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Impact & Learning Manager Posted Jun 17
Climate Breakthrough Project , San Francisco, CA
About Us
The Climate Breakthrough Project (Climate Breakthrough) identifies extraordinary leaders and empowers them to launch bold new strategies that confront the growing climate crisis. Each year, we select several exceptional strategists from around the world to receive the Climate Breakthrough Award: a US$3 million-dollar grant and tailored support over three years to bring visionary strategies from idea to fruition. We believe that many of the most capable leaders have not yet been given sufficient time, space, support, and funding to develop the kind of climate strategies our world desperately needs; our program is designed to give these brilliant strategists exactly that opportunity.

Our awardees’ innovative work focuses on high-risk, high-reward efforts in social, behavior, economic, and policy change. At the time of selection, some awardees have a clear idea of the strategy they will engage in, while others take time to explore and select among several ideas. Climate Breakthrough cares most about the potential scale of the idea and the pace at which it might achieve mitigation. The strategies our awardees pursue will, if successful, lead to tangible changes that reduce or capture global annual greenhouse gas emissions by hundreds of megatons of CO2e within ten years. This means awardees pursue strategies that affect entire industries or countries and materially change the lives of millions of people. Our mission of supporting game-changing breakthrough ideas to achieve major greenhouse gas emissions is reliant on reaching beyond established networks and approaches to empower a diverse range of voices, perspectives, and strategies.

Climate Breakthrough is funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Oak Foundation, IKEA Foundation, Good Energies Foundation, JPB Foundation, and Quadrature Climate Foundation. Launched in 2016, Climate Breakthrough has issued eleven awards to date. For more information about Climate Breakthrough and our awardees, please visit

About the Role
We aim to create a monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) practice that is not just about accountability to funders but instead supports successful strategy design and implementation. We view MEL as a tool that helps advance our awardees’ strategies more effectively; cultivates their aptitude to learn, adapt, and pivot when needed; and strengthens their ability to secure future funding commitments. Our overall vision is to foster a culture of creative, evidence-based learning that equips Climate Breakthrough Awardees to achieve significant and innovative advances in addressing climate change.

The Impact & Learning Manager will guide and oversee all aspects of our MEL efforts to ensure our focus is on high-impact opportunities to address the climate crisis. This role requires a creative and incisive evaluation strategist who is comfortable designing MEL frameworks for complex, non-linear strategies where emissions reduction is the ultimate goal, but tonnes can rarely be measured year over year. The Impact & Learning Manager will work closely with everyone on our small, tight-knit team to evaluate, strengthen, grow, and evolve the Climate Breakthrough initiative. Our ideal candidate is passionate about addressing climate change, understands how civil society efforts work to effect change, finds joy in bringing clarity to complexity, and excels at helping others do their best work.

This is an exciting opportunity to tackle big questions arising in climate philanthropy about how to assess the mitigation impact of strategies that are neither technical nor incremental—and work with external partners to change and improve MEL practices across the field.

The Impact & Learning Manager’s work will be divided into three main areas:
● Climate Breakthrough Project Evaluation Strategy
o Refine the program’s MEL principles, strategy, and frameworks.
o Collaborate with the team to define and prioritize core quantitative and qualitative key performance indicators to support the theory of change.
o Design, create, and maintain an efficient system for tracking core metrics in line with our own goals, as well as board and funder expectations.
o Develop a cadence of regular, user-friendly reports to monitor progress and share with stakeholders, including current and potential funders and the board.
o Present program and awardee results in a manner that is relevant to different audiences.
o Contribute to both an internal and awardee culture of evidence-based learning.
o Facilitate opportunities for peer-to-peer learning in philanthropy, and act as a thought leader in the evolving MEL field.
● Awardee Evaluation Planning and Analysis
o Provide tailored support to each awardee, being flexible and inventive in designing key performance indicators and MEL frameworks while fostering a spirit of openness, vulnerability, and genuine collaboration.
o Support awardees in measuring the environmental and social impact of the wide range of their activities, tapping into best practices from evaluation approaches.
o Support quantitative assessments of current baselines and projected reduced or captured tonnes of carbon emissions based on each awardee’s strategy, as needed.
o Collaborate with awardees to design evaluation plans and identify and manage third-party evaluators.
o Create opportunities for peer-to-peer learning amongst awardees.
● Candidate Assessment
o Support our technical assessment of potential awardees by coordinating emissions reduction analyses of potential proposed strategies.
o Work with Climate Breakthrough staff to appraise the breakthrough potential of candidate ideas.

Successful applicants will have most of the following qualifications:
● Considerable relevant, professional MEL experience in a philanthropic setting or similar
● Experience developing and implementing quantitative and qualitative tools that inform program strategy using a range of evaluation methods
● Experience with equitable evaluation a plus
● Excellent communication skills, with particular skill in turning numbers into narratives and narratives into numbers
● Proven track record of excellent relationship development and management, both in-person and remotely
● Knowledge and understanding of climate change and climate data, systems-level change, and social movements
● Ability to approach large-scale systemic change questions with creativity
● Sufficient data fluency to effectively oversee (or conduct) emissions reduction modeling for candidate and awardee strategies in-house or with external consultants
● A strong and relevant professional network to draw upon to support Climate Breakthrough and awardees’ MEL efforts
● Cross-cultural sensitivity and awareness required, experience working internationally preferred
● Commitment to equity, inclusion, and diversity
● Written and verbal fluency in English required, fluency in another language desirable
● Once it is safe to do so, willingness and ability to travel internationally (between 1-4 times per year)

Position Details
Ideally, the Impact & Learning Manager will be based in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, where most of our team resides. We are currently working remotely but will be establishing a physical office in 2022 (most likely in the Oakland/Berkeley area). Once that office is established, we anticipate maintaining a flexible work-from-home policy; however, locally based employees will be expected to be physically present as valuable for internal and external meetings. Climate Breakthrough is open to this role being based anywhere in the world, though candidates must be able to reliably work within 3 hours +/- of Pacific Time Zone normal working hours. The desired start date for this position is August 2021.

Compensation and employment terms will depend on location. Climate Breakthrough can provide a California-based, full-time candidate with benefits. If the successful candidate is based elsewhere, they will be hired as an independent consultant, without benefits, at 80-percent time. For a full-time, San Francisco Bay Area-based employee, the expected salary for this role is in the range of $115,000.

To Apply
CEA Recruiting is assisting Climate Breakthrough in their recruitment efforts. To be considered for this position, interested candidates must click here to submit a cover letter, resume, and salary requirements through CEA’s job portal. Please direct all applications and inquiries to CEA Recruiting. This position will remain open until filled.

Application Link:

The Climate Breakthrough Project is an equal opportunity employer. Qualified applicants are considered for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or veteran status.

CEA Recruiting works with leading environmental nonprofits, foundations, and businesses to recruit top talent and design effective organizational staffing strategies. For more information, visit

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