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 is seeking a mature, dynamic leader to be our first Managing Director of Movements & Media to oversee our Just & Inclusive Society as well as Public Square Programs. These two programs are central to the organization’s mission and critical to achieving an inclusive, multi-racial democracy that is open, just, resilient, and trustworthy.
- Our program to create a more just and inclusive society includes an initiative aimed at strengthening the social infrastructure for marginalized communities with a special focus on Black, Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (BAMEMSA) and immigrant communities, planning for a new initiative to build power and support leadership development for communities of color, and an exploration into how to weaken the power and influence of the authoritarian opponents of an inclusive, multi-racial democracy.
- Our program to create a more vibrant and equitable public square includes initiatives to rebuild local news and journalism to meet the needs of diverse communities and hold the powerful accountable, as well as initiatives to transform our digital civic infrastructure and advance civil rights online by holding tech platforms accountable and advocating for new public interest media policy.
The Managing Director will work closely with initiative teams to build on the assets that we have developed over the past several years while charting a new course consistent with our new five-year organizational strategy that responds to the existential challenges facing our democracy in the current moment.
The Managing Director will report to Democracy Fund’s President and serve as a member of the organization’s Executive Team as well as its Grants Committee. You will independently lead one of the organization’s two program groups, partnering with the Managing Director of Elections & Institutions, to ensure the organization is highly impactful in achieving its goals. The Managing Director will play a key role in organization-wide strategy development, management, and decision making. This role will be critical to the implementation of the organization’s new five year strategy and new initiative strategies that will be approved over the course of the next year.
A successful candidate is 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. You will lead strategy for your area, while managing Program Directors and their respective teams as they develop and execute their initiative plans, support grantees, create an environment that fosters both risk taking and learning, and build influential partnerships with peer donors and other key actors. Collaborating with the leaders of our Communications and Network team, the Managing Director will help grow Democracy Fund’s profile and influence among key stakeholders and partners.
Successful candidates will be strong managers who are energized by the task of coaching and growing leaders while creating a vibrant learning culture among their respective teams. Along with leading their program areas, the Managing Director will work closely with other Executive Team members to create a stronger, healthier organization as we seek to:
- Embody our commitment to DEI in our leadership, operations, and grantmaking practices, and create a culture where everyone feels they belong and can thrive.
- Align the organization around our mission, strategy, and goals so we can take a more holistic approach and be more nimble in how we respond to opportunities and threats.
- Create a more resilient organization with more capacity for people to learn, grow professionally, create balance in their lives, and stand in for colleagues when needed.
- Create a high trust culture in which we are explicit about decision roles, empower decision-makers, and communicate information efficiently and effectively.
The Managing Director will also support the work of Democracy Fund Voice, a separate 501c4, social welfare organization.
Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Work with Program Directors to lead overall program initiatives, including management of staff, consultants, programming, and grantmaking.
- Lead strategy development and budgeting for program teams.
- Work with Program Directors and other program staff to support the shaping of grants for consideration by the foundation Grants Committee and board of directors.
- Support Program Directors and strategy impact and learning staff in overall learning and evaluation activities, including tracking key impact metrics and monitoring the field for learning and systems change. Actively use that data and input to realign strategies and tactics as needed.
- Foster cross-team collaboration across both programs and functional teams to align resources towards common goals and help the organization to become more than the sum of its parts.
- Actively participate on the organization’s Executive Team with general management responsibilities that include setting organizational policies, nurturing organizational culture, and supporting the implementation of our organizational strategy and annual goals.
COMMUNICATION & OUTREACH
- Represent Democracy Fund publicly in a manner consistent with our mission and values.
- Champion the ideas and reforms needed to create an inclusive, multi-racial democracy through public speaking, publishing, and engagement with the media.
- Grow the philanthropic resources available to the field by maintaining strong relationships with partner funders, developing new relationships, and advising donors and foundations on their strategies.
- Demonstrate internal communication leadership to support cross-organization priorities, coordination, and decision making.
TEAM LEADERSHIP & MANAGEMENT
- Manage and collaborate with Program Directors to set ambitious, motivating, and realistic priorities for respective initiatives.
- 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.
- Serve as a leader within the broader organization by helping lead cross-team collaborations and participating in organizational planning.
- Actively work to support the success of other members of the Democracy Fund team and cultivate an organizational culture that is highly collaborative, positive, and productive.
EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE, AND SKILLS REQUIREMENTS
- Passion for strengthening American democracy.
- Deep commitment to racial equity and justice.
- Minimum of 20 years of work experience across a range of sectors, with at least 10 years general management (people and project) responsibilities.
- Experience creating innovative approaches to catalyzing social change in the democracy reform or adjacent fields as well as familiarity with systems approaches and ability to synthesize and make sense out of complex inputs.
- Unwavering commitment to impact with the ability to achieve strategic objectives and manage a large budget.
- High emotional intelligence and ability to creatively solve interpersonal challenges and negotiate complex interpersonal, intra-organizational, and inter-organizational challenges.
- Experience building effective networks of diverse actors (civil society, public and private sector actors, and multi-stakeholder initiatives) that materially improve investment and programmatic outcomes.
- Proven ability to provide useful feedback, as well as develop and inspire staff.
- Knowledge of the modern landscape of democracy reform including how best to ensure the continued growth of a vibrant and diverse public square, free and fair elections, effective and accountable government, and/or a just and inclusive society.
- Previous grantmaking experience and knowledge of philanthropy is a plus, but not a requirement.
- 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.
- Excels at working collaboratively with staff at all levels to execute duties; proven talent in ensuring positive, proactive, responsive relationships within and across departments for compliance, efficiency, and effectiveness including a proven ability to manage organizational change.
- Demonstrated success building high-performing teams, managing people, nurturing ethical and high-performance cultures, investing in talent, and cultivating exceptional leaders.
- 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.
- A high level of integrity that embodies and reflects Democracy Fund values.
- Ability to travel domestically on a frequent basis.
- This position will eventually be based in Washington, D.C. but will begin remotely due to the ongoing pandemic.
Salary range begins at $232,000 per year.
How To Apply
Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume. 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.