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National Program Director


This position is located at the Trees, Water & People office in Fort Collins, Colorado with significant vehicular out-of-state travel. Must show intent of living and remaining in Northern Colorado for the foreseeable future.


The Tribal Renewable Energy Program is the main domestic effort of the nonprofit organization, Trees, Water & People (TWP). Since 2003, TWP has supported opportunities for Native Americans in the U.S. to engage with renewable energy and environmental restoration projects relevant to the well-being of their communities. We do this by acting as a hub where we connect Native American organizations, leaders, and students with funding and other resources to advance their community’s interests.

This position provides oversight of the Tribal Renewable Energy Program, by acting as a liaison between funding entities (private foundations, corporate partners, government, and individual donors) and the communities seeking support. The role is designed to develop programs in partnership with local communities, and to communicate these communities’ priorities to funding entities in a way that maintains fidelity to the communities’ intent, and instills confidence that the objectives of the program are sound, logical, achievable, and sustainable.

The National Director provides overall planning, leadership, and management of TWP’s National Program. They are a key fundraiser for the program, and manage National Program staff, interns, and volunteers to ensure that the program meets its objectives. They closely monitor, evaluate, and report on program activities and control program expenditures in accordance with the program budget. They will also be expected to develop and manage new programs within the United States, with a focus on partnership-building, trust, and a community-based development philosophy.

Solar Energy and Life Skills for Native Youth

Since 2017, TWP has been delivering a solar energy curriculum to Tribal middle and high school students that provides a hands-on introduction to basic solar energy skills and principles, while providing a space to grow student self-esteem and self-actualization. We work with technology provider We Care Solar, manufacturers of the Solar Suitcase, for all of our education programming.

The Program Director shares oversight of this program with the National Program Coordinator and the Executive Director, and is ultimately responsible for funding, partner relations, scheduling, contracting, and execution of program goals and grant deliverables. The Program Director is also responsible for the long-term growth of this program, including collection of baseline demographic data with each community partner and tracking changes in student engagement and community development over time. Program Activities to take place in Minnesota, New Mexico, California, and South Dakota with additional opportunities in Arizona.

Renewable Energy and Reforestation on Pine Ridge, South Dakota

TWP works in partnership with Henry Red Cloud and his nonprofit Red Cloud Renewable (RCR) at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC), on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. With RCR, TWP coordinates renewable energy training opportunities on larger photovoltaic installs across Indian Country. TWP also coordinates an annual reforestation activity with RCR during which we plant between 17,000 and 30,000 trees a year on Tribal lands.

RCREC is a training facility that includes the Solar Warrior Farm (SWF) and the Sacred Earth Lodge (SEL), which houses trainees and other visiting groups from throughout the United States. Training events hosted at the RCREC are hands-on, and cover topics including renewable energy, reforestation, natural building, food sovereignty, and entrepreneurship. Our primary focus is to transfer marketable skills to current and future Native American leaders across the Great Plains.

RCREC is also the headquarters of Lakota Solar Enterprises (LSE) – a Native American owned Social Enterprise that manufactures solar heating furnaces. TWP helped incubate the enterprise in its early days, and now contracts manufacture and installation of these units through LSE.

The National Program Director is responsible for managing this partnership by coordinating activities with leaders at RCR and LSE, in a way that advances both organizations’ goals. The director is responsible for strategizing on program design, fundraising, recruitment of workshop participants, oversight of program execution, and all follow-up and monitoring activities required to report on grant deliverables.

Reforestation and Food Security

Apart from the reforestation work conducted on Pine Ridge, TWP is making efforts to launch reforestation programs in New Mexico and California, including both the restoration of forest cover via the planting of Douglas fir in New Mexico, as well exploring the viability of planting of fruit and nut trees for income generation and diversification. The Program Director would be responsible for design and coordination of this program with local actors, and for researching and presenting the cost/benefit of different approaches, per each communities’ goals, resources, and contributions.

Background of Trees, Water & People

Trees, Water & People is an established Colorado nonprofit organization that believes conservation should do more than just protect the environment – it needs to create new economic opportunity for local people. Since 1998 we have designed and implemented high-impact development and conservation projects with communities throughout Central America, the Caribbean, and on U.S. Tribal Lands.

The National Program Director is supervised directly by TWP’s Executive Director, and supervises the National Program Coordinator and other contractors to achieve program objectives.

Essential Job Functions:

Manage TWP’s Tribal Renewable Energy Education Program (40%):

  • Organize, advertise, and fund capacity building workshops for Native Americans, including topics such as renewable energy deployment, natural building techniques, food sovereignty, reforestation, and business development.
  • Deliver STEM and human development curriculum to teachers in Native American middle and high schools using the Solar Suitcase, manufactured by We Care Solar.
  • Monitor and evaluate the uptake and delivery of the curriculum by measuring student engagement and acquisition of knowledge through surveys and interviews.
  • Design and implement extensions of the solar suitcase curriculum, seeking partnerships that allow students to apply what they learned in the classroom to real community challenges.
  • Make frequent trips to the Pine Ridge Reservation, White Earth Reservation, Hoopa Valley Reservation, and the New Mexico Pueblos including occasional weekends, to maintain high engagement and continuity in TWP’s various projects.
  • Seek to discover and understand the historical context, challenges, political and power structures, resources, needs, and opportunities in each partner community by engaging with a variety of local actors, and filling out a community resource survey designed by TWP.
  • Schedule and arrange travel for TWP partners to conferences, speaking engagements, and workshops
  • Schedule and arrange media contacts including magazine, newspaper, radio, and TV interviews.
  • Organize and lead volunteer trips to program sites with close, careful, and transparent involvement of local contacts and partners.
  • Travel to, work with, and develop relationships with additional tribes, tribal entities and individual tribal members and other TWP Tribal program partners

General Operations and Fundraising (35%):

  • Work with TWP marketing staff to represent and promote the National Program by providing fresh content for all tribal program related websites, newsletters, reports, marketing collateral, and blogs.
  • Assist in various TWP fundraising efforts, including working with TWP development staff to provide requested content for grants, donor presentations, proposals, or fundraising campaigns.
  • Cultivate donors and work with funding agencies and their representatives.
  • Work with Executive Director and Finance Director to develop and execute annual budget for the National Program.
  • Report on the progress of the National Program to the Board of Directors and Board committees.

Develop and Expand TWP National Program (25%)

  • Hire, manage and grow National Program staff, partners, interns and volunteers.
  • Develop and manage new TWP programs within the United States.
  • Travel to promote our work and to develop new tribal relationships.
  • Seek funding to expand and replicate TWP work with new partners and in new venues.

Required Skills and Experience:

  • 2+ years of experience working with Native American cultures and communities in the United States (Great Plains and Southwest experience preferred).
  • Bachelor’s Degree (Master’s Preferred) – technical experience will also be considered.
  • of five years (via paid work, volunteer, and/or life experience) of project development experience in the nonprofit sector (or related area), with an understanding of the challenges faced by Native Americans in the United States.
  • High quality, versatile professional writing skills including grant writing, and ability to work collaboratively with development staff (on grant-writing, social media, and finance).
  • Excellent verbal communication and ability to engage diverse audiences effectively.
  • Demonstrated fundraising success – grants, personal appeals, or sales experience.
  • Staff management and nonprofit administration experience.
  • Previous work history managing multi-organizational/collaborative projects.
  • Experience crafting, managing, and executing budgets.
  • Must be able to travel, including occasional weekends – stick shift driving an asset.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office programs including Word, Outlook, and Excel.

Requried Traits:

  • Investment in TWP’s overall mission and program goals – social and environmental values.
  • Long-term interest in working in the nonprofit, environmental and/or social sector.
  • Persistent, focused and organized self-starter with excellent time-management skills.
  • Capable of working independently and in team settings, across various cultures.
  • Confident, high-energy professional with courage to take calculated risks and make bold decisions.
  • Flexible multi-tasker, capable of filling a pipeline with diverse new opportunities.
  • Organized, detail-oriented, and communicative.

Benefits and Compensation:

  • Comprehensive medical and dental health plan paid 100% by the company.
  • Salary range: $42,000 - $46,000 DOE, full-time, non-exempt.
  • Flexible vacation policy and up to six weeks of paid sick leave depending on length of employment, one week paid bereavement leave.
  • Retirement: after three years of employment, company matches 5% of your gross salary into an investment plan of your choice within Vanguard.
  • A modest professional development allowance for trainings, conferences, meetings, etc.
  • We are a small staff of 9, and we believe in work-life balance and a close-knit team!

To Apply:

The application will be open until the position is filled, however applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. All Required Skills must be addressed in your application, including previous experience working with Native American communities in the United States. Please also tell us where you found the job posting.

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