Program Manager - Emerging Strategies

11th Hour Project, Schmidt Family Foundation
California, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Mar 09, 2021
Apr 07, 2021
Employment Type
Full Time

The 11th Hour Project, a program of The Schmidt Family Foundation (TSFF), seeks a collaborative, inspiring, organized, and self-motivated Program Manager to be part of a small, supportive, and audacious team leading our Emerging Strategies Program, designed to create a nimble and adaptive vehicle for TSFF to explore new cross-programmatic issues of deep relevance to our mission. 



Established in 2006 by Wendy and Eric Schmidt, The Schmidt Family Foundation (TSFF) supports efforts worldwide that uplift communities to build resilient systems for food, energy, water, and human health. TSFF promotes an intelligent relationship between human activity and the planet’s natural resources. TSFF pursues its purpose through three, innovative and thoughtful strategies: 1) The 11th Hour Project; 2) the Impact Investing Program; and 3) Schmidt Marine Technology Partners.

As a grant making arm of TSFF, The 11th Hour Project supports organizations that are addressing the environmental and human rights implications of a linear, extractive economy and supporting the communities that are often at the frontlines and fence lines. Our team works at the nexus of energy, food & agriculture, and human rights.

The Emerging Strategies Program enables a systematic approach to collective learning across TSFF and to share our learnings with grantee partners as well as other funders. The Emerging Strategies team convenes various TSFF staff in a series of issue-specific grant making groups to collectively develop a strategy for exploratory issues of relevance to our work. We currently convene 6 Cross-Programmatic Initiatives (CPIs) with 3-6 staff members on each CPI team as determined by their areas of expertise and interest. The team leads each of these interdisciplinary groups in a participatory process to shape grant making strategy and grant recommendations for Board consideration. Currently, the 6 initiatives are as follows: Indigenous Communities, Civic Engagement, Plastics, Healthy Soils Healthy Seas, the Nexus of Renewable Energy and Mining, and Data Science for Social Good.

TSFF intentionally fosters a warm and collegial culture where autonomy and listening are valued. TSFF is also deeply committed to promoting racial equity through staff-driven learning and discussion groups, and working groups incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion across our hiring, grant making, and operations.



The 11th Hour Project is looking for an exceptional candidate to join our two-person Emerging Strategies team reporting to the Senior Director of Programs for The 11th Hour Project. The Program Manager – Emerging Strategies will shape and implement strategies for two of our CPIs, Indigenous Communities and Healthy Soils Healthy Seas, in conjunction with other TSFF staff who serve in these groups. In addition, the Program Manager may participate in one or more other CPIs as well as special projects as they arise.  A high degree of flexibility and willingness to roll up one’s sleeves in a dynamic, small-team environment are essential. This is a unique opportunity to shape the early-stage development of the program’s work in Indigenous Communities, which has become an area of increasing importance for TSFF, and to build out an exploratory grant making effort for Healthy Soils Healthy Seas and, potentially, other emergent areas.

The Program Manager must have an excellent work ethic, be highly skilled at setting priorities, and possess initiative. The successful candidate will be visionary, strategic, collaborative/relationship-oriented, organized, and exercise a high degree of emotional intelligence. 

The CPIs continue to be exploratory so the incoming team member will have the exciting opportunity to considerably shape the Indigenous Communities and Healthy Soils Healthy Seas CPIs. A brief description of current priorities are:

  • Indigenous Communities: Indigenous communities are both the frontlines of defense, and the most impacted by extractive industries. They also are the boldest advocates for grassroots climate solutions based on traditional ecological knowledge and stewardship of ancestral lands and natural resources. Yet, philanthropy has historically under-invested in Native American communities. This CPI aims to address this gap by funding indigenous-led projects that work toward self-determination and environmental justice through a variety of tools including community-based economic development, land stewardship, and movement building.
  • Healthy Soils Healthy Seas: Given the historical silo-ing of ocean issues from the land-based causes of pollution and water quality degradation, this CPI has focused on the following: a) to promote regenerative practices and approaches designed to benefit land and sea; and b) to elevate community voices and narratives advocating for these types of system approaches to achieving healthier soils and healthier oceans. Through this combined lens, we believe that we can achieve better system-level climate and health outcomes. To date, our exploratory grant making has covered scaling seaweed farming, building power of small-scale farmers and fishers, and demonstrating models of community-scale composting. Watershed-focused grant making is another priority for the group.



Program Strategy & Grants Management

  • In collaboration with team members, lead the development and management of a program strategy for 2 CPIs (Indigenous Communities and Healthy Soils Healthy Seas) that align with the organizational mission of TSFF
  • Participate actively in the continued build out of the Emerging Strategies program
  • Engage in ongoing research in a defined area, identify potential opportunities for transformational change, and develop grant recommendations to achieve program objectives
  • Generate learning that informs future grant making (including markers of progress around our grant making)
  • In collaboration with the rest of the Emerging Strategies team, present grant strategy and recommendations to Executive Director and Board
  • Serve as thought-partner to TSFF’s impact investing team around native social enterprise opportunities
  • Maintain/share knowledge of current events in our strategic areas as relating to programmatic outcomes
  • Manage and execute site visits
  • Solicit, review and analyze grant proposals
  • Prepare and complete grant documentation
  • Track and maintain grant files, including contact management, evaluations and metrics reporting
  • Execute other projects and activities, as assigned 
Network Building

  • Maintain and expand upon an existing network of thought-partners and advisors
  • Lead positive and productive partner and grantee relationships with a wide range of organizations and individuals
  • Represent The 11th Hour Project / TSFF at conferences and gatherings
  • In partnership with the Senior Director of Programs, develop funding coalitions for strategic priorities 

Organizational Management

  • Envision opportunities for collective learning that deepen the understanding of staff and Board around our issue areas
  • Foster a dynamic, collaborative environment with other members of the team to work together to achieve program goals as well as TSFF goals overall
  • Work closely with grants administration and finance teams to ensure grants are processed and managed in a timely, accurate and compliant manner



  • A minimum of 5-7 years of experience supporting programs in nonprofit, foundation, strategic consulting or other social sector environments, preferably with lived experience working in or with indigenous communities in North America
  • Holistic, in depth understanding of systemic inequities and a commitment to indigenous environmental justice and self-determination
  • Issue-specific knowledge of both CPIs is not required but a learning mindset and aptitude/desire to expand understanding of both areas are critical
  • Bachelor's degree in a related field or experience in excess of the minimum years sought that demonstrates relevant preparation for the position
  • High aptitude for understanding and translating analysis and research into actionable insights and recommendations across program or issue areas
  • Excellent team collaborator to work flexibly and interactively within the Emerging Strategies team and to build strong working relationships across internal teams and with key external stakeholders
  • Experience in project and program administration and proven project management skills
  • Ability to work in a small organization with an emphasis on teamwork
  • Articulate writer and oral communicator with strong presentation skills and the ability to actively participate in group meetings
  • Proven critical thinking, conflict resolution and interpersonal skills to interface and coordinate professionally with a number of diverse internal and external contacts, including grantees, vendors and fellow team members
  • Ability to understand organizational structure and work through administrative systems with a keen attention to detail
  • Ability to be flexible and forward-thinking to envision and enact solutions
  • Ability to work on a wide range of projects, prioritize tasks, manage time effectively and meet deadlines
  • Fluency in MS Office and Google Docs with experience using an online database strongly preferred



  • Must be able to use a computer and communicate by video call or telephone for extended periods of time



Within the established salary range for this position title, compensation is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience sought. A comprehensive benefits package is included.



To apply, email a cover letter, resume and list of three references (candidates will be notified in advance of any outreach to your references) to on or before 5:00 PM PT on Friday, March 19, 2021. Use the subject line: “Program Manager - Emerging Strategies.” Submit Microsoft Word or PDF files only (one combined PDF file is preferred). Resume review begins immediately.


The Schmidt Family Foundation is committed to using its philanthropic resources to deepen and expand its relationships with organizations led by people color – both operationally and programmatically. The Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strives to create an atmosphere where diversity of identity, experience, and background are welcomed, valued, and supported.

The 11th Hour Project believes that diversity brings about greater sustainability on all levels and aims to use its resources to generate greater social and environmental diversity through its grant-making and other related investments. Black, Indigenous, People of Color and people of diverse backgrounds, genders, and sexualities are strongly encouraged to apply.

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