The 11th Hour Project, a program of the Schmidt Family Foundation, seeks a passionate, collaborative, and self-motivated Program Associate or Program Manager to be part of a small, supportive, and innovative team leading the new Minerals + Materials program area designed to ensure a just transition to a clean energy economy through a focus on the minerals needed for electrification.

Background 

Established in 2006 by Wendy and Eric Schmidt, the Schmidt Family Foundation (TSFF) works to restore a balanced relationship between people and planet. The foundation pursues its mission through three innovative and thoughtful strategies: 1) the 11th Hour Project, 2) Impact Investing, and 3) Schmidt Marine Technology Partners. The Schmidt Family Foundation is a private foundation with $2B+ growing assets and an impact investment portfolio of approximately $160M of AUM. 

For more information about the Schmidt Family Foundation, visit: www.tsffoundation.org. 

About the Position 

 The 11th Hour Project / TSFF seeks an entrepreneurial and creative team member to help build the newly launched Minerals + Materials program, which expands upon 5 years of learning and honed grantmaking TSFF / 11th Hour Project has conducted related to transition minerals. The program supports organizations and initiatives that are: 1) preventing and addressing the harms from transition mineral mining to ensure a just energy transition; and 2) building a vision for our materials economy that minimizes waste, facilitates reuse, and centers environmental justice. 

The Minerals & Materials team member will have a unique opportunity to contribute to the development of a dynamic and growing body of grantmaking that ensures a just transition to a clean energy economy through a focus on the minerals needed for electrification. This position reports to and works closely with the Vice President of Programs & Emerging Strategies who oversees the Minerals & Materials program. Depending upon the level of experience, TSFF / 11th Hour Project may bring the selected candidate onboard as a Program Associate or Program Manager. 

The global transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and electrified transportation has led to a growing demand for minerals necessary for the production of energy storage/EV batteries, solar panels, and wind turbines. Outsized demand for minerals such as lithium, manganese, cobalt, nickel, and copper has precipitated a boom in mining and concern about destructive mining practices with negative impacts including violation of Indigenous and local community rights, water depletion, environmental degradation, and loss of biodiversity. While some new primary mining will likely be needed and the urgency of the transition from fossil fuels is indisputable, the Minerals + Materials program prioritizes initiatives and efforts that center the self-determination of Indigenous communities and the rights of local, mining-affected communities. The program’s grantmaking further supports pushing for ethical and transparent mineral supply chains and visioning of a less resource-intensive future. 

In close coordination with the rest of the Minerals + Materials team and other programs of the foundation, the Program Associate or Program Manager will build upon and implement a strategic vision that centers the rights of communities affected by the mining of transition minerals while ensuring that critical climate milestones can still be achieved. 

Specifically, the Minerals + Materials Program Associate or Program Manager will focus on: 

  • Development of and accessibility to community resources that ensure that mining-affected communities have the tools they need for advocacy, informing environmental and public health assessments, and, where prioritized by the local communities, negotiating benefits and revenue-sharing; and 
  • Building upon an exploratory approach to geographic scope primarily within North America (with possibility in South America) that emphasizes equity across frontline communities. 

Depending upon interest, experience, and capacity, there will be opportunities to incorporate or contribute to other aspects of the Minerals + Materials supply-side strategy including deep sea mining; supply chain transparency and accountability; and advocacy to improve mining practices/operations. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Grantmaking 

  • Focus on place-based support of mining-affected communities in the US, Canada, and potentially other geographies such as the Atacama Salt Flats of Latin America; this includes supporting the self-determination of Indigenous communities, the rights of other environmental justice communities, protection of sacred places, water resources, wetlands, and biodiversity 
  • Develop landscape assessments of new geographic areas of focus for potential grantmaking opportunities 
  • Support the building of a cohesive narrative for just transition that achieves climate goals while respecting Indigenous and local community rights through such efforts as spearheading convening planning for grantees and other funders on the topic of transition minerals 
  • In partnership with the VP of Programs & Emerging Strategies, build out and refine the foundation’s overall transition minerals strategy and corresponding grantmaking 
  • Present grant strategy and recommendations to TSFF leadership 
  • Maintain and share knowledge of current events in the assigned strategic areas to inform programmatic outcomes 

Network Building

  • Develop/lead positive and productive partner and grantee relationships with a wide range of organizations and individuals 
  • Manage and execute site visits to regions of geographic focus, cultivating thoughtful relationships with grantees 
  • Build, maintain and expand upon an existing network of thought partners and advisors 
  • Represent the Foundation at conferences and gatherings 
  • Actively participate in team meetings, affinity groups, including webinar coordination, and conference planning 
  • Contribute to a healthy workplace culture at the Foundation collaborating closely with other programs of the Foundation on aligned grantmaking 

Organizational Management/Administration

  • Solicit, review, and analyze grant proposals 
  • Prepare and complete required grant documentation for approval 
  • Maintain grant files, including contact management, budget spreadsheets and planning, evaluations, and metrics reporting 
  • Contribute to annual budget planning and re-forecasting processes 
  • Work closely with the Minerals + Materials (M+M) Program Assistant, grants administration, legal and finance teams to ensure grants are processed in a timely, accurate and compliant manner as well as contribute to the administrative needs of the M+M program more broadly 

Other projects, as assigned 

Desired Knowledge & Experience

  • ~3-5 years of experience related to climate and clean energy; specific knowledge of and experience with the issues of just transition and transition minerals and/or with mining-affected communities preferred – To be considered for Program Manager, candidates must have at least 5-8 years of progressively responsible work experience with substantive depth on the issues of transition minerals, mining, and resourcing communities that are dealing with extractive industries 
  • Passion for the mission of the Minerals + Materials program and the Schmidt Family Foundation with understanding of systemic inequities, intersectionality, and/or environmental justice issues 
  • Comfort moving from community organizing contexts to international regulatory bodies and everything in between 
  • Ability to work effectively in a small organization with an emphasis on teamwork 
  • Proven oral and written communication and presentation skills, with the ability to actively participate in group meetings
  • High emotional intelligence and/or relationship-oriented skills such as critical thinking, conflict resolution, and creative problem-solving to interface and coordinate professionally with a number of diverse internal and external stakeholders 
  • Flexibility to work simultaneously on a wide range of projects and ability to prioritize tasks, manage time effectively, and meet deadlines 
  • Ability to work both as a team member and individually, with a high level of self-motivation and positive attitude 
  • Ability to travel for site visits as much as needed and able 
  • Experience with convening planning and/or facilitation a plus 

Don’t exactly fit the description? Research shows that certain demographics, especially women and other marginalized groups, tend to only apply for a job when they meet all the criteria. If this role sounds like a great fit for you but you don’t meet every item on the checklist, we’d encourage you to apply anyway!

Compensation and Location

The Schmidt Family Foundation offers a competitive salary of $120,000 at the Program Associate level and $150,000 at the Program Manager level and a best-in-class benefits package, which will be shared during the process. The position is based in the San Francisco Bay Area with a hybrid in office/remote model. The ideal candidate will be already located in the Bay Area or willing to relocate.

How to Apply 

To apply, email a cover letter that expresses both your passion for the mission and fit for the role; resume; and list of three references (candidates will be notified in advance of any outreach to your references) to tsffoundation@walkeraac.com on or before 5:00 PM PT on May 31, 2024. Use the subject line: Minerals + Materials Application. Submit Microsoft Word or PDF files only (one combined PDF file is preferred). Resume review begins immediately.

Questions? Contact our recruiting partner for the position: Jeannine N. Walker, Walker and Associates Consulting, at jwalker@walkeraac.com.