Director of Federal Initiatives
Type of Job
Mar 17, 2023
About the job
Given the urgency of the climate crisis, we are ramping up our federal strategy to support environmental justice and climate justice (EJ-CJ) organizations and coalitions as they work to understand and influence how the implementation of federal policies will impact state and local priorities, resources, and programs. While the recent passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) represents a significant policy victory, the work of advancing even bolder equity-centered policies and implementation remains.
As a member of the senior leadership team, the Director of Federal Initiatives leads organization-wide efforts to leverage and align the expertise of community partners, staff, fellows, technical experts, and allies within academia, government, and the non-profit, philanthropic and private sectors to shape, implement, and evaluate federal policies that deliver measurable and meaningful benefits to communities most impacted by climate change. A core responsibility is to provide strategic oversight, coordination and management of the Federal Strategy Innovation Hub to respond to partners’ needs and priorities, fill gaps in research or policy strategy, and bring new voices to the table around the fundamental ways in which the climate crisis intersects with all aspects of our lives, including health, housing, transportation, and economic mobility.
This position brings a strong foundational knowledge of the federal and state policy landscape and understands how to use policy, advocacy, and litigation to advance the mission and priorities of Just Solutions. As Just Solutions enters a period of significant growth, this is an opportunity for a seasoned leader to shape organization-wide vision, strategy and development.
The Director of Federal Initiatives holds key responsibilities that will evolve over time as the team and organization grows and functions are distributed. During the first year, we anticipate a focus on the following:
Research, Planning & Strategy Development
- Working with Just Solutions staff, map and regularly assess policy priorities, staff capacity, resources, and strategies of key players at the federal level (agencies, EJ-CJ organizations, national environmental organizations, policy think tanks ) to inform Just Solutions’ role and organizational priorities.
- Work collaboratively with the Executive Director and other members of the senior leadership team to explore and select federal policy priorities, long and short term desired impact/outcomes, and key partners; develop rationale and criteria to guide decision-making.
- Partner with Just Solutions’ policy and research staff to identify and elevate community-driven EJ-CJ policy solutions and justice-centered models so the most effective approaches are more widely understood and incorporated into state and federal policies and programs.
- Build and maintain close working relationships across diverse partners connected to our federal initiatives, including - EJ-CJ organizations and communities, mainstream environmental organizations, agency staff and elected officials, funders, indigenous communities and First Nations, labor, business, academia, think tanks and key policy stakeholders.
- Implement project management and other tools to ensure Just Solutions and our partners meet all deliverables on time and within budget; regularly track and report on progress and impact.
Design and Launch of Federal Strategy Innovation Hub
- Draft overall structure/framework for the Federal Strategy Innovation Hub including vision/purpose, membership selection criteria, decision-making processes, staffing roles, and resource needs; engage Just Solutions’ leadership and key partners to test and revise model.
- Identify and recruit Hub partners; develop rationale and criteria to guide decision-making.
- Work with Hub partners to identify and set policy and advocacy priorities in key states and at the national level; ensure alignment with broader Just Solutions’ policy and narrative change efforts and other programmatic activities.
- Mobilize staff, consultants, and advisory board to offer customized, accessible and relevant research, policy, and educational programming to support Hub priorities.
- Lead virtual and in-person Hub meetings and related activities; supervise and support policy team consultants, local partners, and other staff as needed in coordination of those activities.
- Open doors and create strategic networks to connect Hub partners to other experts, colleagues, and resources.
- Regularly assess the effectiveness and impact of Hub strategies and take proactive and timely steps to problem solve in partnership with Hub members and Just Solutions’ leadership staff.
- Provide timely reports to senior leadership staff on policy activations, partner mobilization activities, and the status of legislative priorities.
Organizational Growth & Capacity
- Work closely with the Executive Director and other senior leadership staff to define and achieve long-term vision, program strategies, and organizational development priorities.
- Play a leadership role in shaping and implementing organization-wide planning and evaluation efforts, including the annual workplan process.
- Elevate the work of Just Solutions and Hub partners through writing, public speaking, media strategy, blog posts, and trainings.
- Manage staff, as needed, as the organization grows.
The ideal candidate is a seasoned, values-driven public policy strategist and coalition builder with a deep track record of forwarding equity-centered campaigns, programs, and strategies. They can effectively and appropriately work with EJ-CJ organizations and staff to advance their priorities. With active and diligent attention to opportunities and needs, they can develop strategies, resources and actions that ensure the highest and best outcomes for environmental and climate justice. The ideal candidate is a self-directed innovator and initiative taker who is also highly collaborative and able to work in a diverse, team-oriented workplace.
Below are specific required and preferred skills and abilities for this position. We know that women and Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) often do not apply for positions when they do not meet everything on the list. If that is the case for you, we encourage you to apply anyway.
REQUIRED SKILLS AND COMPETENCIES
- Minimum 8+ years of relevant professional experience.
- Significant campaign experience at the director level working to advance federal policy, including multi-region or multi-state organizing efforts.
- Demonstrated ability to manage and lead large and complex programs and motivate and guide individuals and teams to deliver high quality work on time and within budget.
- Demonstrated ability to work across issues, sectors, and geographies to build effective coalitions and networks in support of policy and social change.
- Experience building relationships with elected officials, agency staff, and other key policy stakeholders at the state and federal level.
- Experience leveraging research and policy analysis to inform public policy debates and achieve policy change, in particular with racial and economic justice as a core element of the work.
- Highly strategic thinker who is solutions-oriented and able to push past roadblocks, with a track record of strategy development for long-term policy plans/campaigns.
- Exceptional interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills.
- Ability to work effectively in a collaborative context, both internally and externally.
- Understanding of policies that intersect with the movement for climate justice.
- Experience working in highly diverse teams and organizations.
- Experience working in the non-profit sector either as a paid employee or a volunteer.
- Passion for Just Solutions’ purpose and commitment to racial, social, and environmental justice.
NOTE: This job description is inclusive of, but not limited to, the job duties, responsibilities, qualifications, or requirements contained herein. Additional duties and responsibilities may be required as deemed necessary by our Executive Director and/or Advisory Board members.
COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY
Just Solutions Collective is a fiscally sponsored program of Community Initiatives, a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Community Initiatives is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to ensure that all employees and applicants receive equal consideration and treatment, regardless of race, color, creed, gender (including gender identity or gender expression), religion, marital or domestic partner status, age, national origin or ancestry, physical, mental or medical disability, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship, military service status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law or local ordinance.
Just Solutions Collective centers the work and lived-experience of diverse communities and reflects that commitment in our workplace. Our team works directly with diverse professionals, community leaders, and non-profit organizations all focused on solving the climate and racial justice crises. Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and others from underrepresented groups, especially people with direct experience working within our partner communities, are encouraged to apply.
Please submit a current resume and cover letter outlining your interest in the position and capacity to do the job.
The cover letter can be addressed to Aiko Schaefer, Executive Director, and applications sent via email to email@example.com. Applications will be accepted until Friday, March 31st. The position will remain open until filled. Applicants who do not follow these instructions will not be considered.