Program Officer for Science & Capacity

Wilburforce Foundation Published: October 17, 2017
Job Type
Admin/ Gen Mgmt / Fundraising / Membership /

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~ Wilburforce Foundation's vision is that native wildlife thrive throughout networks of connected lands and waters in Western North America. Wilburforce helps conserve important lands, waters and wildlife in Western North America by supporting organizations and leaders advancing strategic solutions. ~

Wilburforce believes that there are positive, achievable solutions to current challenges based on sound science, conservation policy, and community action. We believe that conservation is powered by a hopeful vision in which wild places and wildlife thrive in harmony with human communities. The future of conserving nature relies upon a collaborative community of individuals, organizations, agencies, and allied partners who together seek to sustain wildlife and wild lands.

To date, Wilburforce has invested more than $150 million in conservation efforts across Western North America, and is seen as an international leader in collaborative conservation. Wilburforce is science-driven, continually seeking out knowledge from a wide range of natural and social sciences. Our Conservation Science Program invests in research to make sure the right data is available when and where the decisions are being made. And we ensure scientists, advocates and decision makers have the capacity and skills to take the science, engage in meaningful ways, and use it to inform conservation decisions. Wilburforce believes that when scientists are part of the conversation, we get better and more durable conservation outcomes.

Wilburforce also makes a significant commitment to grantee capacity building. Our Capacity Building Program invests in leaders, organizations, and campaigns through specialized consulting, coaching, and training on leadership development, fundraising, financial management, human resource management, communications, strategic planning, technology, and more.

For more information on Wilburforce Foundation, please visit our website.

Position Overview

The Program Officer for Science & Capacity advances Wilburforce's mission by developing and implementing strategies that ensure grantees, scientists, and partners have the knowledge, tools, and skills necessary to be effective in their work.


In addition to the responsibilities and duties described below, work associated with this position includes:

  • Creating and implementing the Foundation's strategies for science consistent with the Foundation's overall Strategic Framework.
  • Grant making to support natural and social sciences, knowledge dissemination, and use of data to support the conservation outcomes in which Wilburforce invests.
  • Acting as a primary liaison with Wilburforce's Science Advisor to inform and advise Wilburforce's program staff, grantees, and other partners.
  • Funding programs that build the capacity of grantees, scientists, and partners to increase knowledge, develop necessary skills and expertise, use technology, and communicate more effectively in their conservation planning and advocacy work.

Program Officers work closely with other staff and partners to advance the outcomes described in the Foundation's Strategic Framework. Core responsibilities include:

  • Developing, implementing, and revising strategies to advance conservation outcomes.
  • Leading and/or participating in grant making, capacity building, and other program activities to advance those strategies.
  • Researching, preparing, and delivering reports or other presentations to the Foundation board and staff.
  • Working with the Executive Director to create and maintain a collaborative, team-oriented work environment.


  • A strong and demonstrated commitment to conservation and environmental issues.
  • Advanced degree, or significant commensurate work experience on conservation or environmental issues.
  • 3 or more years of experience working with foundations and grants, from a grant seeker's and/or Grant maker's perspective.
  • Understanding of the types of capacities important to nonprofit organizations, such as fundraising, governance, planning, evaluation, etc.
  • Understanding of financial management issues within nonprofit organizations, and the ability to read organizational budgets and financial statements.
  • Ability to travel for meetings, conferences, and site visits, as needed. The typical number of days of travel for program officers ranges from 25-40 (but can sometimes be greater), includes evenings and weekends, and can sometimes take you to remote and wild landscapes.
  • Critical thinking and analytic rigor in framing problems, synthesizing information, and proposing solutions.

~ Wilburforce Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants ~

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