Environment Program Officer (Mississippi River)

Walton Family Foundation

Washington, DC, US

The Walton Family Foundation is seeking a skilled, highly motivated and entrepreneurial individual to join the Washington, D.C., office as a program officer for the Mississippi River team.

The Program Officer Role

You will be a crucial member of a small team under the supervision of the Walton Family Foundation’s Mississippi River Initiative Lead, Moira Mcdonald. You will assist in the ongoing refinement and implementation of the Mississippi River strategy. The foundation supports scaling up implementation of key agricultural practices through federal and state policy, as well as supply chain initiatives.


Relationship-building and Grantmaking

  • Lead grantmaking in key states (Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana) in alignment with the Mississippi River strategy, particularly reforestation in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, nature-based tourism, and wildlife resources for hunters and anglers.
  • Engage with NGO and industry partners from different parts of the agricultural supply chain to hone strategy and solicit grant proposals.
  • Conduct site visits, attend public meetings and represent the foundation at conferences and other events.
  • Identify potential new partnerships and opportunities, including potential funding partners.
  • Conduct due diligence on proposals, develop internal grant documents and shepherd applications through the approval process.
  • Track grantee progress toward objectives and assist grantees in monitoring progress towards strategic goals.

Program Strategy and Implementation

  • Participate in the adaptive management of the Mississippi River strategy
  • Collaborate with the Strategy, Learning and Evaluation team to implement and refine the foundation’s monitoring and evaluation program.
  • Partner with the Communications team to develop and execute a targeted communications plan to support program goals
  • Provide information and assistance as needed to foundation board members.
  • Execute special projects and other duties as assigned.

Qualifications and Experience

You will have an understanding of issues related to agricultural conservation, freshwater systems and familiarity with the use of market-based tools for conservation. You will need self-direction and decisiveness combined with flexibility and a capacity to give and receive feedback graciously. We are looking for an individual with superior social skills, a respectful attitude for the work of grantees and a proven ability to be a part of an effective team. 

You ideally possess the following attributes:

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Demonstrable time-management experience and ability to manage multiple projects for deadlines 
  • Proven capacity to work in a team as well as independently.
  • Intellectual agility and the ability to analyze, think critically and understand emerging issues that are directly relevant to programmatic funding areas.
  • Unquestionable ethics and personal integrity.

Basic qualifications required:  

  • At least 5 years of experience in natural resource management or agriculture, policy or advocacy, ideally with experience in grant or project management and evaluation.
  • Graduate degree in a related field.
  • Willingness to travel 20% 
  • Experience in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley is preferred.

Work Environment

You will join 25 colleagues in the growing Washington, D.C., office. The work environment is professional, dynamic, friendly and typical for an office-based position. There is regular travel involved for grantee visits, team retreats and company-wide meetings. Physical demands are typical of an office environment.

Compensation and Benefits

The foundation offers an excellent benefits package and a competitive salary that is commensurate with experience.

About the Walton Family Foundation

The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. The children and grandchildren of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We believe the best ideas can come from anywhere, so we stay open to new thinking from all over. And we partner with those who are closest to the problem because they’re usually closest to the solution. 

We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta.

Headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, with offices in Washington, D.C., Jersey City, New Jersey and Denver, Colorado, approximately 110 staff conducts the day-to-day operations of the foundation. 

About the Environment Program

We will make approximately $90 million in environment grants in 2018 to dozens of organizations across multiple continents, investing in two of the most important conservation issues of our time: restoring the health of the oceans and preserving the quality and availability of fresh water in the Colorado River basin and the Mississippi River basin.

Our Environment Program is organized under four initiatives:

  • Oceans: To significantly reduce overfishing, improve ocean health, and preserve fishing jobs in the Americas and Indonesia.
  • Colorado River Basin:  To increase market incentives for agricultural and urban water efficiency in the Upper Basin; advance binational and multistate water agreements in the Lower Basin; and preserve the Colorado Delta system, including riparian habitat and flow restoration.
  • Mississippi River Basin: To align policy and market incentives to encourage farmers to adopt practices that improve water quality, build soil health and reduce pollution.
  • Coastal: To ensure that the restoration dollars from the 2010 Gulf oil spill settlement flow to science-based, large scale restoration projects in the Mississippi River Delta.

Please apply at: Walton Family Foundation Careers or at LinkedIn

The Walton Family Foundations is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to building and maintaining a culturally diverse workplace. We encourage women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status of protected veteran, among other things or status as a qualified individual with a disability.