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


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Current Openings Apply

Position: Date Posted 7 December 2011
Program Officer, U.S. Civic and Political Participation Application Deadline Until Filled
Location New York, USA

Summary Description

The Program Officer will work with our Director of Democratic Participation to develop and manage a portfolio of grants and related activities focused on increasing civic and political participation in the United States. The goal of this portfolio is to strengthen and scale community-organizing and movement-building efforts across the U.S. to ensure that underserved communities have a voice in shaping the policy decisions that impact their lives.

Informed by significant expertise in civic engagement and advocacy in the U.S., the Program Officer will pursue grantmaking strategies to build the capacity and effectiveness of a select cohort of base-building organizations and networks. S/he will identify opportunities to support alliances and campaigns across diverse constituencies and issues, as well as strategies that harness the power of communications and new technologies to build broad-based support and mobilization for social change. S/he will also consider strategies for strengthening the links between these organizing groups and issue-based advocacy organizations, budget and policy groups, and broader civic engagement efforts.

The Program Officer will review existing lines of work; formulate grantmaking strategies; identify potential grantees; solicit, review and respond to grant proposals; monitor grants and other developments in the field; and prepare recommendations for Foundation funding. S/he will develop and maintain close working relationships with existing and potential grantees, and with relevant leaders in government, civil society and other funders. S/he will provide intellectual leadership in the field, and promote coordination and cumulative learning among key stakeholders.

The U.S. Civic and Political Participation portfolio is part of the Foundation’s Democratic Participation unit, which also includes initiatives on Promoting Transparent Effective and Accountable Government, Strengthening Civil Society, and Promoting Electoral Reform and Democratic Participation. Joining a dynamic program staff working on a range of issues around the world, the Program Officer will collaborate closely with program staff in other units whose work relates to the portfolio’s central mission.



  • Substantial professional experience in civic engagement and advocacy in the U.S.; advanced training in law, public policy, or other relevant fields preferred; familiarity with strategic communications and the use of new technologies to promote social justice; experience working with a range of individuals in civil society, government and the private sector; 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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