Program Officer, Environment — Advancing Climate Change Solutions

Date Posted

May 11, 2021

Department

Programs

Location

Flint, Michigan

About the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

Established in 1926, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation is a private philanthropy committed to supporting projects that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society. We support nonprofit activities throughout the U.S. and internationally focused in four programs: Civil Society, Education, Environment and the Flint Area. In addition to the home office in Flint, Michigan, offices are located in suburban Detroit, London and Johannesburg. In 2020, the Foundation made more than 420 grants totaling approximately $131 million.

About the Environment program

For more than three decades, the Mott Foundation’s Environment program has supported programs around the world that protect communities and the ecosystems upon which they depend. This work has taught us that such grantmaking must seek practical ways to build strong economic, social and environmental conditions for all people — in a word, sustainability. The program is currently organized around three main interests:

  • Advancing Climate Change Solutions (ACCS) in which we work to increase the use of renewable energy in developing countries where about 780 million people still lack access to electricity.
  • Transforming Development Finance (TDF) in which we aim to shape international investment policies for energy and infrastructure projects that protect people and the environment in developing nations.
  • Addressing the Freshwater Challenge (AFC) in which we support efforts to secure sustainable levels of clean water for people and the environment, particularly in the Great Lakes basin.

While our international grantmaking is global in scope, some aspects are geographically concentrated in East Africa, particularly Tanzania, and the Andes/Amazon region of South America. In 2020, the Environment program awarded 86 grants totaling $18.7 million, spread roughly equally across the three major program interests. This is an exciting time to join the Environment team as we are approximately halfway through our ten-year strategic plan and will use the lessons learned from our current work to inform the development of a new strategic plan.

For more information about our work, please visit our website. To learn more about the values that undergird all of our work, visit our Values page.

The opportunity

The new program officer (PO) within the ACCS program area will manage the Foundation’s efforts addressing clean energy access in Africa and globally. Currently, most of the related grantmaking is focused in Tanzania where the Foundation seeks to create the conditions necessary for the private sector to develop mini-grids powered by distributed renewable energy, typically solar, for productive economic uses in remote “last-mile” communities. We aim to establish an “ecosystem” of actors — entrepreneurs, technical training schools, local financial institutions and others — that will accelerate and deepen the uptake of distributed renewables in Tanzania, thus demonstrating the benefit of such an approach globally.

On a parallel and reinforcing track, the PO also will manage grants to organizations working at the global level to advance progress on universal access to sustainable energy (i.e., Sustainable Development Goal 7). Additionally, in 2022 the PO will oversee an evaluation of the grantmaking in Tanzania, leading to potential refinements in strategy beginning in 2023. The individual filling this position will work with consultants that know Tanzania well and be part of the eight-person Environment program team at the Foundation. This is a full-time position located in Flint, Michigan, which will require frequent travel.

In this role, the Program Officer will:

  • Design and execute effective multi-year grantmaking strategies.
  • Manage consultants to help evaluate, modify and implement the grantmaking strategy.
  • Build relationships with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and local leaders in the field in order to best understand the opportunities and challenges in this work.
  • Investigate grant requests and develop funding recommendations.
  • Process, administer and monitor grants and clusters of grants according to Foundation policies and procedures.
  • Prepare, individually and with other team members, reports and other documents for the Foundation’s management and Board of Trustees.
  • Work with colleagues across the Foundation and other grantmakers outside the Foundation on issues of mutual interest.
  • Assist with external communications, including representing the Foundation at meetings and in discussions with grantees and partners.

Candidate profile

As the incoming PO, ACCS, you will possess many, though perhaps not all, of the following characteristics and qualifications:

  • At least ten years of experience in environmental and sustainable development issues, particularly related to clean energy access and climate change challenges in developing countries.
  • Experience in the nonprofit sector and/or international experience in East Africa strongly preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience creatively and strategically directing limited resources to leverage change.
  • Strong analytical, writing and verbal communication skills.
  • Proven desire and ability to work collaboratively and respectfully with established and emerging NGO leaders.
  • Strong project, time and budget management skills.
  • Ability and willingness to conduct frequent international and domestic travel (approximately 60 days per year).
  • Flexibility and willingness to work as a member of a team and with other teams/departments throughout the Foundation.
  • Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree in related field preferred but not required.
  • Authorization to work in the United States.

Please note that previous experience in philanthropy/grantmaking is not required for this position.

Compensation and benefits

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation offers a competitive salary and benefits, commensurate with experience and skills.

The Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and encourages diversity of thinking, background and perspective among its staff. All qualified individuals are encouraged to apply.

Contact

Cassie Scarano and Ariella Pasackow of Koya Leadership Partners have been retained for this search. To express your interest in the role please submit a compelling cover letter, addressed to Sam Passmore, program director, and resume here. All inquiries and discussion will be considered strictly confidential.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy — The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World — guides our work as we partner with nonprofits and NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.