Now Hiring: Director of Thriving Communities

Smart Growth America is seeking a Director of Thriving Communities to oversee our team that manages work on health, safety, and transportation, including the workshops, technical assistance, reports, and advocacy work of the National Complete Streets Coalition. SGA is looking for a dynamic, highly organized, people person with excellent communication skills who can manage a high volume of fast-paced work. This position will lead a collaborative and passionate small team of staff and report to the Vice President for Transportation and Thriving Communities.

About Smart Growth America

Smart Growth America is a leading national non-profit organization advocating for equitable, sustainable land use, development, and transportation. We empower communities through technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership to realize this vision of livable places, healthy people, and shared prosperity. Programmatic priorities for SGA include advancing racial equity, addressing the climate crisis, and improving the health of communities.

The Transportation and Thriving Communities Team leverages SGA’s multidisciplinary skill sets to support building healthier and more prosperous places for all people to thrive. This team works to provide equitable access to opportunity, build streets that are safe for everyone, expand transit service, improve health and well-being, and support local leaders and advocates seeking these outcomes. The broader Transportation and Thriving Communities Team includes the National Complete Streets Coalition, Transportation for America, the State Smart Transportation Initiative, and an Arts & Placemaking program.


  • Supervising: Manage a team of approximately 4 full-time staff, including developing and managing team and project budgets, determining project staffing and managing workloads, conducting performance reviews, leading hiring, and supporting the professional development of team members.
  • Grant management: Working with the Finance and Administration team and Thriving Communities staff, oversee grant budgets and reporting for the team’s major funding sources, including the final year of an ongoing $2.5 million cooperative agreement with the CDC, as well as foundation funding and fee for service work. 
  • Technical Assistance: Oversee and lead all technical assistance work of the Thriving Communities team with state, regional, and local decision-makers and stakeholders, including setting project scopes, overseeing the development of project schedules and workshop content, facilitating workshops, presenting as a subject matter expert, leading exercises, and producing and reviewing recommendations. 
  • Written resources and signature reports: Working with SGA’s Communications Team and others, oversee the development of signature SGA reports (like Dangerous by Design and The Best Complete Streets Policies reports), blog posts, newsletters, and other written content.
  • Thought leadership and relationship building: Serve as an ambassador and subject matter expert on Complete Streets to external partners, funders, and decision-makers and other internal teams within SGA. Contribute to strategic decisions about the evolving direction of the National Complete Streets movement and SGA’s other work and priorities.
  • Fundraising: Raise additional funds through donations, grants from philanthropy, sponsorships, and preparing proposals to RFPs with the Vice President for Transportation and Thriving Communities and President and CEO.

Knowledge and skills


  • Commitment to SGA’s North Star—a country where no matter who you are, or where you live, you can enjoy living in a place that is healthy, prosperous, and resilient—with a demonstrated commitment to advancing racial equity;
  • Degree in and at least 6-8 years of experience working in transportation, planning, or a related field, with some time working on safety/active transportation;
  • Solid working knowledge of the relationship between land use, development, housing, equity, climate, and economic development;
  • Ability to oversee a high volume of work and effectively manage team resources to deliver technical assistance, events, and reports to fulfill grant commitments;  
  • Experience managing budgets and grants and writing proposals for funding;
  • Excellent verbal communication and writing skills and demonstrated ability to build and maintain relationships with external partners, funders, and decision-makers;
  • Excellent people skills and commitment to fostering an inclusive team; and
  • Comfort working in a dynamic, fast-paced, and collaborative environment.


  • Direct practitioner experience working in a state, regional, or local transportation agency, including specific experience on Complete Streets or active transportation projects.
  • Advanced degree in transportation, planning, or a related field.
  • Experience managing, supporting, and developing staff.
  • Experience developing funding opportunities and fundraising plans.


Salary commensurate with experience and will range from $100,000-$120,000 a year. The successful candidate who would be in consideration to be compensated near the top of this range would need to have 8+ years of progressively responsible experience, significant experience managing a team, significant demonstrated experience working on Complete Streets, and direct practitioner experience working for a state, regional, or local transportation agency.

SGA has an entrepreneurial and innovative workplace culture where employees work collaboratively to achieve the mission with a focus on equity. SGA offers a generous employee benefits package featuring a fully paid medical plan, optional dental and vision coverage, 401k with a strong company contribution, company-paid life and disability insurance, three weeks’ vacation in the first year, and 11 paid holidays.

Office Schedule & COVID Protocols

This position is based in Washington, DC, and reports to the Vice President for Transportation and Thriving Communities. SGA staff are currently working in the office at 1152 15th Street NW, Washington DC Tuesday-Thursday every week and remote Mondays and Fridays. We currently anticipate this hybrid schedule remaining long-term. No relocation assistance is offered at this time.

SGA requires employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 and boosted. Other COVID protocols include social distancing for meetings and masks are encouraged, though not required.

How to apply

Please send a cover letter and resume to [email protected] with “Director of Thriving Communities” in the subject line. In your cover letter, please indicate how you’ve learned of this opportunity. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Smart Growth America and Transportation for America are committed to building a diverse staff and strongly encourage applications from candidates of color. Employment and promotional opportunities are based on individual capabilities and qualifications without regard to race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation/preference, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, or any other protected characteristic as established under law.