GAIA is looking for a focused and hardworking U.S. & Canada Program Associate who wants to strengthen the movement for environmental justice and zero waste. You will catalyze a coordinated effort between leading organizers in the U.S. and support cross-cutting research and communications strategies that will multiply the impact of grassroots organizing across the country. This position will connect you to leading grassroots organizers throughout the country and is an excellent opportunity for growth for both the right candidate and GAIA itself.


About you

You believe in the power of grassroots organizing and envision yourself in a role that strengthens the work of community activists and connects them to a broader network.

You excel at organizing others and working collaboratively, and are adept at engaging with others remotely. You are capable of running different tasks simultaneously and managing complex projects and events from start to finish with minimal supervision, and you have strong attention to detail.

You are adept at identifying challenges and opportunities and finding creative solutions. You know how to identify stakeholders and build a trustful relationship with them.


About GAIA

GAIA is a worldwide alliance of more than 800 organization and individuals in over 90 countries working for justice and a world without waste. We see waste, plastics, and their resulting pollution as a symptoms of a larger, profit-driven extractive economy, and we promote zero waste as a holistic solution and an economic shift toward justice and sustainability.

GAIA’s work in the U.S. and Canada has helped to keep the public educated about the true climate, environmental and economic impacts of quick fix approaches to waste such as incineration, and we help to promote the benefits of alternative approaches like zero waste programs.  We have grounded our work in impacted communities by supporting organizations, alliances, and coalitions around the country that are fighting incinerators, advocating for zero waste, and pushing for environmental and climate justice. We do this work while also staying connected to broader social and environmental justice movements.


About the position

GAIA is building a long-term strategy to support pollution-reducing zero waste efforts in key locations throughout the United States, bringing to bear a collaborative research effort and a broad communications campaign. As an instrumental part of making this strategy a reality, you will organize strategic coordination between members, build the capacity of grassroots groups to do effective on-the-ground organizing, provide support on key national projects for justice and clean air, and track our collective progress toward our goals. You will work in close collaboration with our U.S. & Canada Regional Coordinator, who is a nationally recognized grassroots leader based in Detroit, as well as other GAIA staff situated elsewhere in the U.S. and throughout the world.

GAIA’s added value is our ability to connect organizers around the world and maintain a network whose influence can shift the playing field nationally and globally. This work is not possible without dedicated staff like you ensuring participatory and productive spaces for cross pollination and strategic collaboration.


Support key national projects for justice and clean air

  • Connect regularly with organizing partners around the country to ensure that we are hitting campaign goals.
  • Provide regular updates to the GAIA team on the struggles and victories of local efforts.
  • Understand key projects and help to track, prioritize, and delegate tasks.
  • Assist with ongoing coordination needs, especially when the U.S. & Canada Regional Coordinator is traveling.

Help connect organizers from around the country to strengthen local campaigns and build an even stronger and better connected network.

  • Organize convenings for leading organizations to share information and strategize together in-person, including ensuring that all logistics are executed smoothly.
  • Coordinate regular conversations between leading organizations to discuss shared campaigns and learn from each other’s work.
  • Catalyze and proactively improve our members-only forum (Loomio) to be a healthy and productive space for activists from different organizations to discuss strategies and share information.
  • Manage systems for member support, drawing on resources in the network
  • Welcome new GAIA members to our network and be a first line of communication for interested groups.
  • Ensure that U.S. groups are included in global activist spaces and are added to key networking platforms.

Aid in building the capacity of grassroots groups to do effective on-the-ground organizing

  • Coordinate several trainings for key project partners on topics such as campaigns, communications, and policy.
  • Identify and help create tools and resources that will benefit local campaigns.
  • Facilitate connections between local organizers and key research partners.
  • Increase visibility of grassroots organizing by actively identifying and seeking out campaigns and victories that should be shared on our blog, website, social media, and internal platforms together with communications staff at GAIA and member organizations.

Track and report on progress of program initiatives:

  • Develop, track, and regularly aggregate results from GAIA’s regional work, network, and specific initiatives toward specific indicators of success
  • Solicit and help develop periodic reports as needed
  • Assess results to provide recommendations for future initiatives
  • Work with other staff to develop fundraising reports and communications collateral



  • At least two years organizing or nonprofit experience (this can include internships and nonpaid or part-time work).
  • Familiarity with environmental justice principles and practices, especially in building relationships and collaboration with frontline communities and grassroots groups and other organizations.
  • Demonstrated success coordinating complex projects that may require multiple layers of consultation and tracking over time.
  • Strong attention to detail and ability to manage complicated logistics and other high-level administrative tasks.
  • Proven ability to work independently and use creative problem-solving skills in order to overcome obstacles and achieve goals, including work in a fast paced environment where projects may have quick turnaround times.
  • Experience working with teams from diverse cultural backgrounds in a way that is sensitive to different communication styles and values community wisdom.
  • Comfort with online platforms and ability to quickly learn new digital tools.
  • Personable and enjoys interacting with people from different places.
  • Willingness to travel domestically with frequency is required.


The following skills are not required, but a plus:

  • Organizing experience (including community, grassroots, or political organizing)
  • Strong writing skills
  • Spanish language skills
  • Experience with event coordination
  • Strategic planning and facilitation skills


Position Details

This is a full-time position based in Detroit, Michigan. You will work closely with the U.S. & Canada Regional Coordinator.

Salary is commensurate with experience. Salary and benefits are competitive for a mid-sized social justice group based in the Detroit area, including generous sick leave and vacation time.

GAIA is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages people of color, gender non-conforming, and LGBTQ persons to apply. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion or belief, disability, gender, nationality, ethnicity, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or any other status protected by law.

Please send a brief cover letter, resume, and three to five references to with the subject line “U.S. Program Associate Application.”

Applications will be considered as received, with a priority deadline of May 4th.


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