Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.

Senior Director, Economic Development

Job Locations US-NY-New York | US-DC-Washington | US-IL-Chicago
Posted Date 2 months ago(3/28/2024 3:32 PM)
Job ID
# of Openings
Green Finance & Economic Development


 NRDC is a non-profit environmental advocacy organization. We use law, science, and the support of 3.1 million members and online activists to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities. NRDC was founded in 1970 and helped write some of America's bedrock environmental laws and many of the implementing regulations. Today, our team of more than 700 lawyers, scientists, economists, policy advocates, communications experts, and others work across the United States and the globe from our offices in Beijing; Bozeman, Montana; Chicago; New Delhi; New York; San Francisco; Santa Monica; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing. 


NRDC’s new Green Finance and Economic Development Team is seeking to hire a Senior Director to work in one of the following main U.S. offices: Chicago, New York, or Washington D.C., with a preference for New York or Washington, D.C.


The Opportunity:   

NRDC creates impact around the world and for a better future, and we’re looking for an equally ambitious and skilled Senior Director of Economic Development to help us maximize that impact. NRDC’s Green Finance and Economic Development Department is dedicated to (a) reducing the risks that climate change poses to financial systems, (b) equitably finance the transition to a zero-carbon economy, and (c) ensuring the economic benefits of the clean energy transition benefits all, starting with the most vulnerable communities. The newly formed Department is comprised of the climate risk team, the blended finance team, and the economic development and financial inclusion team. We work nationally and globally. 


The Senior Director will be responsible for leading the NRDC team in the Bloomberg American Sustainable Cities initiative (BASC). This innovative 3-year, 25-city project has as part of its mission using the federal investments under the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to invest in Black communities that have been experiencing dis- and under- investment and largely excluded from green growth opportunities, to target wealth inequities faced by these communities. The Senior Director will sit on the Management and Strategy Committee and be the lead collaborator with BASC partners and participating cities in identifying and implementing economic development strategies that address the causes and risk of climate change while reducing the racial wealth gap. 


Reporting directly to the Managing Director, the Senior Director will develop the strategy for the Economic Development and Financial Inclusion team and lead and operationalize the people, structures, partnerships, and programs to execute the Department’s advocacy strategy. This role requires a significant amount of collaboration and thought partnership with other internal teams, as we work within a matrixed structure of operation. Among others, close coordination with place-based teams who lead shaping and execution of NRDC's advocacy in specific geographies is critical. 


The Senior Director will represent NRDC and the Green Finance and Economic Development Department at internal and external events and forums to elevate our reputation and profile as experts in economic development and financial inclusion. With the support of the Managing Director and the Strategy, Planning and Operations Lead, to advance the economic development and financial inclusion strategy, the Senior Director will effectively manage the group’s budget and resources, work with Development to cultivate partnerships and support fundraising efforts, and develop an effective communications strategy in partnership with Communications. The Senior Director will be expected, and will be supported, to build this program even further to help meet the urgency of the moment.    


If you thrive in a care-oriented, diverse environment where people connect to create impact, you will enjoy the work we are doing at NRDC.


  • Act as NRDC’s representative on the BASC Management Committee.
  • Manage the Senior Advisor, Local Solutions and have “dotted line” managerial responsibilities to other NRDC BASC team members.
  • Coordinate BASC team assessment of federal programs and city policies regarding energy, land-use planning, workforce development and labor policies, business resources and programming, development standards, contracting procedures and other planning issues that would affect the ability of cities to implement equitable climate solutions.
  • Lead the Economic Development and Financial inclusion team, including strategic planning, people management, and administration.
  • Collaborate with the Managing Director to set strategic goals in alignment with organizational priorities, develop key performance indicators and work plans to achieve outcomes, and set high performance expectations.
  • Responsible for management of the sector’s budget, including forecasting and resource allocation to maximize opportunities and outcomes.
  • Serve as strategic advisor to the Managing Director and an expert within the Green Finance and Economic Development Department and across NRDC, providing as needed expert level guidance on projects, initiatives, and individual-level projects.
  • Collaborate across teams within the Department to ensure that all initiatives are integrated and in support of NRDC’s strategic priorities.
  • Work with the Development Department to develop and implement a vision and strategy to maximize funding opportunities; help develop foundation proposals, meet with donors, and cultivates philanthropic relationships.
  • Work with the Communications Department to develop effective external communication strategies and formulate opportunities to increase NRDC’s visibility and name recognition as a leader in economic development and financial inclusion; serves as an external expert and spokesperson for NRDC’s Green Finance and Economic Development Department.
  • Cultivate and manage strategic relationships and partnerships with external stakeholders such as NGOs, community groups, governments, businesses, and labor to maximize impact and achieve major outcomes.


The Senior Director will be an empowering and collaborative individual who enables high performance and innovation and champions equity, diversity, and inclusion. The successful candidate will be flexible, thrive in collaboration, embrace solving complex and nuanced problems, and be recognized within the climate, environmental, economic development and/or financial inclusion movements as a strategic leader who communicates effectively to tell compelling stories to diverse audiences. Most importantly, you will demonstrate a genuine alignment with the values of NRDC and seek to apply your passion and skills to tackle the most important challenges humanity has ever faced. 


The Natural Resources Defense Council is a safe, inclusive workplace for people of all backgrounds and walks of life. We strongly encourage individuals from marginalized or underrepresented groups, especially in the field of environmental conservation, to apply. We understand that some candidates may be discouraged by an extensive list of job requirements that they may not fully meet – however, we encourage you to apply regardless. We do not seek a "perfect" candidate, but rather individuals who embody our core values and display the competencies to succeed in the role. If you are passionate about the role, thrive in a culture like ours, and are determined to push boundaries to achieve success, we invite you to apply. 

  • Minimum 10 years’ directly related experience in the field of economic development and/or financial inclusion, including at least 3 years successfully managing teams toward a common vision and purpose.    
  • Bachelor's degree in sustainability, environmental science, policy, urban planning, public administration, or a related field or equivalent work experience; advanced degree or equivalent work experience preferred. 
  • Demonstrable alignment and deep commitment to NRDC’s mission and purpose with an ability to communicate this passion to others with a positive and high-energy attitude, integrity, and a commitment to working collaboratively with peers and colleagues. 
  • Forward-looking and strategic thinker with a multidisciplinary approach to problem solving.   
  • Proven ability to manage teams, develop and execute large-scale projects and strategic goals, and manage relationships in a complex and matrixed organizational structure. 
  • Experience successfully managing budgets, including prioritizing and reallocating funds to make the best use of limited resources for strategic purposes. 
  • Substantial experience and demonstrated success working with BIPOC-led groups to advance a common goal.  
  • Experience in and deep commitment to incorporating and growing the use of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion principles in strategic goals, work plans, team culture, and operations.  
  • Exceptional communication skills, with the ability to connect with a variety of audiences in writing, orally, and through digital means.  
  • Experience with public speaking on technical and non-technical topics. 
  • Proven success in building strong partnerships with national leaders and organizations.  
  • Successful development fundraising experience. 
  • A willingness to travel to advance organizational goals.  
  • Demonstrated competence in research and strong quantitative and analytical skills. 
  • Strong writing and presentation skills and published materials in academic and/or “gray” publications. 
  • Familiarity with climate change and green sectors.  
  • Familiarity with financial institutions. 
  • Understanding of the causes and strategies to address the racial wealth gap. 
  • Understanding of the challenges of urban sustainability, climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience. 
  • Knowledge of governmental agencies and processes related to community development, land-use, long-range planning, urban design, workforce, SMEs and/or housing and green infrastructure development. 
  •  Commitment to NRDC’s mission and values.


NRDC is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, both in our work and in our workplace. We believe that celebrating and actively welcoming diverse voices and perspectives is essential to solving the planet's most pressing environmental problems, and we encourage applications from candidates whose identities have been historically under-represented in the environmental movement.  


We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.   


We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and a supportive working environment. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and is commensurate with skills and experience. Internal equity will be reviewed and considered to determine a final offer. For this position, the salary range is $183,000 to $201,000.   


NRDC operates in a hybrid workplace. We offer our team members flexibility and ask them to come into the office to collaborate meaningfully with their colleagues. We call this purposeful presence.  


As a science-based organization, NRDC aims to do our part to help contain the COVID-19 public health crisis. For the sake of health, safety, and equity, we ask that people be vaccinated unless they have an approved medical or religious accommodation or other exemption in accordance with state and local law. We consider a person to be vaccinated two weeks after receiving one full course of a CDC-approved vaccine. In accordance with state or local law, new hires will be asked to attest to vaccination, those wishing to do so may request medical or religious accommodations or other exemptions via NRDC Employee Relations. NRDC treats all vaccine-related data confidentially, in keeping with local, state, and federal laws.  


To apply, visit and upload your résumé and cover letter. Please mention where you saw this posting and upload any additional materials that showcase your abilities. Due to the high volume of applications, we will contact only those candidates we would like to interview. Please no phone calls, emails, or in-person résumé drop-offs.  


If you experience technical problems while applying or if you are a person with a disability and need assistance applying online, please reach out to iCIMS Customer Care at 1-800-889-4422.  


For more about NRDC, visit 


Sorry the Share function is not working properly at this moment. Please refresh the page and try again later.
Share on your newsfeed

Need help finding the right job?

We can recommend jobs specifically for you! Click here to get started.