Position announcement: Grassroots Organizing Coordinator [closed]

Please note, the application period for this position has closed. Openings are announced on our homepage and in our email newsletter, Mississippi Messages.

About FMR

Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR) is a leading nonprofit that protects, restores and enhances the Mississippi River and its watershed in the Twin Cities region. Our focus is the metro area, but our impact is often regional or national.

Our goals are to:
• improve water quality,
• conserve important lands,
• engage people in learning about and taking action to protect and enhance one of the world's greatest rivers,
• inspire widespread commitment to this natural wonder flowing through our communities, and
• protect our river's unique scenic, natural, cultural and recreational qualities.

With an annual budget of $2.8 million, FMR employs a dedicated, professional staff of 19 (soon to be 22) who work to improve the health of the river through policy advocacy, education and engagement, land conservation and ecological restoration and other disciplines. Over 28 years, FMR has established deep relationships and credibility with thousands of residents, volunteers, landowners, partner organizations, government agencies and elected officials.

With a well-known and respected brand, a seasoned and effective staff, a strong board of directors, and a growing base of support, FMR is poised for continued growth and success. Our workplace culture is collaborative and fun; staff members share a common love of the river and dedication to FMR's mission, vision and core values.

FMR believes the Mississippi River belongs to all of us and its gifts should flow to everyone in our community. We strive to be culturally competent, welcoming and inclusive. We are working toward greater social and environmental justice, using our resources and influence to redress structural inequality in our own organization and where it intersects with the health and vitality of the Mississippi River. We encourage interested applicants from all backgrounds to apply.

The position

This is a full-time position at 40 hours/week, with benefits.

The Grassroots Organizing Coordinator engages community members, including FMR’s network of 3,000 River Guardians, in grassroots advocacy efforts to protect, restore, and enhance the Mississippi River and its watershed for everyone. FMR advocates at the federal, state and local levels on a range of environmental policy issues including water quality, agriculture, protection of parks and open space, riverfront development, Twin Cities locks and dams and more. The organizer will be a visible member of FMR’s advocacy team and a key community presence as we build grassroots power and equip residents as effective advocates for the river and environment.

The Grassroots Organizing Coordinator position is right for a strategic, creative, engaging and organized candidate who can effectively build relationships with a diverse range of community members while managing multiple projects and priorities. A commitment to and understanding of equity and environmental justice is crucial to success in this role. This newly created role reports to FMR’s Land Use & Planning Program Director (formerly River Corridor Director) and collaborates closely with staff from across the organization, including from our Water and River Corridor programs and Communications department. 


  • Recruit, inspire, equip and support community members to take action on environmental issues related to the Mississippi River.
  • Plan and carry out actions and activities such as community meetings, canvassing, rallies, virtual events, etc. to cultivate grassroots leadership, increase community awareness of FMR and expand participation in FMR’s advocacy efforts.
  • Plan and deliver regular events to engage, train and thank River Guardian community advocates.
  • Support grassroots participation in the development of FMR advocacy priorities, including FMR’s annual legislative platform.
  • Recruit new River Guardians through participation in community festivals and other outreach events.
  • Represent FMR at community events, coalition/partnership events and public meetings.
  • Collaborate with FMR’s Communications department to create a variety of communications products (web content, articles, videos, social media content, emails, etc.).
  • Use technology tools, including Salsa Engage and FileMaker, to engage advocates and track participation. (Training will be provided.)
  • Assist with policy research and strategy development on a variety of issues.
  • Participate in internal meetings, events and working groups. 

Required qualifications

  • Commitment to and passion for the mission of Friends of the Mississippi River.
  • 2-5 years of experience in community organizing and engagement, grassroots advocacy, public policy, environmental policy or related work.
  • Bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, urban studies/planning, public policy, sociology, or related field OR commensurate experience.
  • Shares FMR’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and has experience advancing similar efforts, such as working in cross-cultural settings or connecting community and policy goals to environmental justice issues.
  • Excellent interpersonal relationship-building skills and the ability to work collaboratively and effectively with diverse partners and community stakeholders.
  • Excellent and persuasive written and verbal communication skills and comfort speaking and presenting to groups.
  • Strong organizational skills including the ability to plan work, meet deadlines and balance multiple projects and priorities across different internal program areas.
  • Ability to learn and use technology programs and platforms including Salsa Engage, FileMaker, Microsoft Office, Zoom and Google products.
  • The ability to work in a range of indoor and outdoor community settings is required, including parks (paved/developed areas), community festivals and events, government centers, etc. 
  • The ability to work a flexible schedule is required, including occasional long hours, some evenings (average 1-2/week on varying weekdays) and occasional weekends (evening and weekend events are scheduled with advance notice). 
  • Reliable transportation is required to locations throughout the Twin Cities, including areas not served by transit (mileage and parking costs for work-related travel will be reimbursed).

Additional desired qualifications

  • Working knowledge of grassroots organizing principles and practices, including emerging tactics for digital engagement and organizing.
  • Familiarity with and contacts within the Twin Cities progressive organizing community.

Salary & benefits

This is a full-time position. The starting annual salary range is $44,000-48,000 commensurate with experience. Benefits include health, dental and short-term disability insurance, a retirement plan with employer match, parking/transit allowance and generous paid time off.

Working conditions and COVID-19 adaptations

Friends of the Mississippi River's office is located in downtown St. Paul in view of the river. Throughout the pandemic, we have prioritized staff safety and followed CDC and state guidance regarding when and how to interact in-person and indoors. We currently require vaccinations and masks in our office, and offer staff the option to work from home. As pandemic conditions improve, we will explore moving to a hybrid work scenario (some days in-office and some remote) to maintain flexibility, while also creating opportunities to foster staff cohesion and collaboration. 

While most working hours will be spent in an office or home office setting, the organizer will also frequently participate in events and meetings in a variety of indoor and outdoor community settings. Because this role requires significant in-person community engagement, we require vaccination against COVID-19 for this position. Accommodations can be made for religious or medical exemptions on a case-by-case basis.

To apply

Please consolidate your application into one PDF document that includes: a cover letter summarizing your interest in and qualifications for the position; a 1-2 page résumé; and the names, titles, and phone numbers of three professional references (or two professional and one personal reference). Please include your last name in the file name and email it as an attachment with "Grassroots Organizing Coordinator" as the subject line to mbierma@fmr.org.

The position will remain open until filled. Applicants are encouraged to apply by February 21, 2022.
Learn more about FMR’s commitment to advancing equity.

Meet our team

To get to know a few of our staff, learn more about our River Guardians program and hear more about some of our recent advocacy priorities, check out our recent 2021 wrap-up video. (Be sure to stick around for the outtakes!)