Environmental Initiatives Director

  • Full-Time
  • Madison, WI
  • Application deadline: 2021-09-16

Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters

Join an organization that is creating a better world by connecting Wisconsin people and ideas. The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters seeks a program director to lead its Climate & Energy Initiative. This position plays a key role in advancing climate solutions in Wisconsin through leadership development, collaboration, and policy analysis.
This individual will be an integral member of our team, working with program directors and other key staff. The staff position is based at our offices at 1922 University Ave, in Madison, WI. Remote working is an option during the pandemic at the discretion of the executive director. This is a 75% to 100% position (contingent on qualifications) with benefits.


The Academy’s Climate & Energy (C&E) Initiative is currently comprised of two complementary grant-funded projects designed to advance climate solutions through collaboration across diverse leadership sectors in the field, strategy development, and public communications. One project focuses on broader strategies to mitigate climate change (reduce emissions) and advance environmental justice; the other project has a deep focus on advancing land-based carbon sink strategies in Wisconsin and the Upper Great Lakes region. The program director will provide leadership for both projects.

The Climate-Critical Lands project is focused on policy analysis, gathering and synthesizing scientific knowledge, and leadership development for Wisconsin carbon sink conservation, protection, and restoration, with a focus on forests in fiscal year 21-22. Project activities and deliverables will include:

  • Convening policy experts, scientists and practitioners in the field to identify key strategies and opportunities in forest carbon storage/sequestration and to support peer learning and professional exchange.
  • Producing a collaboratively developed analysis identifying opportunities and recommendations for action on policies to optimize and rapidly advance carbon storage and sequestration in Wisconsin and Upper Great Lakes forests, no later than June 30, 2022.

The Climate Mitigation and Public Engagement Project includes the Academy’s broader work on climate mitigation, public engagement, leadership development, and climate justice. (The program director will provide leadership to achieve the following grant objectives

  • Involvement in convening a Wisconsin local government summit in the fall of 2021 to identify trends, needs and opportunities for collaboration on climate solutions relevant to local government leaders (e.g., mayors, county executives, municipal sustainability directors, etc.)
  • Building new relationships with community-led organizations working locally on climate change and environmental justice in Wisconsin in order to support collaboration across urban, rural and other local communities, elevate leadership, and raise visibility for community needs, concerns, and opportunities, in the broader climate action agenda for Wisconsin.
  • Planning and convening “Climate Fast Forward 2.0” a statewide climate leadership conference (estimated 400+ participants) scheduled for October 2022 at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison, WI. Conference objectives will include tracking progress since the Academy’s 2019 Climate conference; advancing rapid implementation of solutions related to mitigation and resilience in Wisconsin, and continuing to raise public visibility around urgent and timely climate change issues.

Communications and Public Engagement

  • Convening up to eight events each year for our environmental lunch-hour series (virtual through the remainder of mask mandates; likely hybrid when feasible).
  • Provide leadership as the primary point person and spokesperson for the Initiative(s).
  • Oversee program content for the Academy social media on climate and energy, including Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets.
  • Oversee web content and other informational and promotional material on the C&E Initiative in coordination with the Academy’s webmaster.
  • Contribute content for project reports and Wisconsin People & Ideas Magazine.
  • Develop conference presentations and workshops for Academy or partner-organization events or public meetings on relevant content from the Initiatives.
  • Other public communications opportunities as appropriate within project budgets, in collaboration with the C&E program coordinator and the Academy communications and events manager.

Leadership Networks

  • Continue to develop and coordinate the statewide leadership network for the C&E Initiative through personal outreach, organization and facilitation of two to four meetings per year, producing and disseminating periodic project updates, peer-learning conference calls or meetings, and other contact.
  • Maintain contact with Waters of Wisconsin Leadership Network and provide periodic updates and outreach to this network (contingent on funding).
  • Involvement in other networks, such as the Wisconsin Climate Table.

Program administration and fundraising

  • Manage project budgets (including monthly meetings with the Operations Manager) to ensure compliance with the Academy’s annual budget, grant budgets, and accounting practices for nonprofit organizations.
  • Supervise one or more program staff (budget dependent) to achieve project outcomes through teamwork and clear division of assignments and responsibilities.
  • Take the lead on meeting reporting requirements for grant-funded projects, including ensuring that they are completed by stated grant deadlines.
  • Cultivate and maintain, in collaboration with the C&E program coordinator, positive working relationships with contributing volunteers (~ 50-to-75 individuals) who serve on project working groups, committees, and teams to achieve project objectives.
  • Provide a brief quarterly report for the Board of Directors on project outcomes and impact.
  • Develop the annual program budget in coordination with the executive director and director of development and manage program funds within the parameters of that budget, including tracking all program expenses in cooperation with the business manager and operations manager providing receipts and any other documentation as needed.
  • Conduct funding research and develop grant proposals for continued work in these project areas in coordination with the executive director and director of development.
  • Develop grant reports, content for the Academy annual report, and various public reports on project activities and outcomes.
  • Coordinate and execute data management with the director of development, associate director, and data & office systems coordinator.
  • As appropriate, develop project descriptions for student interns; recruit and supervise student interns for the initiative projects.

Other Responsibilities

  • Occasional travel in Wisconsin for meetings and conferences.
  • Other assignments as required by the grants, or at the request of the executive director.


  • A solid working knowledge of the climate change challenge in the context of Wisconsin, from mitigation to resilience.
  • Experience with grant proposal writing and management.
  • Excellent communication (written, verbal, and public speaking) and facilitation skills.
  • Strong skills in collaborative problem-solving, group facilitation and coalitional approaches to strategy development.
  • Experience with event design and logistics, from small groups to major conferences.
  • Social media skills (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other).
  • Virtual meeting and collaboration skills.
  • Experience managing budgets and supervising staff.
  • Competency across the Microsoft Office suite.

Desired Qualifications

  • Web content management skills
  • Established professional networks in the broader climate change strategy community in Wisconsin in advocacy, research, state government, and policy
  • Experience in nonprofit organizations
  • Experience with project management software (e.g., Asana, Trello, others)


$23.00 -$26.00/hour depending on experience and qualifications.
Academy employees are eligible for our health insurance package and other benefits including paid holidays and personal time off.

To Apply

Please email a cover letter and resume to jobs@wisconsinacademy.org on or before September 16, 2021, for best consideration. Phone inquiries are not encouraged.

About the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters
The Wisconsin Academy is an independent nonprofit organization for people who are curious about our world and proud of Wisconsin ideas. We work to create a better world by connecting Wisconsin people and ideas. Learn more on our website.

The Wisconsin Academy is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating a welcoming environment for all employees. We provide equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability status, national origin, veteran status, or any other basis covered by appropriate law. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit, and organizational need.

To apply for this job email your details to jobs@wisconsinacademy.org