year. Occurring at the Seattle Center campus each year over the Memorial Day weekend, this extraordinary four-day community gathering brings together more than 5,000 individual performing artists and cultural bearers on over 25 stages to 220,000 to 250,000 audience members. Every year, a Cultural Focus is chosen that shapes much of the presentation. The Festival includes music, dance, storytelling, displays, presentations, demonstrations, craftspeople and merchants. The Festival is a signature aspect of the unique and compelling Pacific Northwest region.

Northwest Folklife also presents Our Big Neighborhood, a multi-cultural, intergenerational year round program designed for children and families. Anchored by the annual Seattle Children’s Festival in October and extended through partnerships with other organizations throughout the year, the Our Big Neighborhood program is poised for significant expansion over the next three years. This expansion will be secured by a three year partnership with the Seattle Center beginning in late 2017.

Community Programs – Northwest Folklife partners, presents and supports community programs around the Seattle area. Whether it is the monthly curation of cultural arts performances at the Bellevue Crossroads or the year round relationship with our Festal partners, Northwest Folklife is engaged in communities all year long.

Community Coordinators Program – Northwest Folklife works with over 100 unique artistic and cultural communities all year round to co-curate and co-create these opportunities. We partner with individuals from these communities to help guide the selection of artists and cultural bearers and to design appropriate programming.

Structure and Leadership

Northwest Folklife is an independent 501(c)3 organization governed by its own 17 member Board of Trustees.  The professional leadership and management structure of the organization has just been modified to a shared leadership model with both an Executive Artistic Director and a Managing Director. This change in leadership structure reflects the organization’s determination to engage more actively with our artistic and cultural communities, creating new partnerships, expanding our programming and mission impact all while providing a high level of administrative guidance and resource development necessary to support that mission.

Currently, Northwest Folklife has a total operating budget of approximately $3.2 million. Of that, approximately $1.8M is provided through our partnership with the City of Seattle and the Seattle Center in in-kind support including the use of the facilities and the availability of personnel and non-personnel related resources. The remaining $1.3M to $1.5M is split between earned income opportunities (created by sponsorships and merchant and vendor agreements) and contributed income with the emphasis on Individual Giving – both through year round donor campaigns and event based appeals for support.

There are currently 11 year round staff with projections to grow by several positions in fiscal year 2017-18. Northwest Folklife also employs significant numbers of temporary and seasonal employees based on programmatic needs.

The Leadership Opportunity

The organization is poised to envision the future in new and dynamic ways – maintaining the core ideals that have been present since its founding and applying those ideals, our programming and our community engagement and partnerships to be as relevant in this community for the next 45 years as we have been for the past. We seek a special person as our Managing Director – someone who has the capacity, the passion, and the wisdom to partner with the Board, the Executive Artistic Director and the community to envision a bold, exciting and attainable future. We seek a Managing Director who will be a key player in creating a series of annual operating plans in support of that vision and we seek a Managing Director who can implement those plans, adapting them as realities evolve. We seek a Managing Director who will create additional resources – both as a fund development professional and as an entrepreneur who can help maximize earned revenue within our unique “access for all” model, and who excels in financial and administrative management. We seek a Managing Director who understands that we are a community centric organization, who can demonstrate a high level of cultural competence, can build a community based brand and understands how to engage with stakeholders to fulfill the promise of that brand. We seek a Managing Director who understands the not-for-profit dynamic, who knows how to inspire and collaborate with Board, staff and community.

Specifically, the new Managing Director will have the following priorities for his/her first 12-18 months:

  • Maintain aggregate 2017 fundraising totals ($785,000 in contributed income and $560,000 in earned revenue) by identifying, cultivating and raising a minimum of this level in 2018 and beyond. Diversify revenues by continuing growth in day-of-event contributions and contributions from current individual and institutional donors, while identifying and cultivating new revenue sources with an emphasis on new individual and institutional donors, additional sponsorships and earned income.
  • In partnership with the Executive Artistic Director, further engage with and seek to develop potential revenue generating partnerships with the 150 cultural communities and other organizations that participate with Northwest Folklife.
  • Play a strong co-leading role in partnership with the Executive Artistic Director, to develop and articulate Northwest Folklife’s new, cause-based, strategic vision and brand. Maintain the strategic focus of the organization.  Address factors such as how the organization focuses on both its cause and its events, and how the festivals, events and programing can be designed to achieve cause-related outcomes in addition to financial sustainability and/or attendance.
  • In partnership with the Executive Artistic Director, lead the organization’s communications and marketing efforts, developing new relationships with key influencers in the region in order to build Northwest Folklife’s public profile.
  • Play a facilitative and collaborative leadership role in empowering the staff, board and volunteers to perform their respective roles in order to implement Northwest Folklife’s operating plans and achieve the organization’s short and long term goals.
  • Manage organizational finances carefully, including producing credible financial projections with updates as necessary, careful management of cash flow and lines of credit, and expense management.

 Experience, Skills and Attributes

Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the Managing Director collaborates with the Executive Artistic Director to provide organizational vision and leadership, to support the organization’s artistic and community engagement vision and is responsible for the overall management, fundraising, accountability, and administration of the organization to ensure that Northwest Folklife achieves its goals, according to board approved policies and procedures.

Ideal candidates for this position will be passionate about the mission of Northwest Folklife and have proven fundraising and management experience to achieve the mission. The ideal candidate will be a collaborative team builder, comfortable sharing the staff leadership role with the Executive Artistic Director, knowing that some leadership decisions will be necessarily be driven by negotiation and/or compromise between the mission/artistic perspective and the financial perspective. Preferred qualifications include:

  • A Bachelor’s degree, plus five years progressively responsible experience in nonprofit leadership and development, including fundraising, planning, budgeting, and fiscal management. Educational qualifications may be waived depending on work history.
  • A proven track record of fundraising and relationship development; including experience with major donor fundraising, and ability to successfully develop new revenue sources, partnerships and earned income streams.
  • Experience with planning and implementing organizational change, especially with cultural change, cost containment, and program prioritization.
  • Experience in inspiring support and confidence among diverse stakeholders, and the cultural competency to work with diverse communities, representing organizational vision, mission and goals to a diverse group of stakeholders in a variety of venues.
  • Experience managing a budget and performing business and program analysis.  Experience with management of cash flow and lines of credit preferred.
  • Excellent communication skills at all levels, with staff, board, and a wide diversity of community stakeholders.  Comfort and skill with public speaking.
  • Demonstrated collaborative leadership skills in empowering current and future staff to achieve strategic organizational goals.
  • Experience working with and supporting a Board of Directors, ideally including experience in facilitation of board processes and board development.
  • Experience building and maintaining relationships with nonprofit partners; to develop and implement collaborative strategies and plans.
  • Knowledge of non-profit management and human resources best practices, laws and regulations.

Job Requirements

  • Valid driver’s license, safe driving record, current vehicle insurance, and ability to use personal vehicle for Northwest Folklife business.
  • Willingness to travel within Northwest Folklife’s service area.
  • Must be able to pass criminal background check.

 Working Conditions

Work is performed typically in an office environment and a variety of settings among diverse stakeholders and audiences. A considerable amount of time will be spent in meetings, at a computer screen for extended periods, at Northwest Folklife events, and speaking before public audiences. Frequent use of phones and e-mail will be required to communicate with stakeholders. Frequently works outside normal working hours and will drive due to work performed with donors and other stakeholders in the community.

Compensation: Salary currently targeted at $75,000, plus a competitive benefit package including: PTO, holidays, medical and vision coverage, and employer contribution toward pension plan.

Application Process

To apply, interested candidate should e-mail his or her resume and cover letter to:

(E-mail applications are required)

Other inquiries may contact:

Jan Glick

(206) 276-7174

Northwest Folklife is an Equal Opportunity Employer and makes its hiring decisions without regard for race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

Development Director Position Overview:

The Development Director will have a senior management leadership role and will oversee and manage the fund development program of Northwest Folklife. This position is responsible for planning and achieving the organization’s fundraising goals, directing activities and events related to securing the organization’s contributed income, and managing an ongoing donor cultivation program.

Responsibilities and General Duties:

  • Strengthen and evolve a culture of philanthropy throughout the Northwest Folklife organization
  • Design, plan, and activate fund development strategies to attract a broad base of financial support from individuals, corporations, foundations and public sector. Current annual giving initiatives include: major gifts; events; foundation; individual; and corporate giving
  • Execute all grant-writing activities including research, writing, compliance reporting and if available, oversee contract grant writing staff
  • Design, plan and activate fund development strategies to solicit support from the 220,000 individual attendees of Northwest Folklife’s “access for all” programming. Work with festival and event leadership to retain staff and select volunteers engaged with fundraising activities at the annual Northwest Folklife Festival and throughout the year, and provide them leadership, training, and support
  • Manage all annual giving initiatives including the Friends of Folklife Annual Donor Program, major individual gifts, fundraising events, foundation and corporate grants and support
  • Oversees donor cultivation, engagement, recognition and stewardship practices
  • Manage all public sector funding initiatives
  • Work with partner communities to develop financial support for Northwest Folklife
  • Maintain a development focus social media presence
  • Collaborate with and support all departments to develop and implement fundraising strategies
  • Ensure development messaging is distributed throughout the organization and in alignment with other external messages
  • Provide primary staff support for and guide the board’s Development Committee and support the board of trustees in fulfilling their role as resource development officers
  • Collaborate and support sponsorship procurement staff in identifying corporate underwriting (sponsorships) for events and programs including the annual Northwest Folklife Festival and other year-round opportunities
  • Guide the organization’s development committee and work with the board of trustees on their participation in development
  • Direct strategic vision for Folklife’s fund development in alignment with a new 5 year vision of success and corresponding annual plans.
  • Manage staff support (Development Coordinator)
  • Work toward the organization’s ability to strengthen its development and sponsorship presence
  • Engage as a member of the senior management team, support other departmental needs, and provide support to the executive leadership in strategic planning and implementation
  • Desired Qualifications:

  • At least four years of nonprofit development work, management level preferred, arts fund development experience preferred
  • Knowledge of and familiarity with Seattle’s philanthropic community or demonstrated experience with entering a new community and getting aware and connected quickly and effectively.
  • Understands that we are a community centric organization, can demonstrate a high level of cultural competence, and understands how to engage with stakeholders to fulfill the promise of community centric model.
  • Demonstrated grant research, grant writing and grant management skills
  • Competence to work with board of trustees to cultivate donor relationships
  • Ability to organize and prioritize work efficiently and to meet deadlines
  • Experience as a creative, collaborative team member
  • Demonstrated management skills, including staff supervision
  • Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively
  • Excellent planning, presentation, and communication skills
  • Familiarity with donor database management (Folklife uses GiftWorks) and online donor technology
  • Ability to work under pressure with a positive attitude
  • Manage member recruitment and retention campaigns
  • Fluency in working with social media platforms
  • Interpret membership recruitment and retention statistics, review member research and make recommendations
  • An appreciation for Northwest Folklife’s mission
  • Working Conditions
    Reports To: Managing Director

    Staff Managed: Development Coordinator(s)

    Time Commitment: Full Time

    Compensation: $65,000 to $70,000 with medical benefits, PTO and retirement contributions when eligible.

    Application Process

    To apply, please attach a cover letter of interest and resume by email to with Development Director and your name in the subject line. Applications received by September 30, 2017 by 5:00 PM will be given priority. Position open until filled.

    Northwest Folklife Internship Program

    Northwest Folklife Internship Program:
    Interning at Northwest Folklife can be the experience you need to gain a career in event planning, festival production, the music industry, nonprofit management, marketing, fundraising and a whole host of other fields. Interns take on a meaningful role in executing elements of the Northwest Folklife Festival, the largest community arts festival in the nation, and learn how to strengthen the sustainability of a non-profit organization.

    Before you apply:

    • Housing and transportation are not provided. Prospective interns should carefully consider their financial needs as the internships are unpaid.
    • Start and end dates, hours per week, and days of the week are all negotiable based on the intern’s availability
    • All applicants must be able to commit to working Memorial Day weekend, (May 26th – 29th, 2017) NO EXCEPTIONS
    • Academic credit for internships must be arranged by the intern with their sponsoring institution. Academic credit is up to the discretion of the intern’s college or university
    • Computer resources are limited; prospective interns with laptops are encouraged to apply

    To apply:
    Please send your resume and a cover letter via email to the Hiring Committee at with the title of your desired internship in the subject line. Although we prefer electronic methods, you may also submit your resume to:

    Northwest Folklife
    Attn: Hiring Committee
    305 Harrison St.
    Seattle, WA. 98109

    Positions are open until filled.