Associate Director, Governance

Washington, DC
Full Time
Senior Manager/Supervisor


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 and


Democracy Fund champions leaders and organizations who defend democracy and challenge our political system to be more open, just, resilient, and trustworthy. 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.

The Governance Program seeks to achieve representative and accountable governing institutions that are responsive to the public, especially those who have faced significant structural barriers to representation. Our governing systems do not currently provide adequate voice and power to the people who need it most. The Governance Program is exploring ways to remedy this inequity, while preserving the rule of law and bolstering accountability mechanisms to protect against abuse and tyranny.

The Associate Director of the Governance Program will help lead and strengthen its initiatives that aim to prevent, and hold government accountable for, abuses of power. Moreover, the successful candidate will explore ways to create a more representative political system by changing its rules and structures and diversifying the composition of its leaders. The position’s responsibilities include coordinating and collaborating with Democracy Fund’s other programs, foundations, and leaders and organizations in the field.

Reporting to the Senior Director, Governance, the Associate Director will also help manage a team of staff and projects across the Program, with a particular focus on maintaining strong grantmaking processes and promoting internal communications. The role may occasionally include managing cross-organizational teams engaged in collaborative project-based work. This position is an exciting opportunity to work on emerging initiatives in Democracy Fund’s new five-year organizational strategy that respond to existential challenges facing our democracy.

The successful candidate will be a systems thinker and builder who can drive impact while cultivating the internal processes and mechanisms 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. The Associate Director must be an exceptional collaborator, communicator, and project director who embodies our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and contributes to a culture where everyone feels they belong and can thrive.

The Associate Director will also support the work of Democracy Fund Voice, a separate 501(c)(4) social welfare organization.



  • Work with the Governance Senior Director to lead overall strategic direction of the Program, including management of staff, consultants, programming and grantmaking, as well as one or more of the Governance Program’s initiatives.
  • Manage a portfolio of grants with other program staff, including identifying, shaping, and preparing grants for consideration by the Senior Director, foundation grants committee, and board of directors.
  • Build meaningful relationships with current grantees and support them to be as effective as possible.
  • Monitor the field and engage in outreach to develop a pipeline of new grantees who can help meet the goals of the strategy as it evolves.
  • Develop and execute non-grant-related tactics, projects, and interventions when needed to advance strategy — for example, producing events, network building, and maintaining and supporting communities of practice that foster collaboration across grantees and partners.
  • Support the Senior Director and Learning Manager in tracking key impact metrics and monitor the field for learning and systems change. Actively use that data and information to realign strategies and tactics, as needed.


  • Represent Democracy Fund at public events and in partnerships in a manner consistent with our mission and values.
  • Strengthen philanthropic partnerships by maintaining and building relationships with partner funders and advising donors and foundations on their strategies.
  • Communicate effectively internally to ensure staff are appropriately informed about program activities in ways that support coordination and decision making.
  • Contribute to thought leadership of the Governance Program through various methods, including public speaking and writing.


  • Collaborate with the Senior Director and other Program staff to set ambitious, motivating, and realistic priorities for the Governance Program and its impact on the field.
  • Facilitate strong team culture and help advance DEI priorities throughout all roles in the Governance team.
  • Develop, manage, and contribute to cross-team and cross-organization programmatic efforts and special projects.
  • Provide professional guidance and mentoring to direct reports and use ongoing feedback to meaningfully support their development and project goals.
  • Work with staff to manage contracts and budgets for external consultants to ensure strong work products that are used by the organization and field.
  • Maintain strong relationships with functional teams (SIL, CommsNet, Partnerships, Grants Management, Finance, People, and Legal).


  • Passion for strengthening American democracy.
  • Deep commitment to racial equity and justice.
  • Minimum of eight years of work experience, preferably 10 years or more, across sectors relevant to democracy and governance, ideally with substantial experience in government.
  • At least four years of demonstrated management responsibilities. Experience supervising staff and supporting their progress toward goals. Proven ability to provide useful feedback and develop and inspire staff.
  • Previous grantmaking experience and knowledge of philanthropy is a plus but not a requirement.
  • Strategic thinker and innovative problem-solver, including a proven ability to create and manage organizational change.
  • Experience building effective networks of diverse actors (such as civil society, public and private sector actors, and multi-stakeholder initiatives) that materially improve investment and programmatic outcomes.
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills, including the willingness and ability to communicate and collaborate with diverse leaders and stakeholders across the political spectrum and from different walks of life.
  • Interest in employing a systems approach to change, bringing an ability to synthesize complex, nuanced information and develop innovative solutions.
  • Self-directed work style, collaborative, strategic, and empathetic, especially when approaching work and planning. Must be comfortable with ambiguity and working in a changing and fast-paced environment.
  • Advanced degree in a related field (e.g., law, political science, public policy, etc.) preferred.
  • Ability to travel domestically on occasion.
  • This position will eventually be based in Washington, D.C., but will begin remotely due to the ongoing pandemic. 


Salary range begins at $149,040 per year.


Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume through 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.


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