Program Officer – Urban and Community Forestry

Programs – Outreach & Education · Annapolis, Maryland (Hybrid)

The Chesapeake Bay Trust seeks a Program Officer for Urban and Community Forestry, a newly created position, to help shape and lead a new Urban and Community Forestry Program to establish the Mid-Atlantic Environmental Justice Fund (the Fund).  This new program was made possible through a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) partnership with the Trust of approximately $4m annually over four years, and will create the first large-scale environmental justice “participatory fund” in the region. A participatory fund is defined as a grant-making approach that intentionally includes members of the communities to be served in multiple aspects of distribution of grant funds, from defining the types of projects to reviewing project ideas to implementing projects.

This Fund’s work will empower communities who have experienced environmental injustice to address long-standing disparities in urban forestry, green infrastructure, and public health. In the initial phase of work, the Program Officer will work with Mid-Atlantic Environmental Justice Hub partners in Washington DC, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia to shape the program.  Those partners include the Center for Community Engagement Environmental Justice and Health, National Wildlife Federation, Howard University, South Baltimore Community Land Trust, Sentinels of the Eastern Shore Health, The Overbrook Center, Center de Apoyo de Familiar, Empower DC, Environmental Finance Center.

The next phases will be implementation of the awards program, which will include traditional community-based grant program tasks (e.g. outreach; assisting applicants with ideas and proposals; soliciting, reviewing, and administering awards to eligible applicants. The position will require site visits to proposed and completed project sites and engagement in the urban trees/forestry community of the region. This person will be a key member of a 35+ person staff and will report to the Environmental Justice Program Manager in the Department of Outreach and Education.

About the Trust

The Chesapeake Bay Trust seeks to engage and empower a diversity of groups to take actions that enrich the natural resources and local communities of the Chesapeake Bay region. The Trust is a nonprofit grant-making organization established by the Maryland state government in 1985. The Trust currently makes 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 four-fold through various revenues streams under the purview of four Trust departments, with annual awards of approximately $12-20 million.

Specific Duties:

  • Serve as a key lead and collaborator for the Mid-Atlantic Environmental Justice (EJ) fund focused on collaboratively designing and administering the first Environmental Justice Participatory Fund in the Mid-Atlantic with practicing partners.
  • Advertise widely across the Chesapeake Bay watershed (depending on the funding source) to identify potential applicants to the award programs, identify what help these applicants might need to apply and successfully complete a project, encourage them to apply, and provide help as they develop project ideas and grant proposals.
  • Reactively, respond to potential applicants who have expressed interest in the grant programs, and aid with the application process including the incorporation of sustainable practices considering future climate change impacts, and management of contractors to provide technical assistance.
  • Lead the refinement and/or development of Requests for Proposals and other program materials for the program.
  • Lead the analysis and review of grant applications received.
  • Lead the recruitment of external technical reviewers who represent communities most affected and coordinate EJ Hub connector group services to promote the existence of the program.
  • Prepare grant summary reports and analysis for Technical Review Committee Participatory Fund Partners, and the Board of Trustees.
  • Administer awards including preparing grant agreements and contracts, assisting awardees with project issues, reviewing status and final reports, approving payments, reviewing revision requests, and more.
  • Work with awardees throughout their project to report successes, discuss and overcome any obstacles to the outcomes, where relevant, management of contractors to provide technical assistance for current or future awardees/partners, and report products to participatory fund partners, the general public (e.g., in newsletters, on the website), and/or the Trust staff.
  • Pursue a suite of professional development activities, which could include participating in (and presenting at) conferences, at seminars, at symposia, and/or in publications.
  • Advance recommendations received from the Trust’s external diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice advisory committee and the Trust’s internal action team.

Skills and Qualifications

Candidates must have the following skills, abilities, and/or qualifications:

  • Experience and a track record of success in engagement of communities experiencing environmental injustice and/or other related health or socioeconomic disparities.
  • Proficiency in managing both budgets and contracts.
  • Strategic thinking skills: ability to set priorities, balance short-term and long-term objectives.
  • A high level of proficiency in the Microsoft Office suite of programs, especially excel, word, and PowerPoint.
  • Exceptional project management and time-management skills, with the ability to manage and meet tight deadlines in order to meet milestones and deliver successful outcomes.
  • Ability to conduct site visits to project locations submitted by grant applicants (personal vehicle or access to a vehicle/transportation) and valid driver’s license or access to transportation options required to facilitate site visit travel and travel to the office.
  • Ability to work independently as well as in group settings.

Position Salary and Benefits

$52,000-$62,000 with an excellent benefits package and opportunities for related professional development through workshops, training programs, and conferences.

Position Location

The position will involve site visits to communities throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Within the first 6 months, the Program Officer will be expected to be in the Trust offices in Annapolis, Maryland, at least 1 day per week on average when not in the field, with remote work possible for the remainder of the week. After the 6-month probation period, the position may be fully remote on non-site visit days.

Application Instructions and Deadline

The position will remain open until filled. Please submit a resume and cover letter.  The cover letter must address how your skills and experience are specifically relevant to the job description and duties of this specific opportunity, rather than serving simply as description of your previous positions or experience.  Please explain why you are interested in this position specifically and what makes you a good fit.

Use this link to apply:

The Chesapeake Bay Trust provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, national origin, age, or disability in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws.   We encourage applications from people of color.  Applicants must have a residential address in Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, or Washington, D.C and must be currently authorized to work in the United States on a full-time basis. The Trust does not participate in programs that require sponsorship for work visas.