Water Program Officer


The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation (CGMF) is a mission-driven, grantmaking foundation that seeks innovative, sustainable solutions for human and environmental problems. The foundation funds high impact projects in Texas at the nexus of environmental protection, social equity, and economic vibrancy. Since its incorporation in 1978, the CGMF, along with the late George P. Mitchell and Cynthia Woods Mitchell, have distributed or pledged more than $400 million in grants to numerous causes, programs, and institutions. The foundation’s grantmaking currently focuses on initiatives related to water, clean energy, shale sustainability, and sustainability education. George Mitchell passed away in July 2013, leaving a substantial bequest to the foundation that will be fulfilled over the next few years. The CGMF Board expects the endowment of the foundation to grow significantly with a fully built-out foundation launching in 2018.



CGMF is currently seeking a Water Program Officer to lead its water-related grantmaking efforts in Texas. Current initiatives within the Water Program include state water policy challenges, urban water conservation, Hill Country water conservation, and the energy-water nexus. The Water Program first began making grants in 2011 and currently provides $1 million per year in grants through 2017. Starting in 2018, the budget for the Water Program is expected to increase significantly. The Program Officer will report to the Vice President and be based in Austin, Texas. The Program Officer will develop and lead a portfolio of grants and activities designed to support the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation’s goal of ensuring that adequate water supplies are provided for the environment in Texas. The ideal candidate will have substantive experience and a deep knowledge of water issues in Texas, including but not limited to conservation strategies, state water policy and related water planning and financing, drought mitigation, freshwater inflows, water utility business model reform, the water-energy nexus, water markets, and other water-related policy issues. The successful candidate will have significant and recent experience managing water issues in Texas, demonstrate familiarity with Texas water policy decision makers and agencies, and understand the cross-cutting issues between water, energy, and land management.


  • Develop sophisticated water program strategies and ensure that grantmaking aligns with the program strategy so that foundation goals are achieved.
  •  Manage active grants, assess their progress, and respond to financial and programmatic reports.
  •  Collaborate with the Vice President in planning future grantmaking strategies that will have strong impact in areas important to the foundation.
  •  Collaborate with potential grantees to develop grant proposals for approval.
  •  Establish and maintain effective relationships with current and prospective grantees.
  •  Develop guidelines for measuring the success of programs and grants.
  •  Manage evaluation of grants and participate in assessments of program strategy.
  •  Ensure that sound financial controls are in place for each grant and that funds are spent wisely and according to grant agreements.
  • Provide regular program updates to the foundation’s water committee.
  • Maintain an open and inquisitive approach to grantmaking with a strong focus on learning from failure and success.
  • Maintain solid knowledge of the field and share information with the CGMF team and grantees to adapt strategies and improve outcomes.
  • Organize and coordinate meetings of grantees and key field experts sponsored by the foundation.
  • Represent the foundation externally at appropriate meetings, workshops, and conferences.
  • Coordinate with the Vice President and other staff to ensure information sharing across programs.

This job description reflects the assignment of essential functions; it does not prescribe or restrict the tasks that may be assigned.



  •  Master’s degree in policy, law, environmental science, or related field plus 10 years of work experience in water policy in Texas
  •  Knowledge of and experience with Texas state water policy, urban and rural water conservation, and the energy-water nexus
  • Demonstrated success in developing, facilitating, implementing, and adapting effective water conservation programs
  • Experience in project management, including developing indicators of progress
  • An outcomes based orientation with an ability to discern the key programmatic elements in grant proposals
  • Flexible, clear, strategic thinking and a strong desire to help the foundation improve the impact of its grantmaking
  • Demonstrated exceptional analytical skills necessary for evaluating grants and proposals
  • Demonstrated research and writing skills
  • Experience working and collaborating in a high-performing team environment
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office programs in a Mac environment, especially Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Experience using database software preferred.
  • Ability to prioritize and juggle diverse tasks while maintaining attention to the details
  • Ability to travel as necessary for 2 – 3 business days at a time
  • Proven ability to work well under pressure, take initiative, and be a creative problem-solver
  • Capable of working in a quiet, small office environment


  • Interest in and dedication to the foundation’s mission
  • Collaborative with an understanding of the interdisciplinary and complex nature of water policy and science
  • Focused on high-level strategic thinking and planning
  • Takes initiative and willing to pitch in when necessary
  • Positive attitude and a good sense of humor
  • Adaptable, flexible nature
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively as part of a team
  • Strong interpersonal skills



The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle or feel; reach with hands and arm; climb stairs, balance; stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl; talk or hear. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds. This position requires the frequent use of computer office software and databases. Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.


The CGMF is located in the Carillon Building in Austin, Texas. The office environment is a typical small office with low noise levels, shared kitchen facilities, and a collegial atmosphere. Ample parking is available, and the office has access to public transportation. On occasion, there are activities or events after work hours. Occasional travel is required.