Inaugural Executive Director

Guest Author


  • Full Time
  • Anywhere
  • $200,000–$250,000 USD / Year

Website Fund to Build Grassroots Power

About The Fund to Build Grassroots Power

The Fund to Build Grassroots Power (“FBGP” or “The Fund”) is a national frontline-serving and accountable intermediary fund that works to strengthen, grow, and support the members and affiliates of four national grassroots networks and alliances:

  • Climate Justice Alliance
  • Environmental Justice Forum (coordinated by WE ACT for EnvironmentalJustice)
  • People’s Action Institute
  • PowerSwitch Action

The FBGP works to advance environmental and climate justice in the United States through the awarding of general operating support grants to organizations within these specified networks.

The Fund specifically aims to support organizations that are led by constituencies who have been historically suppressed and who work on a variety of issues, such as environmental and climate justice, farmworker rights, and economic justice, to name a few. The FBGP also prioritizes communities and regions that have historically lacked adequate investment, like the Southeast and the Midwest. Since its inception in 2019, the FBGP has granted $25.3 million to 136 organizations across the United States.

Intermediary Funds & Theory of Change

Intermediary funds like the FBGP play an essential role in the environmental and climate justice movement by providing flexible funding to frontline organizations. As an intermediary fund, the FBGP expects the organizations it supports to articulate how they will use the funds to build their power, whether by increasing the financial stability of their organization, hiring more organizing staff, or improving digital infrastructure.

The Fund’s theory of change states that if grassroots organizations that have ties to national networks have enough capacity and resources, they will be better equipped to effectively engage with these networks, which in turn will strengthen the networks themselves. A stronger set of networks means a stronger infrastructure for the environmental justice movement, allowing all participants in the movement to wield more power at the local, state, and federal levels.

To read more about intermediary funds, review The JPB Foundation’s memo on the topic, linked here.

Organizational Structure

As a participatory fund, the FBGP relies on two groups to provide strategic guidance:

  • The Advisory Board is made up of staff leaders from the national networks the FBGP supports, as well as a representative of TheJPB Foundation. This body provides strategic guidance and makes grant recommendations to the Steering Committee to ensure the fund’s resources respond to the member organizations needs.
  • The Steering Committee is made up of three leaders in the environmental philanthropy field. These leaders guide the Fund’s overall grantmaking strategy and process and recommend grant awards to the Fund’s fiscal sponsor, the Windward Fund.

In addition to the Advisory Board and Steering Committee, the FBGP engages additional groups to fulfill its mission.

  • The Fund was founded by The JPB Foundation.
  • The Windward Fund offers fiscal sponsorship to the fund – meaning that Windward is able to accept donations into a restricted fund and grant them to organizations. Any staff of FBGP would be employees of the Windward Fund.
  • Historically, a team at Arabella Advisors, a philanthropy consulting firm, has provided implementation and management support for the FBGP, and they will continue to do so at least through 2024, with an option to continue beyond that timeframe.
    For more information, visit the Fund to Build Grassroots Power website.

The Opportunity

The FBGP’s governing bodies recently outlined an ambitious shared vision for the Fund’s future: a scaling goal over the next two years to become an organization capable of attracting and disbursing $10-25 million annually to grassroots organizations advancing environmental and climate justice, up from $5-7 million in FBGP’s recent years. The success of this bold vision hinges in large part on the skills, capabilities, competencies, and qualities of a leader who will play a pivotal role in charting the Fund’s course to scale.

As the FBGP aims to expand its reach and deepen its impact in the years ahead, the addition of its first Executive Director (ED) to advance the strategy, vision, and growth goals is significant and marks a pivotal moment in the FBGP’s trajectory.

Over the upcoming two years, a significant focus for the FBGP’s will be developing and launching an ambitious fundraising strategy, aimed at strategically enhancing the Fund’s resource pool. Concurrently, there will be an ongoing commitment to oversee existing grants, understand the fund’s impact, and distribute new resources as they become available, ensuring just distribution of resources to grassroots environmental and climate justice organizations nationwide.

Reporting to the FBGP Steering Committee, and working collaboratively with the Advisory Board, the Executive Director will cultivate and steward current and existing relationships with the Fund’s stakeholders, lead fundraising efforts to amplify the FBGP’s impact, communicate the FBGP’s and its grantees’ unique value-add in addressing some of our country’s most pressing issues, and serve as a dynamic, visionary leader to elevate the Fund’s positive influence and field prominence.  The Executive Director may hire consultants and/or staff who can support and grow these areas of work.

Specific responsibilities for the Executive Director include:

  • Craft and implement a fundraising strategy: Develop an ambitious plan to attract new funders to contribute in significant and sustained ways to the FBGP. Showcase the fund’s unique value to the environmental and climate justice field and its track record and potential for impact.
  • Manage current and potential donor relationships: Manage relationships with current and prospective new donors and, as needed, coordinate with the teams at Arabella Advisors and Windward Fund to complete FBGP application and reporting requirements for contributing donors.
  • Lead external communications: Take the lead in external communications efforts, representing the fund at conferences, reviewing and approving website content, and developing impactful collateral with consultants as needed.
  • Provide strategic leadership: Support decision-making, in collaboration with the Advisory Board and Steering Committee, to implement and refine the fund’s strategic priorities and grant and reporting processes, and determine hiring or contracting needs as relevant to advance the FBGP’s goals.
  • Track industry insights: Stay informed about developments in the field, subgrantees’ progress, and collective priorities, fostering connections that support the FBGP’s broader goals.
    The Arabella team will remain in place to support the Executive Director at least through 2024 in implementing the Fund’s priorities and continuing to manage the grant processes, governance, and evaluation of the FBGP, in partnership with the Windward Fund. The Executive Director, in partnership with the Advisory Board and Steering Committee, will have discretion to continue, change, or remove Arabella’s support in future years.

Specifically, Arabella Advisors will continue to manage the following responsibilities, with input and oversight from the Executive Director:

  • Grant distribution and reporting: Oversee grant decision-making and distribution process for the upcoming docket in 2024, guided by the leadership and decisions of the Advisory Board and Steering Committee, and monitor ongoing grant reporting.
  • Fund evaluation: Continue to refine the fund’s evaluation framework and implement the evaluation process, informed by the evolving learning goals the Executive Director, Steering Committee, and Advisory Board identify, to assess both the fund’s process and impact and to help share the story of the FBGP.
  • Fund governance: Provide input into goals and planning of Steering Committee and Advisory Board meetings, fostering open communication and collaboration across governance bodies.
  • Operations: Review learning and feedback from governing bodies and grantees and inform adjustments to operational elements like grant processes and fund governance.

Candidate Profile

FBGP is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages expressions of interest from Black, Indigenous and People of Color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQI+ applicants.

A Strong Relationship Builder & Collaborative Leader

This leader will:

  • Excel at developing and maintaining relationships with a diverse range of constituents.
  • Bring an understanding of collaborative decision-making and governance practices, as well as equitable grant processes.
  • Have a genuine approach, with a strong desire and natural ability to build trust-based relationships with internal and external constituents, including the Advisory Board & Steering Committee, constituents of supported networks, donors, foundation leaders, and team members of the Windward Fund & Arabella Advisors.
  • Possess an understanding of how to balance collaborative decision-making effectively by navigating conflict, maintaining relationships and advancing decisions in a timely way.

An Expert in Fundraising with A Knowledge of Philanthropy

This leader will:

  • Possess a proven track record of successfully securing multi-year, multi-million-dollar funding commitments
    from various sources.
  • Bring an understanding of the philanthropic landscape and equitable philanthropic principles, such as trustbased
    philanthropy and participatory grantmaking.
  • Bring an ability to identify new prospects and tap into different funding streams including institutional
    philanthropy, ultra-high-net-worth-individuals and families, and other donors.
  • Be adept at leveraging communications and storytelling to convey organizational impact to diverse audiences.

A Strategic, Innovative, & Forward-Thinking Builder

This leader will:

  • Bring a demonstrated ability to conceptualize, plan, and lead strategic initiatives in alignment with the mission
    and vision of the Fund, and in coordination with its various constituents.
  • Be a proven achiever with experience scaling initiatives, programs, or organizations.
  • Possess an understanding of grassroots movement building, ideally in the environmental and climate justice
  • Be an innovative thinker who is comfortable shaping a new role and a new pathway, while taking calculated
    risks and exploring new avenues for growth.
  • Bring experience scaling ambitious initiatives that have yielded tangible positive outcomes.

A Commitment to & Passion for the Mission

This leader will:

  • Have an authentic and deep commitment to the Fund’s theory of change, and a deep belief in its future and
  • Bring a demonstrated commitment to advancing racial and social justice through professional experience and
    personal values.
  • Understand the value and power of grassroots community organizing.
  • Demonstrate excitement about the prospect of helping to advance the climate and environmental justice
  • Lead with sincerity, empathy, honesty, and credibility, and the highest levels of personal and professional
  • Preferably have an understanding of the environmental justice and/or related fields such as the broader
    environmental movement; public health; climate justice; etc.

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