Become part of Hawaii’s conservation story

Senior Program Director - MALU


Reports to: VP of Philanthropy
Type: Exempt, Full Time

Kupu’s Story

Kupu, which means “to sprout” or “to grow” in Hawaiian, has a two-fold mission: to preserve the land while empowering youth. The organization provides hands-on training in conservation, sustainability, and environmental education for young adults, with the goal of fostering our next generation of environmental and cultural stewards. Kupu’s work has been likened to the role of the kupukupu fern, which is one of the first plants to recultivate the land after a lava flow. The fern not only serves as a foundational species for rebuilding a healthy, native ecosystem, but it also symbolizes a place where knowledge can grow.

Established in 2007 as a 501(c)3 non-profit, Kupu empowers future generations to create a more sustainable, pono Hawai‘i. Kupu accomplishes this by partnering with conservation and sustainability focused agencies throughout the state and pacific in providing hands-on service opportunities which educate and mentor young adults and emerging professionals to become stewards of our communities and environment. Since 2007, Kupu has risen to meet the increasing demands of the green job sector by engaging over 3,000 youth in the areas of conservation, sustainability, and environmental education. Kupu affirms the Hawaiian notion of “ma ka hana ka ʻike” or “in working one learns.”  This approach has led to the creation of hundreds of service-learning opportunities which assists in the development of Hawai’i’s emerging professionals in the green job sector while supporting over 150 conservation and sustainability organizations across Hawaiʻi and the Pacific region.

Kupu’s Mission

“To empower youth to serve their communities through character-building, service-learning, and environmental stewardship opportunities that encourage integrity (pono) with Ke Akua, self, and others”

Kupu’s CHOSEN Values

C         Character

H         Humility

O        ‘Ohana

S          Service

E          Excellence

N         Nobility

Position Overview

The role of the Sr. Program Officer, MALU Initiative Subaward Team is to provide leadership, partnership, and philanthropic strategy at the local, regional, and statewide levels through the MALU Initiative Subaward program grants, education, and community engagement.

The Sr. Program Officer is specifically responsible for a portfolio of projects, grants, and evaluative learning that relates to the impact of a changing climate on long term community resilience in Hawaii and the Pacific. This focus area helps to foster the intersection between our natural resources and conservation practices, environment, built infrastructure, local and state planning, and the socioeconomic future of Hawai‘i’s communities. The long-term philanthropic goal is to foster social, ecologic, and economic resilience in the face of the impacts of climate change.

Program Goals

Kupu, in partnership with its broad network, will implement MALU Subawards to fulfill federal, state, and organizational urban and community forestry (UCF) goals. MALU Subawards will award local community-based organizations demonstrating proficiency in one or more of five areas.

  1. Expanded Tree Canopy: MALU will emphasize that subawardees implement strategic tree planting, augmenting and maintaining tree canopy, green infrastructure, and controlling pests, thus contributing to healthier communities, food security, enhancement of unique native biodiversity, and increased resiliency to climate change.
  2. Community Awareness and Engagement: Through multi-pronged public awareness and eduction campaigns, MALU will uplift the value of urban canopies and forest ecosystems as essential contributors to sustainability and resilience and inspire community involvement and support for tree planting and care.
  3. Career and Workforce Development: People from disadvantaged communities need access to training and meaningful career opportunities as much as government, non-profits, and businesses need a qualified and motivated workforce. MALU will help build a pipeline that satisfies both these needs through recruitment, training, and placement.
  4. Planning Systems Change: MALU will impact systems to support forestry through advocacy, participation in planning and leadership bodies, creating green jobs that feed into positions of leadership, securing funding to support underserved communities, and leveraging funding across all sectors.
  5. Indigenous Equity: MALU will employ place-based practices for addressing tree canopy and related activities through a community of practice framework that will incorporate innovative and traditional practices.
Essential Functions and Responsibilities:
  • Conduct oneself with aloha and drive Kupu’s culture.
  • Conduct oneself with integrity, credibility, professionalism, and unwavering commitment to Kupu’s mission.
  • Serves as a role model for Kupu’s culture, mission, and CHOSEN Values.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Leadership & Strategy

  • Lead the team to create, implement, execute and evaluate program and initiatives.
  • Lead the team to create, implement, execute, and evaluate programs and initiatives, remaining compliant with Federal Code of Regulations.
  • Supervise MALU Initiative Subaward team to ensure goals and objective of the team are being met.
  • Develop tactics that increase environmental resilience and focuses on areas of particular vulnerability for Hawai‘i communities. 
  • Develop tactics that increase opportunities for leadership, business development, and community building relating to community and economic vitality for Hawai‘i’s communities. 
  • Work to build Hawai‘i’s resilience in the face of climate disruptions through natural or built resource management, changing practices, and the economic viability for Hawai‘i’s communities.
  • Work directly with a committee of advisors and funding partners on aligning impact and evaluation in environmental and climate resilience programming, as well as collaborating on co-funding projects where appropriate.
  • Gather, track, and analyze data at statewide, project-based, and lessons-learned levels to better communicate the systems change work of the opportunity gap. 
  • Participates in fundholder engagement strategies; assisting with events, information, site visits, grant sourcing, and communications to better represent Kupu’s work to our funder community. 

Grant Administration & Contracts

  • Support up to $5,000,000 of grantmaking each year in significant, multi-year initiative-level work. Grant sourcing occurs through community engagement and data collection, with locally sourced project ideas and collaboration with the team and external partners. 
  • Participate in the granting process where appropriate, specifically on project level alignment and co-funding.
  • Work closely with program Compliance Officer to ensure that the organization is operating in compliance with grants, contracts, laws, and regulations.
  • Controls programmatic expenditures in accordance with the budget and develops strategies to ensure sound management of Kupu’s funds.

Community & Stakeholder Collaboration

  • Steward grantees through Kupu’s programs and processes, maintaining professional learning, collaborative development, and aligned advancing of mission and goals. 
  • Work collaboratively with the Compliance, Finance, External Affairs, and Program teams, within the structures, procedures, and compliance needs of Kupu, that align with our guiding strategies and values. 
  • Maintain and uphold collaborative, community-oriented, and best practices-oriented grant making for large and small grants.

Impact Measurement and Fundholder Engagement

  • Participate in and help to track grants and community investments utilizing the Foundation’s impact measurement framework and the learning and evaluation system, including data and information entry, analysis, and reporting. 
  • Consistently work interdepartmentally to provide stories, metrics, and data to communicate impact for donors, fundholders, and partners.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • 5-10 years relevant work experience, Significant experience managing donor relationships as well as project management.
  • Ability to work during regular business hours (M-F between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and some evenings and weekends.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Familiarity with database management tools.
  • Comfort and ease in diverse social settings.
  • Ability to follow through on commitments.
  • Demonstration of innovative strategic thinking and planning skills.
  • Develop, implement, and evaluate integrated processes for effective philanthropy.
  • Respect for colleagues, donors, and community partners.
  • Excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Presentation or public speaking experience.
  • Ability to work both independently and with various groups.
  • Demonstrated commitment to community.
  • Proven track record of creating and implementing strategic programs, systems, and approaches.
  • Experience and success in convening key stakeholders and building shared vision and momentum.
  • Ability to engage communities and cross-sector groups around a common agenda.
  • Creativity and innovation in the use of capital to achieve strategic objectives across sectors.
  • Leadership skills with stewardship and facilitation experience.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • BA/BS degree recommended, Master’s degree a plus.
  • Experience in setting and achieving goals.
  • Familiarity with grantmaking, Experience making funding decisions a plus.

Compensation and Benefits:

  • Pay commensurate with experience.
  • Employer Paid Health Benefits
  • PTO
  • 401(k) plan (eligible after one year and 1,000 hours of service)
  • Other lifestyle benefits (travel, entertainment, gym reimbursement)

Physical Requirements:

Due to the nature of Kupu’s programs, the physical demands described below are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform essential functions of this position.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Must be able to occasionally lift and carry up to 25 lbs.
  • Must be able to talk, listen and speak clearly on telephone.
  • Must be able to occasionally stand; walk; sit, use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; balance; stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl; and talk or hear.
  • Specific vision requirements of the job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception and the ability to adjust focus.

*In accordance with Federal Law, Kupu is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability

Employment Type: Full Time

Remote Type: Work From Home Flexibility


  • Posted On

    December 5, 2023
  • Closing Date

    March 2, 2024
  • Organization

  • Location

    Honolulu, HI
  • Position Type

    Full Time
For more information about Kupu and this opportunity please visit our website at, contact us at (808) 735-1221 or via email at

Sign In