The mission of the San Juan Community Home Trust is to make home ownership possible for working people on San Juan Island. In recent years the gap between wages and housing prices has widened so much, it is now almost impossible for wage-earning residents to purchase a home on San Juan Island.
We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and community land trust. We acquire land, develop and build homes, qualify applicants, seek appropriate mortgages for homebuyers, and provide homebuyer education classes. All Home Trust homes are sold to qualified buyers for far below their appraised market value.
Our funding comes from government sources at the national, state and local levels; from the sale of completed homes to participating families; and from local philanthropic giving. We use these funds to subsidize the cost of land, infrastructure, and construction. A homebuyer who meets income qualifications obtains a mortgage to buy an affordably priced home from us, and also agrees to limit its eventual resale price so the home will be perpetually affordable to working people.
Founded in 2001, San Juan Community Home Trust has built and sold 41 homes to island residents. We currently own approximately eight acres of land for future development and are now planning our newest project: four new duplexes with open space and shared parking to be constructed on land donated in 2016.
The Home Trust program enables San Juan Islanders to achieve the long-term security of home ownership, to build equity, and to pass ownership of the home on to their heirs who may live in the inherited home, if they qualify, or sell it through the Home Trust. “Community preservation through forever affordable housing” expresses our commitment to keep San Juan Island a vibrant and diverse community, where people of all ages and income levels can thrive. More information can be found at https://hometrust.org/.
Situated within a remote and stunningly beautiful archipelago west of Anacortes, Washington, San Juan Island is home to the Town of Friday Harbor, which serves as the county seat. Beyond this small community, the landscape is characterized by farms, forests, and spectacular shorelines with abundant marine life. There are roughly 7,000 permanent island residents, a population that swells significantly with tourists during the summer months. Connected to the mainland by ferry and seaplane, San Juan Island boasts a number of historic and scenic attractions, including the only park in the world dedicated to shore-based orca whale watching.
The Leadership Opportunity
There is tremendous need for affordable housing on San Juan Island, and San Juan Community Home Trust seeks a strong leader with a passion for that work to serve as its next Executive Director. The person selected for this role will enjoy the support of a highly engaged board of directors that is strongly committed to the Home Trust cause and whose individual members bring a number of specialized skills that add value to the organization and its work.
The Home Trust is currently led by an Interim Executive Director working with the organization’s Executive Assistant and its Bookkeeper. Because the current staff has relatively little leadership experience, the board’s officers have temporarily stepped up their involvement in organizational decision-making and other operational matters. It is understood that this is not a sustainable long-term approach and the board is eager to turn over the responsibility for operational management to a new leader, so it can focus on partnering strategically with that person.
Many island residents are wage earners who qualify as low-income, but there is also a significant degree of wealth among some residents and property owners, and many community members are supportive of the cause. More than two hundred individuals and families contributed money to the Home Trust in 2020. While the organization has a positive reputation among those who know about it, there is potential for even greater community awareness, understanding, and support for the Home Trust’s work.
Securing funds is essential for the Home Trust’s success and will be a primary focus for the new leader. The organization’s budget fluctuates from year to year, depending on variables related to the cycle of property acquisition, development, construction, and sale. For example, total revenue in 2020 was approximately $1.4 million, compared to just over $1 million in 2019. What does not change is the challenge of funding ongoing operating expenses at a consistent and sufficient level to guarantee the Home Trust’s ability to deliver on its mission.
The next leader will join the Home Trust as it pushes forward with development of a new eight-unit project called HolliWalk. The design concept, appearance, footprints, floorplans, and site plan have been drafted. The Home Trust is now working through the final design and permitting process. A project manager has been named and contractors are being interviewed. The project carries a preliminary estimated cost of $3.5 million, and the Home Trust is actively seeking donations and other funding sources to advance the project. A skilled and experienced Projects Committee is standing by to work with the new Executive Director on this exciting development.
Beyond this immediate project, the Home Trust board also looks forward to working with the new Executive Director to create an updated vision for the organization’s future. The 2015 Strategic Plan is now out of date, and with an ever-growing need for affordable homes on the island, the Home Trust must have a clear and compelling strategy for moving forward.
The Position Priorities
The Executive Director will focus on the following strategic priorities, while being responsive to overall direction from the board:
Fundraising is a top priority, to finance property development and construction, and to support ongoing operating expenses and build a much needed cash reserve. Expanding access to federal, state and local government funds will be critical. The new leader also will develop a long-term strategy for increasing local charitable giving.
Advance the organization’s cause through public speaking and other outreach, through communication and engagement with stakeholders, and through advocacy among elected officials and policy-makers.
Develop a collaborative working relationship with the board, drawing on their talents and perspectives to create greater impact in the community.
Conduct an assessment of the staff and organizational functions, and develop plans to improve operations.
Undertake strategic planning with the board, articulating a clear vision for the Home Trust’s service to the community and for the underlying business model to support that service. This planning may include the exploration of affordable rental housing as a potential strategy for the future.
Oversee and support progress on the eight-unit HolliWalk project, for which the infrastructure is not yet in place, working with appropriate volunteer committees and taking advantage of their expertise.
Build stronger connections between the Home Trust and its community of homeowners, and engage with them regarding relevant concerns, such as the high cost of property maintenance.
Experience, Skills and Attributes
The Executive Director will personify the Home Trust’s mission as the organization strengthens its financial position, articulates its future and steps up its work to address housing affordability on San Juan Island. Reporting to the board of directors, the Executive Director will provide leadership for the organization and be responsible for its overall management, fundraising, and administration, making sure the Home Trust’s goals are achieved according to board-approved policies and procedures.
The successful candidate will be enthusiastic about the Home Trust’s mission and will be a strong leader with excellent interpersonal, relationship-building and communication skills. While no one can be an expert at everything, applicants who meet most of the following qualifications will receive strong consideration:
A clear and energetic commitment to the cause of affordable housing.
Strong people leadership skills as well as organizational management skills, with a track record of building and supporting successful teams.
A history of progressively responsible experience in nonprofit leadership. Experience as a nonprofit executive leader is a plus. Corporate or public sector experience at the executive level, along with significant volunteer leadership roles, may substitute for nonprofit experience.
Five years’ experience in the development of affordable housing, preferably including construction as well as single and multi-family housing development. Successful experience with government funding sources related to affordable housing is essential.
Excellent people skills and the ability to build and maintain strong relationships with supporters, partners and other stakeholders.
A skilled written and verbal communicator who enjoys speaking with other people and groups, and is able to advocate effectively for a cause.
Demonstrated success in philanthropic fundraising, including experience soliciting major donors, corporate partners and/or private foundations. Experience with annual campaigns and other strategies to foster community-wide giving.
Strong financial management skills, including experience managing a budget and performing business and program analysis within an organization of a similar or greater size and complexity.
Visionary and creative thinker who is also a problem-solver, and who can pivot if needed.
Experience working with skilled and high-level volunteers. Has a working knowledge of volunteer management practices.
Willingness and ability to travel between and within the San Juan County and Greater Puget Sound areas.
Ability to use a personal vehicle for Home Trust business, with a valid driver’s license, safe driving record, and current vehicle insurance. Alternatively, access to and the ability to use other modes of transportation as needed to conduct Home Trust business.
The successful candidate will be required to pass a criminal background check.
Work is performed typically in a small 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 events, and speaking before public audiences. Frequent use of phones and email will be required to communicate with stakeholders. Some work outside normal working hours will be required, as will occasional travel as noted above to connect with supporters, partners and other stakeholders.
This is a full-time exempt position. The annual salary is $85,000 - $95,000 depending on experience and skills. Benefits include 11 paid holidays plus vacation leave, sick leave, and an allowance for health care expenses.
To apply, interested candidates should email a cover letter and resume (both are required) to:
All applications will be reviewed as they are received. The position is open until filled.