Solar, Clean Energy and Climate Lending Director

The Center for Rural Affairs is seeking a Solar, Clean Energy, and Climate Lending Director. The position will be based in Lyons, Nebraska at least 2 days per week. More location flexibility may be offered to the right candidate. The Solar, Clean Energy and Climate Lending Director is a newly created position that will lay the groundwork for a new lending program at the nexus of clean energy, low-income and historically excluded populations, and climate resilience.

In addition to this job posting, the Center is also interested in receiving proposals for contractor services to implement elements of this new program development. Those with questions may contact executive director Brian Depew at briand@cfra.org.

The Center’s Solar, Clean Energy and Climate lending will be deployed statewide in Nebraska (urban and rural), with the possibility of regional expansion in the future. An ideal candidate will have experience building new programs, leading a staff team, and developing partnerships. Industry knowledge in lending, Community Development Financial Institutions, clean energy, or related capacity is helpful but not required. 

Who we are

The Center for Rural Affairs is a dynamic, energetic non-profit organization working to build a better rural future for all. We’ve done this work for 50 years and we do it from rural places with a flexible work environment. Our work creates opportunities for beginning farmers, new business owners, and first-time advocates. The Center’s work is rooted in principles of diversity and inclusion. We believe that a diversity of people and ideas strengthens our work, our workplace, and our communities. We celebrate this diversity and we are committed to advancing practices that create an equitable and inclusive workplace. We take equal opportunity seriously and we welcome and support all applicants and team members. Additional information can be found at www.cfra.org. Check to see if our Mission and Values match yours, and read about our work demonstrating how awesome the Center is.

What you’ll do

The Solar, Clean Energy, and Climate Lending Director reports to the Executive Director and will work to lead and guide a staff team dedicated to creating opportunities and impact throughout Nebraska through partnerships, outreach, training and technical support, community events, connections to capital, and securing the financial resources necessary to do this work. The Solar, Clean Energy and Climate Lending Director is responsible for the following:

  • You will cultivate a network of solar developers, efficiency contractors, housing developers, nonprofit partners, and lending partners.
  • You will research and develop new loan products that advance both greenhouse gas emission reduction and low-income and disadvantaged communities.
  • You will develop a pipeline of projects to be financed in the clean energy, energy efficiency, and greenhouse gas emission reduction.
  • As the new program develops, you will select, onboard, and guide a team of staff and contractors to assist in program implementation.
  • You will partner with the Executive Director to develop program strategy and ensure strategy implementation.
  • You will collaborate with the Lending Services Director, Farm & Community Program Director, Policy Program Director, Development Director, and Chief Financial Officer to coordinate, leverage, and align Center resources around new program goals.
  • You will engage with a leadership team to develop and implement organizational strategy, as well as cross-program collaboration.
  • You will collaborate with the Communications Manager to develop a marketing strategy, create and contribute to outreach materials, field media interviews, and place Center work with the news media to promote the activities, outcomes, and successes of the Solar, Clean Energy and Climate Lending program and the organization.
  • You will collaborate with the Grants Manager, as well as program staff and contractors, to write, submit, and manage program grants ensuring that all grants are programmatically executed as designed within the funding cycle, and reporting requirements are met.
  • You will be a leader in incorporating the Center's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion principles effectively into internal processes, external programming and communications, and work relationships, as well as identify opportunities for staff to build their own capacity in centering equity into their work.

Who you are & keys to success (the must-haves)

To be successful in this job, you will excel in five areas:

  • Relationship-building: You develop and maintain strong, collaborative working relationships with team members in the program, across the organization, and with a diverse group of stakeholders. You know how to build alliances with marginalized communities, such as people of color, people with disabilities, low-income families, military veterans, and immigrants, and find points of collaboration even when there are competing interests.
  • Drive to achieve results: You have a track record of accomplishing ambitious goals and getting results even when there are obstacles. You set a high bar and meet it because you think three (or 30) steps ahead to anticipate hurdles and come up with pragmatic solutions. You plan backward and involve stakeholders appropriately.
  • Inclusive leadership and management: You approach leadership with a collaborative mindset of “power with” rather than “power over” and regularly include others in decision-making. You seek out those who have the experience to guide, advise, and plan how you approach the work.
  • Setting and managing priorities: You have experience managing multiple projects and keeping tasks from slipping through the cracks. You use resources wisely and can provide clear direction to staff, partners, consultants, and volunteers to leverage time and talent for impact.
  • Commitment to racial equity and social justice: You recognize the role of race, income, age, immigration status, and other identities in addressing disparities, and you consistently amplify community voices to advocate for more equitable policy solutions. You recognize how your own identities show up in the work, and welcome, reflect on, and act on feedback with an eye toward continuous learning about race, ability, and other lines of difference.

If you were here right now, you would be:

  • Meeting with community partners to solicit input into the new program, identify opportunities and build a pipeline of solar, clean energy, and climate-related loans.
  • Working with other members of the Center staff to identify and build new loan products, and later promote the newly developed products and services.
  • Pursuing new funding sources to support the development of the new Solar, Clean Energy, and Climate Lending program.
  • Interpreting and applying an understanding of key financial indicators to make better business decisions and use financial analysis to generate, evaluate, and act on strategic options and opportunities.
  • Building an effective, diverse staff team dedicated to achieving outcomes and impacts aligned with all funding sources.

You have experience with the following:

  • You have five or more years of experience leading and managing teams of staff.
  • You have demonstrated budgeting and grant writing experience.
  • You have demonstrated experience managing complex, high-quality, and sometimes contradictory information to effectively solve problems and make decisions.
  • You have demonstrated experience in new program development, are a planner, and can independently drive new projects forward.
  • You can work effectively with diverse groups of individuals and value differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and socioeconomic circumstances.
  • You have high standards of ethics and integrity.
  • You have a working knowledge of one or more of the following: nonprofit lending, the CDFI industry, clean energy development, and/or reaching underserved populations.

What else you should know

This is a full-time exempt position based at least two days per week in Lyons, Nebraska. More location flexibility may be offered to the right candidate. The Solar, Clean Energy, and Climate Lending Director is a member of the Leadership Team. This position has a salary range of $72,000 to $96,000 with top-notch benefits that have a cash value of $10,000 to $29,500, depending on family status and tenure with the Center. Benefits include items such as 97% employer-paid family health insurance that includes a contribution to a Health Savings Account, 6% employer contribution to a retirement plan, a fantastic Employee Assistance Program, 12 paid holidays plus paid time off between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day, Friday Summer Hours, and vacation and sick pay.

The Center for Rural Affairs is an Equal Opportunity Employer and participates in E-Verify, is committed to the full inclusion of all individuals, and takes steps to ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations.

How to apply

If you would like to work for an organization that has a national reputation as one of the top organizations in the country working to make rural communities more vibrant, apply by sending your resume, cover letter, and three professional references by clicking here

In the cover letter, please include how your personal and/or professional experiences have positioned you for success in this role and any Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion or Racial Equity-related work, skills, or expertise you want us to know about. Please describe how your past leadership roles make you the right candidate for this role. Let us know how you heard about this position and why you want to work for the Center.