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15 Nov 2018

Full-Time Research Associate, Philanthropic Services Group

California Environmental Associates – Posted by CEA San Francisco, California, United States


Job Description

About the Organization

California Environmental Associates (CEA) is a boutique environmental consultancy based in San Francisco, CA. For more than 30 years, CEA has helped transform markets, business practices, public policies, nonprofit organizations, and philanthropic strategies to achieve positive outcomes for the environment. Our work is guided by a deep knowledge of the scientific, regulatory, political, social, and economic underpinnings of our most pressing environmental problems.

CEA’s Philanthropic Services group is a tight-knit team of a dozen consultants which supports the work of environmental foundations and nonprofits, as well as sustainability-oriented businesses. We assist with both short-term projects and long-term engagements. Our work ranges across a variety of environmental topics including marine conservation, climate change, energy policy, sustainable agriculture, land use and conservation, freshwater management, transportation, wildlife protection, and urban sustainability. While the geographic nature of our projects varies, they often have a global and/or international scope. With respect to our services, our main functions for clients include:

  • Analysis and research: CEA specializes in producing neutral, in-depth analyses for our clients. We regularly blend an ability to conduct expert interviews on strategy and feasibility questions with a technically strong team capable of working with large data sets and scientific literature.
  • Program design: CEA develops grant-making program strategies for foundations as well as strategic plans for NGOs. As above, this work requires understanding the programmatic and management needs of the organization, with an ability to work with experts to vet strategies.
  • Landscape review and program evaluations: CEA regularly conducts landscape-level reviews on the state of philanthropic and NGO actors in a given field. We also conduct program evaluations for foundations, in some cases running monitoring and evaluation programs for them.
  • Organizational development and support: CEA writes business and operational plans, and has incubated new NGOs, led the launch of international offices, and helped organizations work through critical transitions.

For a more in-depth description of our services and philosophy, please see our website:

Research Associate Position

CEA is seeking a Research Associate to provide support to the firm’s Philanthropic Services Practice Area. The successful applicant will be responsible for supporting complex consulting engagements for clients, including large environmentally-focused foundations, non-profits, and companies. The work environment is collaborative, and the position requires intellectual rigor, independence, demonstrated attention to detail, and a passion for environmental issues. This exciting opportunity will provide opportunities for interaction with key stakeholders and emerging issues in the environmental sector.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

  • Participate in problem structuring, including work planning, issues analysis, and process planning
  • Conduct in-depth research and analysis, both quantitative and qualitative, utilizing literature reviews, interviews with issue experts and stakeholders, and data collection
  • Draft and design a range of clear and engaging materials for clients including: written documents, presentations, and graphics
  • Ensure quality control of outgoing work products and correspondence
  • Support project teams and clients with logistics, scheduling, coordinating travel arrangements, etc.
  • Work effectively and efficiently with minimal supervision, with the ability to anticipate team needs
  • Interact with clients


The ideal applicant will have many of the following qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field
  • 1-3+ years of experience in a role with comparable responsibilities; experience in a consulting firm preferred, or a similar field requiring a service-oriented demeanor and relationship management skills
  • An understanding of, and passion for, environmental issues, particularly marine policy and fisheries, climate change and energy systems, freshwater management, land preservation, sustainable agriculture and forestry, and/or air quality
  • Advanced proficiency with excel modeling
  • Proficiency in MS Outlook, Word, and PowerPoint
  • Proficiency with data visualization (e.g., Tableau), analytical software programs (e.g., GIS, R), and/or graphic design (e.g., InDesign) is beneficial
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to effectively communicate with senior management
  • Foreign language skills a plus, Spanish preferred
  • An insightful, curious, pragmatic, and strategic mind
  • A deep commitment to the conservation-related mission of CEA
  • A sense of humor

Compensation and Benefits

The expected start date for this position is January 2019. The position will be located in San Francisco, California. CEA offers an excellent benefits package and a competitive salary that is commensurate with experience.

How to Apply

To be considered for this position, interested candidates must follow the link below to submit a resume, cover letter, and salary requirements: Inquiries received via phone call or direct email will not be eligible for review. CEA is an equal opportunity employer.

Job Categories: Philanthropy. Job Types: Full-Time.

Job expires in 2 years.

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