Program Officer, Environment — South America

  • Date Posted
  • Department Programs
  • Location Brazil or Flint

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 2021, the Foundation made more than 380 grants totaling approximately $167 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:

  • Transforming Development Finance in which we aim to shape international investment policies for energy and infrastructure projects that protect people and the environment in developing nations.
  • Advancing Climate Change Solutions in which we work to increase the use of renewable energy in developing countries where an estimated 770 million people still lack access to electricity.
  • Addressing the Freshwater Challenge 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 2021, the Environment program awarded 88 grants totaling $23.4 million, spread roughly equally across the three major program interests. This is an exciting time to join the Environment team as we are approaching the end of our ten-year strategic plan and will use the lessons learned from our current work to inform the development of a new strategic plan in the not-too-distant future.

For more information about our work, please visit

The Opportunity

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation is seeking a new Program Officer based in Brazil to manage its regional work in the areas of “Transforming Development Finance” (TDF) and “Advancing Climate Change Solutions” (ACCS). By focusing on South America (primarily in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Colombia with the majority of work in Brazil), this position enables the Foundation to deepen its impact and help ground the Environment program’s global approach.

In the TDF program area, the Program Officer will seek to influence the environmental and social policies and governance of key regional and national international financial institutions such as the Inter-American Development Bank and national development banks, particularly the Brazilian Development Bank. In the ACCS program area, the Program Officer will work to expand off-grid renewable energy models for isolated communities in the Amazon and strengthen public policy and finance for renewable energy access.

The position reports to the Director of the Environment program. The Program Officer will be part of the eight-person Environment program team. The Program Officer will collaborate closely with a colleague in the TDF program area who focuses on global development finance institutions, including the World Bank Group and Chinese banks, and a second colleague in the ACCS program area who focuses on mini-grid renewable energy access in East Africa and globally.

The ideal candidate has: 1) a strong background and relevant experience in environmental and/or sustainable development issues, particularly with global development finance institutions and/or clean energy access in South America; and 2) a breadth of experience that includes high-level policy influencing and on-the-ground work with nonprofits in the region. Fluency in English and Portuguese is required. This is a full-time position, requiring frequent domestic and international travel. The Program Officer will be based in Brazil with periodic travel to the Foundation’s headquarters in Flint, Michigan.

Key Responsibilities

In this role, the Program Officer will:

  • Design and execute effective multiyear grantmaking strategies.
  • Build relationships with nongovernmental organizations and 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.


As the incoming Program Officer, you must possess many, though perhaps not all, of the following characteristics and qualifications:

  • Strong interest in environmental and/or sustainable development issues, particularly with global development finance institutions and/or clean energy access and experience in South America.
  • Experience in the nonprofit sector is preferred.
  • At least seven years of experience working on related issues.
  • Demonstrated experience creatively and strategically directing limited resources to leverage change.
  • Belief that public participation is fundamental in governmental and intergovernmental processes.
  • 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 extensive 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.
  • Fluency in English and Portuguese is required. Fluency in Spanish is helpful.
  • Previous experience in philanthropy/grantmaking is useful but not necessary for this position.

Compensation & Benefits

Due to the international location of this position, Velocity Global, a leader in managing distributed workforces, will serve as the legal employer of record and the Program Officer will be seconded to the Foundation. Velocity Global will manage all aspects of the employment contract and will provide competitive compensation and benefits tailored to the location.

Application Process

Martha Montag Brown & Associates, LLC has been retained for this search. Interested and qualified candidates are encouraged to apply by sending a cover letter, resume and salary requirements by email to