Benton Harbor Justice40 Initiative Project Manager

Management Business Solutions, Inc.
Benton Harbor, Michigan
Dec 06, 2023
Dec 15, 2023
Roadways / Bridges
Full Time
Organization Type
West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum has retained Management Business Solutions to be a value-add partner in their recruitment for the Benton Harbor Justice40 Initiative Project Manager position. As a solution-based staffing organization; we have aligned our processes to mirror West Michigan Sustainable Business Forums talent strategies to identify qualified candidates. This position is on-site in Benton Harbor/St. Joseph, MI.

SUMMARY: West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum promotes business practices that advance climate leadership, social justice and the creation of a circular economy. We provide education, resources and opportunities for collaboration and civic engagement to businesses and institutions in Michigan, while working to create regional and statewide networks that facilitate collective leadership and equity through a mutually beneficial flow of information, expertise, and resources.

The Benton Harbor Justice40 Initiative is a grant-funded program that will develop capacity for sustainability and sustainable business in the City of Benton Harbor, Mich., providing support to advance equitable climate action to the municipality, local businesses and institutions, and other collaborators. Through this initiative, City of Benton Harbor will receive project management and grant writing support to leverage expected opportunities created by state and federal Justice40 commitments, and to improve collaboration with community organizations.

Benton Harbor (population 8,982) has the second largest-percentage of black residents in Michigan (87.3%). In the past 30 years, a declining industrial base reduced its population by half, leading to financial challenges: Some 43.6% of its residents live in poverty, with a median household income of $24,529, approximately half that of its twin city across the bridge, St. Joseph. It was targeted by Michigans controversial emergency manager program in 2010, effectively dissolving its local governance through 2016. Emergency financial managers employed an austerity approach similar to what was famously attempted in Flint, Mich., dramatically reducing municipal staff while experimenting with its water department and service agreements. This created systemic challenges to the delivery of municipal services (eg: water, refuse).

The city is now emerging as a national model for how effective public-private partnerships can advance environmental justice in under-resourced communities. The project manager will play a key role in this, working to ensure that the city will not miss any of the opportunities created through decarbonization, climate resilience, or sustainable materials management investments due to a lack of capacity or expertise.

The project manager will work with city staff and other partners to develop a Justice40 Plan that will identify municipal and community priorities and outline funding opportunities to pursue them. Project manager will support or lead development of engagement tactics, educational opportunities, and most importantly, grant applications to state and federal agencies for local investment in energy efficiency, renewable energy programs, environmental justice, sustainable materials management and other opportunities.

The project manager will have the opportunity to provide strategic and tactical leadership on nationally important projects and initiatives over a two-year period, after which they would have the opportunity to rotate to other MiSBF programs or continue working for the municipality as a direct hire.


  • Provide strategic and tactical leadership to city management and key partners to advance equitable climate action (ECA). Build and maintain strong and supportive working relationships with city management, local business leaders, and community partners.

  • Provide technical support, project coordination and other assistance to city management as required to advance investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy programs, environmental justice, sustainable materials management and other opportunities relevant to ECA.

  • Work with a diverse community of businesses, institutions, industry partners and community stakeholders to identify local priorities for climate action and develop a Justice 40 implementation plan for city operations and the local community.

  • Develop grant proposals to federal, state and local agencies.

  • Plan and implement training, presentations, meetings, and other events using presentation and facilitation best practices. Design and implement program evaluations as appropriate.

  • Liaison with state and national networks and partner organizations, such as the Urban Sustainability Directors Network.

  • Monitor grant and program progress by tracking data and generating reports.

  • Develop expertise and be recognized as a regional sustainability resource.