Climate Initiative Director (WPF)

Job Summary

Wellspring Philanthropic Fund seeks an expert in the climate change area to lead its first initiative focused on reducing carbon emissions and accelerating the transition to clean energy. The successful candidate will be a seasoned professional with at least 15 years working with philanthropic and/or advocacy organizations, including a substantial part of that period focusing on climate change mitigation. They will have long‐term vision, exceptional networking and collaboration skills, and a demonstrated ability to help organizations with the creation and development of Wellspring’s Climate Initiative’s first strategy. They will be open‐minded, possess strong listening skills, and communicate openly and effectively with advocates, funders, and other stakeholders. A leader in the field, the Climate Initiative Director will work closely with Wellspring’s leadership and a special advisory team to oversee all aspects of research, portfolio development, and management related to grantmaking.

Climate Change Initiative Mission

The Wellspring Climate Initiative seeks to avoid the worst impacts of climate change by dramatically reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and accelerating the transition to a clean energy future. Our investments will be aimed at decarbonizing the world economy as quickly as possible and will focus on the strategies and venues where philanthropy can have the highest impact. We will be active in multiple geographies based on opportunities for cost‐ effective mitigation. We believe that solving climate change requires the adoption of ambitious policy solutions that transform markets, advance clean technology and lead to large‐scale change. The Wellspring Climate Initiative is dedicated to building the political will and powerful coalitions needed to achieve these bold policy solutions.

Key Responsibilities

Strategic planning and strategy development

The Director will work closely with Wellspring’s leadership to develop and execute Wellspring’s Climate Initiative’s strategy. This will include:

  • Leading the development and refinement of a strategic plan for the initiative, setting out a theory of change, clear goals, philanthropic strategies to meet those goals, and applicable metrics.
  • Taking advantage of close working relationships that have already been established with international, national and local climate change actors, including funders and practitioners to help identify potential grantees poised to have the greatest impact.
  • Monitoring developments in the field to identify emerging needs, gaps, and opportunities.
  • Writing strategy recommendations and background papers, as well as presenting proposed grantees for funding.


  • Undertaking initial screening of potential grantees; managing grantee relationships; analyzing and assessing background information; conducting site visits; soliciting and developing funding proposals; determining appropriate funding levels; preparing docket materials; monitoring active grants and reviewing progress reports.
  • Ensuring adherence to internal grantmaking processes via appropriate documentation, grant budgeting, and reporting.
  • External Relations
  • Engaging with the community of aligned donors and practitioners working to advance the goals of Wellspring’s Climate Initiative.
  • Identifying appropriate partners and collaborations to advance grantmaking strategies including, as appropriate, actively participating in collaboratives, conferences and workshops.
  • Financial Stewardship, Supervision and Management
  • Ensuring effective allocation of funding for the grantmaking budgets.
  • Developing annual administrative budget to anticipate and plan for programmatic expenses such as travel, consultants’ fees, and other major and minor capital needs.
  • Managing, supervising, and working integrally with other Wellspring staff in accomplishing the abovementioned tasks.
  • Possibly managing the hiring of new staff.
  • In accordance with personnel policies, making decisions regarding working conditions of staff (e.g., telecommuting, etc.).
  • Periodically managing projects and assisting leadership to manage projects outside the scope of the assigned dockets, as they arise.
  • Performing other duties and responsibilities as requested.

Knowledge and Skills Requirements/ Qualifications

  • Fifteen years of experience working with philanthropic and/or advocacy organizations, including a substantial part of that period focusing on climate change mitigation.
  • An advanced degree in a relevant field is preferred.
  • Deep knowledge of and strong relationships with leading national and international organizations working on climate change.
  • Significant experience working effectively in funder collaboratives or in collaboration with advocacy organizations working on climate change issues.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain close, collegial, effective working relationships with colleagues and grantees of diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
  • Experience in developing and implementing strategic plans or initiatives that engage diverse perspectives and stakeholders.
  • Communication and management
  • Respect, open‐mindedness, and strong listening skills.
  • Strong public speaking and interpersonal skills.
  • Superior analytic skills and the ability to identify and extract critical information for communication externally with advocates, funders, and other stakeholders, as well as within Wellspring and with donors‐clients.
  • Ability to handle confidential donor information with complete discretion.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Exceptional management and mentoring skills.Other
  • Ability to work independently and manage own time.
  • Ability to plan and manage multiple priorities on different timelines.
  • Ability to learn quickly when confronting new issues and priorities.
  • Understanding and embodiment of Wellspring values (‐us/), including humility and teamwork
  • Understanding and valuing social justice, including racial and gender equity as an organizational operating principle ‐ ‐ and a commitment to continued learning on issues related to race, gender, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Ability to travel domestically and internationally frequently (25%).
  • Good judgment and a good sense of humor.

Salary and Benefits

Salary based on experience. Wellspring offers a very generous benefits package including payment of 100% of the health insurance premiums for employees (and 80% of the premiums for spouses, domestic partners and qualified family members). Wellspring also offers other benefits including life insurance, long‐term disability protection, a group 401(k) retirement plan (with an employer match), support for continuing education, up to $5,250 in annual student loan repayment OR college savings assistance for qualified dependents, and is committed to providing transgender‐inclusive healthcare.

About Wellspring Philanthropic Fund

Wellspring Philanthropic Fund is a private grantmaking foundation dedicated to advancing the realization of human rights and social and economic justice for all people. Wellspring has offices in New York, NY, and Washington, DC. This position will be based in Southern California (Irvine) with expected travel to the NY or DC offices as needed. Given the global nature of this work, relevant domestic and international work‐related travel will be expected.

Wellspring’s work is rooted in respect for the dignity and worth of every human being and is informed by the following beliefs:

  • Social institutions and structures should promote the full realization of human rights and human potential, and should be accountable to these ends.
  • The rights of all people are advanced when the rights of the most marginalized and vulnerable peoples are protected.
  • Social justice movements should employ means that are consistent with their ideals, and should give agency to the people whose interests they seek to advance.
  • As responsible stewards, we must strive to maximize the impact of our charitable investments.

As a private foundation, Wellspring’s key functions are to conduct research and education tailored to our mission; manage a grantmaking portfolio of various programs, administer grants and monitoring grantee performance; and work to promote the effectiveness of programs that receive donor funding.

Wellspring Philanthropic Fund believes we are strengthened by the diversity of our staff, and welcomes such diversity including race, gender identity or expression, educational attainment, disability, veteran status, and personal experience with the criminal justice system. We welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and we strongly encourage people of color and persons with disabilities to apply. We actively cultivate an institutional culture that reflects the values of respect, equity and inclusion that we seek through our work to amplify in the larger world.

Wellspring hires, promotes and retains employees based on their professional qualifications, demonstrated abilities and work performance, as well as on the degree to which these qualities are required in the employment positions made available by the Foundation’s service needs and business requirements. All personnel decisions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, compensation, assignment, training, promotion, discipline and discharge, are made without discrimination based on any protected characteristic as defined by law, e.g., race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, disability, gender identity or expression, sex, sexual orientation, marital or familial status, domestic partner status, veteran or military status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, and prior criminal convictions, as well as educational attainment.

How To Apply

The consulting firm Corridor Partners has been retained by Wellspring to manage the search for this position. Interested applicants should submit the following materials to

  • a resumé;
  • a thoughtful cover letter, including how you became aware of this opportunity, why you believe you would be a good fit for the position, and why you are interested in this opportunity. Please include salary requirements (must specify actual amount and range); and
  • one writing sample.

No phone calls please.

NOTE: The candidate we select must be able to assume responsibilities not later than January 6, 2020.

The application deadline is August 31, 2019. Interviews are expected to be conducted during the month of September.

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