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Participatory Funding Specialist

Company: The Nature Conservancy
Location: Arlington
Posted on: September 14, 2020

Job Description:


Preferred work locations are either New York City, New York (NY) or Arlington, Virginia (VA). However, the work location is negotiable nationwide with access to a major airport.




As a member of the Cities core team, the Participatory Funding Specialist will execute grantmaking initiatives to build the leadership, institutional capacity and power of community-based organizations, grassroots and local communities across our 20+ Network cities to support inclusive and equitable conservation practice. This position is grant funded. Future funding for this position is dependent upon status of grant funding.

The Participatory Funding Specialist will be responsible for developing and implementing a strategic plan for a holistic suite of transformative funding mechanisms -the Cities Fund- to advance community-driven collaboration for improved health and well-being and integrate technical assistance and training opportunities for TNC local city program staff and partners.

They will manage and coordinate all aspects of our two main grant initiatives, the Partnership Fund and Strategic Small Grants, including communications, RFP process, contracting and reporting process coordination, metrics tracking and evaluation frameworks, grantee feedback incorporation into grant guidelines as well as strategy development.

They will liaise with TNC city leads and partners across the U.S. to distill and share lessons learned from grantee experiences and coordinate cross-functional initiatives. They will engage the external professional philanthropy community to keep abreast of new developments and opportunities that will support our grant initiatives and report on and share TNC's experiences with others. They will support efforts to raise funds for Cities team's suite of resourcing opportunities and grants initiatives, by providing input on proposal writing, negotiating with agencies and foundations, and engaging in donor cultivation, as needed.

They will help establish TNC as a valuable conservation partner in cities across the U.S., by contributing to the development of a broader strategic framework for participatory grantmaking that centers inclusion and equitable partnership and widely communicates solutions and best practices.

Specifically, they will:

  • Serve as the principal convener for cohorts of Cities Network-funded grantees, including local city programs, partner organizations, philanthropic community and the academic community;
  • Work to envision and develop a cohesive suite of participatory grantmaking opportunities (i.e., the Cities Fund); and
  • Manage the Cities Fund, coordinating all aspects of its multiple resourcing opportunities via collaborative partnerships between TNC local city programs and partners.

    • Frequently makes independent decisions based on analysis, experience, and context.
    • Communicates professionally with a wide variety of people of different cultures to develop, negotiate and/or implement functional grantmaking initiatives.
    • Provides technical assistance to address Cities Fund grantee needs and provides guidance/coaching on how to embed participation in programmatic/partnership values, practices, communications patterns and behaviors.
    • Convenes learning cohorts and facilitates two-way communications with Network members and grantees.
    • Engages in cross-functional work (across TNC business units) and manages relationships with grant and project partners.
    • Takes initiative and leads on the development of novel processes, procedures and tools to translate our vision of transformative funding into practice.
    • Initiates field-wide discussions to produce insights for restructuring Cities Fund processes and explores how non-grantmakers' participation in grantmaking processes can lead to more effective decisions about resource allocation and/or grantee outcomes.
    • Develops and implements new Cities Fund business plan to advance co-created strategies that increase its impact.
    • Develops evaluation frameworks and reporting processes with grantees to ensure program accountability.
    • Displays responsibility and accountability for meeting departmental strategic goals and objectives.
    • Manages and coordinates current resourcing and grantmaking priorities for the Cities Network, including RFP processes, preparing and presenting grant cycles outcomes and capturing learning by tracking metrics and developing written reports.
    • Coordinates with the NY finance & operations team contracting and reporting processes, financial management of subawards including tracking budget reporting, analyzing results and taking corrective actions.

      • Bachelor's degree and 6 years' experience in community organizing, community development, deliberative democracy or related field focused on participatory practice.
      • Experience with written and oral communications in English.
      • Experience planning and facilitating collaborative meetings and learning exchanges.
      • Experience establishing and building working relationships across race, gender, class, and ability and engaging members in decision making through events and actions.
      • Experience designing, implementing, and managing multiple complex projects, co-creating agreements, and negotiating contracts to ensure accountability.


        • Multilingual and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience.
        • Takes initiative and works independently on problem solving.
        • Demonstrative active listening skills, and ability to process and to identify people's needs and potential.
        • Excellent organizational and time management skills.
        • Excellent written and oral communications and interpersonal skills.
        • Working knowledge of current trends in the field of participatory philanthropy and conservation.
        • Experience training, supporting, and developing leadership skills.
        • Demonstrated knowledge of the functional needs and practices of grants management, including experience creating, monitoring, and evaluating frameworks.
        • Demonstrated experience building relationships among organizational leaders, and between leaders and perceived power holders.
        • Experience negotiating agreements and contracts with donor agencies, companies, private parties, or related entities.
        • Demonstrated experience participating in and shaping organizational change management processes.

          The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Center for Whole Communities (CWC) launched the North America Cities Network in 2014 to bring together and support emerging conservation work in 12 cities. Today, the Cities Network spans 20+ cities across the U.S. with 50+ embedded staff working on over 150 projects in collaboration with hundreds of external partners. We aim to create enabling conditions, support structures and incentives for co-created initiatives that improve public health outcomes and strengthen economic resilience and social cohesion. We seek to partner on initiatives and implement conservation projects that focus on community-driven health and well-being outcomes. Our commitment to support the voice and vision of local communities is most evident in our funding mechanisms that are increasing the capacity of TNC programs to build collaborative partnerships based on trust, respect, reciprocity and equitable power and resource sharing.

          --- Established in 2018, the Cities Network Partnership Fund is a $1million/year initiative to invest in strengthening collaborative and equitable partnerships between community-based organizations representing frontline and historically-underfunded communities and TNC local city programs. The Partnership Fund is grounded in extensive research, input from an external advisory group and feedback from many internal stakeholders. Through the first rounds, we are strengthening our ability to provide transformative funding for community-driven collaboration that improves the health and well-being of people and nature in cities.

          --- Strategic Small Grants, which launched in 2015, provides local city programs with grants up to $15,000 to directly fund the development, design and implementation of innovative, collaborative conservation projects with community-based and grassroots organizations in environmental justice, frontline or other historically-underfunded communities. In three rounds of funding, we've disbursed more than $400,000.
          HOW TO APPLY

          To apply to position number 48932, submit resume (required) and cover letter separately using the upload buttons. All applications must be submitted in the system prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on September 24, 2020.

Keywords: The Nature Conservancy, Arlington , Participatory Funding Specialist, Other , Arlington, Virginia

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