Program Officer (f/m/x) Just Climate Transition in Europe

Open Society Foundations

The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to criticism, whose laws and policies are open to debate and correction, and whose political institutions are open to the participation of all people. We seek to strengthen justice and the rule of law; broaden respect for human rights, including the rights of minorities; encourage pluralism and a robust diversity of opinion; deepen democratic practice and participation; expand economic equity; support effective governance; and invest in individuals, public and private organizations, and social movements that advance these goals.

We are a global network of foundations committed to local knowledge and national expertise. Our network includes national foundations, regional foundations, and other geographic programs operating in more than one hundred countries. At the same time, many programs with global reach operate from our four headquarters in Europe and the United States, including programs on digital information, documentary photography, drug policy, early childhood, education, fellowships, fiscal governance, higher education, human rights, international migration, justice, public health, scholarships, think tanks, and women’s rights.

In addition to making grants to organizations and individuals, the Open Society Foundations engage in policy advocacy, legal advocacy and litigation, program-related investing, and public communications, as well as providing direct assistance to governments. Most programs and foundations in the network are governed or advised by their own boards.

The Open Society Foundations are the global philanthropies of George Soros, who, as chairman, plays an active role in the work of the foundations.

Do you want to help make the world a better place with your expertise on helping European societies with a just transition towards a low-carbon economy? We’re seeking a Program Officer, Supporting a Just Climate Transition and Climate Justice in Europe based in Berlin to manage our growing grant-making program on this issue across the continent.

The Open Society Foundations works to build vibrant and inclusive democracies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people. We are active in more than 120 countries, making us the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights.

The Open Society Initiative for Europe (OSIFE) works at national, local and pan-European level to support European progress towards open society goals mainly through grant making, convening, advocacy and research, and supports OSF’s foundations and thematic programs to achieve their Europe-focused strategies.

The Program Officer leads OSIFE’s work on supporting a just climate transition in Europe. This body of work seeks to support civic actors across the continent in their endeavor to ensure that climate mitigation and adaptation measures are based on wide public debate and broad-based participation, particularly by the most affected communities, avoid being captured by special interests, and are socially just and inclusive. This crucial programmatic position has the responsibility to further develop OSIFE’s nascent grant-making in this area.

This work will include engaging with the rapidly growing field of climate justice groups across Europe, designing appropriate strategies and tools for fostering desired social change, and developing and managing relationships with other entities within the OSF network –particularly the Open Society European Policy Institute, and other relevant donors active in the field.

As a Program Officer at Open Society you will:
  • Develop an overall grant-making strategy for OSIFE’s work on just transition in cooperation with OSIFE leadership, specifically: to Identify OSIFE’s specific added value among the rapidly growing field of donors supporting climate justice and works with relevant OSIFE colleagues on developing a coherent and long-term grant-making strategy for this body of work.
  • Ensures that emerging strategy is closely aligned with the approach of other relevant OSF partners, particularly the Open Society European Policy Institute
  • Be responsible for all grant-making activities relating to the body of work. Operates with considerable autonomy and makes decisions related to authorizing/declining grants within an approved work plan and budget reflective of own field experience/expertise. Responsible for monitoring grantee activities and assessing outputs and outcomes. Ensures that the organizations, initiatives and models we support in this field seek out ways to bring in marginalized and disenfranchised communities.
  • Develop collaboration with other programs within OSF, especially in Europe, as well as other donors in this field, identifying opportunities where a shared approach might have the potential to create a broader impact
  • Guide the work of program and/or administrative staff in support of grant-making or other program activities.
  • Contribute to the development of overall OSIFE strategy and other cross-cutting initiatives or processes at OSIFE and OSF in general. Since climate justice is a nascent area for OSIFE, this will likely include a role in advising colleagues on how engage with this field, for example by participating in working groups, liaising with other portfolios, and sharing lessons from the grant-making work.

What we offer:
  • Ample opportunities to learn and grow, from annual professional development allowances to onsite trainings and brown bag lunches with visiting experts.
  • Top-notch benefits and perks designed for your well-being and a healthy work-life balance. With some variability according to location, this includes generous time off, flexible work arrangements, employer-paid health insurance, generous retirement savings plan, progressive paid parental leave, reproductive and family planning support, sabbatical opportunities, and much more.
  • A commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace that enables everyone to bring their full self to work and make a positive impact on the world.
  • See what a day in the life of a Program Officer at Open Society is like.

If this sounds like the position you have been looking for, please submit a cover letter that addresses the specific skills and experience that OSF requires for Program Officers (guidance is located here) and CV; we look forward to learning more about you.

Competitive rates of pay apply.

We aim to build an inclusive workforce that is reflective of the populations we support, and actively seek applications from those who are marginalized and underrepresented. We are committed to providing reasonable accommodations to applicants and colleagues with disabilities.
What we are looking for:
  • 7 - 10 years of relevant professional experience, generally in an organization other than a foundation, relevant to the duties of this role
  • Proven expertise in the field of civic actors working on climate justice/just transition in Europe
  • Significant understanding of social/socio-economic and political dimensions of climate policy and action at EU and member state levels
  • Good understanding of overall discourse and key concepts around climate justice, mitigation and adaptation
  • Master’s degree in a relevant field of study or equivalent experience/education
  • Excellent English language skills (both written and oral)

Desirable (but not required):
  • Familiarity with grant-making and advocacy, ideally within the European context
  • Fluency in additional European languages
Open Society Foundations
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