Program Officer, Clean Energy (BF)

About the Barr Foundation

The Barr Foundation’s mission is to invest in human, natural, and creative potential, serving as thoughtful stewards and catalysts. As stewards, Barr nurtures and enhances vital community assets. As catalysts, the Foundation cultivates and advances the breakthrough ideas that will shape our collective future. Barr focuses on achieving impact as a constructive partner, willing to exercise leadership.

Based in Boston, the Foundation focuses regionally, and selectively engages nationally, working in partnership with nonprofits, foundations, the public sector, and civic and business leaders to elevate the arts and creative expression, advance solutions for climate change, and expand educational opportunity. Barr is one of the largest private foundations in New England with assets of more than $1.7 billion and a 2018 grantmaking budget of $85 million.

A set of core values defined by the Barr Foundation’s founding trustees expresses beliefs about what constitutes effective philanthropy and guides how the Foundation carries out its philanthropic mission. The Foundation is committed to strive for excellence, act with humility, adopt a long-term perspective, and embrace risk. Additionally, while each program is guided by distinct priorities and goals, Barr embraces a common set of approaches in all aspects of its work, namely flexibility and nimbleness, a broad range of tools, knowledge and learning, openness and transparency, and active collaboration.

For more information on the Barr Foundation, please visit:

Barr’s Climate Program

Since its inception, the Barr Foundation has prioritized the environment as a principal area of funding, and in 2010 focused its efforts on the monumental problem of climate change. Our Climate Program works on mitigation and resiliency solutions. We focus our mitigation efforts on the two areas that produce the most greenhouse gas emissions: 1) how we generate and use energy (Clean Energy); and 2) how we move around (Mobility). In addition, we acknowledge that even with concerted efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change, they are inevitable. Our Climate Resilience focus area aims to increase the capacity of Metro Boston communities to prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change. We believe that while climate change is a global challenge, cities and states have become vital agents of change, and by focusing on these three areas, we can play an important role in helping to catalyze and advance solutions. Our principal geographic focus is the U.S. Northeast and on occasion, we engage in targeted national or global efforts with significant opportunities to contribute to impact.

Program Officer Position            

The Barr Foundation is seeking a program officer to work within the Climate Program’s Clean Energy Focus Area.  The goal of the Clean Energy Focus Area is to reduce the energy sector’s emissions by building the path to a clean, efficient, and modern energy system. A primary objective of the strategy is to expand energy efficiency and renewable energy across the Northeast region through new and improved policies and regulations. To achieve this objective, our grants have focused on:

  • Mobilizing supportive constituencies: We invest in building leaders in key sectors as well as community organizations and grassroots groups to champion policies that drive investment in clean energy. By engaging multiple stakeholders and developing their leadership in support of climate and clean energy, we protect the gains achieved to date while moving the dial forward on the clean energy economy.
  • Policy analysis and advocacy: We support the development of credible, objective information and analysis to inform public and policy discourse on clean energy choices, solutions, and policy pathways.
  • Promoting sharing of effective clean energy practices, policies, and communication strategies across the U.S.

This program officer will report to the Co-Director of Climate who leads the clean energy strategy.

Key Responsibilities

Planning and strategy

  • Collaborate with the Co-Directors and Climate team members in developing grantmaking strategies that will have a strong impact in areas important to the Foundation.
  • Contribute to assessment and modifications of strategy in response to new knowledge, and serve as a thought partner on the Clean Energy team.
  • Maintain a wide breadth and depth of knowledge about the current trends, professional practices, and policies pertinent to the program.
  • Assist with developing and tracking program and project budgets.


  • Work with the Co-Director of Climate to identify potential grant opportunities related to Clean Energy. Evaluate new proposals, conduct site visits, actively assist organizations in improving the quality of proposals and activities, manage active grants, assess their progress, and analyze and act on financial and programmatic reports.
  • Draft internal documents and analyses for Foundation leadership and trustee consideration of funding proposals.
  • Assist with the evaluation of grants or grant clusters in support of program strategy reviews, and collaborate with the Communications team to disseminate learnings that contribute to the fields of clean energy and adaptation in philanthropy.
  • Develop and manage consultant engagements as necessary for program strategies.
  • Respond to inquiries and proposals in the program area.
  • Coordinate and collaborate with staff engaged on Climate Resilience and Mobility, as needed.

Field Leadership

  • Develop and cultivate strong working relationships with grantees, outside advisors, experts in the field, public sector partners, and colleagues in philanthropy.
  • Contribute to the team’s knowledge by keeping abreast of current trends, emerging issues, policies, political landscape, influential leaders, and best practices.
  • In collaboration with the Co-Director of Climate, commission papers and program-related reports that broadly contribute to the Foundation’s understanding of new approaches, best practices, and issues in clean energy relevant to the program’s interests.
  • As appropriate, organize meetings and convenings of field experts to share best practices, encourage collaboration, and explore strategies for collective impact.
  • Learn and provide leadership in the professional field through speaking engagements, writing, and use of social media.


  • Strong record of achievement with minimum of five years of relevant experience working in nonprofit, public, or private sector in fields related to the Foundation’s Clean Energy Focus Area.
  • The ability to understand complex systemic energy challenges and assist in the creation of solutions that respond comprehensively.
  • Experience working on climate and energy public policy issues and an understanding of the role of the nonprofit and philanthropic communities in driving policy change. Knowledge of the culture, institutions, and leadership of New England and the Northeast region would be an asset.
  • Experience building strong, positive, collaborative relationships with diverse constituencies. The ability to listen to new ideas, encourage open dialogue, and inspire people to work towards common goals.
  • Proven ability to define program objectives, evaluate progress, and independently manage projects through a complete lifecycle.
  • Exceptional quantitative and qualitative analytical skills necessary for designing initiatives, identifying investment opportunities, and evaluating grant proposals.
  • Experience using both objective data and informed opinions to evaluate the impact of an organization’s work. Experience in assessing nonprofits’ health and effectiveness through analyzing financial statements, evaluating the feasibility and strategic value of proposed programs and activities, and assessing management, leadership, and organizational capacity.
  • Strong project, time, and budget management skills; an ability to thrive working under deadlines and handle multiple tasks without sacrificing attention to detail.
  • Excellent writing and presentation skills, particularly in communicating with diverse constituencies in a variety of settings.
  • Independent initiative and a collegial spirit in sharing ideas and receiving feedback.
  • Strong skills in Microsoft Office suite; familiarity with Salesforce or similar database programs would be an asset.
  • Bachelor’s degree required. Graduate degree in public policy, clean energy or a closely related field is preferred.

To Apply

Please visit to apply for this position. Only applications submitted via this link will be considered. Applications for this position will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with applications strongly encouraged by November 30, 2018.

All inquiries may be directed in confidence to: Denise Gillespie, director of Human Resources, via email at: [email protected]. This position offers a competitive salary with excellent benefits.

The Barr Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and seeks a diverse pool of candidates in this search.

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