Senior Program Officer, Environmental & Climate Justice

Reports To: Director of Programs
Status: At-Will, Full-Time Exempt
Location: The Presidio, San Francisco, CA
Closing Date: August 5, 2022

THE FOUNDATION

The Libra Foundation is a family foundation committed to the belief that all people have the right to live in a healthy environment and in peaceful, just, and equitable societies. Libra’s values are Humility, Honesty, Trust, Community, and Love. Libra focuses its grantmaking on three program areas: gender justice; environmental and climate justice; and community safety and justice. Libra’s grantees fight against systemic inequities, organize communities most impacted by injustice, and innovate new models of formations and organizations serving our common good. Libra’s guiding principle is that those who are the closest to the problem are the best equipped to design and implement the solutions.

Libra’s reimagining of traditional philanthropy centers grantmaking grounded in:

  • Relationship – We foster meaningful engagement in a relationship-first approach with grantee partners. We learn about new grantees from our existing grantee partners, and we do not require organizations to submit written applications or reports. This allows grantee partners to spend less time on administrative processes and more time on their critical work.
  • Boldness – We make firm commitments that go beyond philanthropy as usual to promote justice, deepen the commitment to intersectionality in our work, and shift more resources to frontline communities. We encourage other funders to join us.
  • Frontline Communities – We focus on community-led organizations transforming systems and advancing justice including Black, Indigenous, people of color, women (cis and trans) and gender nonconforming people, low income, formerly incarcerated, undocumented, survivors, LGBTQIA+, and other identities visible and invisible.
  • Open-Minded Inquiry – We listen deeply to grassroots organizations giving voice to the priorities of communities to shape our supports to be responsive to emerging needs.
  • Power-Building – We support grassroots social justice organizations that are building progressive power to meet this moment and creating a better future for us all. We provide multi-year commitments and general operating support to fuel grantee organizing and long-term power-building.
  • Transparency – We look at and share relevant data for accountability. For example, 91 percent of Libra’s U.S.-based grants to organizations that work on environmental and climate justice now go to BIPOC-led groups.

THE OPPORTUNITY

The Libra Foundation seeks a strategic, relationship-oriented, and values-aligned Senior Program Officer (SPO) to lead grantmaking for the Environmental & Climate Justice program area, identifying and building community power of grantee partners, strengthening movement ecosystems, and organizing philanthropy to shift resources to frontline communities. The SPO, working closely with the Director of Programs and other team members, advances Libra’s mission and embodies its commitment to practices that disrupt philanthropy as usual and build new, holistic systems that influence our field and advance justice. The SPO will be based at the Foundation’s offices in The Presidio of San Francisco and must be aligned to Libra’s commitment to honor and respect grantees, listen to them and follow their lead, and use our privilege and access to help bring resources and attention to their work.

The vision of the Environmental & Climate Justice (E&CJ) program area is based on the principles of Just Transition, building political and economic power to shift from an extractive economy to a regenerative economy. Our E&CJ work acknowledges the root causes of climate change and the systems that create unequal burdens for communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis and systemic and environmental racism. We support frontline organizations to build power and organize locally, trans-locally, and nationally for environmental and climate justice. We have a specific focus on the formations that uplift and advance this work as well as movement infrastructure and culture change organizations as part of the movement ecosystem. A key opportunity to enhance our E&CJ work will be growing our support for environmental and climate justice organizations in the U.S. South.

The SPO will work closely with the Director of Programs to create, execute, and manage strategies that amplify grantee voices and solutions and build community. To thrive in this role at Libra within the context of the E&CJ program area, the SPO should bring:

  • Belief in Libra’s guiding principle that those who are the closest to the problem are the best equipped to design and implement the solutions.
  • Sound analysis of systemic inequities, intersectionality, and social justice issues.
  • Deep passion for E&CJ and the removal of barriers that create unequal burdens for frontline communities.
  • Strong relationship-orientation with existing ties and programmatic experience relevant to E&CJ movements and funders, including within frontline communities – primarily BIPOC and low-income communities who experience disproportionate impacts of systemic and environmental racism and the climate crisis – and allied funders and movement partners.
  • Creative thinking about how to collaboratively spark social change.
  • Willingness to bear the administrative load for grantees to minimize the burden around the grantmaking process.
  • Capacity to ensure strong execution across grantee information gathering and relationship building and the grantmaking process.
  • Desire to organize other funders by calling them in and showing them the way.
  • Good judgment and an ability to hold discretion about matters of significance.

Duties and Responsibilities

Strategic Grantmaking

  • Collaborate with the Director of Programs to shape and refine Libra’s strategic approach in the E&CJ program area, developing and applying grantmaking strategies reflective of the foundation’s guiding principle.
  • Partner with other Program team members to ensure that Libra’s grantmaking responds to the needs of social movements across its three program areas.
  • Leverage more creative and less burdensome ways to get to know prospective grantee partners, develop deeper understanding of current grantee partners through information and conversation, and make compelling grant recommendations.
  • Maintain trusting relationships with grantees and act as a resource and partner, including supporting their development and making introductions to allied funders and partners.
  • Partner with the Grants Management team to ensure that grant processes are aligned with foundation values.
  • Contribute to knowledge management by ensuring that grant files are complete.
  • Monitor individual grant progress, the grant portfolio, and movement ecosystems in ways that center grantee partner voice and feedback.
  • Learn from implementation to refine Libra’s approach by continually assessing program status; addressing ongoing challenges; identifying promising practices and emerging needs; and recommending ways to adapt grantmaking to be more responsive and effective.
  • Work closely with other Program team members to maximize opportunities for crossprogram learning.

Community Engagement & Funder Organizing

  • Partner with grantees to identify ways to address their diverse needs and build the capacity of their movements.
  • Speak, write, facilitate, present, and plan and/or host events with the goal of uplifting grantee partners and shifting philanthropy; calling other funders in, not out, and providing advice to show the way.
  • Create specific goals and build relationships around funder organizing, to move more resources to frontline communities.
  • Actively represent the foundation in professional organizations, philanthropic affinity groups, and other relevant associations and entities in the broader environmental philanthropy field.
  • Stay up to date on emerging issues, trends, and political developments and deepen political education and connections with allied funders and movement partners.
  • Partner with peers generally, and in funder networks, to identify opportunities to make our work even more intersectional and shift more resources to frontline communities.

Internal Collaboration

  • Serve as a resource for the Director of Programs, Executive Director, and Board, responding to requests for information and insight as needed.
  • Be a strategic partner to the Director of Programs and other Program team members.
  • Partner with the Communications and Engagement Manager to uplift the work of grantee partners.
  • Contribute to shaping a healthy workplace culture.
  • Partner with the Grants Management team to manage and implement special projects as needed.

Desired Core Values & Qualities

  • Commitment to Libra’s program areas: Passionate about gender justice; environmental and climate justice; and community safety and justice with solid analysis about their evolution, intersections, and cross-cultural perspectives.
  • High EQ: Open-minded listener with high emotional intelligence and empathy.
  • No ego: Humble, service-oriented leader who treats fellow team members and grantee partners with kindness and respect.
  • Strong collaborative spirit: Delights in working in partnership with others to create and execute strategic grantmaking that shifts the practices and behaviors of our sector.
  • Service orientation: Enjoys anticipating and meeting the needs of stakeholders.
  • Flexibility and positivity: Comfortable wearing multiple hats, with an adaptable work style and a positive attitude that contributes to a healthy, vibrant team dynamic.
  • Impeccable integrity and judgment: Models ethics and trustworthiness in all actions.
  • Courage: Pushes the team and field in ways that help reimagine philanthropy.

Desired Skills & Experiences

  • Significant, progressively responsible work experience and a strong network in fields relevant to E&CJ which could include philanthropy, community organizing, with frontline BIPOC-led and/or power-building organizations, or other allied sectors.
  • Experience and comfort building trust and working collaboratively with people from diverse backgrounds especially Black, Indigenous, people of color, women (cis and trans) and gender nonconforming people, low income, formerly incarcerated, undocumented, survivors, LGBTQIA+, and other identities visible and invisible who have often been most impacted by injustice.
  • Capacity to develop strategic approaches to complex social challenges in a complicated political environment and to synthesize information into clear recommendations.
  • Strong project management skills with the ability to self-start and manage multiple simultaneous projects requiring attention to detail and deadlines and responsiveness to changing priorities.
  • Strong written and oral communications skills, interpersonal awareness, and excellent listening and critical thinking skills.
  • Experience with or knowledge of E&CJ BIPOC-led power-building organizations and movements in the U.S. South a plus.
  • High proficiency in Microsoft Office and Google Suite applications and third-party email clients; familiarity with Grants Management Systems (particularly GivingData) a plus.

POSITION DETAILS, COMPENSATION, AND BENEFITS

This is a full-time position based at The Libra Foundation’s office in The Presidio in San Francisco, California. The Libra Foundation provides a comprehensive benefits package, including medical, dental, and vision coverage (with 100% of the premium covered by the employer), a 401k retirement plan, paid time off, a transit subsidy, and an annual professional development budget.

The salary range is $160,000 – $180,000, commensurate with experience. The Libra Foundation is committed to creating a dynamic, diverse working environment, and is an equal opportunity employer. We welcome applications from all, and strongly encourage women, people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants, refugees, and LGBTQ people to apply.

HOW TO APPLY

The Libra Foundation is partnering with Walker and Associates Consulting – a Black woman owned and -led strategic management consulting and search firm – for recruitment. To apply, email a single PDF file containing a cover letter, resume and list of three references (candidates will be notified in advance of any outreach to your references) to libra@walkeraac.com on or before 5:00 p.m. on August 5, 2022. Use the subject line: Senior Program Officer. Resume review begins immediately.

Questions or Nominations? Contact Jeannine N. Walker, President and CEO, at jwalker@walkeraac.com.

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