Program Associate (Environment)

San Francisco, CA, US


The Environment Program is seeking a dynamic individual to join our expert team as we work to improve water management, wildlife conservation, and overall community well-being in California. The candidate who will thrive in this role enjoys touching on a wide variety of topic areas and has an interest in learning about building the capacity of nonprofits, solving environmental challenges in California, and the role that philanthropic foundations can play. This could be an ideal role for a person interested in pursuing a career in nonprofit fundraising.

The S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation is dedicated to advancing a productive, vibrant, and sustainable California. Because California faces many critical challenges, which require resources and imaginative solutions, the Board of Directors decided to spend down the Foundation’s assets by 2020. This decision reflects a commitment to identifying lasting solutions for education and the environment sooner, rather than later. Please see our website for more information:

The Program Associate will support grantmaking across the Environment team, with a primary focus on the portfolios for capacity-building and land. The capacity-building portfolio focuses on grants designed to build individual leadership, increase organizational effectiveness, and enhance collaboration in California’s water management and land conservation fields. Through the land portfolio, the Foundation invests in advancing the durability and relevance of California’s protected lands network, including national, state and regional parks. The Foundation also invests in aligning incentives and removing barriers to effective land management practices to increase conservation on private and unprotected lands throughout California.

The Program Associate will report to the Environment Capacity Building Program Officer and will work closely with the Senior Program Officer for Land and other members of the seven-person Environment Program team.


The Program Associate will work approximately 40-60% on the capacity-building portfolio, 30-40% on the land portfolio and 10-20% on water portfolio/team wide projects.

Support Grantmaking and Strategy Implementation – Support all aspects of coordination and implementation of capacity-building and land portfolios, including:

  • Support program officers throughout the grant-making and grant-monitoring cycle, to include:
    • Respond to grant-seeker inquiries
    • Conduct preliminary proposal and report review
    • Perform due diligence, including analysis of budget and financial documents
    • Gather additional data
    • Participate in grantee meetings
    • Draft analyses on recommended grants and of grant progress
    • Ensure active grants are monitored and reviewed on time
    • Work with the Grants Management team and Environment Program Administrator to process grant approvals, grant payments, consultant invoices, and follow other Foundation protocols.
    • Support program officers throughout all phases of external consultant contracting cycles, to include:
      • Assist with the initial request for proposal
      • Assist with developing scope of work
      • Track deliverables
      • Serve as program liaison for grantees, consultants, other parties, and general inquiries.

Capture Knowledge and Support Environment Team

  • Collect, manage, and share information and learning related to grant-making activities using the Foundation’s grant tracking system, filing protocol, and internal communications mechanisms.
  • Assist in the planning and coordination of meetings, events, and workshops.
  • Coordinate and attend meetings as requested; take, distribute, and file meeting notes; save and file email correspondence; and maintain own calendar.
  • Participate in and contribute to Environment team and Foundation meetings and workshops, sharing knowledge and experience from the capacity-building and land portfolios and fields.
  • Assist in preparation of presentations, memos, and reports for both internal and external audiences on topics related to the capacity-building and land portfolios and fields.
  • As requested, conduct research and synthesize and share findings.
  • As requested, attend conferences and workshops; provide updates to team members.

Additional duties as assigned

There may be additional types of tasks assigned, and given the nature of the Foundation’s sunset in 2020 the Program Associate role may evolve over time. However, it is anticipated that this position, along with all Foundation staff, will be necessary through the entire spend-down period.



  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent relevant work experience required.
  • 2+ years of work experience in a professional setting.
  • Demonstrated ability to produce high-quality written products.
  • Strong competencies in planning, project management, and organization.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, verbal communication skills, and attention to detail.
  • Ability to work well both independently and as a team member.
  • Ability to analyze and synthesize information, and provide written reports and presentations that meet project objectives and timelines.
  • Flexibility to work across topics in the portfolios and coordinate multiple concurrent lines of work; ability to respond well to changing priorities.
  • Comfort with ambiguity and willingness to act based on incomplete information if necessary.
  • Ability to represent the Foundation outside the organization and to interact with staff at all levels of the organization in a professional, courteous, and tactful manner.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint).
  • Flexibility and sense of humor.


  • Experience as a nonprofit grant writer or similar role requiring frequently writing about a wide variety of topics.
  • Knowledge of nonprofit management, operations, or capacity building and/or conservation issues.


Candidate must have the ability to communicate clearly in person and by telephone, read and understand written communication, and generate written communications manually and using a computer. Candidate must be able to sit for extended periods both in meetings and at a computer. Periodic travel is required by this position.


A competitive compensation package is available, including a salary commensurate with qualifications and experience, and a comprehensive benefits package.


Please send an email with “Environment Program Associate Application” in the subject line with a resume and cover letter by March 20, 2017 to [email protected]. Please provide all information electronically; please no phone calls.