Jobs & Internships

Executive Director Transitioning

Dear Friends,

The Center for Health, Environment & Justice is committed to healthy neighborhoods and ensuring that under-represented communities no longer become the dumping ground for toxic wastes and life-threatening pollution.

Diversity and democracy make us stronger. To that end, we are asking you to send along this message to your friends and contacts who have the experience organizing in diverse communities and the passion to continue the momentum forward as the next Executive Director of CHEJ.  Here’s a message from Board Chair Emeritus Alonzo Spencer:

“I was at the helm of CHEJ as chair of the board for eight years. I’m looking for the next generation to take over and assist communities to speak up, step up, lead and create the change our country needs to win environmental health and economic justice for all.

People of color, young people and women together comprise what many call the ‘emerging American electorate,’ and it is they who will both determine environmental and economic policy, and live with the consequences of the decisions.”

Think about it . . . It’s your turn now.

To maintain our momentum in supporting community-based environmental health and justice work, we have begun the formal search for the next grassroots leader with excellent training and management skills and a vision of powerful action – our successor Executive Director. To support the Board in the search process, CHEJ has engaged Democracy Partners. Our process of outreach and selection begins very soon. Questions or suggestions or to apply for the Executive Director position should be directed to Cheri Whiteman by e-mail at

Lois Gibbs will shift her full-time attention away from her current day-to-day administrative responsibilities with the engagement of our next Executive Director, which is expected to occur this summer. “I’m excited to spend more time in the field to build the advocacy base for change!” said Lois, “and it’s a great opportunity for one of the emerging community leaders out there to take CHEJ to the next level!”

CHEJ has launched the Leadership Training Academy program to strengthen and sustain the infrastructure of fledgling environmental health and justice organizations in the United States.

CHEJ recently completed a strategic review and refocus of our work. We were aided as a Board in this process by a group of allies and advisors, and our retreat was facilitated by Jim Abernathy. In examining our work, the following important findings led CHEJ’s Board to take those steps to reshape the organization to meet the increasing demand from the field for Leadership Training Academy program services:

• There are more local, state and regional groups emerging than in the past. This is due primarily to energy-related proposals and activities such as pipelines, extraction wells, export terminals and associated waste disposal.

• Established groups are growing and looking for advice on long-term organizing, establishing collaborative efforts, Board development and establishing a three-year strategic organizational plan.

Lois describes the Academy program this way: “The Leadership Training Academy is a training center ‘without walls.’ It provides a distinctive brand of leadership skills-building training and mentoring of local group leaders around the country to build the base of the environmental health and justice movement. This program is based on a proven, time-tested methodological framework that is grounded in CHEJ’s 34 years of grassroots leadership and coaching experience, campaign strategy knowledge and the tactics of successful grassroots victories. A special focus of the training activities is with thousands of women leading grassroots groups on a range of environmental health and economic justice issues. People of color, young people and women together comprise what many call the ‘emerging American electorate,’ and it is they who will both determine environmental and economic policy, and live with the consequences of the decisions.”

I personally am excited to “free Lois” to spend more of her energy in the field, and the Board of Directors looks forward to working with new leadership. We’ve always known that success comes when we learn from the past and step boldly into the future. With a new CHEJ Executive Director and our legendary friend and teacher, Lois Gibbs, we will have the best of both worlds!

Thank you,

Peter B. Sessa
CHEJ Board Chair

Please act quickly, as we would like to have all candidates in within the next few weeks. Here is a link to the job post


Center For Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) was founded in 1981, by Lois Gibbs, the community leader at Love Canal. CHEJ was formed to meet the urgent need for support and technical assistance by people struggling for environmental justice across the country. Because CHEJ is uniquely different from traditional environmental efforts, our philosophy is to teach and empower by helping grassroots groups and individuals (including interns) build upon their strengths. Through our organizing, leadership development, research and technical assistance, we empower individuals with skills and information to make sound judgements and become part of the political decision making process to protect health and our natural resources.


Hands-On “Work/Learn” Program Specifics
Interns work on a variety of topics such as environmental racism, children and toxics, non-profit management, fundraising, incineration and landfills, sludge disposal, corporate greenwashing and medical waste incineration. In addition to working on special projects, interns will gain insight into the complexities of environmental issues that involve many different players, an appreciation of science for the public interest, the importance of data in advocacy and a respect for the power of informed citizens. Interns are given tasks to match their interests, skills and background with CHEJ’s need, and are directed by a staff person in the same area of interest.

Specific Positions
Specific positions include: Research in Science and Policy, Toxicology, Journalism, Writing, Membership Recruitment, Social Media writer/coordinator, Data Entry,  Development/communications and Grassroots Organizing. Interns are also invited to join and work on specific  CHEJ campaigns.

Making It Happen
Send resume and cover letter outlining what type of internship you want, what you hope to gain from the experience and what time frame you are available. All graduate and undergraduate backgrounds are welcome. If you are committed to making a difference to reclaim our health and rebuild democracy, this internship is for you. A travel stipend is available for all CHEJ interns. If you need assistance in finding housing near the office, please contact the Intern Coordinator at for more information. Send cover letter and resume to: Intern Coordinator, P.O. Box 6806, Falls Church, VA 22040 or email:


Communications Associate Intern

Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) mentors a movement, empowering people to build healthy communities, and preventing harm to human health caused by exposure to environmental threats. CHEJ is looking for a qualified intern to join our communications team. Our department produces quality work for constituents and seeks an intern who can participate in various stages of outreach campaigns.
This intern should be prepared to work in a team environment, and will finish the internship having gained broad experience in various aspects of communications.

  • Design and create promotional materials
  • Assist in the distribution or delivery of marketing materials
  • Create and organize content for newsletters, publications and reports
  • Work with staff to develop effective communications strategies
  • Assist with database activities and perform analysis of data
  • Assist with fundraising activities (acknowledgements, appeals, workplace giving)
  • Assist with research and writing grant proposals
  • Assist with membership outreach and cultivation
  • Participate in highly interactive meetings with CHEJ staff and executive director
  • Enter contact information into contact management systems
  • Provide support, input and updates for social media and website
  • Other related assigned responsibilities

CHEJ is looking for an undergraduate or graduate student in the Greater Washington D.C. Area who is majoring in Communications, Marketing or other related disciplines. This person should have excellent verbal and written communication skills, organization skills, with knowledge of Web and social media, online research and some data analysis. PowerPoint, Word and Excel experience is a bonus and will be considered when choosing the best applicant for this internship position. This is a paid internship with local transportation expenses offered.  Housing is not provided. Candidates should be excited about our mission!

Marketing, Sales, Communications, Advertising, Business

To apply: Send letter of interest and resume to:  Sharon Franklin, Director Finance & Personnel, via email to or by U.S. mail to the Center for Health, Environment & Justice, P.O. Box 6806, Falls Church, VA  22040-6806. Attn:  Sharon Franklin, Director of Finance and Personnel, or by fax to (703) 237-8389.