Strategy Officer

Water Funder Initiative

Water Funder Initiative
Strategy Officer
San Francisco, CA / Denver, CO
Up to Full-time Position

About the Water Funder Initiative
The Water Funder Initiative (WFI) helps water philanthropy develop better strategies, coordinates between foundations, and mobilizes new funding toward the field’s most important needs. A lean team with diverse expertise and a proven track record is executing the project, working closely with foundation representatives and other water experts. More information is available on our website:

Primary Responsibilities
The Strategy Officer’s role is to support the Strategy Lead in the development of philanthropic endeavors that will have the greatest possible benefit towards WFI’s goals of bringing basins into balance and strengthening resilience. Specifically, the Strategy Officer will support the Strategy Lead to:
• Build a pipeline of and incubate opportunities: WFI began with Toward Water Sustainability: A Blueprint for Philanthropy, which laid out a long-term vision for how philanthropy could advance sustainable water management. While this remains our guiding document, funding priorities should evolve as opportunities emerge. The Strategy Officer is responsible for supporting the Strategy Lead’s efforts to develop these opportunities, build them out to the point of viability, and ensure that they are as impactful as possible.
• Shape and prioritize broader WFI’s strategies: WFI is engaged in many efforts to achieve its water sustainability goals, from driving decisions with data to conserving the Colorado River Basin to expanding impact investment. The Strategy Officer is responsible for supporting the Strategy Lead in guiding these endeavors to achieve the most important outcomes, attract funder interest, broaden support across WFI outcomes and prioritize efforts across opportunities.
• Structure and execute collaborative deals: In addition to shaping longer-term strategies, WFI also seeks to create major, compelling step-changes in sustainable water management. These kinds of transformative deals generally happen when multiple funders can collaborate and fill a discrete funding need that results in long-lasting impact. The Strategy Officer will support the Strategy Lead in bringing these opportunities forward and managing funder participation to their conclusion. The Strategy Officer will also assist with grant-writing, including structuring outcomes, proposals and reports, to help deliver new and increased funding for deals.
• Advise partners: WFI works closely with funders and grantees to develop compelling strategies. The Strategy Officer will support the Strategy Lead in assisting partners as they consider different strategies, projects, and frameworks for their work and interactions with others.
• Work collaboratively with the team and outside consultants: The Strategy Officer will work most directly with the Strategy Lead. The Strategy Lead works synergistically with the other WFI capacities; in supporting the Strategy Lead, the Strategy Officer will collaborate with other team members as well as external expert advisors. Developing compelling strategies is inextricably linked to our approach to engaging funders and this position will work very closely with the Initiative Lead and Funder Engagement Officer.

Candidate Skills
Given the fluid nature of how best to achieve WFI’s goals, WFI is led by a small team of highly-committed individuals. We find that a few skills are key to being successful:
• Think strategically: Prioritize opportunities and tasks, ask good questions when presented with potential opportunities, ensure logical consistency and rigor of WFI’s work
• Generate and synthesize ideas: Synthesize across a range of options and strategies, build discrete ideas into strong overall strategies
• Build relationships: Exemplify strong interpersonal skills, build alignment between different stakeholders
• Communicate clearly: Help facilitate meetings with funders and partners, create documents that inspire, maintain strong attention to detail
Additionally, a background in strategy work, including a facility with all the technical tools necessary to illustrate and recommend solutions (powerpoint, word, excel, etc.) is helpful. Familiarity with grant-making and grant-writing is also helpful but not required. A successful candidate will have the ability to synthesize information quickly and communicate in a way that leads to insight.

As a dynamic start-up organization, WFI is flexible in structuring this position to fit the specific needs of the right candidate. The Strategy Officer will have the option of working from either San Francisco, CA or Denver, CO. The position is currently structured as an at-will, full-time role and considered exempt for overtime purposes. An excellent benefits package is available that may include health, dental, vision and prescription coverage, disability and life insurance, and a retirement plan.
This is a fantastic opportunity for an individual looking to shape how philanthropy responds to one of the defining global challenges of the coming years. This position offers significant opportunities for growth through the diversity of challenges you will help solve. You’ll join a solid team with strong leadership, working most closely with WFI’s Managing Director, Strategy Lead, Initiative Lead and Engagement Officer. You will have the opportunity to access a wide network of funders, organizations, and experts, and build relationships with the leading water philanthropists, develop connections across the field, and craft a start-up effort that will continue to benefit the field immensely. Pay is commensurate with an early stage NGO of this nature.

Windward Fund Careers
Water Funder Initiative is a project of Windward Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. As such, this position is accountable to the Board Chair of the Windward Fund. Windward Fund is committed to attracting, developing and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding and enables each of us to realize our potential. Windward Fund ‘s work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, and all other classifications protected by law in the locality and/or state in which you are working.

To Apply
Applicants should send a PDF document with a cover letter and resume to, with the subject line “Strategy Officer.” Applications will be considered on a rolling basis through March 31, 2019.

Opportunity type



Mid Level

Job function

  • Strategy

Areas of impact

  • Environment