Program Officer, Climate Finance, Environment Program

Climate Finance is a new area of focus for the foundation’s Environment Program. It is an innovative field that offers exciting and immense opportunities for philanthropic intervention. Reporting to the Environment Program Director, the Program Officer is a newly created position and will play an integral role in the early stage development of the foundation’s grantmaking strategy on climate finance. The position will manage a portfolio of grants and relationships with the ambitious aim of addressing climate change by accelerating the transition to a climate-friendly economy.

Sufficient capital exists to allow the world to pursue low-carbon, climate-resilient development. However, the current level of global investment in green infrastructure falls short. The Program Officer will seek out macro opportunities to redirect finance from high- to low-carbon activities and encourage a wiser allocation of resources– significantly shifting to or scaling up green investments. A key component to this work will include assessing climate finance flows, identifying ways to lower the cost and risk of investment, and supporting innovations in capital markets to address investor requirements for clean energy and climate-aligned projects.

Portfolio Management

The Program Officer will oversee a grants portfolio related to finance and market-based strategies. Responsibilities include conducting extensive research and rigorous due diligence to identify gaps in the philanthropic landscape, including quantitative evaluation of national and international climate finance mechanisms as well as climate and energy policies.

The position will develop promising concepts, including proposing and implementing innovative, high-risk/high-return strategies, taking into account issues such as the governance of international funds and the design of climate finance and carbon pricing instruments that effectively align public and private interests. The Program Officer must be able to work effectively with a team of colleagues across multiple disciplines, both within the foundation and throughout the finance and philanthropic communities.

External Engagement

The Program Officer will identify and establish the necessary partnerships within policy, corporate, and philanthropic sectors that together can help develop and support a portfolio of high-impact grants. This includes staying current on emerging issues, trends, and interventions related to finance and market-based solutions to climate change and clean energy. The Program Officer is also responsible for convening meetings of external stakeholders when needed, including grant recipients, subject matter experts, government representatives, co-funders, and others in order to explore, compare, and coordinate strategies whenever possible.

Strategic Learning

The Program Officer will use data and knowledge gathered in the field to advise on trends, movements, and policy developments related to climate and clean energy, especially around finance/market-based strategies and results. The position will manage external relationships with other grantmakers, advisors, and grant recipients to facilitate the exchange of information and maximize lessons learned. Additionally, the Program Officer will help plan and facilitate learning opportunities for grant recipients, as well as develop progress indicators with grant recipients to monitor and track the impact of projects funded.

Ideal Candidate

The Hewlett Foundation is seeking a Program Officer with vision, innovative thinking, and a commitment to help define and manage a mission-driven portfolio of grants. Candidates must bring significant expertise in finance and markets and an understanding of how they interact with policies at the regional, national, and international level. Experience with energy or commodity markets, or emissions trading markets, is useful. Exposure to international financial institutions, export credit agencies, or development finance institutions is a plus. The successful candidate will be able to analyze climate finance and the economics of policy choices.

The foundation seeks candidates who are driven by active inquiry and learning; who possess an intellect that thrives when creatively synthesizing ideas and input from a variety of sources to address complex problems. The Program Officer must be comfortable operating with broad strategic parameters and exploring opportunities that can lead to bold and unconventional approaches.

Candidates should bring an energetic, flexible, and collaborative disposition rooted in a direct, honest, and respectful approach to problem solving. The Program Officer must also have the ability to work seamlessly across strategic, substantive, and administrative aspects of the role. Fostering and contributing to a strong sense of community with colleagues, partners, and other stakeholders is essential.

The ideal candidate will thrive in a role with a great deal of autonomy and in an environment that is also highly collaborative, communicative, and team-oriented. Success in the role requires the intellectual prowess and curiosity to contribute across Program streams, an enthusiasm to share and seek learnings about grantmaking practices and grantees’ activities, and the ability to leverage the skills of people with different perspectives and styles. Organized, succinct, and precise oral and written communications skills are a must, including the capacity to write complex documents quickly. Excellent listening skills, confidence, candor, a sense of humor, humility, energy, and a commitment to the foundation’s values are all essential characteristics for the role.

Minimum Qualifications

A minimum of ten years of relevant work experience is necessary, with interdisciplinary experience favored. An understanding of current climate policies and related areas of energy, forests/agriculture, and development, with a specific focus on their interaction with finance is essential. Experience in financial modeling and/or macroeconomic modeling of energy and climate markets would be helpful as would experience in project finance.

An undergraduate degree is required; an advanced degree in a field related to finance, markets, economics, or public policy is preferred. Work experience can come from climate policy, finance, regulation, carbon markets, or other similar sectors. A knowledge and understanding of any combination of the following is highly desirable: national regulatory institutions, multilateral/bilateral financial actors, national/regional development banks, and private finance institutions.

About the Hewlett Foundation

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is a nonpartisan, private charitable foundation that advances ideas and supports institutions to promote a better world. For 50 years, the foundation has supported efforts to advance education for all, preserve the environment, improve lives and livelihoods in developing countries, promote the health and economic well-being of women, support vibrant performing arts, strengthen Bay Area communities and make the philanthropy sector more effective. The foundation’s assets are more than $9 billion, with annual awards of grants and gifts totaling more than $400 million. A 14-member board of directors provides overall direction for the foundation.

The foundation’s culture and approach to its work are informed by a set of guiding principles that have been collectively articulated by the staff, board, and the president. The foundation supports personal and professional development opportunities that reinforce active learning and intellectual rigor and encourage diverse perspectives and experimentation.

Learn more about the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

About the Environment Program

The Environment Program funds organizations working in areas of climate and energy as well as western conservation. The vast majority of grants are to organizations that work on policy development because of the foundation’s belief that policy changes often provide the greatest opportunity to reach its strategic goals and objectives. An important aspect of the Environment Program’s approach is building a broad base of support among those not traditionally involved in environmental protection.

Climate and Energy

The Environment Program’s climate and energy grantmaking is global, although the majority of the work is focused mainly in China, Europe, India, Brazil, and the United States. While a considerable portion of the Program’s investments are made through organizations like the ClimateWorks Foundation, the European Climate Foundation, and the Energy Foundation, which then re-grant the funds, the foundation makes significant direct grants to organizations.

Western Conservation

The Environment Program’s Western Conservation grantmaking embraces the region west of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada, and includes Alaska, but not Hawaii.

Grantmaking encompasses three areas: land, water, and energy. The foundation makes grants to organizations that support efforts which protect and improve the ecological integrity of Western United States and Canada.

To Be Considered

The Hewlett Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes a diverse pool of candidates for this search. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. To be considered, please go to and submit your resume and a cover letter expressing your interest and fit for the role.

The search for a Program Officer, Climate Finance is being assisted by a team from Waldron:

Jeff Waldron, Managing Director
Direct: 415-529-2150

Mary Pelleriti, Engagement Manager
Direct: 415.529.2057

Search Our Grantmaking

By Keyword