Phila. Office of Sustainability – Heat Resiliency Fellow

Website USDN

The Global Philanthropy Partnership (GPP) and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) are pleased to offer seven summer 2019 fellowship opportunities with local governments. Fellows will receive a valuable learning experience while helping local governments to advance their sustainability and inclusion goals.

2019 fellowships will be offered with the City of Baltimore (MD), City of Cleveland (OH), City of Dubuque (IA)City of Fort Collins (CO), Iowa City (IA) City of Philadelphia (PA), and City of Vancouver (BC).  These links contain more information on the scope of each available fellowship.

Highlights of all eight fellowships include:

  • A living wage or higher for the fellowship location
  • Full-time employment over the summer (12 weeks)
  • The experience of working in a local government sustainability program on a well- defined project that advances a community’s sustainability and equity goals
  • A project that is inclusive of under-served and under-represented communities and responsive to their needs and priorities
  • Mentorship from Desiree Williams-Rajee and participation in a national learning cohort of USDN EDI fellows.
  • Access to all USDN member discussions and products
  • Free attendance at the October 2019 USDN annual meeting (lodging, flight, meals, and the opportunity to meet with more than 200 sustainability professionals from across North America – expenses paid)
  • Membership in an informal network of past and current EDI fellows

Broad requirements for all fellowship projects are listed below. Each local government project also has specific requirements.

  • Be passionate about sustainability and/or the environment
  • Be new to the sustainability field of work or interested in exploring a career in sustainability
  • Have the skills required to match the needs of the projects for which you apply
  • Have excellent written and verbal communication skills, including the ability to relate to, communicate with, and learn from racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse communities
  • Have experience working with multiple communities, including communities of color
  • Have experience considering the impacts of projects on multiple communities, including communities of color
  • Commit to working for the entire duration of the fellowship
  • Commit to participating actively in the cohort learning and mentoring programs
  • Commit to maintaining the privacy of cohort and USDN discussions
  • Complete a one-page summary blog post and program evaluation form at the conclusion of the fellowship to reflect on their experience
  • Make a presentation on their work at the USDN annual meeting in October 2019 (expenses paid to travel to the USDN annual meeting)

Applications should be sent to the Urban Sustainability Directors Network at <fellowship@usdn.org>. Please include the name of the community or communities with which you are seeking a fellowship in the email subject line. People of color are encouraged to apply. Applications should include:

The application period will now be open through late April 2019. However, review of applications will begin in late March and Host Cities may make hiring decisions. All applicants will be notified of selection decisions. For additional information, please email Sarah McKinstry-Wu, USDN Strategic Projects Manager, at sarahmckinstrywu@usdn.org. Thank you for your interest!

Fellowship Summary

The Heat Resiliency Fellow in the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability will support the launch of a neighborhood-based heat relief network, an interconnected system of service providers that provide cooling resources, in one of Philadelphia’s hottest and most heat vulnerable neighborhoods.

Project Background

Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability (OOS) is responsible for implementing Greenworks: A Vision for a Sustainable Philadelphia, the City’s comprehensive sustainability plan. This plan explicitly outlines equity goals within eight topic areas. As a companion effort to the report, OOS committed to creating the “Greenworks Equity Index” as a tool to directly engage with communities not currently benefiting from sustainability work. Using equity as an approach means:

  • Acknowledging that environmental inequalities like exposure to heat often exist in majority low-income and Black and Brown neighborhoods in Philadelphia;
  • Working to understand how the City’s systems, policies, and procedures create barriers that maintain these inequalities; and
  • Redirecting our resources towards dismantling these barriers.

OOS began piloting equity as an approach in 2018 with the Beat the Heat Initiative that focused on communities of color disproportionately exposed to environmental stressors, particularly extreme heat. The goal of this first effort is to work in one of Philadelphia’s hottest and most heat vulnerable neighborhood – Hunting Park – to identify and acknowledge causes for heat disparities and support community-driven decision-making about how to reduce these inequities.

OOS carries out these values by working with partners to improve quality of life in all Philadelphia neighborhoods, reduce the City’s carbon emissions, and prepare Philadelphia for a hotter, wetter future. The 12-person team that makes up OOS works interdependently to achieve these goals by drawing upon the wide range of professional and lived experience among team members. Members often collaborate in work groups of people with complementary skills to maximize OOS’s collective expertise.

The fellow will work within an internal project team that includes the Director of Sustainability, the Deputy Director of Sustainability, the Senior Program Manager, and the Communications and Outreach Coordinator. The position reports to the Deputy Director of Sustainability.

Job Description

The Heat Resiliency Fellow will be primarily responsible for supporting the launch of a neighborhood-based heat relief network in Hunting Park. The fellow will collaborate with racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse stakeholders to:

  • Co-construct criteria for selecting cooling sites with community partners by performing research and devising community-based information gathering activities
  • Identify relevant community programming by thoughtfully working with other City departments and agencies, local institutions, and community partners to test options at designated cooling sites
  • Develop a culturally responsive communications strategy to encourage community awareness and utilization of the network
  • Monitor and share progress and impact by collecting data, documenting feedback and progress, and presenting a summary of activities and key findings


  • Sustainability and Social Justice Literacy – Interest in environmental justice and sustainability issues; Shows understanding of the concepts of distributional, institutional, and structural inequities and their impact on underserved communities
  • Communication – Demonstrates strong written and verbal communication and adapts styles to differing cultural environments
  • Planning – Sets priorities, organizes tasks, and determines resource requirements
  • Willingness to Learn – Expands abilities constantly; Strives for new skills; Seeks continuous learning opportunities
  • Community Engagement – Direct lived experience nurturing relationships with low- income and community of color communities
  • Language Proficiency – Ability to speak Spanish fluently preferred but not required

Professional Development and Support

OOS approaches individual growth and capacity building collaboratively. Professional learning occurs in the shared context of a community where all team members collectively participate in staff development. The entire team convenes regularly to strengthen skills and competencies through knowledge exchange, resource sharing, and peer-to-peer support.

In addition to all-staff development opportunities, the fellow will further build skills and knowledge through 1:1 mentoring with members of the senior leadership team. Peer-to-peer mentoring will complement 1:1 meetings. The fellow will receive guidance and coaching from other OOS staff as well as other city departments and community-based organizations based on learning interest.

Pay Rate and Housing

The fellow will receive a stipend of $15 an hour.

Many of Philadelphia’s local universities and colleges, such as Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University, offer short-term housing during the summer term to students with internships. The International House Philadelphia also provides flexible and affordable residential arrangements.

To apply for this job email your details to fellowship@usdn.org

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