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27 May 2021

Full-Time Program Officer, Environment – Addressing the Freshwater Challenge

Charles Stewart Mott Foundation – Posted by - Flint, Michigan, United States

Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

Job Description

Program Officer, Environment – Addressing the Freshwater Challenge
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
Flint, MI

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, MI, 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:

  • 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;
  • 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; and
  • 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.

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 AFC Program Officer (PO) will co-manage the Foundation’s efforts addressing freshwater conservation and access to clean drinking water in the Great Lakes basin. The Foundation’s grantmaking under this program area emphasizes strengthening environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) dedicated to the long-term protection of freshwater resources and influencing the design and implementation of related public policies. In addition, in the wake of the Flint water crisis, the freshwater program area has become more focused on ensuring that clean and affordable drinking water is available to all people throughout the region. This has led us to expand support to organizations serving low-income and historically disadvantaged communities. The individual filling this position will work with a colleague in the freshwater program and be part of the eight-person Environment program team. This is a full-time position located in Flint, MI and will require frequent travel, mostly regional.

In this role, the Program Officer will:

  • With the AFC team, design and execute multi-year grantmaking strategies;
  • Build relationships with NGOs 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;
  • Manage consultants on occasion to help evaluate, modify and/or implement the grantmaking strategy;
  • 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; and
  • Assist with external communications, including representing the Foundation at meetings and in discussions with grantees and partners.

Candidate Profile

As the incoming Program Officer for the AFC program, you will possess many, though perhaps not all, of the following characteristics and qualifications:

  • At least ten years of experience working in freshwater conservation and water policy issues;
  • Experience in the nonprofit sector and/or public policy advocacy is preferred;experience in the Great Lakes region also preferred;
  • Experience in creatively and strategically directing limited resources to leverage change;
  • Demonstrated commitment to working with diverse communities that have shared interests in positive environmental and/or sustainable development outcomes;
  • 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 travel approximately 45-60 days per year;
  • Flexibility and willingness to work as a member of a team and with other teams/departments throughout the Foundation; and
  • Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree in related field preferred but not required.

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

Compensation & 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.

How 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 & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world. For more information about Koya Partners, visit

Job Categories: Water. Job Types: Full-Time.

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