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Executive Director

Company: Everglades Wonder Garden (EWG)
Date Posted: October 12, 2016

Bonita Wonder Gardens, d/b/a Everglades Wonder Gardens, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that was formed in November 2013 to purchase and save the Everglades Wonder Gardens property and business enterprise. The Everglades Wonder Gardens (EWG) was opened by the Piper family in 1936 as a roadside attraction, and they operated it until 2013. The property has a rich history and offers Bonita residents and visitors an oasis in the middle of an otherwise thickly developed area that is experiencing rapid growth and development of green spaces.

This unique property was offered for sale in 2013, which placed the gardens at risk for elimination if the property were to be sold to a developer. This prompted a group of concerned citizens to come together and form the nonprofit Bonita Wonder Gardens (BWG) to save the property from development. The purchase of the property by BWG was made possible by a short-term loan made by the City of Bonita Springs to BWG in the amount of $3.5M. The proceeds of the loan were used to purchase the property, animals, business rights and artifacts, as well as to make immediate needed improvements to the property and collection. The terms of the loan call for a series of large payments to be made, with the entirety of the loan and interest to be paid back within 3 years.

The mission of BWG is to build upon the legacy of the Everglades Wonder Gardens to be a botanical, historical, environmental, educational, recreational, and wildlife resource, offering to Bonita Springs and the greater Southwest Florida community a unique cultural experience. To accomplish that mission, the Board is currently seeking an experienced executive director to lead the organization in fundraising, administration and program oversight.



The Executive Director is the chief executive officer of EWG.  The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for the organization’s consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives. The Executive Director achieves this through effective day-to-day management of the organization in three main areas: administration, fundraising and programs. A summary of duties and responsibilities include:

  • Provide leadership and administrative support for the Board;
  • Ensure implementation of the organization’s policies and procedures and ensure compliance with federal, state and local regulations;
  • Be responsible for developing an annual budget and operating plan and for maintaining sound financial practices;
  • Manage use of the organization’s properties and facilities; manage maintenance, repairs and upgrades to the properties and oversee leasing and rent collection on the rental properties;
  • Ensure that the organization has a long-range strategy which achieves its mission, and toward which it makes consistent and timely progress;
  • Hire, supervise and terminate staff as necessary and ensure that sound human resource practices are in place;
  • Promote active and broad participation by volunteers in the organization’s work;
  • Prepare and submit grant applications and funding proposals;
  • Ensure effective management of data on the organization’s supporters;
  • Meet with individual donors and prospects, and maintain regular personal contact with the organization’s top donors and funding organizations;
  • Publicize the activities of the organization, its programs and goals;
  • Establish sound working relationships and cooperative arrangements with community groups and organizations;
  • Update existing programs and develop new programming to meet the needs of the communities served;
  • Ensure that the efficiency of the programs is evaluated and that outcomes are measured; and
  • Other related duties as required by the Board of Directors.



The successful candidate for this position will have a deep passion for the environment and will wholeheartedly embrace the mission of Everglades Wonder Gardens. The successful candidate will demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of Florida botanicals, wildlife environmental education, nonprofit management and fundraising. The successful candidate will have the ability to develop and sustain a diverse set of relationships, vision and creativity in pursuing new opportunities for the organization, energy and enthusiasm, an ability to project authority and vision with collegiality and a collaborative style, business acumen, and the ambition and strong ability to raise funds from multiple sources. The ideal candidate will demonstrate a significant record of work that incorporates strong leadership, management, fundraising, communication and administrative skills with the ability to relate effectively to a diverse group of visitors, staff and volunteers.



  • Experience in managing a nature center or similar facility;
  • Demonstrated experience and interest in providing exceptional guest experiences;
  • Extensive knowledge and understanding of the complexity of botanical and wildlife populations and their ecosystems;
  • Senior level experience in management, administrative and/or leadership positions in a nonprofit;
  • Substantive experience in fundraising, including demonstrated success in grant writing, membership development, event planning, donor management and solicitation of major gifts;
  • Experience in budgeting and financial management, with a clear understanding of how to read and interpret financial statements, such as income statement, balance sheets and cash flow projections;
  • Knowledge of the Bonita Springs community preferred; and
  • Proficiency in the use of Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook required; Experience with QuickBooks, DonorPerfect and Constant Contact preferred;
  • Bachelor degree or higher preferred, but commensurate experience will be considered.

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.


To apply:

For additional information regarding the Garden’s:

For consideration, please forward current resume, with a cover letter that includes salary requirements to: