Strategy Lead via Idealist

Water Funder Initiative

San Francisco or Denver, United States 🇺🇸

About the Water Funder Initiative

The Water Funder Initiative (WFI) helps water philanthropy develop better strategies, coordinates between foundations, and mobilizes new funding toward the field’s most important needs. A lean team with diverse expertise and a proven track record is executing the project, working closely with foundation representatives and other water experts. More information is available on our website:

Primary Responsibilities

The Strategy Lead’s overarching role is to lead the development of philanthropic endeavors that will have the greatest possible benefit towards WFI’s goals of bringing basins into balance and strengthening resilience.

  • Build a pipeline of and incubate opportunities: WFI began with Toward Water Sustainability: A Blueprint for Philanthropy, which laid out a long-term vision for how philanthropy could advance sustainable water management. While this remains our guiding document, funding priorities should evolve as opportunities emerge. The Strategy Lead is responsible for leading WFI efforts to develop these opportunities, build them out to the point of viability, and ensure that they are as impactful as possible.
  • Shape and prioritize broader WFI’s strategies: WFI is engaged in many efforts to achieve its water sustainability goals, from driving decisions with data to conserving the Colorado River Basin to expanding impact investment. The Strategy Lead is responsible for guiding these endeavors to achieve the most important outcomes, attract funder interest, and broaden support across WFI outcomes. The Strategy Lead is also responsible for recommending how best to prioritize WFI’s effort across different potential strategies and opportunities.
  • Structure and execute collaborative deals: In addition to shaping longer-term strategies, WFI also seeks to create major, compelling step-changes in sustainable water management. These kinds of transformative deals generally happen when multiple funders can collaborate and fill a discrete funding need that results in long-lasting impact. The Strategy Lead is responsible for bringing these opportunities forward and managing funder participation to their conclusion.
  • Advise partners: WFI works closely with funders and grantees to develop compelling strategies. The Strategy Lead is responsible for assisting partners as they consider different strategies, projects, and frameworks for their work and interactions with others.​

Candidate skills

Given the fluid nature of how best to achieve WFI’s goals, WFI is led by a small team of highly-committed individuals. We find that a few skills are key to being successful:

  • Think strategically: Prioritize opportunities and tasks, ask good questions when presented with potential opportunities, ensure logical consistency and rigor of WFI’s work
  • Generate and synthesize ideas: Draw on background in or connections with water and philanthropy to bring forward opportunities, synthesize across a range of options and strategies, build discrete ideas into strong overall strategies
  • Build relationships: Exemplify strong interpersonal skills, build alignment between different stakeholders, pursue the art of the possible
  • Communicate clearly: Lead meetings with funders and partners, create documents that inspire, maintain strong attention to detail 


As a dynamic start-up organization, WFI is flexible in structuring this position to fit the specific needs of the right candidate. The Strategy Lead will have the option of working from either San Francisco, CA or Denver, CO. The position is currently structured as an at-will, part-time role and considered exempt for overtime purposes. An excellent benefits package is available that may include health, dental, vision and prescription coverage, disability and life insurance, and a retirement plan.

This is a fantastic opportunity for an individual looking to shape how philanthropy responds to one of the defining global challenges of the coming years. This position offers significant opportunities for growth through the diversity of challenges you will help solve. You’ll join a solid team with strong leadership, working most closely with WFI’s Managing Director, Team Lead and Engagement Lead. You will have the opportunity to access a wide network of funders, organizations, and experts, and build relationships with the leading water philanthropists, develop connections across the field, and craft a start-up effort that will continue to benefit the field immensely. Pay is commensurate with an early stage NGO of this nature.

Windward Fund Careers

Water Funder Initiative is a project of Windward Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. As such, this position is accountable to the Board Chair of the Windward Fund. Windward Fund is committed to attracting, developing and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding and enables each of us to realize our potential. Windward Fund ‘s work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, and all other classifications protected by law in the locality and/or state in which you are working. 

Professional level

None specified

Minimum education required

4-year degree

How to apply

Applicants should send a PDF document with a cover letter and resume to [email protected], with the subject line “Strategy Lead.” Applications will be considered on a rolling basis through May 14, 2018.