Expanding opportunities in America’s cities

Climate Change Philanthropy Fellow, Environment Program

The Kresge Foundation’s Environment Program has an immediate opening for a Climate Change Philanthropy Fellow who will serve a two-year term.

About the foundation

The Kresge Foundation is one of the top 20 private foundations in the United States and is metro Detroit's largest foundation. With a $3.6 billion endowment and a staff of nearly 100 employees, we work to expand opportunities in America's cities for people with low incomes. We do this through grantmaking and social investing nationally in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and community development in Detroit. The foundation’s state-of-the-art headquarters maintains an array of energy-efficient, water-conserving and health-promoting systems. The foundation also operates an office in Detroit’s Midtown district.

About the Environment Program

Kresge’s Environment program works to help U.S. cities implement comprehensive climate-resilience approaches grounded in equity.

We help communities address climate change directly so that they will be better prepared for the new challenges and uncertainties it introduces.  By explicitly factoring climate change into decisions about infrastructure investments, land use, building codes, public health and other urban planning issues, urban leaders can make their communities stronger, more equitable and more resilient.

Kresge’s work is intended to help urban leaders across the public, private and nonprofit sectors consider a two-part climate question as they make decisions that will shape their communities:

  • Do proposed investments, policies or actions have implications – positive or negative – for the severity of climate change?  If negative, what can be done differently to make them climate positive?
  • Do the expected consequences of climate change affect the viability or durability of a proposed investment, policy or action?  If so, what can be done differently so the effort is both viable and durable in the face of climate change?

Our work also is intended to help urban leaders understand the equity implications of proposed climate-resilience investments, policies and actions so they can make choices that improve opportunity for all community members, particularly those with low incomes and who historically have been underserved.

We deploy multiple forms of capital – grants, loans, deposits, equity and guarantees – to advance our goals.  Further information about the Environment Program’s work can be found on Kresge’s website.

We invest through these focus areas:

  • We work to build the capacity, effectiveness and commitment of urban leaders across sectors to advance equitable climate resilience.
  • We work to strengthen the evidence base for acting on climate change, and we develop tools for urban leaders to drive widespread adoption of equitable climate-resilience approaches.
  • We work to transform key urban infrastructure critical to climate resilience, focusing on energy and water systems.

This is both an exciting and challenging time for people working to address climate change. Kresge’s Environment Program is determined to maintain positive momentum in climate action in cities across the U.S.

About the position

The Climate Change Philanthropy Fellow will support the Environment Program in advancing its goal of helping cities implement comprehensive climate-resilience approaches grounded in equity. The fellow will gain experience and insight into institutional philanthropy, climate change policy and advocacy, community development and strategies to incorporate equity firmly in climate change work. This position provides a valuable career development opportunity for an emerging climate change professional as well as added capacity to the Environment Program to fulfil its ambitious goal.

The fellow will work at The Kresge Foundation headquarters in Troy, Michigan.

The fellowship is a two-year appointment and is open to those who have completed a minimum of master’s level training in a field related to urban climate resilience, such as environmental studies, public policy or urban planning. We are most interested in candidates whose education has included coursework on climate change mitigation and/or adaptation, urban systems and public policy, and who hold a deep commitment to both environmental work and racial equity.

Primary responsibilities

  1. Leading a body of work during the term of the fellowship on a topic to be determined jointly by the fellow and the Environment team.
  2. Assisting in the team’s review of grant requests and management of its portfolio of grants.
  3. Contributing to the development of the Environment team’s strategic learning and evaluation infrastructure and practices. 
  4. Providing project-management support and contributing to the coordination and execution of team programmatic processes and projects.
  5. Conducting background research to support Environment team strategy and program development; this includes keeping abreast of new developments and published research in fields relevant to climate resilience.
  6. Preparing key materials for Kresge presentations and meetings, supported by relevant research.
  7. Participating in travel to conferences, convenings and site visits with funding partners as needed.


  • Minimum of master’s degree in a field relevant to urban climate resilience.
  • At least two years relevant work experience.
  • An orientation toward practice rather than research.  (We value the role of research in shaping effective practice, but this is not a research fellowship.)
  • Strong project-management skills.
  • The ability to collaborate effectively within and across Kresge program teams to reach common goals.
  • A learning orientation that enables one to recognize patterns, identify key lessons and develop creative solutions.
  • A demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.
  • Strong written, oral and interpersonal communication skills.


To apply, please send the following to careers@kresge.org:

  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Cover letter / essay describing:
    • How the candidate’s skills and experience would contribute to the success of the Environment team.
    • What the candidate finds compelling about this opportunity.
    • How this fellowship would advance the candidate’s career-development plans.
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Original transcripts of graduate work

The deadline for application submission is March 21, 2018.  We aim to have our fellow on board by June 2018.

Kresge is proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer. We do not discriminate based upon race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability or other applicable legally protected characteristics.

Job Description