Program Director, Sustainability
Job Details
NLC - Washington, DC
Optional Work from Home
Full Time
4 Year Degree
$100,496.00 - $132,152.00 Salary/year
Up to 25%
Program Director, Sustainability

Consistent with the mission, vision and values of National League of Cities, oversee the day-to-day operations of the sustainability program within the Center for City Solutions. Direct the development of initiatives, programming, and agendas that further sustainability program goals, particularly focused on energy and decarbonization, waste and recycling, water, and nature-based solutions/green infrastructure to improve community resilience and achieve local climate goals, and generate member growth and diversity, integrating and aligning program efforts with overall NLC strategies. Serve as the in-house thought leader in assigned programs. Reports to Director, Sustainability & Innovation and supervises program manager, sustainability, and senior specialist, sustainability.


NLC cares about everyone’s safety and is often in public events.  For this reason, we do require employees to be both vaccinated and receive updated booster in accordance with CDC guidance.  Providing associated documentation will be a part of the onboarding process. 

  1. Program Strategy, Design, and Administration
    • Participate in the development of short- and long-term strategic plans in collaboration with the senior leadership that promote, grow, and extend program goals and agendas in alignment with overall NLC strategies and initiatives. Strategic goals focus on sustainability, energy and decarbonization, waste and recycling, water, and nature-based solutions/green infrastructure to improve community resilience and achieve local climate goals.
    • Propose new programs, outreach efforts, and member engagement initiatives in alignment with the NLC mission, current organizational goals, and member city needs. Ensure consistency and continuity among programs, resolving discrepancies or conflicts between programs as required.
    • Oversee and participate in the development of publications, tools and resources to support the administration of programs with member cities. Respond to general inquires and requests for assistance from NLC member cities, state municipal leagues, and other interested organizations.
    • Develop and implement work plans with staff assignments, timelines, and milestones to guide the implementation of initiatives.
  2. Partnerships and Sponsorship
    • Identify and facilitate the formation of key partnerships with member cities, government officials, and other key stakeholders to generate advocacy for program goals and mobilize policy efforts. This includes city climate working groups and the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources policy committee.
    • Meet with senior officials in NLC, state municipal leagues, and external partners at other nonprofits and universities to understand the current landscape of city advocacy and forge partnerships to help further program efforts. Identify opportunities to draw upon these partnerships in order to broaden the array of resources available to municipal leaders in NLC member cities.
    • Work with member and city leaders in formal and ad-hoc basis to influence areas of city advocacy and policy with assigned programs. Draw upon the knowledge and experience of city leaders to influence program issues.
    • Connect and strategize with external partners to contribute content to programs. Encourage, support, and publicize commitments by NLC members and partners in furthering program advocacy and goals.
    • Build internal sponsorship and support for assigned programs with other NLC divisions / departments. Collect their input on how to effectively support program agendas and goals within the organization.
  3. Grants
    • Develop grant proposals to sustain and expand services for assigned programs in collaboration with the Director, Sustainability and Innovation. Solicit funding for proposals, identifying potential funders for proposed programs and cultivating relationships with key representatives in those organizations. Finalize and submit proposals to funders for approval.
    • Manage the fulfillment of and compliance with grant agreements. Develop processes, procedures, and timelines that govern the delivery of grant data, financial reports, program narratives, and other information to funders as outlined in grant agreements.
    • Manage relationships with program officers, grant administrators, and other staff at foundations that provide program funding. Prepare, provide, and present executive summaries and detailed reports to NLC leadership and grant providers for ongoing programs as needed.
    • Monitor and oversee the use of grant funding. Ensure that available funds are fully utilized and that all grant expenditures are consistent with approved budgets.
  4. Program Education, Outreach and Events
    • Develop and deploy technical assistance, marketing, and communications initiatives that foster program goals. Partner with senior leadership to develop campaigns, goals, work plans, and communications materials for member acquisition, retention and engagement activities. Monitor progress and provide reports on program results.
    • Educate and orient city leaders, members, and potential members on the core program concerns through print media, social media, educational forums, events, and other communications.
    • Guide the development of toolkits for city leaders to grow their capability to explicitly address key topics in assigned programs.
    • Plan the development of program-specific content for conferences and meetings. Make speeches and presentations to diverse audiences and otherwise represent NLC at events. Leverage these opportunities to build new partnerships and strengthen existing collaborations with city leaders, foundations, corporate funders, and other stakeholders.
  5. Program Research and Thought Leadership
    • Provide thought leadership on the development of innovative solutions to problems confronting city leaders.
    • Identify new and emerging opportunities for exploration to shape the direction of future NLC programs.
    • Lead efforts to conduct original research and collect best practice information to produce meaningful, actionable recommendations for city policy makers in assigned programs.
    • Oversee the compilation of research and best practices to support the development of technical assistance, communications, and learning. Publish results in internal and external media publications, present key information at relevant conferences, and otherwise socialize key information with appropriate stakeholders.
    • Serve as a resource on relevant issues to other NLC staff and departments.
  6. Program Evaluation
    • Define and establish measures to evaluate the achievement of program strategies and goals. Use membership data and analytics to track and evaluate the impact of ongoing programs.
    • Solicit and incorporate feedback from stakeholders on membership issues to ensure that policies and procedures meet their needs. Recommend changes to improve the effectiveness of programs based on program results, member city feedback, and changes in city needs/requirements.
    • Collect data and review progress on the overall growth and success of assigned programs. Provide feedback and reports to program leadership regarding the success or failure of particular programs.
  7. Leadership
    • Guide and direct the efforts of assigned staff members to plan and complete the necessary work in support of overall program strategies. Define individual work goals, expectations, priorities, and measures for success.
    • Serve as a mentor and coach for staff providing knowledge and technical expertise in the assigned program area. Plan and deliver professional development to staff based on their current work assignments and long-term career goals.
    • Perform functions typically associated with managing and leading others, including performance management, recruitment and selection, and compensation and policy administration.
  8. Perform other duties and lead special projects as assigned.

Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field and 8 years of practical experience in program area, or Master’s degree in a related field and 6 years of practical experience in program area (Master’s degree preferred)
  • At least 3 years of experience leading the planning, implementation, and/or administration of a non-profit program
  • At least 4 years of experience supervising employees, collaborating with supervisees to form goals, evaluating their performance and needs, and ensuring they feel supported and valued
  • Possesses required technical knowledge within assigned program areas
  • Experience drafting/writing program documentation, grant proposals, and management reports
  • Ability to interact effectively with members, representatives of other organizations, elected officials, consultants and all levels of NLC staff
  • MS Office skills (Word, Excel and PowerPoint)
  • Public speaking experience

Work Environment:

Work is typically performed in a standard office setting working at a desk or table on a level surface.  Regular travel is expected.  May be required to work more hours than normal during a regular workweek depending on workload and deadline requirements. This position is based at the NLC office in Washington, D.C., and may be eligible for part-time telework. 

About NLC 

The National League of Cities is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people across the country. NLC’s mission is to relentlessly advocate for the interests of cities by strengthening local leadership, influencing federal policy and driving innovative solutions. 

We abide by 8 pillars of excellence to provide quality service and resources to our members and their constituents. 

  • NLC is Inclusive. We are a nonpartisan organization, and we embrace diversity of thought, perspectives and experiences. 

  • NLC is Focused. We focus on what matters most to our member cities, towns and villages and municipalities nationwide. 

  • NLC is Valuable. As a resource and advocate for our members, and a key partner to the state municipal leagues. 

  • NLC is Influential. We are recognized as powerful and reliable partners and respected by federal policymakers. 

  • NLC is Visible. We have a strong impact on our members, in Washington, D.C., and in the news. 

  • NLC is Relationship Driven. We are dedicated to building personal connections between local leaders and between local governments and NLC staff. 

  • NLC is Forward Leaning. With compelling engagement opportunities and cutting-edge technology, we are innovative at every turn. 

  • NLC is Financially Solid. With a diversified revenue model that reflects the nation’s modern economy. 

NLC is committed to providing equal employment opportunity for all persons and to prohibiting discrimination because of race, color, sex, national origin, age, religion, marital status, disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, status as a veteran, or any other protected status and/or conditions specified in federal and local civil rights laws.  If a candidate needs reasonable accommodation to continue their application process, please reach out to