Senior Program Fellow

Water FoundationFlexible

About the Water Foundation

The Water Foundation is a nonprofit philanthropy working to support lasting water solutions for communities, economies, and the environment. The Foundation complements strategic grantmaking with creative field-building and engagement with high-level decision makers and community leaders, and helps funders identify and act on opportunities to better manage water.

The Water Foundation works in key watersheds across the West, as well as on federal policy, recognizing that water crosses political boundaries and natural places face similar challenges across the country. As a singularly focused water funder, the Water Foundation serves the entire water field, deploying staff expertise to move resources to the groups that can most effectively improve water systems that affect people and nature. The Water Foundation’s partners span a broad spectrum: conservation organizations, environmental justice groups, agricultural associations, water providers, business groups, and local, tribal, state, and federal agencies.

In 2018, the Water Foundation developed an ambitious strategic framework to guide the efforts and impact of the organization in the coming years. This strategy, which reflects extensive field input from partners and stakeholders, takes a systemic approach. It prioritizes securing safe, clean water for people, restoring and sustaining freshwater environments, and building resilience to a changing climate. These three goals are critical to the future of water. In pursuing these goals, the Foundation supports the field in tackling immediate water problems, including polluted drinking water and collapsing ecosystems, in ways that alter system drivers, such as social inequality and outmoded infrastructure. While this strategy will be updated over the course of the next year, the big picture goals remain constant.  

Inequity and injustice underlie many of the challenges the Water Foundation is working to address, such as the failure to provide clean, safe, and affordable drinking water or access to free-flowing rivers and green space to all communities. Over the last two years, the Water Foundation engaged in an initiative designed to provide the learning, competencies, and tools necessary to ensure that the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion are embedded and embodied in their individual behavior, institutional operations, and strategic programming. There is a deep commitment to ongoing growth and learning in this area.

More information about the Water Foundation can be found at

About the Water Solutions Fund

The Water Solutions Fund was established in response to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), two monumental bills that offer a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform how the nation’s water resources and systems are managed and who they serve, in ways that advance environmental, health, justice, and climate goals. Established in 2022, the Water Solutions Fund has helped move philanthropic resources to support the implementation of this legislation for the benefit of people, nature, and resilient communities.

The Water Foundation administers the Water Solutions pooled fund, which is designed to rapidly assess the grantee and political landscape, respond swiftly to influence policies and practices, and position their partners to access funding for projects that incorporate ecological and equity priorities. In addition to raising and deploying pooled resources, the Water Foundation is working with members of the Water Table to align their philanthropic funding with the pooled fund’s priorities.

The Water Solutions Fund seeks to deliver impact across the following domains:

  • Policy: Influencing federal and state policy and program design to ensure transparent, equitable, and effective implementation—and shape future federal investment patterns.
  • Projects: Supporting the design and development of innovative projects across the country to demonstrate how water infrastructure can support human and environmental health and community development.
  • Power: Strengthening the capacity and power of local and regional leaders to shape the design and implementation of infrastructure programs and projects and grow the influence of a community-led movement for water.

By addressing these three areas across water issues and geographies—and communicating success along the way to raise the visibility of transformative water solutions—the Water Foundation and its partners are supporting effective deployment of IIJA and IRA funding and shifting the paradigm for future water spending.

The Opportunity

For philanthropy, the IIJA and IRA represent a call to action: support a growing national movement to ensure that water meets the needs of people and nature in the face of climate change. Fortunately, many creative networks, coalitions, organizations, and leaders across the country are already focused on building a better water future. By investing in their solutions and connecting these groups to decision-makers, resources, and opportunities, the Water Foundation and the Water Solutions Fund can both respond to urgent needs and lay the groundwork for long-term impact and systemic change.

The Water Foundation seeks a self-directed and motivated Senior Program Fellow to help lead the work of the Water Solutions Fund over the next two years. The Senior Program Fellow role presents an exciting opportunity for a philanthropic leader with water, environmental justice, and/or climate experience to help maximize the ecological and equity impacts of federal resources for water-related infrastructure.

Reporting to the Director of Programs and Strategies, the Senior Fellow will play a key role in strategizing how to leverage philanthropic resources in the field and will work directly with grantees, consultants, and partners to achieve the Water Solutions Fund’s priority objectives. This is conceived of as a two-year term position.

Key Responsibilities

Program Development
  • Partner with the Director of Programs and Strategy to implement strategy and program objectives.
  • Collaborate with the program team and grantees to identify desired strategic water policy and management outcomes and identify partners that can help achieve them. This includes identifying gaps and opportunities in the field ripe for philanthropic engagement and executing responsive a grantmaking strategy to deploy resources.
  • Develop written materials for a range of audiences, primarily focused on funders and field, that describe the landscape of the work, lessons learned, and opportunities and gaps in the field and funder support for federal legislation implementation.
Grantmaking and Monitoring
  • Work with the Director of Programs & Strategy to expand the Water Solutions Fund portfolio of grants and contracts to achieve strategic outcomes.
  • Reach out to new potential partners to learn about their work, consult with grantees on how best to achieve desired impacts, and assess effectiveness with an eye toward learning and improvement for the Water Foundation and the field.
  • Invite, review, and summarize grant proposals and reports, shepherding them through Foundation review processes and describing how they fit together into a strong and effective portfolio.
  • Manage contractors working in support of grantees and/or the Foundation.
  • Facilitate the ongoing individual and collective work of grantees and other partners, including linking them to resources that may help them reach project goals and supporting coordination and collaboration.
Coalition Building and Direct Engagement
  • Cultivate partners from a wide range of interests and sectors.
  • Convene meetings that can advance program objectives as needed.
  • Engage directly with governmental decision makers and community leaders to advance programmatic work.
  • Serve as a resource to other funders, supporting their investment in federal water policy, water capacity, and field-building.

Ideal Candidate

Above all else, the ideal candidate will bring a strong interest in the issue, a sense of purpose and optimism, and a drive to leverage and implement funds to support lasting clean water solutions that advance freshwater ecosystems, social justice, and human health.

The Foundation seeks a Senior Program Fellow with grantmaking experience, ideally in water, climate, or environmental justice. Expertise in federal, state, or tribal agency policies and process is highly desired and experience organizing, working on policy advocacy campaigns, and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives is a plus. The Senior Program Fellow brings a proven ability to identify and translate strategic vision into tangible action and outcomes.

Working with and across sectors in the water community, this person must possess the intuition and emotional intelligence to instinctively understand how to navigate complex relationships and contexts with comfort and confidence. The ideal candidate will have a track record for building strong relationships and working with a range of stakeholders to satisfy multiple goals.

Excellent project management, writing, and editing skills are essential. Candidates should display comfort working independently and operating with the highest levels of ethics and confidentiality. The Water Foundation’s culture is one that values patience, grace, and humor under pressure. Collaboration and strong initiative and follow-through are key to success.


  • Relevant grantmaking experience and/or experience deploying or tracking public funding streams strongly preferred; work inside federal, state, or tribal agencies, organizing, or on policy advocacy campaigns a plus.
  • Knowledge of freshwater, drinking water, conservation, or water justice law or policy, federal agency grant or technical assistance programs, land or water management, or related fields a plus. 
  • Excellent project management skills, comfort working independently, and proficiency with problem-solving.
  • Superb writing and editing skills including the ability to synthesize extensive information into clear, cohesive written products.
  • Strong work ethic, initiative, follow-through, and good judgment.
  • Collaborative style and excellent people skills.
  • High standards for quality, presentation, protocol, and confidentiality.
  • Patience, grace, and humor under pressure.

Compensation and Location

The Water Foundation offers an excellent benefits package and a competitive salary that is commensurate with experience. The salary for the position is $140,000. The Water Foundation is fully remote, with required in-person staff retreats up to four times a year. There is a preference for candidates in Pacific or Mountain time zones to facilitate aligned workdays and short travel for in-person gatherings. Regular travel to meetings should also be anticipated.

The Foundation encourages people of color, from under-resourced communities, immigrants, LGBTQ+, and others with diverse perspectives and experiences to apply.

To Be Considered

Please submit your resume and cover letter expressing your interest in the position and fit for the role via the Become a Candidate button below.

Applicants applying by May 1, 2023 will be given priority consideration, with the position open until filled.

Senior Program FellowWater FoundationFlexible

GoodCitizen has been exclusively retained by Water Foundation to lead this search. For questions, please contact:

Melissa Merritt
Managing Director

Kevin Bryant
Managing Director

Mollie Smith
Engagement Manager
Direct: 206.462.6190