Program Officer, Civic Engagement and Government
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DEADLINE TO APPLY: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 5
The Ford Foundation’s U.S. Program in Civic Engagement and Government (CEG) seeks a collaborative, strategic, team-oriented Program Officer (PO) to help evolve and implement the “Bigger We” portfolio, an anchor element of CEG-US’s strategy to build resilient, reparative democracy. This portfolio focuses on expanding the base of people within organized communities and developing the infrastructure to support them to bring about meaningful change. Reporting to the CEG-US Director, and working alongside four other program officers, the PO will collaborate others to identify key ecosystems, and work with relevant actors and other funders, to analyze challenges and opportunities, identify levers of change, and play a leading role in shaping strong, grassroots-anchored ecosystem that engages those most impacted by inequality and excluded from democratic participation.
In particular, the foundation seeks a proven field leader who brings a strong intersectional analysis to the work with a particular emphasis on gender, disability, and racial justice. The Program Officer must have a proven track record of working closely with communities that have been historically marginalized from the systems that affect their lives, keeping lived experiences at the center of CEG’s grantmaking approach.
The ideal candidate would be able to help anticipate how the work must evolve to realize the promise of democracy through a community- and government-centered approach to civic engagement, and lead the process of expanding the “bigger we” work, connecting it across CEG-US’s other lines of work, and identifying field-wide gaps and opportunities around which to organize allied funders.
The PO would also be a self-starter who can work well independently and in teams; intellectually curious; and a strong communicator who excels at active listening, produces cogent and polished writing and is comfortable with public speaking. The ideal PO is also strategic, possesses strong analytical skills and the ability to assess opportunities, challenges and institutions with which to engage.
The PO will inform our work on strengthening community-based infrastructure which is critical to expanding democratic participation and that ensures communities have greater voice and power to shape the policy decisions that impact their lives.They will also collaboratively develop a portfolio primarily focused on building the field’s ability to develop and deploy effective inside/outside strategies. In addition, the PO will:
Manage, monitor and coordinate a grants portfolio, including: long-term grant planning; identifying and working with prospective grantees to develop proposals for grant recommendations (including helping determine the goals for a grant, its activities, expected results, indicators of success and budget); conducting organizational assessments; undertaking periodic reviews of progress with grantees; and reviewing financial and narrative reports.
Work collaboratively with other team members to develop, define and implement program strategies to achieve significant and scalable impact toward team goals.
Continually scan the fields related to democracy in the US, organizing practice, field infrastructure, and strategy, follow key developments and debates, keep abreast of the academic and popular literature, share key findings and lessons among colleagues and the field.
Develop grant-making activities in a team-oriented context, with a ‘grantee-in-the-driver’s-seat’ orientation, that are aligned to the strategic goals of a thematic area and support a connected ‘ecosystem’ of work where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Promote engagement with grantees to review opportunities, challenges and advances and encourage collaboration, learning, exchange and strategic partnerships.
Represent the Foundation and its work to the government, media, academic, business, philanthropic, and civic leaders through meetings, updates, speeches, blog posts, briefings and interviews, with guidance from the CEG Director.
Promote and participate in fostering open-mindedness and a culture of learning – including learning and evaluation activities to guide the evolution of programmatic work – seeking to continually ask hard questions, gather independent and rigorous data and evidence about effectiveness of the foundation and grantees’ strategies, and help adapt practice as needed.
Write and communicate in a lucid and accessible manner; develop and implement grant-making approaches that support the use of strategic communications as part of the program strategy.
Contribute to the thinking and work of colleagues in the CEG team and foundation overall and advancing team building and team effectiveness.
BA/BS plus a minimum of 8 years leading social justice strategies and/or subject-matter expertise related to the ideas and approaches outlined above, or equivalent combination of education/experience. This includfes significant experience with demonstrable impact in communities of color and/or other historically disadvantaged communities.
A strong sense of how to apply racial and gender justice analyses to strategy is required; an understanding of comparative perspectives on political systems is preferred.
Familiarity and experience working with social justice concepts and frameworks such as racial equity, gender analyses, disability justice, economic justice, intersectionality, and implicit and structural bias.
The PO must be curious about the intersections of grassroots organizing and power, structural democracy reform, and the value and impact of government in protecting rights and providing public goods.
Proven experience and substantive knowledge in the formal and informal structures, practices, and processes of democracy and community engagement, ranging from civic participation and community organizing to formal democracy reforms and approaches to co-governance.
Demonstrated experience as a connector and convener across relevant sectors and parties, including grantees, practitioners, government officials, scholars, and civil society players.
Exceptional leadership presence—internally and externally, but with a flexible, collaborative, team orientation.
Demonstrated ability to be a productive member of a community of people at work, respecting differences while working toward shared goals, comfort with periods of ambiguity, constructive participation in ongoing organizational development.
Demonstrated experience and knowledge of working at the state/local level
Written and oral fluency in Spanish
Salary: is based on experience and on the Foundation’s commitment to internal equity. A generous benefits package is provided.The Ford Foundation is committed to practicing salary transparency. The minimum starting salary for this position is $165,000 and the maximum is $185,000.
Location: New York, NY. The foundation operates in a hybrid model. Staff are required to work in the office 3 days per week.
Alignment to Culture and Values
Commitment to the Foundation’s mission and core values of equity, openness, collaboration, trust, accountability and urgency
Personal qualities of humility, capacity for self-reflection, and a sense of humor
Discretion and ability to handle confidential issues
Action-orientated and entrepreneurial self-starter who can work well independently and in teams
Hybrid Workplace and Flexible Work Arrangement policies
Medical and dental benefits for employee and immediate family on first day of work
Retirement savings account with matching company contributions of up to 13%
Three weeks’ paid vacation in first year of work; four weeks in subsequent years
Office closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day
Professional development initiatives for growth
Generous parental leave (maternal and paternal) during new child’s first year (born into family or adopted)
Equal employment opportunity and having a diverse staff are fundamental principles at The Ford Foundation, where employment and promotional opportunities are based upon individual capabilities and qualifications without regard to race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation/affectional preference, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status or any other protected characteristic as established under law. The Ford Foundation does not discriminate against formerly incarcerated individuals.