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Sr. Associate, Strategy & Learning

ABOUT US:

Democracy Fund is an independent foundation that invests in organizations working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. We work on things that make democracy work better.

At the heart of our vision for the future are three core commitments: fostering more effective governance in the United States, modernizing our election system, and strengthening our media and the public square to help people understand and participate in the democratic process. To date, we have committed more than $100 million in support of a healthy democracy.

Democracy Fund was created by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar out of a deep respect for the U.S. Constitution and our nation’s core democratic values. 

Learn more about Democracy Fund and our sister 501(c)(4) organization Democracy Fund Voice by visiting www.democracyfund.org and www.democracyfundvoice.org.

POSITION SUMMARY:

The Public Square Program supports people and organizations working to strengthen local news, expand engaged journalism, defend press freedom, combat misinformation, and address the impact of social media platforms on our democracy. 

We are committed to becoming a best-in-class learning organization that consistently learns from evidence and experience, including failures. To fulfill this goal, the Public Square Program seeks a partner to help guide the growth and development of our strategies as we pursue long term systems change and respond to immediate threats and challenges to our democracy.

The Senior Associate, Strategy and Learning will help develop and assess the progress of program strategies and grantmaking focused on creating a more trustworthy, inclusive, and resilient public square. 

As part of Democracy Fund’s Public Square team, the Senior Associate will manage a learning cycle that involves: (a) seeking to understand our public square as a component of a complex social system through research, evaluations, and other systematically gathered evidence, (b) helping to develop strategies for engaging that system, and (c) learning from our activities so that we can engage more effectively over time. 

Successful candidates will work within the Democracy Fund’s Public Square team and in close partnership with colleagues across the organization to manage strategy setting processes, foster a culture of learning, develop models for ongoing reporting, and help manage work with external evaluation consultants. 

We’re looking for individuals who are passionate about the future of journalism and making our political system more effective. The ideal candidate believes that media plays a critical role in the public square and is excited by work that seeks to ensure that all communities have access to the news and information they need to participate fully in our democracy.

This role will report to the Managing Director of the Public Square Program with a dotted line relationship to the Associate Director of Strategy and Learning. 

PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES:

STRATEGY, LEARNING, AND GRANTMAKING

Strategy Development:

  • Facilitate the Public Square Program’s strategy development with the Managing Director of the Public Square Program in close collaboration with the Strategy, Impact, and Learning team. 
  • Provide the program team with greater insight into the context of their work.
  • Assess emerging trends and ensure key insights and lessons learned are actively integrated into strategy adjustments. 

Learning:

  • Collaboratively design and implement a comprehensive learning plan for the Public Square team with close consultation of the Strategy, Impact, and Learning team, which includes coordinating with external evaluation partners, helping document wins and challenges, and supporting ongoing team reflection and learning. 
  • Build capacity for, implement, and manage ongoing processes for learning and adaptation in collaboration with and guidance from the Strategy, Impact, and Learning team. 
  • Design and facilitate learning meetings, retreats, and portfolio learning conversations. 

Grantee Learning and Grantmaking Support:

  • Streamline and implement grantee learning processes.
  • Provide technical and capacity building support as needed to grantees around learning.
  • Support others in the organization on grantmaking tasks as required. 

RESEARCH AND CAPACITY BUILDING

Monitor and Synthesize:

  • Identify trends, research, and new publications in the field to inform the Public Square Program’s strategy and manage specific research projects to support the development of new efforts within the program.
  • Convene practitioners in the field, advocates, leading advocates, researchers and others to facilitate increased dialogue and collaboration in the field.

Networks and Research:

  • Develop networks and collaborations within Democracy Fund and across the practitioner, philanthropic, evaluation, and organizational development/learning fields and related research in the field.
  • Explore, support, and apply relevant research at the organization. Present at major conferences.

Evaluation Support:

  • Provide support to the Public Square Program Strategy leads on creating and implementing Results Frameworks and associated monitoring, evaluation, and research workstreams, such that evaluation data is meaningfully integrated into strategy.

Internal and External Communications:

  • Collaborate with Strategy, Impact, and Learning Team and Communications teams to ensure consistent and thoughtful communication of learnings externally. Prepare reports and other materials about the Fund’s learning and progress for its board of directors.

TEAM MEMBER

  • Contribute to a collaborative internal team and develop strong networks among peers within Democracy Fund and across the Omidyar Group and the larger field.
  • Collaborate with colleagues on supportive and complementary approaches that advance Democracy Fund’s overall mission and goals.
  • Work innovatively to not only solve problems for your individual projects but generate ideas to help advance the work of a small, highly collaborative team.

EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE, AND SKILLS REQUIREMENTS:

  • Deep passion for strengthening American democracy.
  • At least 7-10 years of relevant experience working in the areas of strategy, evaluation and learning.  Demonstrated familiarity with systems-thinking/complexity-aware methods.
  • Experience working with organizations or institutions that work on democracy-related issues preferred; ideally with some knowledge of communications research, journalism, communications policy, and civic innovation.
  • Deep sense of curiosity, and demonstrated interest in learning, distilling lessons and turning them into action.
  • Clear and concise written and verbal communication skills. Strong quantitative and qualitative analytical skills preferred.
  • High tolerance for ambiguity, and ability to respond to changing priorities.
  • Must have excellent problem-solving abilities.
  • Strong, self-directed project management skills with exceptional attention to detail.
  • Experience facilitating participatory and collaborative, learning-oriented events.
  • Must have solid interpersonal skills and be able to operate as a strong and supportive team player, innovator, and organizational change agent.
  • Commitment to learn and grow in a workplace that values diversity of multiple dimensions.
  • Advanced degree in social sciences preferred.
  • Ability to travel periodically for project work.
  • This role is based in Washington, D.C.

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume. 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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