Director, Community Science

Washington, DC, US
11 days ago
Full time role


Natural Resources Defense Council

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a non-profit environmental advocacy organization. We use law, science, and the support of ...

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Job Description


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 our people helped write some of America's bedrock environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act 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 Bozeman, Montana; Chicago; New York; San Francisco; Santa Monica; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.


NRDC is seeking a Director of Community Science to work with the Environment, Equity & Justice Center team in our any of our office locations.


Position Summary

The Director of Community Science will be an important member of the Center’s leadership team and will work in close collaboration with members of NRDC’s Programs and Departments to advance environmental justice. The ideal candidate is flexible, thrives in collaborative environments, embraces solving complex and nuanced problems, and is recognized within the environmental and/or social justice movement as a strategic thinker with excellent communications skills. They will represent NRDC and the Environment, Equity and Justice Center in internal and external forums, acting as a spokesperson for our strategic vision to help elevate the reputation and profile of the organization.


  • Play a leadership role in integrating community-based science strategies into the Center’s core functions and vision, and NRDC’s advocacy more broadly in furtherance of the organization’s equity and justice commitments.   
  • Provide very high level of subject matter expertise on a wide range of community science, public health, environmental justice, social justice, and movement building issues. 
  • Play senior leadership role in developing and contributing to cross-disciplinary EJ campaigns with staff in the Center and across the organization that integrate community science strategies, develop tools, elevate community expertise, and build evidence to advance policy priorities of communities most impacted by environmental hardship. 
  • Collaborate with staff across the organization to integrate EJ and community science in their advocacy by advising on substance and approach, and serving as a mentor and role model. 
  • Partner with staff in the Science Office to build and leverage scientific and technical capacity, resources, and skills to achieve the equity and justice goals of NRDC and disproportionately impacted communities.  
  • Collaborate across the organization to strengthen NRDC’s operational capacities, including communications and development, to advance community-driven solutions and scientific and analytic approaches that meet community needs and advance EJ principles.  
  • Develop strong and collaborative relationships with EJ leaders and represent NRDC in external coalitions and partnerships to incorporate justice and public health protections into policy interventions and to inform and improve institutional relationships. 
  • Directly manage and oversee staff within the Center, ensuring that staff are supported and coached to increasing levels of performance and that projects are aligned with organizational mission and goals. 
  • Work closely with the Center staff to ensure that the Center’s priorities and activities are integrated and mutually supporting. 
  • Work as a member of the Center’s leadership team and perform other tasks as requested by the Chief Equity and Justice Officer and Managing Director of Environmental Justice and Community Solutions, including but not limited to supporting the Center’s fundraising, communications, budget and strategic planning processes. 



  • Commitment to NRDC’s mission and values.
  • PhD degree or equivalent required, with training and experience in applying quantitative and/or qualitative research methodologies to issues of social justice, environmental health disparities, climate change, and/or related challenges.  
  • Senior-level project management, scientific and policy advocacy skills with a minimum of 7-10 years’ experience in the environmental, social justice, or scientific field, and at least 5 years of experience working in BIPOC coalitions to provide scientific, policy, and technical tools and support. 
  • Demonstrated track record of working across disciplines (legal, scientific, etc.). Ability to leverage diverse methods from the environmental, health, and social sciences.  
  • Visionary, forward-looking, and strategic thinker with strong interpersonal and active listening skills. 
  • Exceptional research, writing, communication, organization, and analytical skills; team player with a proven ability to develop cross-disciplinary strategies to advance EJ priorities and community science and collaborate in a complex/matrixed organizational structure.  
  • Extensive experience and demonstrated success working in diverse coalitions and in partnership with community groups, particularly BIPOC-led groups, with a proven ability to forge common ground. 
  • Deep knowledge of in community science approaches and strategies and EJ principles. 
  • Experience with public speaking on technical and non-technical topics, with an ability to communicate with a wide variety of audiences, including on EJ principles and scientific approaches. 
  • Experience managing and supervising staff.
  • Demonstrated commitment to incorporating and growing the use of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion principles in NRDC’s work. 
  • Familiarity with fundraising, including foundation grants and major donor engagement. 


  • Fluency in Spanish is a plus. 

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. For this position, the salary is $130,000 to $150,000. Internal equity considerations will be reviewed before making a final offer.  


Since March 2020, NRDC’s offices have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You will be associated with one of our offices, but until circumstances allow us to re-open, we will continue to support NRDCers with remote working arrangements. 


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 

Natural Resources Defense Council

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a non-profit environmental advocacy organization. We use law, science, and the support of ...

View Company Profile