Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) is the nation’s largest trails organization—with a grassroots community more than 1 million strong—dedicated to building a nation connected by trails, reimagining public spaces to create safe ways for everyone to walk, bike and be active outdoors. Founded in 1986, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's national office is located in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. For more information, visit www.railstotrails.org. Connect with RTC @railstotrails on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
The Director of Technical Assistance will provide support to local communities and fledgling trail networks, with a particular emphasis on low-income communities and communities of color, to maximize access to unprecedented funding made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and other Federal programs. They will provide this technical assistance to local communities through a variety of programming, including but not limited to: RTC’s participation as a capacity provider in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Thriving Communities Program, and through RTC’s newly launched TrailNation™ Collaborative. The TrailNation Collaborative is a nationwide peer-learning community created by RTC that welcomes professionals, leaders, and advocates from across disciplines who are working to establish and grow trail networks across the country. The Collaborative provides proven tools, methods and resources, combined with RTC’s expertise and network of partners across the country, to accelerate the development of connected trail systems.
The ideal candidate will have a significant role in helping to expand RTC’s engagement with low-income communities and Communities of Color, including tribal and rural communities. Candidates with personal or professional experience in serving such communities are encouraged to apply.
This position reports to the Vice President of Trail Development and works in close collaboration with the Senior Director of Trail Development and other RTC staff across matrixed teams and supervises the TrailNation Collaborative Lead.
Washington, D.C., National Headquarters, preferred. Proof of COVID vaccination is required for all staff.
Technical Assistance (70%)
Work within a matrixed team, including trail development staff, policy staff, and communications staff, fundraising staff, and operations staff to lead and serve RTC’s technical assistance programming to empower communities of color, tribal, rural and low-income communities to successfully advance trail and active transportation projects, including overcoming technical and political challenges, to be able to strategize and compete for state and federal funding. Duties are as follows:
- Work in close partnership with the VP of Trail Development, the Senior Director of Trail Development and the TrailNation Collaborative Lead to define the structure and processes for expanding RTC’s national in-person and virtual (online and phone) technical assistance programs, and to build impact tracking systems to measure the success of these programs.
- Work in close coordination with the trail development and policy teams to align and advance organizational advocacy and movement-building goals related to this work; as well as with the communications team to identify appropriate external messaging.
- Work in close coordination with RTC’s fundraising team in developing successful fundraising proposals in support of RTC’s technical assistance programs.
- Develop and deliver tailored trainings and other materials (presentations, surveys, case studies, online tools, newsletters and content for RTC’s online resources) for diverse stakeholders designed to: build the capacity and ability of community leaders and advocates to successfully advance trail and active transportation projects from concept through advocacy; plan and ultimately strategize toward state and federal project funding requests; and advance positive policy changes at all levels.
- Support communities in successfully getting trail and active transportation projects and networks included in STIPS (Statewide Transportation Improvement Programs)/TIPS (Transportation Improvement Programs).
- Utilize RTC’s existing tools and resources to assist communities with cost estimations of trail and trail network projects, including life-cycle costs beyond construction that include maintenance.
- Support communities in identifying the most strategic public and private funding streams for their trail and active transportation projects.
- Support communities in increasing local-level capacity and leadership to successfully develop and submit competitive funding applications.
- Support communities in understanding requirements to receive federal funding, such as inclusion in (local, regional and state) plans and environmental reviews, as well as opportunities to streamline the process.
- Support communities in developing strategies to secure support from elected and agency leaders and other influential stakeholders who can elevate the competitiveness of public funding applications.
- Identify creative strategies for the fulfillment of matching or cost-sharing requirements on federal and state grants.
- Work within a matrixed team to provide leadership and support to RTC’s TrailNation Collaborative and larger TrailNation Program.
- Collaborate with and supervise the TrailNation Collaborative Lead to evolve and advance the newly launched TrailNation Collaborative in accordance with the initiative’s goals over time.
- Partner with other Trail Development Directors to develop and implement processes and tools for effective TrailNation Project impact reporting across the entire program in congruence with RTC’s updated strategic plan.
Other Duties (5%)
- Other duties as assigned.
- Supervise 1–2 direct reports on the trail development team, including the TrailNation Collaborative Lead.
- Manage relationships with partners and external consultants engaged in supporting RTC’s work.
This position supervises the TrailNation Collaborative Lead.
Basic Qualifications and Personal Attributes
- At least 7+ years of relevant professional-level experience, particularly in a matrixed and geographically dispersed nonprofit.
- Self-motivated, with the ability to work with and build relationships with a variety of external stakeholders; demonstrated success in engaging culturally diverse audiences, partners and colleagues.
- A solid understanding of the process of moving a trail project from concept through advocacy, planning, funding, design and construction.
- Experience supporting communities with identifying, strategizing, and overcoming barriers to trail and active transportation development and/or community development.
- Demonstrated experience with trail/active transportation advocacy and planning, economic development, community-engaged planning, or other urban planning and advocacy-related topics.
- Experience supporting communities with successful public funding applications, particularly federal funding applications.
- Analytical and problem-solving skills, including issue identification and prioritization, planning, strategy development, data tracking, and reporting.
- Exceptional presentation skills and communication skills; strong skills in writing, spelling, grammar and proofreading.
- Direct supervisory experience.
- Direct experience with managing nonprofit budgets.
- Experience and comfort with leading and participating in video, phone, and in-person stakeholder meetings.
- Ability to adapt and be flexible in a dynamic work environment.
- Entrepreneurial spirit.
- Experience managing nonreporting staff to support a broad portfolio of communities receiving technical assistance.
- Experience using ESRI GIS software.
- Experience managing federal grants.
Up to 40% of travel is involved, including to communities receiving technical assistance, as needed.
Normal office setting with low to moderate noise level.
RTC reserves the right to revise, change or reclassify this job description at any time in accordance with RTC’s business needs. This job description is by no means an implied contract.
Commitment to Diversity
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy seeks diverse, passionate and qualified individuals who want to make a difference in the world. RTC is an equal opportunity employer. We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, age, and other legally protected characteristics.
If you need a reasonable accommodation because of a disability for any part of the interviewing process, please e-mail email@example.com and provide the nature of your request and your contact information.