International Program Director, Natural Resources and Climate Change

International Program Director, Natural Resources and Climate Change

Ford Foundation

New York, United States


The Ford Foundation seeks a dynamic, strategic and innovative individual to lead and oversee its global Natural Resources and Climate Change (NRCC) program and team. The International Program Director (Director) will work closely with the Foundation’s Program Officers and Regional Directors worldwide to achieve strategic programmatic outcomes. The Director will also represent the Ford Foundation on the Board of the Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA) as one of CLUA’s founding members.

The ideal NRCC International Program Director will be a strategic thinker, have at least 10 years’ experience work related to extractive industries, forests and land rights in the tropics, and demonstrate knowledge of international policy related to extractive industries, forests, land, and climate change. They will have managed complex processes involving multiple institutions and individuals in a team arrangement and have a track record of success in achieving specific policy and programmatic outcomes in the Global South (in at least two relevant regions) working with a range of stakeholders, including community-based organizations and networks, the private sector, governments, and non-governmental organizations.

Ford’s NRCC International Program

The Foundation’s International program on Natural Resources and Climate Change (NRCC) works with low-income rural communities in the Global South, with a strong focus on indigenous peoples, women and youth within them, to ensure that their needs and aspirations are reflected in government and company policies and practices related to natural resources, including rights over, finance from and investments in minerals, metals, energy, forests, agribusiness and land.

The NRCC program works and makes grants globally and focuses on countries and regions where forests are affecting climate change and where mining and energy production occurs; and where community leaders who defend their lands and the environment are at risk or being killed. Priority countries for the program include: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Indonesia. Ford NRCC team members are based in Bogota, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Johannesburg, Lagos, Jakarta and New York.

Additionally, to enhance impact, the Ford Foundation - along with the ClimateWorks, David & Lucile Packard, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundations, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, and the Good Energies Foundation-is a member of the Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA). CLUA aims to reduce climate change by supporting international policies, programs, and finance that contribute to conserving tropical forests and lands, increasing their ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere, while securing indigenous peoples’ and rural communities’ rights and livelihoods, and protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services.


The International Program Director (Director) provides leadership and oversight of the grantmaking strategy for the International Natural Resources and Climate Change (NRCC) program and manages the NY-based NRCC team and program budget. The Director ensures the grants and activities supported under the NRCC program in New York and in the regional offices contribute to Ford’s mission and program goals. Importantly, the NRCC Director represents the Ford Foundation on the Board of CLUA and together with other funding members approves the strategic direction of CLUA and its overall grantmaking. The Director also plays a role in influencing international climate change and development policies, programs and finance of other private philanthropies, as well as of major international donor agencies, companies, and investors.

The Director reports to Ford Foundation’s Vice President for International Programs and can be based in one of the Foundation’s offices that program in NRCC.


Specifically, the Director will:

  • Be accountable to Ford Foundation senior leadership and through them to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees for delivery of the International Natural Resources and Climate Change strategy, and in communicating progress to them
  • Provide intellectual leadership; represent the Foundation externally; and initiate and foster strategic partnerships in the field of global natural resource governance, rural land use and climate change policy, collaborating broadly with international scholars and practitioners, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other donors on issues of common program concern
  • Lead and conduct annual global reviews of strategy and propose changes to ensure greatest impact
  • Support Regional Directors and international Program Officers in multiple locations in aligning grant-making to the international NRCC program strategy, and reviewing all relevant grants (within the context of the Foundation’s matrix management model)
  • Oversee and manage, mentor and coach a small team of professional, administrative and support staff—including holding full responsibility for performance management of the NY based NRCC team; directing development of grantmaking plans by Program Officers; establishing annual performance delivery goals for the team and direct reports; and planning and implementing talent management strategies
  • Prepare and manage the NRCC program annual grant and administrative budget
  • Incorporate a rights-based and gender focus in to the work and be sensitive to issues around political economy
  • Establish shared learning venues for the global team, including working with strategy and learning colleagues and grantees to engender a learning and impact-oriented team culture
  • Communicate with the team, senior Foundation leadership and external partners clearly and consistently in a transparent, timely and respectful manner, and enabling them to be strategic and achieve impact
  • Represent the program’s work to the Ford Foundation Board of Trustees at the request of the Vice President
  • Represent the Ford Foundation on the Board of the Climate and Land Use Alliance and together with other CLUA funding members approves the strategic director of CLUA and its overall grantmaking.


The successful candidate will have the following minimum qualifications and experience:

  • A graduate level degree in a related field (or equivalent education and experience) e.g., in natural resources, public policy, environmental, law, social sciences.
  • 10+ years of relevant experience in environmental policy, community-based natural resource management, and/or rural development, with a combination of policy analysis, advocacy, communications, and implementation experience
  • Exceptional leadership presence - internally and externally including recognition as a leader in work on land use, forests, environment and climate mitigation - in multiple countries and internationally
  • Experience in coalition building and a nuanced understanding of the links between environmental issues and social justice
  • Familiarity and experience working with grassroots organizations representing low-income rural communities, NGO, academic, private sector, and governmental institutions involved with tropical forests, land use and the way they are governed as well as knowledge of the range of international institutions involved in climate change policy and development
  • Demonstrated success in program development, evaluation, and management
  • Intellectual agility and ability to analyze evidence, think critically, and understand scientific and policy studies that are directly relevant to programmatic funding areas
  • Demonstrated exceptional people management and team management skills, including the ability to build teams, constructively lead and coach a staff in geographically dispersed regions and instill teams with a sense of shared commitment and purpose
  • Understanding of how to bring evidence and communications to bear in decision-making
  • Administrative skills, in particular an appreciation for the importance of strong fiscal management and experience managing budgets
  • Exceptional communications skills - strong active listening skills, constructive verbal and written skills, strong public presentation skills in English and a second language relevant to the regions in which Ford works
  • Experience with grant-making desirable
  • Be well connected and networked with regional community and Indigenous Peoples’ organizations, as well as governments, NGOs, and donors and demonstrate knowledge about the international institutions related to the various natural resource sectors

Personal Attributes

The following personal attributes are desired:

  • Passion for social justice and commitment to reducing inequalities with cultural awareness
  • Demonstrated ability to be a productive member of a community of people at work, respecting differences while working toward shared goals, comfort with periods of ambiguity, constructive participation in on-going organizational development
  • Demonstrated commitment to collaboration, evidence of effective accomplishment as part of a team and a proven track record of achieving change
  • Approachable demeanor and openness to input from all levels of staff and grantees
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including an ability to listen to others and learn from their best ideas, share best practices and experiences, and contribute to a learning environment
  • Impeccable integrity and trustworthiness, sense of humor, and diplomatic approach to problem-solving
  • Ability to consistently interact with others in a professional, courteous, and tactful manner, maintain a positive attitude and good working relationships, and work effectively in a team setting
  • A commitment to creating and reinforcing a transparent, accountable, mutually respectful work environment
  • Ability to work well with colleagues, consultants, funders, and grantees across many diverse cultures and backgrounds
  • Willingness to work to a flexible schedule, including travel within the U.S. and worldwide, including challenging environments


This position is primarily a sedentary role. However, the person in this position may need to occasionally move about inside the office to liaise with internal staff, access files, office machinery and a copy machine/printer. Additionally, domestic/international travel will be expected, approximately 30%; some travel is directly related to grantmaking, but also to attend team conferences, retreats and meetings - and may occasionally include travel to rural or remote places with difficult conditions.

LOCATION: Either in New York City or in one of the Foundation’s Regional Offices in Africa, Asia or Latin America linked to the NRCC program.

Alignment to Culture and Values

  • Commitment to the Foundation’s mission and core values of equity, openness, collaboration, trust, accountability and urgency
  • Personal qualities of humility, capacity for self-reflection, and a sense of humor
  • Discretion and ability to handle confidential issues
  • Action-orientated and entrepreneurial self-starter who can work well independently and in teams

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© EuroJobsites 2019

EuroJobsites is a registered company number: 4694396 VAT number: GB 880 9055 04

Registered address: EuroJobsites Ltd, Unit 8, Kingsmill Business Park, Kingston Upon Thames, London, KT1 3GZ, United Kingdom

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