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Program Director, Midwest Policy

Location: Chicago, IL

About the Energy Foundation

Energy Foundation’s nonprofit mission is to serve the public interest by building a strong clean energy economy. Pragmatic and nonpartisan, the foundation supports education and analysis to promote policy solutions that build markets for clean energy technology. Advancing renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean transportation and other solutions can open doors to greater innovation and productivity—growing the economy with dramatically less pollution.

A partnership of leading foundations launched the Energy Foundation in 1991 and Energy Foundation China in 1999. In the U.S., we advance energy efficiency and renewable energy in the power, transportation, and buildings sectors. The Policy and Public Engagement programs focus on strategy development, policy innovation, and campaign design, while the Strategic Communications Program develops capacities and strategies in the regions and nationally. The States and Regions Team is a cross-disciplinary team of policy, communications, and campaign experts dedicated to advancing strong state and regional climate and clean energy policies.

For more than 25 years we have supported grantees to help educate policymakers and the general public about the health and economic benefits of a clean energy economy. Grantees include business, health, labor, environmental, faith, equity, free-market, and consumer groups, as well as policy experts, military organizations, think tanks, and universities.

Energy Foundation’s founding office is in San Francisco, CA, with additional offices in Raleigh, NC; Chicago, IL; Washington, DC; and Las Vegas, NV.

Position Summary

Over the past two decades, the Energy Foundation team has supported and coordinated sophisticated and effective networks of grantees and allies who share the vision of a prosperous and healthy future powered by clean, reliable, and secure sources of energy. Through these deep rooted and results driven partnerships, EF has made progress in the largest and fastest-growing energy markets in the world. The Midwest Policy Program Director will help expand the foundation’s work with partners in the region alongside the Midwest Campaigns Program Director.

Reporting to the Vice President, Policy, States and Regions, the Program Director will foster development of innovative clean energy and climate policies in the Midwest, which is seen as a high potential region for achieving meaningful progress on clean energy and climate policy. As such, the Program Director will play an influential role engaging policy experts, utilities, clean technology industries, policymakers, and nonprofits. Success for this position and for the region is to drive policy progress toward an energy system that is clean, reliable, affordable, and safe.

Working in close partnership with the Midwest Campaigns Program Director and policy experts in the foundation’s San Francisco office, the Midwest Policy Program Director will develop and fund multi-year regional and state policy strategies that will achieve ambitious and regionally-aligned policy goals in the power, buildings, transportation, and climate sectors. The foundation’s core model is not to be a policy advocate, but rather synthesize strategy, identify grantees, and make resource allocation decisions.

The Program Director will develop regional and state energy policy strategies, with a strong focus on the power sector and in Energy Foundation priority states including (Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio). This position will actively maintain and grow new relationships with grantees, policymakers, opinion leaders, and funding partners, as well as produce quality written materials for a variety of audiences associated with the foundation, including board members, funders, and other stakeholders.

The Program Director in conjunction with the Midwest Campaigns Program Director will collaborate with regional funding partners to build a coordinated approach to the work, including defining metrics for philanthropy and other funders to measure progress and attract more resources. Together with EF’s Strategic Partnerships team in San Francisco, the Program Director will help cultivate and expand existing donor relationships and build a pipeline of prospective donors for the work in the region. The Program Director will also develop and manage materials to support engagement, including customized presentations and grant proposals, and jointly undertake meetings with prospective donors with other senior EF staff.

  • Co-lead regional strategy development, budgeting and funder engagement in partnership with Regional Campaign Director, regional communications partners and in coordination with Energy Foundation National Policy Directors.
  • Work with Regional Campaign Director to develop priority state strategies and budgets, evaluate the impact of those strategies and scope and launch new priority states.
  • Manage in-region policy grants, both for priority states and the region.
  • Work with National Policy Directors to implement issue specific strategies in the states.
  • Advise state-level policy consultants/grantees.
  • Supervise one or more Program Associates, who help manage grants and budgets, and coordinate closely with other program staff and contribute to that individual’s professional development.
  • Produce top-quality written materials (proposals, presentations) for a variety of audiences, including board members, funders, and other stakeholders.
  • Maintain collaborative relationships with peers and colleagues.

Energy Foundation is seeking a Midwest Policy Program Director who is an energy policy expert and passionate advocate that is excited about joining one of the most prominent organizations in the world promoting clean energy solutions.

The candidate will have recognized expertise in one or more of the following areas – utility regulation, power markets, renewable energy, energy efficiency, buildings or transportation – and understand the mechanisms underlying the changing dynamics in the energy system and appreciate the role that public policy can play in helping to accelerate the transition to a cleaner energy system.

The ideal candidate will be a true strategist – someone who is able to synthesize information from multiple sources into a coherent, bigger-picture view of the energy system. The Program Director will have a strong track record of translating vision into action, prioritizing investments and resources, managing budgets, and measuring progress. Candidates must have experience with policy advocacy and be knowledgeable about how energy regulatory processes work.

Keeping in mind the foundation’s core operating philosophy, the Program Director will be one or more steps removed from direct policy advocacy and must be excited about coordinating these types activities from an elevated perch. As such, candidates must demonstrate how they establish credibility in the field and build rapport with disparate stakeholders as well as how they develop and facilitate strategy across a broad network of partners.

A strategic mindset is essential in order to effectively develop and evaluate long-range plans and policy initiatives. In addition to deep energy policy expertise and analytical skills, the candidate should have a keen understanding of political dynamics.

Effective relationship building and fundraising skills are required, including a demonstrated background working with opinion leaders, funding partners, nonprofit organizations, and others to build partnerships that drive stronger outcomes and attract increased resources. The successful candidate will be a natural collaborator and convener who is comfortable working behind the scenes.

The Program Director will thrive in an autonomous, start-up environment, and be comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty, yet also have the savvy and capability to collaborate closely with EF’s regional offices and San Francisco headquarters on a regular basis. The ability to adapt, listen to others, and learn from their best ideas with a sense of inquisitiveness and intellectual curiosity is essential. Candidates must be personable, trustworthy, diplomatic, and have impeccable integrity and ethics. The Program Director must also possess humility and firmly believe in the idea of supporting others to succeed.

Other Key Qualifications
  • A thorough understanding of the role of public policy in shaping markets, including utility regulations and government incentive programs.
  • Knowledge of the landscape of energy innovation, including new business models, financing structures, and emerging technologies.
  • Strong writing and speaking skills. Able to present complex information in a meaningful way to Energy Foundation Board of Directors, funding partners, and allies.
  • Desired experience with economics and finance, energy modeling and private sector finance
Minimum Qualifications

Candidates must have a minimum of ten years of energy policy experience, power sector expertise preferred. Knowledge of the Midwest region and at the state level is highly desirable, but not essential. Outstanding public speaking and writing skills are necessary, including the ability to present complex information in meaningful and compelling ways.

A bachelor’s degree is required. The position is in Chicago. Candidates must be able to travel an estimated twelve times per year, with an average trip lasting between one to three days.

How to Apply

Energy Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. To be considered, please submit your resume and a cover letter below expressing your passion for the mission and fit for the role.