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Funding Navigator Program Manager

New Jersey Future (NJF)

Trenton, New Jersey

Date Posted: 11/16/22

ABOUT US:

At New Jersey Future (NJF), we believe that great places help build great lives. To help create and preserve our great places, we promote sensible and equitable planning, redevelopment, and infrastructure investments that foster vibrant cities and towns; protect natural lands and waterways; enhance transportation choices; support a strong economy; and provide access to safe, affordable, and aging-friendly neighborhoods for everyone. We do this through original research, innovative policy development, coalition-building, advocacy, and hands-on strategic assistance. Embracing differences and advancing fairness is central to our mission and operations, and we are firmly committed to pursuing greater justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in our work and culture. NJF offers a fast-paced and supportive work environment. NJF is located in downtown Trenton, NJ. For more information, visit www.njfuture.org

BACKGROUND:

Old and crumbling water infrastructure is a social, economic, and health crisis in New Jersey that will require billions of dollars to fix. Overburdened communities often do not receive their fair share of federal and state funds for water infrastructure projects from the State Revolving Fund (SRF) program established for that purpose. For example, research indicates that only 10% of New Jersey’s drinking water systems received SRF assistance between 2011 and 2020, and small and racially-diverse communities are even less likely to obtain the funding they need. 

There are many barriers to accessing SRF funds, including the challenge of assessing local needs and designing an acceptable solution. SRF applications are often complicated and costly to complete, requiring many technical components such as engineering designs, environmental impact assessments, and financial studies. Estimates suggest that the average cost to apply for support is $17,000. Overwhelmed, resource-constrained, and unfamiliar with the SRF process, hundreds of localities never take the first steps. 

POSITION SUMMARY:

New Jersey Future seeks to hire a Funding Navigator program manager as part of a statewide effort to provide technical assistance to under-resourced water utilities in New Jersey. Specifically, the goal is to proactively engage utilities serving overburdened communities that have not received federal funds in the past and aid them in accessing federal and state infrastructure funding. This will include working with program partners to assess water utility needs, identify policy and implementation obstacles, design solutions that are “right-sized” for the community, and match projects with possible state and/or federal funding sources while identifying longer-term policy solutions. 

RESPONSIBILITIES 

The Funding Navigator Program Manager’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to:                       

  • Recruitment: Proactively contact and recruit water utilities that could benefit from the Funding Navigator program and review of materials used to encourage decision-makers (e.g., utility managers) to apply for funds. 
  • Project Management: Assess each utility’s problems and help identify solutions, including: 

Developing relationships with technical assistance and professional service providers, rural water associations, community-based, and other nonprofit organizations dedicated to enhancing water quality.

Identifying short-term and long-term barriers that may need to be addressed before a successful application can be submitted. 

Preparing scopes of work, requests for proposals, and memos of understanding. 

Reviewing and helping to shape funding applications, including financing options, prior to submission. 

Creating communication strategies and tools including toolkits, webinars, and next steps for utilities to use. 

  • Pre-development Activities: Help find and match technical assistance providers with utilities, including supporting utilities, community organizations, and technical assistance providers during pre-development work and tracking utilities’ progress in meeting pre-development deadlines. 
  • Monitoring/Evaluation: Track engagements and assistance provided to utilities, including documenting types of technical assistance provided and tracking data from the Water Bank. 
  • Recommend state or local policy changes that are needed to allow more under-resourced communities to successfully obtain water infrastructure funding. 

REQUIREMENTS 

  • At least five years of experience in one or more of the following areas: project management, water infrastructure design or finance, water utility operations, or finance. We will consider time pursuing a graduate degree and other relevant experience toward the five plus years of experience. 
  • Expertise providing leadership and/or coordinating teams to keep projects on track. 
  • Understanding of or willingness to learn about federal and state funding programs for water infrastructure. 
  • Experience leading initiatives that require carrying forward a vision, meeting multiple goals, thinking strategically, making quick decisions, and forming and sharing opinions on policy. 
  • Strong people and program management skills. This position will work with peers, contractors, and stakeholders on aligned goals. 
  • Commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion and employing these values in all work aspects. 
  • Ability to accomplish multiple goals with a focus on outcomes. 
  • Passion for pursuing equitable outcomes. 
  • Excellent communication skills. 

COMPENSATION: The salary for this position is in the range of $68,000 to $80,000 and depends on the candidate’s experience and skills. Salary is negotiable. This is a full-time position with substantial benefits, including health, dental, vision, and life insurance, defined contribution 401(k) retirement plan, short and long-term disability, commuter benefits, and flexible work scheduling. 

APPLICATION: Interested and qualified candidates should submit a cover letter and a resume to HR@njfuture.org. If selected to advance, one or more writing samples may be required, as well as relevant references.

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