Ford Foundation Working with Visionaries on the Frontlines of Social Change Worldwide


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Current Openings Apply

Position: Date Posted 25 August 2011
Director, Gender Rights & Equality Application Deadline Until Filled
Location New York, USA

Summary Description

The Ford Foundation seeks to hire a dynamic, creative and innovative leader to serve as its first-ever Director of Gender Rights and Equality. Building on Ford’s decades-long history of work in advancing human rights around the world, the Director will oversee the Foundation’s efforts in three global rights initiatives, with $30 million in annual grantmaking:

• Strengthening Women’s Rights
• Reducing HIV/AIDS Discrimination and Exclusion
• Advancing LGBT Rights

The Focus of Our Work

Our work is aimed at securing equal access to social, political and economic opportunities for all people, including those most marginalized in society whether based on gender, race, ethnicity, citizenship or socioeconomic status. Throughout, our efforts emphasize strengthening civil and human rights organizations, and supporting research and legal and policy advocacy efforts to protect rights and achieve equality.

• A program with an illustrious history within the Foundation and work throughout the world, our Women’s Rights initiative seeks to fully implement laws and international commitments that address gender equality, with an emphasis on advancing economic justice for women.

• Our work on HIV/AIDS rights addresses the systematic discrimination faced by people living with HIV/AIDS, including the gender inequalities and the stigma against men who have sex with men that drives lack of access to basic services for and increased prevalence in these particularly vulnerable populations.

• A groundbreaking new effort, the Foundation’s first-ever LGBT Rights initiative seeks to ensure equality under the law for LGBT people in the United States and around the world.

Role and Responsibilities

Reporting directly to the Vice President of the Foundation’s global Democracy, Rights & Justice program, the Director is a senior program leader of the Foundation, responsible for program development and grant making activities. As part of a matrix organization, the Director manages a set of thematic Initiatives with staff in New York and internationally, coordinating with our Representatives, who lead local offices. S/he supervises a unit that includes a team of program officers and administrative staff. The Director is responsible for fostering learning and evaluation within and across Initiatives, and collaboration and communication among US-based staff and with Representatives and program officers in the Foundation’s overseas offices. The Director represents the Foundation externally to a diverse set of stakeholders and communities. S/he will partner with other Directors to advance the Foundation’s mission and objectives.

Criteria for Success

• Demonstrated capacity to lead efforts to advance social change
• An action oriented, entrepreneurial person who is a self starter and works well in teams
• A proven ability to think strategically, analytically and critically with agility to translate ideas and insights into action through coherent and viable program work
• Demonstrated people management skills and ability to lead a team of talented professionals
• Ability to motivate staff through effective leadership, mentoring, coaching, development, facilitation, evaluation and rewards
• Ability to manage complex relationships with private and public sector stakeholders
• Strong convening and facilitation skills, and the ability to listen and learn from diverse perspectives
• Exemplary communication skills, both oral and written
• Demonstrated organizational skills, and the ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously
• Administrative skills, in particular an appreciation for the importance of strong fiscal management
• Strong time management proficiency
• Sound, mature judgment and integrity
• Personal qualities of humility, capacity for self-reflection and a sense of humor
• Commitment to the Foundation's mission and core values of equity and fairness, diversity, voice and participation, knowledge and creativity, humility and respect, and honesty and integrity



  • Substantial professional experience working on issues of gender equality in the US and preferably globally; advanced graduate degree in law, public policy, or other relevant fields; record of leadership, planning, and management success; experience working with a range of individuals in civil society, government and the private sector; familiarity with the use of new technologies to promote social justice; demonstrated experience working effectively as part of a team and with colleagues of diverse backgrounds and perspectives; excellent analytical, oral presentation, writing and interpersonal skills; fluency in English. Also desirable are fluency in a second language and familiarity with philanthropy and nonprofit sector issues in the U.S.

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