Tom Graff Diversity Fellow, Puerto Rico Energy

With world attention on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. By focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. We are one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of approximately 700 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We operate in 22 geographies with unique projects running across four programs. You will be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and results are a way of life.


EDF envisions a world in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected to the environmental challenges we face and are engaged in creating durable, equitable solutions. We seek talented candidates who share the Core Values that allow us to experiment courageously in our work while staying true to who we’ve been as an organization for 50 years. Are you a results oriented individual who is passionate about creating environmental solutions that make a lasting difference in the world? Do you respect diverse perspectives, talents and contributions? Do you value innovation and enjoy designing and using a wide range of problem-solving tools? Do you embrace environmental goals with a sense of optimism while taking into account real-world dynamics? If you have integrity and a strong desire to uphold a commitment to science, rigorous analysis, intellectual honesty and ethical action, then EDF is the place for you.

The Tom Graff Diversity Fellowship Program looks for candidates from diverse backgrounds who are seeking a professional experience in environmental advocacy. The Fellowship is a full-time, one-year position focused on a project integral to EDF’s mission. Proposals should offer prospective Fellows a well-rounded experience, specific deliverables and outcomes, and an opportunity for one or more of the following:

  • Understanding and engaging with the political landscape, particularly how the organization lobbies effectively
  • Developing and promoting key partnerships with a variety of organizations to build momentum for achieving our desired outcomes
  • Understanding how we use media and communications strategies to advance program initiatives
  • Designing and utilizing market-based mechanisms to achieve environmental and economic goals
  • Employing science-based data and analysis to support our program initiatives

Program Overview

In 2017, Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico’s electric grid, creating a public health emergency and threatening access to clean drinking water, medical services, food security, and other basic needs. Many areas of the island remained without electricity for nearly a year. The electric grid was decimated, and the traditional utility mindset that governed it failed Puerto Rico, particularly in those in rural areas. As climate change makes the frequency and severity of storms like Maria more common, a new approach to providing electricity to the island is badly needed.


Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) will use a combination of rigorous analysis, business and political partnerships, and grid modernization experience to advocate for rural, community-scale low-carbon microgrids as a viable and essential strategy for the island’s long-term economic development strategy. This will be part of a larger effort to set the electric system in Puerto Rico on a path toward a more resilient, distributed, and cleaner electric system than the one that existed before the hurricane. We will draw on EDF’s extensive experience by creating robust coalitions of diverse voices to achieve focused goals.


Overall Function

EDF has recently launched a one-of-a-kind grid modernization project in Puerto Rico to make the island’s electricity system more resilient and capable of withstanding future impacts caused by climate change. EDF will join efforts to design and deploy low-carbon microgrids - mini energy service stations will fuel up on solar power and can function separately from the grid during emergencies - to bring cleaner, more reliable and more affordable electricity to rural parts of the island.


The Fellow will focus on collaborating with local groups and organizations and technical experts, devising financial tools and on participating in energy reform processes to make these systems feasible and sustainable for the island’s long-term energy and economic development strategy.


Key Responsibilities

Tasks will include but are not limited to:

  • Research and identify potential community partners, local organizations, grasstop influencers, and facilitate engagement opportunities.
  • Assist in building and managing sustainable partnerhips that both strengthen this project and support partners’ goals and needs.
  • Engage and convene internal staff who have a deep base of knowledge and experience engaging with Latino Spanish-speaking communities and are committed to meaningful partnerships. 
  • Conduct research and generate analytics to advance program goals, specifically related to site selection, policy reform, financing tools and impact evaluation.
  • Develop expertise on key policy issues at the intersection of energy, health, and economic development and support the policy and finance team on priority policy issues.
  • Investigate fundraising opportunities to support this project, and work with EDF supervisors to develop and submit grant proposals.
  • Providing overall support to the Puerto Rico team’s processes and operational activities
  • Developing a variety of communication and other work products to socialize the impact and maximize the reach of our efforts in Puerto Rico.
  • Assisting in the development of communications strategies and materials.


  • An Undergraduate degree from an accredited institution on majors pertaining to this Fellowship. Graduate degree holders are also encouraged to apply.
  • Demonstrated interest interest in Environmental Justice issues and energy issues.
  • Familiarity with environmental policy, particularly climate change, or energy.
  • Written and oral fluency in both Spanish and English is strongly preferred.
  • Experience with research or work in communications, outreach, field organizing, or advocacy on Environmental Justice issues.
  • Specific knowledge of Puerto Rico’s history and political landscape. Ties to or previous work in Puerto Rico is ideal.
  • Experience working in multi-cultural environments, particularly in Puerto Rico, preferred.
  • Ability to work independently as well as part of a team.
  • Ability to work outdoors with potentially high sun, element, and temperature exposure.
  • Ability to independently collect and analyze data.
  • Experience with research or work in energy issues is preferred.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Must be well organized, motivated, detail-oriented, and meet deadlines in a fast-moving environment
  • Ability to multi-task, prioritize and meet deadlines.
  • Ability to work in a team setting as well as independently.
  • Demonstrate initiative and problem-solving skills.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office suite of software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.).
  • Ability to travel for up to 40% of the project duration, especially to Puerto Rico, where a majority of associated external operations will take place.


This is a 1-year Fellowship, starting October 2019


Application Materials

Interested applicants should attach their cover letter and resume to the EDF application.

Environmental Defense Fund is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant's qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.