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Director of Programs and Climate Initiatives

  • Full time
  • New York
  • $70-$115k USD / Year

Website Waterfront Alliance

he Waterfront Alliance inspires and effects resilient, revitaliz

About the Waterfront Alliance

The Waterfront Alliance is a civic organization that brings together a diverse coalition of more than 1,100 Alliance Partners with ties to the New York–New Jersey waterways. Founded in 2007, our mission is to inspire and effect resilient, revitalized, and accessible coastlines for all communities. Key programs and advocacy areas include climate resilience, public access to the waterfront, the working waterfront, and climate education.

The Waterfront Alliance is a regional leader in climate policy with a focus on coastal resilience. The organization’s climate initiatives formally began in 2012 with the development of the WEDG® (Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines) program. The policy and advocacy goals of the Waterfront Alliance consolidated into the launch of the Rise to Resilience coalition in 2020, following a lengthy community and coalition building process and development of a comprehensive policy agenda.

The Waterfront Alliance inspires and effects resilient, revitalized, and accessible coastlines for all communities. We are working hard to continue—and greatly enhance—the work of building diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEI+J) along waterfronts and coastlines that is centered on solutions and services for communities dependent on and connected to these landscapes. Our goal is for each of our programs to grow in service to the most under-resourced and historically disinvested communities, including those that have faced environmental injustice in the face of climate change.

Classification: Full-time, Exempt

Reports to: President and CEO

Location: The office is in New York, NY, with a general expectation of two days per week in office. Relocation reimbursement will be available.

Works closely with: Chief Waterfront Design Officer and CEO to collaborate on the execution of major strategies and initiatives core to the Waterfront Alliance mission.

Salary and Benefits: Salary is $75,000–$115,000. Waterfront Alliance offers a comprehensive benefits package, including employer paid medical, dental, and vision insurances; life insurance; 401K retirement plan with employer match; commuter and FSA benefits, paid time off, paid sabbatical, professional development opportunities, and more.


The Director of Programs and Climate Initiatives (DPC) has program and operational responsibility for climate resilience, environmental education, recreation, urban planning, conservation, sustainability, port/maritime industry and integrated related program areas of the Waterfront Alliance that are core to our mission. The DPC will provide leadership, expertise, and strategic direction on climate policy, legislation, studies and reports that influence agencies, the public, partner organizations, and the Rise to Resilience (R2R) coalition.

The position is a part of the senior management team that develops, with the board of directors, the overall strategy for the organization and represents the Waterfront Alliance on a local, regional, and national basis. The position offers significant opportunity to the right candidate to quickly grow in major areas of responsibility and leadership at the Waterfront Alliance.

The DPC is or will become a policy expert in a number of areas of environmental, climate, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policy related to the mission of the Waterfront Alliance and will grow in their expertise as the region and nation grow in response to climate change. The DPC works closely with team members in other operational areas of the organization and holds strong relationships with targeted board members and some outside funders.

Climate and Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines Program (WEDG)

  • Develop and oversee the organization, operations, and impact of the Rise to Resilience coalition
  • Manage, in collaboration with larger team, portions of the Waterfront Alliance’s initiative to develop a climate resilience and stormwater management plan for Flushing Meadows Corona Park
  • Collaborate closely with and at times support the WEDG program and WEDG program staff
  • Lead and collaborate on DEI strategies to support underserved communities

Education Program

  • Provide leadership for Estuary Explorers including environmental education curriculum development, offering multiple and age-appropriate modules, and expansion of the program to new schools and educational opportunities

Government Affairs

  • Build relationships to elected officials and agency leaders to advance programmatic priorities and develop related strategies to position the Waterfront Alliance with decision makers
  • Participate in and represent Waterfront Alliance through other coalitions, working groups, and steering committees to advance Waterfront Alliance’s agenda

Other Programs

  • Provide management, oversight, and hands-on involvement in maritime and port program areas and in public access and recreation program areas
  • With training provide manage and execute Maritime Activation planning consulting services, and production of research and reports


  • In collaboration with the CEO, provide leadership in the development of content, structure, and strategies for each annual Waterfront Conference and other program related events. Work with all program staff and WEDG leadership to inform the development of program content.


  • Provide extensive input and support development of communications plans and content that align with programmatic priorities

Development Support

  • Support foundation and corporate fundraising activities, including drafting certain text for applications and representing the organization at some donor meetings
  • Lead New York City council funding process program funding with contractors and program staff support
  • Collaborate with COO on government contracting and reporting
    Support the president and COO in setting the annual budget and programmatic alignment, as well as developing earned income streams for programs

Organizational Management

Working with senior leadership, contribute to the development of organizational strategy, both near term and long-term objectives
Manage and mentor staff and conduct all staff management tasks such as performance reviews, hiring, etc.


As a great fit for the DPC role, you have…

  • Five to eight years of professional experience; a graduate degree in a relevant field is preferred
  • Experience to varying extent in urban planning, climate policy, environmental sustainability, conservation, urban planning and design, community engagement, public policy, and/or maritime issues
  • Managed and led projects, worked closely with people and partners, and fostered and facilitated collaboration, especially in a context of organization coalition
  • Enthusiasm, sense of humor, and a can-do, entrepreneurial approach to nonprofit work in a fast-paced environment.
  • Ability to strategically manage both technical issues and community issues with a wide range of project partners to impactfully change systems over time.
  • Excellent in-person, verbal, and written communication skills
  • Prior experience managing staff which requires analytical skills and technical skills in addition to emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills (someone who understands, collaborates and communicates well with others.)
  • Worked independently and with a team, to prioritize competing activities, troubleshoot and offer solutions to problems and challenges while creating an environment open to ideas.
  • Ability to serve as a representative of Waterfront Alliance to Alliance Partners and others

How to Apply

Apply through this link. Submit your resume and the answers to the prompted questions. Only complete applications will be considered. Position open until filled. No phone calls please. Applicants must be legally authorized to work full-time in the U.S. and should not require employment sponsorship now or in the future.

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, Waterfront Alliance encourages applications from all individuals regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, marital status, physical ability or any other legally protected basis.

To apply for this job please visit

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