Director of US Environmental and Economic Justice Program at Namati

  • Axis Talent Partners
  • Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, or Virginia
  • Jun 19, 2024
Full time Environmental Protection

Job Description

Director, Environmental and Economic Justice Program, United States

Location: Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, or Virginia. 

A passionate advocate and results-driven leader who will help us build a bottom-up movement for environmental and economic justice in the Mid-Atlantic


About Namati

Namati advances social and environmental justice by building a movement of people who know, use, and shape the law. Our special sauce is community paralegals: organizers who help people take law out of books and courtrooms and combine it, instead, with their own people power. Namati works on the ground in seven countries, including the United States, and we convene the Grassroots Justice Network, with members in 175 countries.

Namati has been recognized with the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, the Global Pluralism Award, and the $20 million Racial Equity 2030 prize.


About the US environmental and economic justice program

In the mid-Atlantic region of Delaware, Maryland, DC, and Virginia, like so many other places in the world, environmental harm is concentrated in communities with less wealth and power. That includes toxic pollution—from chemical plants, trash incinerators, mining sites, fossil fuel production and transport, and factory farms, among others—as well as harms caused by climate change, including floods and heat waves.

And yet we see great possibility in this moment. With deep, multi-racial organizing and the support of unprecedented federal legislation, the people most affected by the twin crises of inequality and environmental destruction have a shot at leading the way out of both. 

Namati works with community paralegals in the mid-Atlantic who support their people to 1) remedy harms caused by pollution and other injustice, and 2) imagine and build a better future. 

Namati also convenes the Mid-Atlantic Justice Coalition (MAJC), an alliance dedicated to advancing economic and environmental justice region-wide.

Check out this short film  about a live campaign in Washington DC, and this essay  describing how the Maryland chapter of MAJC codified the Biden Administration’s Justice 40 principle into the state budget, a first in the country.


The opportunity

We’re searching for an action-oriented visionary to lead this effort. Working with a team that includes two lawyers and a nationally recognized progressive leader, you will identify dynamic, deeply-rooted organizers in our region, weave them together into a powerful cohort, and support them to win. Our goal is tangible progress at the community level: pollution abated; toxic land use averted; positive, sustainable development projects constructed. Building from that grassroots experience, we will pursue shifts in law and policy which accelerate the transition to a just, sustainable economy across our region.

You will be responsible for the following:

Vision and strategy

  • In partnership with our team, paralegals, and partners, set a bold vision and a clear strategy that can guide our efforts for the coming years. That includes defining medium-term goals and building out the program in key areas.
  • Refine our approach and deepen our impact by addressing live design challenges and actively assessing what we are learning from ongoing experimentation. 

Program leadership

  • Lead and grow a team. Currently, this initiative has five staff and four community paralegals. We want you to help us grow the number of community paralegals over time. 
  • Oversee the development and management of work plans for the program to ensure we meet annual goals.
  • Draft and manage the annual program budget, allocating resources strategically to meet needs. 
  • Lead on fundraising for the program, in collaboration with Namati’s resource mobilization team and other colleagues.

Movement leadership

  • Cultivate meaningful relationships with paralegals, the communities with whom we work, and members of our coalition. Help foster a spirit of unity and collective purpose. 
  • Cultivate meaningful relationships with legislators, agency officials, and other policymakers.
  • Speak and write with clarity, rigor, and conviction about what we are learning and the changes we seek. 

Weaving

  • Integrate the Namati U.S. effort into the broader Namati ecosystem, including functional teams that focus on finance, resource mobilization, and communications, on-the-ground teams in six other countries, and the Grassroots Justice Network. We are building a global movement, and we want you, and this team, to be a central part of it.


Here are some things you might tackle in a typical month:

  • Facilitate a team meeting to review progress on goals and map out priorities for the work plan for the coming quarter.
  • Develop a recruitment plan for bringing on new community paralegals with deep-rootedness, organizing skills, and problem-solving capacity.
  • At a monthly gathering of our community paralegals, brainstorm a way forward for a case that is stuck, involving a toxic chemical plant sited in a low-income residential neighborhood. Also, discuss patterns emerging from across the paralegals’ different cases, to discern priorities for legislative and policy change.
  • Working with your teammates, draft guidance for paralegals on how to support communities seeking to host community-owned solar installations. The guidance will explain the incentives available under federal legislation and, crucially, how a community can negotiate a fair agreement with a solar developer. 
  • Join a community meeting led by one of our paralegals. Later, offer feedback on the way they delivered information and called people to action. 
  • Review an administrative complaint prepared by one of our team members and a community paralegal, regarding permit violations at an industrial facility.
  • Speak on behalf of Namati at a state-wide environmental justice action summit.
  • Speak to a new funding prospect about where we’re headed in the region, and why.
  • Connect with several of your counterparts— directors of Namati’s work in Myanmar, Kenya, and Sierra Leone— to learn from each other about how to deal with a challenge you have in common: protecting community paralegals from intimidation and retaliation.


About you

The Director will be an experienced organizer and/or lawyer with knowledge of environmental and economic justice. More specifically, the Director will have: 

  • Passion for Namati’s mission.
  • At least seven years of leadership experience in community-based environmental or economic justice efforts in the United States.
  • A track record of advancing justice against tough odds.
  • A keen understanding of both law and organizing and of how to combine legal power with people power.
  • Experience cultivating strong relationships with, and working alongside, organizers, communities, coalition members, legislators, and agency officials.
  • Strong program management experience, including the ability to foster a vibrant team culture. 
  • A track record of excellent public writing and speaking.
  • A track record of success in fundraising.
  • Bold moral vision, gritty pragmatism, kindness, curiosity, and relentlessness. 


Compensation and benefits

The offer range for this position is $120,000 - $145,000. Our offers typically fall within the first half of the range.

Namati's comprehensive benefits package includes: 

  • Health insurance:  Namati pays 80% of the base plan premium for individuals and 50% for dependents. 
  • 3 weeks paid vacation, 12 sick days, 12 federal holidays (plus the week between Christmas and New Year), and 3 personal days. 
  • 401(k) - Namati contributes 5% of your salary plus matches your contribution up to an additional 5%. 
  • Access to funds for professional development opportunities. 


Work environment

The US EJ team is spread across the Mid-Atlantic and relies heavily on electronic communications and channels to collaborate and stay in close touch (Slack, email, text messages, Asana, Google Office Suite, Microsoft Office Suite, and EveryAction, to name a few).

We are prioritizing candidates who are currently based in DC, Maryland, Virginia, or Delaware. DC-based candidates will follow Namati’s hybrid office policy, which calls for staff to be in the office two days between Tuesday and Thursday every week.  

We are also open to candidates outside of these locations who are willing to relocate to the region within 3-4 months of accepting an offer. In that case, we would provide a relocation stipend; details will be discussed during the recruitment process. 

This role will involve extensive travel within the region and occasional international travel to meet with other programs. 

Please note that you must already be legally eligible to work in the US to be considered for the position (Namati cannot sponsor visas).


How to apply 

This search is being managed by Axis Talent Partners, a talent strategy and executive search firm that partners with social impact organizations and centers equity and inclusivity.

Namati is an equal-opportunity employer. Applicants are considered for positions without regard to veteran status, uniformed service member status, race, creed, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship status, national origin, marital status, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, caregiver status or any other category protected by applicable federal, state or local laws.

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