Washington, DC

Senior Counsel, Democracy FUnd

The Organization

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.

Position Overview

Democracy Fund is seeking a skilled, motivated, entrepreneurial, and collaborative attorney to serve as the third member of its in-house legal team, led by our General Counsel. This attorney will provide legal support for our philanthropic activities for both of our 501 (c) 3 and 4 organizations. The Legal Team prioritizes innovative and creative solutions to complex legal questions facing our grantees, Program teams, and extended network.  This role works closely with our Grants Management team, to develop trainings and processes to ensure that our grant application and contract processes run smoothly and effectively. The Senior Counsel will also work with the Operations & People team to ensure an overall ‘best in class’ experience, and continued support of our ethos of “getting to yes” on all that we do.

This position is a unique opportunity for a lawyer and creative thinker who is committed to our vision for an open and just democracy — a democracy that is resilient in the face of change and worthy of the American people’s trust. We support partners and ideas from across the political spectrum in pursuit of a vibrant and diverse public square, free and fair elections, effective and accountable government, and a just and inclusive society. The ideal candidate will have expertise in nonprofit tax, campaign finance, and election issues and should be looking for an opportunity to manage all legal issues within a flexible philanthropic structure. Under the guidance of the General Counsel, the Senior Counsel will eventually manage the Staff Attorney. The Senior Counsel will collaborate with program and operations staff to advise on risk management in a variety of areas related to our investment process, employee relations, and public affairs activities.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:



  • Advise Program teams on laws applicable to private foundations, public charities, and social welfare organizations, including lobbying, self-dealing, and campaign intervention rules.
  • In partnership with the General Counsel, provide legal guidance on nonprofit tax law, Lobbying Disclosure Act, and campaign finance issues.
  • Work with the Staff Attorney, serve as liaison between the legal team and the Elections, Governance, Public Square, and Just and Inclusive Society programs.
  • Give accurate and timely counsel to staff and General Counsel on a variety of legal topics (human resources, nonprofit tax, contracts, intellectual property, and other issues).
  • Collaborate with the Director of People to develop resources and trainings on a range of human resources issues.
  • Monitor organizational risk tolerance and general compliance with tax laws and regulations applicable to private foundations and social welfare organizations.


  • Advise on, review, and negotiate grant agreements, contracts, and other documents related to our philanthropic activities.
  • Prepare, review, and negotiate contracts, licenses, leases, and other legal documents.
  • Develop and conduct legal and regulatory training for the organization.
  • Provide support for corporate governance activities, including drafting board and committee resolutions, and preparing board and committee minutes and reports.
  • Deal with complex matters with multiple stakeholders and forces.
  • Create and assist in leading trainings to program teams and others as needed on grant terms and structuring, conflicts of interest, Lobbying Disclosure Act, and other topics as appropriate.
  • Support and work with outside counsel, as needed, on other legal issues, such as human resources/employment, intellectual property and office management.
  • Assist the Operations & People team with preparation and review of tax returns.
  • Advise finance staff on the organization’s shared services policies.


  • Actively invest in the success of other Democracy Fund team members and develop strong networks among peers within The Omidyar Group (TOG) and the larger field.
  • Actively work to support the success of other members of the entire Democracy Fund team and cultivate an organizational culture that is highly collaborative, positive, and productive.
  • Work effectively with staff at all levels, balancing projects and priorities for multiple team members.
  • Contribute to a team culture that values collaboration, positivity, and transparency and that drives towards impact through continuous improvement and learning.
  • 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.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Deep passion for strengthening American democracy.
  • Juris Doctorate from an accredited law school, and license to practice law in at least one state.
  • At least 4-7 years of experience as a philanthropic/tax exempt organizations attorney, preferably including experience at a law firm, a private foundation, or family office.
  • Experience managing legal issues facing tax-exempt organizations, such as 501(c)(4)s, in an affiliated organization structure is a plus.
  • Proficiency with grantmaking, program-related investments, mission-related investments, and other impact investments.
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills, including the ability to present legal concerns to a non-legal audience.
  • Autonomous self-starter with the ability to exercise independent judgment and focus on effective resolution of legal issues.
  • Flexibility and adaptability commensurate with working in a fast-paced environment.
  • Detailed knowledge of the rules and regulations governing private foundations and public charities.
  • Demonstrated track record of providing a positive, creative, problem-solving approach to address challenging legal issues.
  • A professional demeanor with demonstrated ability to maintain discretion in dealing with highly confidential information.
  • Being an effective builder of relationships and networks, gaining trust and achieving results in a collaborative environment.
  • Having a curious, solutions-oriented mindset when working with principals, foundation team members and business partners.
  • Highly organized, bringing a sense of urgency, and a dedication to excellence and integrity.
  • Ability to determine which stakeholders to incorporate into different projects and when to bring in outside counsel.
  • Being able to juggle multiple tasks and prioritize based on the impact on organizational goals.
  • Exercising excellent judgment, especially when it comes to managing and mitigating risk.
  • Being a superior communicator who treats everyone with respect and dignity.
  • Possessing unquestionable ethics and personal integrity.
  • The position is be based in Washington, D.C. but will begin remotely due to the ongoing pandemic.

How To Apply

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume here: https://democracyfund.applytojob.com/apply/XaKrOzOdCS/Senior-Counsel.

Applications submitted without a cover letter or lacking the desired number of years of experience will not be considered. Take this as a chance to tell us about yourself and why you’re interested in joining our team. No calls please.

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