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Program Officer

Job Location

Bay Area


Type of Job



125000 to 175000

Published By

Publisher Name

Published Date

Aug 8, 2023

About the job

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The Goldman Environmental Foundation (the Foundation) bestows the Goldman Environmental Prize (the Prize)—often called the “Nobel Prize for the Environment”—the world’s foremost award honoring grassroots environmental leadership. For more than 30 years, the Prize has honored the achievements of grassroots environmental activists around the world, inspiring all of us to take action to protect our planet. The Prize was founded in 1989 by Rhoda and Richard Goldman.

Each year, the Prize recognizes individuals for significant achievements in protecting and conserving the natural environment in the world’s six inhabited continental regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands & Island Nations, North America, and South & Central America. The Prize views grassroots leaders as those involved in collective action at the community level to affect local, regional, national, or international change. By celebrating these individual leaders, the Prize seeks to inspire other ordinary people to take extraordinary actions to protect the natural world.

Prize recipients are selected by a distinguished international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a global group of environmental organizations and individuals. Prize winners are announced every April to coincide with Earth Day. Prize recipients participate in a 10-day tour of San Francisco and Washington, D.C.—highlighted by award ceremonies in those cities—including media interviews, funder briefings, and meetings with political and environmental leaders.

Prize recipients focus on a wide range of initiatives, including protecting endangered ecosystems and species, combating destructive development projects, promoting sustainable use of natural resources, influencing environmental and energy policies, and striving for environmental justice.

The Foundation also provides ongoing support for past and current Prize recipients in several ways:

  • Defense of Prize Winners: The Foundation is committed to supporting Prize winners whose safety and security are at risk. Assistance may include public relations support, security risk assessments, emergency grants, and access to legal aid.
  • Networking: To help Prize winners build broader networks, connect with each other, share learnings, and expand their leadership capacity, the Foundation provides support for Prize winners to meet and participate in networking opportunities such as conferences, meetings, and other events.
  • Grant support: The Foundation offers past Prize winners a limited number of grants to advance their organizations’ environmental campaigns and inspire community members to engage in grassroots environmental activism.
  • Communications: The Foundation publicizes the ongoing campaigns and achievements of the Prize winners through earned and social media.

The Goldman Environmental Foundation is based in San Francisco, California. For more information on the Foundation, please visit the website.



The Program Officer is part of a program team that leads the selection process of candidates nominated for the Goldman Prize. Each Program Officer oversees the research of candidates from two regions of the world and produces written reports on finalists for presentation to an international Prize Jury, which meets each year to select the Prize winners. The Program Officer serves as the Prize winners’ primary contact that guides them during the entire Prize process throughout the year—especially before, during, and after the Prize ceremonies as part of a 10-day tour in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The Program Officer maintains contact with past Prize winners to provide ongoing support, such as through the Foundation’s Defense of Prize Winners, Networking, and Grantmaking programs, and recruits and stewards Prize nominators within the two regions under their responsibility. Program Officers report to the Program Director.


  • Facilitate the Prize winner selection process:
  • Conduct in-depth research, evaluation, and analysis of nominees from Africa and Islands & Island Nations. This includes coordinating with nominators, conducting interviews with references and rigorous qualitative research, and writing detailed evaluations used by the Prize Jury in its decision-making process.
  • Participate in the production and editing of the annual Jury docket.
  • Attend the annual Jury meeting and respond to Jury questions about finalists.
  • Serve as primary contact person and support for Prize winners from Africa and Islands & Island Nations in their preparation for the Prize announcement, tour, and ceremonies—including helping to coordinate the filming of Prize winner profile videos, traveling to visit Prize winners in their home countries each year for pre-tour briefings, and ensuring that travel is coordinated and assisting Prize winners with travel logistics and planning.
  • Assess and arrange appropriate meetings, briefings, and capacity building for the Prize winners, and support them during the Prize tour. Work with the Program Manager to support the security risk assessment process, if necessary.
  • Assist Senior Program Manager and Program Director with the participation of Prize winners in both Prize ceremonies.
  • Assist the communications team in their efforts to publicize the Prize winners and their work through various media outlets, including profile videos and earned and social media.
  • Liaise year-round with past Prize winners from Africa and Islands & Island Nations, with support from the Program Manager. Review requests for support from past Prize winners in these regions and facilitate appropriate responses.
  • Assist the Program Manager with other Prize program initiatives (Defense of Prize Winners, Networking, Grantmaking, etc.) and outreach opportunities among past Prize winners from the two assigned regions.
  • Steward the current Prize nominator pool, research, conduct outreach, and recruit new nominators, particularly from Africa and Islands & Island Nations.
  • Assume additional Prize program responsibilities as assigned by the Program Director or Executive Director.


While the Foundation will consider a broad range of backgrounds, the ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:


Environmental Knowledge

  • Knowledge of current global environmental issues, especially those related to Africa and Islands & Island Nations. This includes an understanding of environmental challenges, conservation efforts, environmental justice, and sustainability initiatives in these regions.

Research and Analytical Skills

  • Strong research capabilities to gather information on candidates, environmental issues, and relevant topics. The ability to analyze data, synthesize complex ideas, and present concise written reports for presentation to management and to Board and Prize Jury members.

Writing and Communication Skills

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills to facilitate interviews, write detailed but concise evaluations, and communicate with the Prize Jury, nominators, Prize winners, and colleagues. Effective, clear, and positive communication with diverse audiences at international meetings and conferences.
  • Basic technological literacy, with reasonable proficiency in Google programs, Microsoft Outlook, PDFs, and calendar scheduling across time zones; experience with Salesforce is a plus; willingness and aptitude to learn more is essential.

Project Management and Attention to Detail

  • Strong project management skills to handle multiple tasks, work under pressure, and meet deadlines. Effective time-management abilities are crucial for coordinating various aspects of the Prize program and supporting Prize winners.
  • Impeccable attention to detail in contacting references, conducting research, preparing reports, and coordinating logistics for Prize winners' activities and tours.
  • Ability to provide creative input and ideas to expand the influence and impact of the Goldman Prize.

Cultural Competency and Cross-Cultural Communication

  • Demonstrated international professional experience and cultural understanding to effectively communicate with people from diverse, international backgrounds.
  • Knowledge of foreign languages (especially French, Spanish, or Malay) is desirable and may be advantageous for interacting with diverse audiences in different regions.
  • Ability to represent the Goldman Environmental Foundation to diverse audiences at international meetings and conferences and interact professionally with environmental leaders.

Passion for the Mission

  • Hard-working and passionate about environmental issues and philanthropy. A genuine commitment to the mission of the Goldman Environmental Foundation and making a positive impact on the environment.


  • A minimum of 5-7 years’ experience in environmental philanthropy and/or environmental nonprofits is preferred.
  • Bachelor’s degree and/or Master’s highly preferred. In addition to education/degree requirements, a successful candidate will:
    • Have a substantive understanding of current global environmental issues, especially in Africa and Islands & Island Nations.
    • Be able to work cooperatively with a small staff and work well under pressure in both internal and public settings.
    • Be curious, growth-minded, and adaptable, with keen judgment and decision-making skills, and ability to seek relevant staff input as needed.
    • Hard-working, passionate, self-starting team player with a direct, honest, and respectful approach to problem solving, and a talent for fostering collaboration.
    • The highest level of demonstrated personal and professional integrity and a reputation for objectivity.


The annual salary range for the position starts between $125,000 to $175,000 commensurate with experience. Relocation assistance provided.


The Goldman Environmental Foundation offers a generous and comprehensive benefits package, including vacation and sick leave, employer-subsidized (85%) medical, dental, and vision insurance for employees and dependents, employer-provided long-term disability and life insurance, flexible spending accounts for medical and childcare expenses, a 403(b)-retirement plan (with generous employer contribution after one year of service), commuting assistance, and professional development. A sabbatical is also offered to employees after at least seven years of service. The Foundation closes the week between Christmas and New Years Day.


The Foundation requires that all employees be fully vaccinated against COVID 19. The Foundation employs a flexible hybrid work structure and requires all staff to spend a minimum of two days per week—usually Tuesdays and Wednesdays—in the San Francisco office. It’s estimated the Program Officer will spend 15% or less time on travel.



Calibrated Search, which specializes in partnering with mission-driven nonprofits and conscious companies, has been retained by the Goldman Environmental Foundation to assist in this confidential hiring process. To express interest in this role, please share your candidate materials HERE.


To nominate candidates and/or ask questions, please contact Kara Teising and Heather Ferguson directly at and


Calibrated Search is on an expedited timeline to present a shortlist of candidates by the week of September 4, 2023. Interviews will begin in early September with an anticipated start date of November 1. Please do not delay in expressing interest or submitting nominations.


The Foundation is committed to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion as important components of workplace culture. The Goldman Environmental Foundation is an equal opportunity employer, and we strongly encourage members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including women, people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and those with disabilities.

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