The Chesapeake Bay Trust (the Trust) seeks a Program Manager to build and lead an exciting new grant-making initiative to support the planting of urban trees in underserved areas in Maryland. The Trust was tapped to administer a new grant program by the Maryland General Assembly via HB 991 of the 2021 legislative session, and its goal is 500,000 new urban trees planted (and maintained) within the next eight years. Funding for grants will become available July 1, 2022, and the Trust has the goal to solicit grant proposals prior to that date to be ready to help grantees take advantage of the fall 2022 planting season.
Initially, the Program Manager will both a) perform all steps of the program and b) map out the program’s future. In the second phase, the Program Manager will be supported by a team of 2-3 additional members to implement various steps of the program but will still be expected to roll up his/her/their sleeves to tackle individual grant work. As a result, the person in this role must be both a “doer” and a “thinker.” Duties during the first six to nine months include but are not limited to advertising the grant program, identifying potential applicants in underserved communities, providing support to prospective applicants, managing the review process, and providing the first stages of award management. After July 2022, the Program Manager will take the lead on hiring additional team members who will directly report to the Program Manager.
The position will require frequent site visits to proposed and completed project sites. This person will be a key member of a 20+-person staff, will work closely with two Program Directors who lead other initiatives at the Trust, will report to the Executive Director, and is expected to start in the November/December 2021 timeframe. HB 991 calls for $10 million in annual funding for this initiative through FY2030. Depending on outcomes, the Trust may pursue various means to continue the program past that date.
About the Trust
The Chesapeake Bay Trust seeks to engage and empower diverse groups to take actions that enrich the natural resources and local communities of the Chesapeake Bay region. The Trust is a non-profit grant-making organization established by state government in 1985. The Trust currently makes 350-400 grants and other awards per year ranging from $100 to ~$400,000 for projects in the K-12 environmental education, on-the-ground restoration, science, capacity building, and community engagement realms. In the past 15 years, the Trust has increased its grant-making and therefore grant-making four-fold through various revenues streams under the purview of four Trust departments, with current annual grant-making of approximately $12 million. This new urban tree initiative will serve to again almost double the Trust’s grant-making.
First six to nine months:
During the first months of the Program Manager’s tenure, prior to July 2022, the Program Manager will be responsible for all aspects of program implementation including but not limited to:
- Finalizing the Request for Proposals (depending on timing)
- Advertising the grant program
- Reactively meeting with prospective applicants who seek out the Trust
- Proactively identifying potential applicants in underserved communities who may not have heard about the opportunity, as per priorities in HB 991
- Providing technical assistance or connecting applicants with technical assistance on topics such as landowner/tenant engagement, site preparation, tree species, materials and services procurement, maintenance plans, budget development, project management, applicant process, and more
- Implementing a grant proposal review stage informed by the Trust’s existing Technical Review Committee process to recommend proposals for funding
- Preparing awards for decision by the Trust’s Board of Trustees
- Preparing award agreements
- Being ready to manage individual grant awards possibly as small as $5,000 and possibly as large as $1 million, depending on applicant demand and capacity and to be shaped by fall 2021 listening sessions with interested parties
- Developing and implementing a plan for staffing the initiative, including developing a program organization chart, considering budgets, preparing job descriptions, and interviewing candidates
Post July 2022 Phase:
After the first phase, duties of the position will include but are not limited to:
- Continuing to manage a subset of the grant awards
- Adaptively managing the initiative, including but not limited to:
- making any modifications to the Request for Proposals depending on the experience from the first solicitation and feedback from the community
- considering capacity of applicants in all phases from grant application to project implementation to maintenance
- considering challenges faced by large numbers of applicants and offering group training or other exercises to more cost-effectively address them
- considering creative financing mechanisms to support long-term maintenance, such as carbon crediting
- Onboarding, training, and managing new staff in the Urban Trees department
- Coordinating closely on urban tree planting projects that are supported within the other two program departments
- Interfacing with the Maryland Department of the Environment’s water Quality Financing Administration and others overseeing flow of funds
- Interfacing and finding synergies with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, which is overseeing other complementary components of HB991
- Serving as the lead spokesperson on the initiative with entities such as the legislature, state agencies, media, and others in the community
- Other duties as assigned and that are associated with all Trust staff
The ideal candidate will have a minimum of 10 years of professional experience, at least 5 of which demonstrate progressive experience. The candidate should have specific experience and track record of success in:
- Tree planting and/or forestry and/or urban natural resources restoration initiatives
- Engagement of communities in community health and natural resources issues, with preference for experience engaging underserved communities
Candidates should have the following skills, abilities, and/or qualifications:
- Strategic thinking skills: ability to set priorities, balance short-term and long-term objectives (required)
- Proficiency in managing budgets and contracts (required)
- Proficiency in the Microsoft Office suite of programs, especially spreadsheet programs (required)
- Ability to conduct site visits to project locations submitted by grant applicants (personal vehicle and valid driver’s license required to facilitate site visit travel)
- Skills in staff management and mentorship (required)
- Ability to work independently as well as collegially (required)
- Exceptional project management and time-management skills, with the ability to manage and meet tight deadlines (required)
Salary and Benefits: $70,000-$85,000 with an excellent benefits package and opportunities for related professional development.
Application Instructions and Deadline:
Applications will begin to be reviewed on September 27, 2021, though the position will remain open until filled. Please send a resume and cover letter via email to email@example.com and place job title “Program Manager – Urban Trees” in the subject line of the email. In your cover letter, please address your ability, based on your skills and experience, to accomplish the specific duties of the position as outlined above. Please describe why you would be an excellent member of the Trust team and why you would be an excellent choice to lead this new urban tree initiative. Applicants that do not address these two points in a cover letter but instead simply outline past experience are unlikely to be considered. No phone calls please.
The Chesapeake Bay Trust provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, or disability in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws. We encourage applications from people of color.