AVP (Environmental Justice & Equity Initiatives)

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

Various, , US

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is a leading international environmental advocacy organization, with programs from Boston to Beijing.  We focus on strong science and economics along with uncommon partnerships to accelerate environmental progress. EDF seeks talented candidates who share our Core Values of Results, Respect, Innovation, Optimism, and Integrity.

EDF has been on a journey to integrate diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice into its organizational values, starting with the establishment of a Board of Trustees Diversity and Environmental Justice Committee in 2001 and a Staff Diversity Committee in 2008. EDF developed its first Diversity Strategic Plan in 2014.  We have had some successes in addressing disparate impacts but continue to work toward a more systematic and impactful integration of these issues into our core program work.

A basic principle of ecology is that diversity in an ecosystem fosters strength and resilience. At EDF, we are striving to create a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion in both our staff and our programmatic work that could help to foster greater strengths and resilience in EDF and the communities in which we work.

Overall Function

EDF is seeking an AVP, Environmental Justice & Equity Initiatives to inspire and align program work aimed at minimizing disparate environmental impacts and ensuring that disadvantaged communities have a full voice in environmental policymaking. The AVP’s primary tasks will be to clarify and align environmental justice and equity goals across the organizational units of EDF, to craft goals and measurements that reflect our collective impact, and to help EDF staff to forge authentic, mutually beneficial and trusting relationships with community organizations and leaders, including non-U.S. geographies where EDF works. The AVP will work closely with members of EDF’s Executive Team and internal Environmental Justice Council, and is a partner to our AVP, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, who is focused on recruiting, retention and inclusion within EDF.

The position reports to the Executive Vice President for Programs. The location is flexible with preference for EDF’s offices in New York, Boston, Washington D.C., or San Francisco.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Develop, socialize and maintain a clear and consistent set of goals and principles for EDF’s approach to environmental justice and equity issues, covering policy development, community engagement, advocacy campaigns, and messaging for both domestic and international work.

  • Develop and refine an organizational strategy for achieving those goals through environmental justice and equity assessments and initiatives that are integrated into EDF’s programmatic priorities.

  • Work with program leads to ensure that EDF’s policy proposals, activities and messages are informed by, reflect, and underscore, where appropriate, the importance of achieving environmental justice goals and to integrate EJ analyses and assessments into the above activities.

  • Inspire, facilitate and coordinate program initiatives associated with environmental justice, equity and community empowerment, actively engaging with program leaders and staff to create stronger collaboration between and across programs and to ensure that equity and justice principles are routinely and systematically reflected in program work. 

  • Develop and manage a community partnerships engagement strategy that includes a clear and consistent set of goals and principles for EDF engagement and guidelines on setting up and measuring the success of such engagements. This strategy will include both an U.S. and a non-U.S. lens.

  • Build a deep understanding of and a robust internal dialogue about environmental justice principles and frameworks, grounded in EDF’s past and present dynamics with environmental justice communities

  • Identify and help cultivate potential sources of funding for our work and for the work of community partners.

  • As appropriate in consultation with Programs, build and maintain relationships with leaders, organizations and officials representing disparately impacted communities; actively identifying opportunities for partnership and advancing justice and equity strategies.

  • Regularly update senior executives and the EDF Board of Trustees on activities and results; communicating program achievements to stakeholders at board meetings, donor events, etc.

  • With the co-chairs, help lead EDF’s Environmental Justice Council, an internal body of EDF staff who work closely on environmental justice issues and/or with frontline communities and partners.

  • Work closely with the AVP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to implement EDF’s broader strategy on diversity, equity, inclusion and justice.

  • Provide support to EDF executives as needed to promote attention to these issues within their teams, to strengthen relationships with community leaders and to advance equity and inclusion within the environmental movement.

  • Provide leadership, mentorship and guidance to EDF staff addressing environmental justice and equity issues.


The ideal candidate is a thoughtful strategist and an experienced and effective organizational change agent grounded in principles of equity and justice. This person is energized by working within an organization to change the way it understands and approaches its mission and interacts with other organizations and communities.  The ideal candidates would have:

  • 12+ years’ experience in the field of environmental justice and/or working for or with community-based organizations.

  • Deep expertise and experience in environmental justice issues, policies and solutions

  • Demonstrated success as an organizational change agent, developing and implementing a strategic vision with buy-in from staff and leaders and measuring the success and impact of those strategies.

  • A collaborative leadership style, with proven ability to empower and inspire staff and encourage staff development even without direct report-to relationships.

  • Commitment to and ability to help foster organizational growth and awareness, including increasing cultural competence across international contexts, deepening knowledge of the history of environmental and social justice movements, and understanding intersectional dynamics including race, class, gender and geography.

  • Demonstrated success in building collaborative, productive and respectful relationships and alliances with leaders and organizations representing a variety of interests, including local communities and businesses.

  • Demonstrated success raising funds in a nonprofit setting is preferable.

  • Personal and professional commitment to addressing issues of diversity and inclusiveness, environmental and social justice, and community empowerment.

  • Positive self-starter with excellent organizational, interpersonal and communication skills, high energy and the ability to work independently.

  • Willingness to take risks, try new approaches and tackle difficult conversations and barriers with innovative ideas.

  • Ability to represent EDF’s equity and justice work externally to a broad range of audiences.

  • High emotional intelligence, strong interpersonal skills, humor, humility, and compassion.

  • Bachelor’s degree in related field required.


In addition to completing the required application & resume, please also include a COVER LETTER that addresses what motivates your interest in this job with us at this time.

Environmental Defense Fund is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant’s qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.





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