Program Manager, Strategic Communications and Engagement

Irvine, CA, USA
about 2 months ago
Full time role


Sequoia Climate Foundation is a new philanthropy that seeks to decarbonize the world economy at a speed and scale equal ...

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Job Description

About Us

Sequoia Climate Foundation is a new philanthropy that seeks to decarbonize the world economy at a speed and scale equal to the challenge. We support bold strategies and efforts that will have both near-term impact and the greatest probability of long-term success. We believe that solving climate change requires the adoption of ambitious, evidence-based policy solutions that transform markets, advance clean technology, and lead to large‐scale change. Our focus areas include power, transportation, buildings, industry, land use, agriculture and forestry, finance, communications, and public engagement. Sequoia Climate Foundation is active in major emitting geographies, including China, the United States, India, the European Union, among others. We are dedicated to building the political will and powerful coalitions needed to achieve these bold policy solutions. Our office and staff are based in Irvine, California.

About the Role

We actively seek a collaborative, bold, and innovative thinker who can help us identify and evaluate ambitious climate strategies capable of driving transformative change in the world. The Program Manager, Strategic Communications and Engagement, will report to and work closely with the Program Director, Strategic Communications and Engagement, and collaborate with Sequoia Climate Foundation leadership to manage grantmaking portfolios and will manage productive relationships with grantees, communicating openly and engaging directly with them and with other key stakeholders. The Program Manager works with leadership to both develop and execute strategies and plans aligned with the organizational mission and vision. They will develop, support, and execute strategies as needed, compile the research and evidence necessary to assess their potential impact and chances for success, and identify the organizations best positioned to execute them. They will support in leading a team and work with peer networks, government officials, thought leaders, and key stakeholders to assess emerging needs, gaps, and opportunities in the field.

Key Responsibilities

  • Develop, support, and execute goals, strategies, and grantmaking portfolios, compile the research and evidence necessary to assess their potential impact and establish and monitor metrics.
  • Lead and support initial screening of potential grantees, including analyzing and assessing background information, soliciting, and developing funding proposals, and determining appropriate funding levels.
  • Supports the development of funding strategy for the program and adapts strategy as priorities change.
  • Consistent with Sequoia’s “learning and evidence approach,” keep in regular contact with funded partners, including through site visits, and support execution consistent with goals in mind, supporting adaptive management by partners as needed.
  • Work with the Program Directors to undertake or commission sector-relevant research and analysis and implement wide-ranging communication strategies that support the effective development, delivery, and evaluation of programs, internal and external communications, and initiatives.
  • Writes strategy recommendations and background papers, as well as presents to proposed grantees for funding.
  • Builds an external network with experts and opinion formers within the climate change and sector-specific community to identify potential grantees and ensure decision-making is shaped by up-to-date insights and research.
  • Identifies appropriate partners and collaborations to advance grantmaking strategies, including, as appropriate, active participation in collaboratives, conferences, and workshops.
  • Supports the development of an annual administrative budget to anticipate and plan for programmatic expenses.
  • Build long-term relationships with key influencers and thought leaders, including peers, NGO partners, academics, and other stakeholders.
  • Interact, builds, and foster relationships with media, NGOs, funders, and consultants and speak on the organization’s behalf as required, advising on meaningful engagement opportunities and managing risk.
  • Manages team, including other program staff, and delegates work as needed.

Who You Are

  • A Strategic Thinker. You’re a strong conceptual thinker who can easily grasp and navigate a range of abstract concepts, relate them to one another, and translate those concepts into strategies and practical actions.
  • A Details Person. Your favorite part of reading a research paper is deciding which of the citations in the bibliography to read next. You want to understand not just what someone says but what assumptions they used to get there.
  • An Analog and Digital Synthesizer. Once you have collected all the details, you can wrap them up in a concise written form and contribute to an engaging conversation, whether face-to-face, on the phone, or on Twitter.
  • An Effective Collaborator. You have worked across cultural lines on a dispersed team, and you have the ability to operate in complex situations. You can quickly gain trust from colleagues and are known for being supportive.
  • A Flexible Worker. You are not afraid to step outside your job description or comfort zone to help the team reach its goals. You are comfortable with shifting schedules and don’t expect every day to go “as planned.” You are happy to challenge someone’s assumptions and to have your assumptions challenged in return.
  • A Humble Teammate. Nothing is beneath or above you. You are quick to always lend a hand or two! You are able to earn influence without authority and naturally seek to support both small projects or large strategic goals.  You know what you know and what you don’t know, and don’t shy away from questions.
  • Mission-oriented. You believe in the mission of Sequoia Climate Foundation and are passionate about climate change and creating a more sustainable world.

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • A minimum of eight years of relevant experience in climate advocacy or policy, preferably with a focus on communications.
  • Experience in communications strategies, including media, digital communications, PR, advertising, and non-profit communications required.
  • Experience in advocacy or an understanding of grassroots organizing, and campaigns is highly preferred.
  • Understanding of global climate organization eco-system preferred.

Compensation & Location

Sequoia Climate Foundation offers a generous benefits package and a competitive salary commensurate with experience.  We provide competitive wages, health insurance, paid time off, and other perks to promote work/life harmony. We operate in a hybrid model, which means both workdays from home and in the office for our Irvine, California, location.  The expectation is this role will be in our office at least three days a week (though never five, lots of opportunities to still work remotely a few days a week). We can be flexible on relocation timelines and offer a small amount of relocation assistance.

NOTE: At this time, our preference is that applicants have the authorization to work in the United States.

Covid-19 Hiring Update

Sequoia Climate Foundation requires its employees to be fully vaccinated and up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines unless they are approved for an exemption as allowed under federal and applicable state law. Unless approved for an exemption, new hires must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination at the time of hire, and offers of employment will be contingent on compliance with Sequoia Climate Foundation’s COVID-19 vaccination policy.  

To Apply

Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here.

Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.


Sequoia Climate Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.

Sequoia Climate Foundation is a new philanthropy that seeks to decarbonize the world economy at a speed and scale equal ...

View Company Profile