Key Priorities

Strategic Implementation

  • Manage a portfolio of grants that support transforming the energy system, electrifying transportation and buildings, and sequestering carbon on working lands in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest.

  • Develop and maintain relationships with existing grantees and new prospects to learn from current work, explore emerging opportunities, and build new concepts.

  • Actively engage with McKnight colleagues in Impact Investing and the board’s Mission Investment Committee to identify and analyze mission and program related investments that advance program goals.

External Partnerships

  • Manage key partnerships with funding intermediaries and oversee new and expanded investments in and through these partners.

  • Convene and collaborate with advocacy organizations (including, but not limited to, those focused on climate justice, environmental protection, democratic participation, and clean energy), foundations, academic institutions, regulators, and policymakers to support cross-sector collaborations that reinforce program goals.

  • Serve as a representative of the Foundation in communities of learning and practice, helping to shape the field’s response to and support of carbon reduction.

Thought Leadership and Advocacy

  • Represent the Foundation and the MC&E program to external audiences and provide leadership in our efforts to achieve economy-wide greenhouse gas emission reductions while advancing a commitment to racial equity.

  • Serve as a resource on technical and policy issues relating to energy transformation. Track market and political trends to identify high-leverage opportunities for philanthropic intervention.

  • Stand as a trusted voice on the interdependence of climate and racial and economic justice.

Ideal Candidate

McKnight seeks individuals who demonstrate an unwavering passion for and commitment to solving the climate crisis and addressing racial equity within the context of climate solutions. The Program Officers possess analytical skills and an ability to influence change in highly nuanced contexts. Highly desired are deeply curious and credible climate generalists who bring to the team either technical and policy knowledge of our decarbonization focus or experience in movement-building in climate.

The Program Officers lead with a strategic mindset and bring a proven ability to identify and translate strategic opportunities into tangible action and outcomes. Strong listening and synthesizing skills are essential, along with the talent and desire to capture, distill, and share what is important, why it matters, and how it relates to the overall strategy. The successful candidate organizes, prioritizes, and switches from strategy development to daily execution with ease, consistently achieving results.

A capacity to navigate the complexity of diverse environments and stakeholder groups, seeking to understand and driving towards common goals from, at times, competing perspectives, is essential in these roles. A high level of emotional intelligence and the ability to be versatile and diplomatic is vital. Leading with a sense of humility and intellectual curiosity, candidates display a genuine desire to listen to and learn from others. They will operate from respect for the organization’s grantees and help create an environment of continuous learning with partner organizations and sector experts.

The Program Officers are naturally curious, lifelong learners who are comfortable reaching beyond current areas of expertise. They have the intellectual agility to become knowledgeable across all aspects of our climate work, including scientific, technical, policy, and racial justice, quickly seeing connections, opportunities, and intersections. The ideal candidates’ innate interest in this work fuels a proactive and forward-looking approach, following trends and anticipating changes and potential impacts to the Foundation.

With exceptional oral and written communication skills, the Program Officers mount persuasive arguments and effectively present new and complex ideas to audiences of varying backgrounds, from community members to elected officials. With strong interpersonal skills and an approachable style, the Program Officers are team players, empathetic listeners, and natural collaborators who build strong relationships inside and outside the Foundation.

The Program Officers are confident and mature professionals who routinely exhibit sound judgment and a high degree of discretion and tact. The preferred candidates are humble with the self-awareness and comfort to set ego and personal ambition aside and focus on the mission and team. We expect a high degree of self-awareness and the ability to organize, prioritize, and meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment with multiple and competing demands. Candidates should demonstrate tolerance for ambiguity, with the ability to work independently yet seek input as needed.

Upbeat bridge-builders, the successful candidates foster a positive, professional atmosphere and connect across issues and functions, actively developing trusting relationships up, down, and across the organization. Cultural sensitivity and cultural competence are essential to success. The ideal candidates are personally devoted to growing their cultural competence, actively participating in the Foundation’s effort to integrate justice and equity into all facets of its work.