Associate Director, Special Projects, Elections & Voting
Democracy Fund is a foundation working to defend American democracy and challenge it to be more open and just. Created by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar, Democracy Fund has made more than $200 million in grants to support free and fair elections, a vibrant and diverse public square, effective and accountable government, and a just and inclusive society. In addition to grantmaking, Democracy Fund advocates for better solutions and works with partners to grow philanthropic support for our democracy. To learn more, visit www.democracyfund.org and www.democracyfundvoice.org.
Democracy Fund champions leaders and organizations who defend democracy and challenge our political system to be more open and just. We believe that experimentation, learning, and adaptation are key to the health and resilience of any system, whether it is our organization or the American political system. As grantmakers, we focus on listening and being of service to our grantees, who are visionaries and our collaborators, and on ways we can more deeply embed diversity, equity, and inclusion as values central to the success of our work and mission.
Voting is the single most significant way Americans exercise their political power. The Elections & Voting program works to ensure that all Americans, especially those who have been historically underrepresented at the polls, have the opportunity to fully participate in the democratic process and freely vote for the candidates and issues that represent their communities.
The Associate Director, Special Projects, will help lead and strengthen the Elections & Voting program’s work to create a more equitable and accessible election system and empower communities to defend voting rights when they are threatened. The associate director will also help coordinate with Democracy Fund’s other programs, with other foundations, and with leaders and organizations in the elections field.
This role will report to the Senior Program Director, Elections & Voting, and will help manage a growing team of staff, with a particular focus on strengthening our grantmaking processes, internal communications, and team operations. The associate director will also manage a growing portfolio of special projects, including helping to build better donor education around election-related priorities to increase the amount of money dedicated to the elections ecosystem and our grantees. The successful candidate will be a systems thinker and builder who can drive impact while cultivating the internal organization needed to achieve our goals. We are looking for a connector with a demonstrated track record of managing people and creating opportunities for growth, learning, and collaboration. This role will work with the senior program director and Associate Director, Programs, to improve team operations, support learning and team growth, and contribute to shaping Democracy Fund’s strategy and position in the field. This role also supports the work of Democracy Fund Voice, a 501c(4) social welfare organization.
The role’s primary responsibilities will include, but are not limited to, the following:
GRANTMAKING, STRATEGY, AND LEARNING
- Partner with the Elections & Voting team’s Grants embed to develop and implement team grantmaking practices and planning processes and provide peer review as needed, and update the team’s grantmaking timelines and systems for streamlining communication with grantees.
- Maintain strong relationships with leaders across relevant fields for system sensing, grant pipeline development, and grantee support and problem solving.
- Lead development and execution of grants and grantmaking programs that cut across the Elections & Voting program.
- Develop and manage special projects that support the program or require collaboration with other programs.
- Contribute to strategy development and learning across the program.
COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH
- Develop and execute an external communications strategy for the Elections & Voting program, in coordination with the Communications team, and partner with the Communications team around civic culture efforts to improve the voting system and voter access.
- Speak on behalf of the program publicly and with media, and represent Democracy Fund publicly in a manner consistent with its mission and values.
- Support philanthropic partnerships to grow the resources available to the field, including managing joint funds (e.g., the Roadmap for American Democracy) and representing Democracy Fund in funder collaborations; develop materials that help new donors understand the elections and voting field; and advise donors and foundations on effective elections and voting investments.
TEAM LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT
- Empower direct report(s) to do their best work by providing ongoing guidance, coaching, and feedback on their core day-to-day responsibilities, project management goals, and overall professional development.
- Contribute to strong team culture and advance DEI priorities in the Elections & Voting team.
- Lead program team operations and develop team practices and workflows; lead team meetings and retreats; and ensure strong project management across the program.
- Oversee budgeting and financial management across the program.
- Maintain regular check-ins with individual team members, provide professional guidance and mentoring, and use ongoing feedback to support their development.
- Work with the senior program director and Associate Director, Programs, to contribute to developing job descriptions, interviewing/hiring, and onboarding for staff; and develop an onboarding protocol for new Elections & Voting team members.
- Develop, manage, and contribute to cross-team and cross-organization programmatic efforts and special projects; and increase visibility internally around program priorities.
EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE, AND SKILL REQUIREMENTS
- Passion for strengthening American democracy.
- Deep commitment to racial equity and justice.
- At least 10 years of experience working in roles that engage in questions related to multiracial democracy, elections, and voting rights; and experience working with donors required.
- At least four years of demonstrated management responsibilities, including significant experience supervising staff and supporting their progress toward goals, and proven ability to provide useful feedback to develop and inspire staff.
- Track record of successful project management and working across diverse teams, and ability to evaluate, improve, manage, and maintain systems and processes to help teams execute programs.
- Strategic thinker and innovative problem-solver, with a proven ability to create and manage organizational change.
- Exceptional written and verbal communication skills, including the willingness and ability to communicate and collaborate with diverse leaders and stakeholders from across the political spectrum and different walks of life, and ability to engage external audiences and act as an evangelist for the Elections & Voting program’s work.
- Commitment to working collaboratively with staff at all levels to execute duties and to ensure positive, proactive, responsive relationships within and across departments for compliance, efficiency, and effectiveness.
- Interest in employing a systems approach to change, bringing an ability to synthesize complex, nuanced information and develop innovative solutions.
Democracy Fund follows a hybrid-remote and in-the-office model, which enables flexibility and meets collaboration needs. New staff are expected to reside in the DMV, though exceptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis by the Personnel Committee. All employees, regardless of location, will be expected in the office several days a month.
Salary range begins at $155,160 per year.
HOW TO APPLY
Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to our Jobs page. Applications submitted without a cover letter or lacking the desired years of experience will not be considered. Take this opportunity to tell us about yourself and why you’re interested in joining our team. No calls please.
Democracy Fund is committed to a diverse workplace, seeking voices and expertise from people from across the political spectrum. Our board, staff, advisors, and grantees include Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. Democracy Fund is an Equal Opportunity Employer, where we encourage candidates of all ages, color, ethnic background, country of origin, religion, disability status, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity to apply.