Director, National Policy, Capacity and System Change

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POST DATE 8/22/2016
END DATE 10/28/2016

Natural Resources Defense Council Washington, DC

Washington, DC
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Full Time
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Place matters. Where we live has profound implications for our health and well-being. But for far too many people, particularly low-income households and people of color, these places are contributing to their growing inequity in economic opportunity, climate vulnerability and health outcomes. The Strong, Prosperous, and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC) is a transformative effort to create healthy, climate-smart, and opportunity-rich places where low-income people and people of color can thrive. SPARCC will support collaborative and racially-inclusive leadership tables initially in six metropolitan regions nationally, with a focus on changing the underlying systems that shape the built environment to create more racially equitable, healthy and climate-resilient communities.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has partnered with Enterprise Community Partners, the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (together, the SPARCC partners) to implement this bold initiative. Each partner will contribute to staffing the initiative, with NRDC responsible for the policy, capacity and systems change components.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a national environmental non-profit dedicated to safeguarding the earth - its's people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends. NRDC's Urban Solutions team works to produce strong, just and resilient communities without contributing to climate change, by providing the support necessary for urban areas to find, fund and implement integrated, equitable and replicable policy and market strategies. Each Urban Solutions initiative builds strategic national and local partnerships, produces toolkits with vetted strategy options and supporting materials, structures learning networks with technical experts and peers, and provides on-site capacity with financial support.

The position

NRDC seeks a National Policy, Capacity and Systems Change Director for SPARCC to manage and oversee the policy, capacity and learning community function of a new $20 million national initiative to build capacity in regions across the country to achieve greater racial, health and climate equity. The Policy, Capacity and Systems Change Director will develop and execute a policy platform that advances new polices and aligns existing national policies, elevates state and local policy barriers, and gathers national best practices to allow the built environment to deliver health, economic opportunity and environmental benefits for all. The Policy Director will report directly to the SPARCC Project Director and will serve as coordinator for national strategy activities.

The Policy Director will also be a member of Urban Solutions' Senior Management Team, which coordinates activities of the program and ensures broad, organization-wide awareness of urban initiatives.


* Develops and executes a policy reform and alignment strategy to support regional SPARCC activities and serves as a manager/coordinator for national strategy activities of the SPARCC initiative to support equitable, climate-wise, and healthy development in at least six regional sites nationally,

* Manages and oversees staff involved with developing and implementing the Policy, Capacity and Learning Community functions of SPARCC

* Works with local and national SPARCC partners to remove State and Federal policy barriers encountered by regional sites and build support for game-changing policy reform packages, including analysis of relevant legislation, policy guidance, and funding criteria to provide analysis and advise SPARCC sites working to change or deploy such policy tools.

* Manages and facilitates communication and federal strategy coordination across all SPARCC partner Government Affairs teams and develops working coalitions with other national partners that share similar policy objectives and principles

* Oversees and collaborates with the Learning Network Coordinator to develop content for and ensure timely follow-up from network engagement calls

* Oversees and collaborates with the State and Local Policy Coordinator

* Identifies and documents best practices including model policies and funding/finance strategies to serve SPARCC sites, in coordination with other SPARCC partners

* Provides policy support to SPARCC sites in consultation with peer Program Directors and site coordinators

* Helps to organize briefings and training sessions on promising policies/tools for sites, in coordination with Learning Community Coordinator

* Presents progress reports on a regular basis to and collaborates with SPARCC Operations and Management team

* Participates in Urban Solutions' Senior Management Team weekly meetings, and undertakes activities as time permits to coordinate activities of the program and ensure broad, organization-wide awareness of urban initiatives.


* Strong communication and interpersonal skills including ability to collaborate with a wide variety of stakeholders,

* Strong critical thinking skills, including specifically legislative and administrative analysis and research skills,

* Skills in communicating and dealing with decision makers and their staff Strong project/program management skills demonstrating ability to effectively manage staff or other direct reports, and the ability to manage complex or multi-year projects,

* Extensive experience managing or engaging in coalitions or other cross-issue or multiple scale initiatives,

* Ability to work independently, take initiative, and meet deadlines,

* Effective written and oral communication and presentation skills

Education/Travel Requirements

* A Master's degree in Public Policy, Political Affairs, Law, Urban Planning, Environmental Policy, Economics, Urban Geography, or a related field is required. In lieu of education, directly related experience can be substituted on a year-for-year basis.

* Knowledge of the executive/legislative decision making process

* Deep knowledge of public policy in (one or more) areas related to SPARCC: climate, health, racial equity, community development

* Must be able to travel regularly

* This position must be based in Washington, DC.

NRDC is committed to workplace diversity and inclusion. We are equal opportunity employers and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and a pleasant working environment. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and commensurate with experience.

To apply, please visit and upload your resume and cover letter. Please reference where you saw this posting. NRDC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

If you are having technical difficulty while applying, please reach out to Customer Care by dialing 1-866-803-9663.

For further information about NRDC, please visit