Program Associate, Sustainable Environments

Guest Author


  • Full Time
  • New York City
  • $75,000 – $83,759 USD / Year

Website Surdna Foundation

The Surdna Foundation—a national, social justice, family foundation based in New York City—seeks a Program Associate for its Sustainable Environments Program. The Program Associate will work closely with the Program Officer for Sustainable Environments and report directly to the Vice President of Programs.

About the Surdna Foundation

The Surdna Foundation was founded by John E. Andrus in 1917, and its mission is to advance social and racial justice in U.S. communities. The Foundation has assets of more than $1 billion, an annual grantmaking budget of over $60 million, and a staff of 27. It is governed by a Board of Directors that includes fifth-generation members of the Andrus family, as well as community members. The Foundation pursues its mission by providing grants in the areas of arts and culture, environmental justice, economic inclusion, and youth justice, as well as through its internal operations and investment practices. In addition, Surdna seeks to achieve three foundation-wide racial equity outcomes: wealth creation, democratic participation, and accountability of institutions.

The Foundation strives to exemplify its core values—justice, equity, inclusion, respect, and humility—in every aspect of its work. Surdna’s staff contribute to an organizational culture of collaboration, curiosity, and bold thinking.

For more information on the Surdna Foundation, please visit here.

About the Sustainable Environments Program

The Sustainable Environments (SE) program seeks to advance racial justice and support communities of color and low-wealth communities to move the solutions they have been building, implementing, and dreaming of for decades. We trust and believe that the folks most impacted by intersecting, inequitable crises know the most about how we need to move collectively forward to address these crises. Moreover, we believe that by investing in the capacity of the environment and climate justice frontline and grassroots movements, particularly those led by people of color, and the capacity of communities to self-determine the ownership, control, and stewardship of land and infrastructure assets, these communities will begin to see more equitable environmental outcomes across racial lines that benefit and uplift all. We believe in supporting a just transition and reparations and we stand alongside our partners in advancing this work. And lastly, we support leaders and organizations who are building political, economic, and cultural power, holding people with power in private and public sectors accountable to marginalized communities, and building alternatives to our current extractive economy.

The Opportunity

The Sustainable Environments Program Associate plays a key role in managing the day-to-day grantmaking activities of a team composed of the Program Officer and the Program Associate, under the leadership of the Vice President, Programs. The position combines program and project management responsibilities with active engagement in grantmaking, relationship management, research, and internal/external communications. It is assumed that the Program Associate will bring a foundational understanding of the various issues and fields at the center of the program strategy and identify an area of work that they want to explore and develop expertise in. This position requires travel to attend site visits and various conferences.

Qualifications & Experience

The Program Associate will be responsible for the following:

Program Related (50%)

  • Spearhead the research and analysis of issue areas that are relevant to the Sustainable Environments Program;
  • Work with the SE team to cultivate, manage and execute a small portfolio of grantees partners;
  • Assess strategic alignment for potential grants;
  • Track and support the management of the program budget;
  • Represent the SE team by participating in a variety of conferences, site visits, and convenings throughout the country;
  • Produce external and internal facing materials for diverse audiences designed to amplify the program and grantee partners, including PowerPoint presentations, blog posts and other related communications materials;
  • Build and maintain connections with Surdna’s other programs, departments, foundation-wide initiatives, and field partners.

Project Management (50%)

  • Provide project management support to the program’s grantmaking process: actively track and manage grant proposals and other related materials through Surdna’s grants management database system, and provide technical support to grantees related to submission processes;
  • Monitor grant timelines and coordinate grantee progress reports/progress calls
  • Assemble key materials for the Surdna Foundation board and proof grant materials;
  • Provide project management oversight to contractors and consultants;
  • Organize meetings and special events that support the program’s goals;
  • Help design meeting agendas and take notes during team meetings; and
  • Facilitate the payment of invoices and other matters related to accounts payable.

In addition, strong candidates will offer:

  • Minimum of 3 years work experience in a relevant field, interest in the nonprofit sector, and working knowledge of the environmental justice field is highly preferred.
  • Previous nonprofit or foundation experience is a plus.
  • Detail-oriented systems thinking with a commitment to social justice, racial equity, and  building inclusive practices to effect structural change.
  • Ability to manage several tasks simultaneously, project manage team workflow and deadlines, and work comfortably in ambiguity, gather information, draw conclusions, and make recommendations regarding complex problems and issues.
  • Ability to manage a high volume of email traffic and be adept at proofreading and editing large numbers of written documents in a timely fashion.
  • Entrepreneurial, possess a high level of initiative, and be comfortable working independently, as well as with peers and colleagues.
  • Experience planning events is a plus.
  • Excellent analytical thinking, writing, speaking and editing skills

Commitment to applying skills broadly within Surdna in support of the foundation’s mission.

Compensation & Benefits

The salary range for the Program Associate, Sustainable Environments is $75,000 – $83,759, commensurate with experience.

This position is a full-time position, and Surdna offers a leading and holistic total compensation package that includes salary and benefits. All full-time staff are eligible for our generous benefits package including:

  • 100% employer-funded medical, dental and vision coverage, life insurance and long and short-term disability from first day of employment for individuals and dependents
  • Retirement plan with an overall employer contribution of 12% per anum of gross salary, regardless of employee contribution
  • Paid time off
  • Tenure based vacation time starting at 15 days for years one and two, then increasing to 20 days through 6th year anniversary, then 25 days thereafter
  • 3 personal days per year
  • 8 wellness days per year
  • 12 paid holidays, including four extended holiday breaks with foundation-wide closure to encourage restorative time off
  • Cell phone and internet stipend
  • Home office equipment allowance
  • Employer funded transit contribution of $130/month
  • Access to professional development opportunities (capacity and financial support) and tuition reimbursement
  • Fully paid parent leave (maternal and paternal) during the new child’s first year (born into the family or adopted)
  • Financial relocation support
  • Staff Matching grants

To apply for this job please visit