Climate Philanthropy Senior Research Fellow, Drawdown Labs

About Project Drawdown

The World’s Leading Resource for Climate Solutions

Project Drawdown is a nonprofit organization that seeks to help the world reach “Drawdown”— the future point in time when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline. Since the 2017 publication of the New York Times bestseller Drawdown, the organization has emerged as a leading resource for information and insight about climate solutions. Cities, universities, corporations, philanthropies, policymakers, communities, educators, activists, and more turn to Project Drawdown, as they look to advance effective climate action. We aim to support the growing constellation of efforts to move climate solutions forward and move the world toward Drawdown—as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible.

See The Drawdown Review—2020 and Climate Solutions 101 for the latest updates to our work.

Drawdown Labs is Project Drawdown’s private sector testing ground for accelerating the scaling of climate solutions quickly, safely, and equitably. Leveraging the organization's world-class research and analysis—and the cross-industry capabilities of participating businesses and funders—Drawdown Labs experiments with collaborative ways to address climate change at unprecedented scale, and offers the world a more expansive vision for private sector climate leadership.

Position Summary

Project Drawdown has identified a widespread need among climate-conscious investors, funders, and philanthropies seeking guidance on how best to scale high-impact climate solutions. Philanthropic investors in particular are uniquely positioned to fund climate solutions that may have difficulty accessing traditional capital due to political constraints, profit mandates, and other hurdles to securing funds from conventional sources—and this presents an opportunity to fill a critical financing gap in the climate space. But due to an incredibly large quantity and variety of climate projects, as well as the level of expert knowledge needed to decipher the impact of these projects, many foundations struggle with understanding these options, and thus have difficulty developing effective long-term climate funding strategies. 

Building on Project Drawdown’s comprehensive assessment of global climate solutions, the Climate Philanthropy Senior Fellow will help draw connections between key climate solutions and the most effective philanthropic strategies to scale them. This research will identify the key sectors, geographies, solutions, and accelerators with high potential for climate action but with little access to conventional financing. Additionally, this position will research the barriers to scaling climate solutions through conventional funding and philanthropic funding; driving factors of current philanthropic funding strategies; opportunities for attracting philanthropies historically absent from the climate solutions space; and how grantmakers can be connected to those implementing climate solutions to direct funds where they are most needed. Over the course of the year, the Senior Fellow will advance the following objectives: 

  1. Research and identify key sectors, geographies, solutions, and methods for scaling climate action. The Senior Fellow will work closely with other Project Drawdown staff, as well as external experts and stakeholders, to determine the top sectors and geographies—and the specific solutions and implementation methods within these focus sectors and geographies—that do not have access to traditional capital but have the highest potential to scale with philanthropic funding. The Senior Fellow will utilize the Project Drawdown Solutions Framework to help identify the highest potential sector-geography-solution-method combinations. This research will help foundations better understand where philanthropic funding is needed and develop climate grantmaking strategies for greatest impact. 

  2. Develop a broadly applicable framework that foundations can leverage in creating climate change grantmaking programs. The Senior Fellow will publish their findings in a Grantmakers Guide to Scaling Climate Solutions. In addition to identifying the highest potential sector-geography-solution-method combinations, the Senior Fellow will convene and work with a small cohort of three to four foundations to help develop a widely applicable framework, which will then be used to inform the Grantmakers Guide to Scaling Climate Solutions. The Senior Fellow will hold one-on-one sessions and full group workshops to understand how organizations are currently making climate-related grants, the barriers they face in understanding how to make the most high impact grants, and how a funding guide would be most helpful in overcoming such barriers. 

The position will report to the Director of Drawdown Labs, and work closely with the Labs and Solutions teams. This is a one-year position, with the possibility for extension to support Drawdown Labs’ programmatic expansion into Drawdown-aligned investment and philanthropy.

The ideal candidate will be an excellent researcher and communicator, with academic expertise and experience working in climate finance and/or philanthropy. We seek solutions-oriented candidates who are passionate about addressing the climate crisis..

As a small team with a big mission, The Climate Finance Senior Fellow will need to work with independence and self-direction yet thrive in collaboration. Project Drawdown welcomes people of all backgrounds, identities, and beliefs to join us in helping the world reach Drawdown quickly, safely, and equitably. We are a 100% remote organization based in the U.S. Candidates currently authorized to work in the United States (U.S. Citizens, green card holders, and work visa holders), who reside anywhere within the U.S. may apply.   

Essential Responsibilities

Working in conjunction with the Drawdown Labs and Solutions teams, the Climate Philanthropy Senior Fellow position will include:

Research and data analysis

  • Conduct a lit-review on effective grantmaking strategies for Drawdown climate solutions.
  • Create criteria for identifying the highest impact sectors and geographies for scaling climate solutions, along with their specific solutions and implementation methods based on the Drawdown Solutions Framework.
  • Lead research and data analysis on the top sector-geography-solutions-methods combinations for the highest impact climate grantmaking strategy.

Partner engagement

  • Convene and engage with a working group of small/medium-sized private foundations in the $100K to $10M category.
  • Conduct expert interviews and full group workshops and synthesize learnings to be broadly applied in the Grantmakers Guide to Scaling Climate Solutions.
  • Provide quarterly presentations and updates to partners.

Writing and Communications

  • Contribute to the annual Drawdown Review and the Grantmakers Guide to Scaling Climate Solutions.
  • Help translate climate philanthropy research into accessible media content to support Drawdown Labs’ blog posts, social media posts, and other editorial pieces.

Education and/or Experience

The ideal candidate will possess a combination of the following education and/or equivalent experience:

  • Master’s (required); Doctorate in relevant field a plus.
  • 3-7 years of experience in the philanthropic space, ideally with family foundations and/or in climate change funding strategy.
  • Demonstrated written and oral communication skills.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

The qualifications listed here are necessary to perform this job successfully. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential functions.

  • High level understanding of philanthropic models and strategies, especially as they relate to family foundations and climate related grantmaking. 
  • Skilled in economic data analysis and research on topics such as applied economics, financial modeling, and socially responsible/E.S.G/climate-smart financing.
  • Experience or interest in advancing climate solutions. 
  • Experience participating in advisory groups, convenings, and engagements (virtual and in-person).
  • Experience developing and implementing strategy and project plans.
  • Excellent written, presentation, and interpersonal communication skills to engage effectively within Project Drawdown and with external collaborators/stakeholders.
  • Strong organizational skills, attention to detail, and ability to manage workflow on deadline.
  • Dedicated to scaling solutions to the climate crisis quickly, safely and equitably.  
  • Self-starter with an ability to work independently and as a member of a remote team.
  • Flexibility, creativity, and can-do attitude.
  • Strong passion for helping the world achieve Drawdown.
  • Fluency in English.

Location

As with all positions at Project Drawdown, this will be 100% remote. Employees can work anywhere within the United States. Candidates currently authorized to work in the United States (US Citizens, green card holders, and work visa holders), who reside anywhere within the US may apply.

Compensation

This is a full-time position with benefits. Compensation and benefits are competitive. We work hard to ensure our salaries are competitive with similar leading nonprofits in major cities across America. In addition, Project Drawdown provides exceptional benefits, including generous time off, health insurance and matching 401k. We will share compensation package details with candidates we invite into our interview process.

How to Apply

To apply, please complete our online application form. All candidates will need to upload a cover letter, their most recent resume, as well as work samples as described below:

  • Cover letter that creatively communicates your background and fit for this role.
  • Resume detailing your professional and educational background.
  • Portfolio of 2-4 pieces of climate-related research or writing (please include relevant context and details about your role or contribution).

Applications will be reviewed beginning September 20, 2021. The application process may be closed at any point after that date.


Project Drawdown is an equal opportunity employer committed to having a team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and skills. Project Drawdown does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, national origin, veteran status, or any other basis covered by law, and we will not tolerate discrimination or harassment based on any of these characteristics. We strongly encourage all qualified persons to apply for this position. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit, and the organization’s need.


If you have questions, contact us at jobs@drawdown.org. Please, no phone calls.