Program Officer - Equality Team (OSF)

The Open Society Foundations seeks a full-time Program Officer to lead its racial justice work as part of the Equality team in U.S. Programs. U.S. Programs works to build a vibrant society that invites all people to participate fully in civic, economic, and cultural life. It supports efforts to advance equality, fairness, and justice with a focus on the most vulnerable and marginalized communities and the most significant threats to open society in the U.S.

Within U.S. Programs, the Equality team engages in grantmaking and supports programmatic initiatives to combat and document the harmful effects of implicit bias, dismantle structural racism and xenophobia, prohibit discriminatory government action, empower immigrant communities, and lift barriers to opportunity faced by marginalized groups. To advance these goals, Equality supports research, leadership development, civic participation, advocacy, communications, and grassroots mobilization efforts to stimulate debate and achieve systemic change.

Job Profile
Through grantmaking and programmatic activities, this position is responsible for developing strategies and tools for fostering desired social change, managing relationships with other entities including potential and current grantees, OSF-affiliated foundations, other civil society and social change organizations, etc., making grant decisions, participating in collaborative decision making both within OSF and with external entities, monitoring fields of interest to OSF, and related key responsibilities. The Program Officer will also:

be responsible for all grant-making activities relating to the U.S. Programs’ racial justice portfolio and makes decisions related to authorizing/declining grants within an approved budget reflective of the portfolio work within the broader U.S. Programs’ strategy, designs, renews and evaluates grants and other tools for bringing about change participate in the development of Equality strategy and program design, including related research build relationships within and outside OSF that advance grant-making and other social change efforts within the racial justice field (e.g., existing grantees, prospective grantees, experts in the community) maintain related subject matter expertise, awareness of developments in the field, and an understanding of the political dynamics that influence strategy manage projects that include staff within/outside OSF which may be regional or global in nature integrate the work of this portfolio with activities throughout U.S. Programs and consistent with regional goals and strategies.

Candidate Profile

Our ideal candidate is a nimble strategist with a high emotional intelligence, excellent communication skills, and a firm grasp of the political, non-profit, and private sector realities that shape access to power for communities of color. This individual has an advanced understanding of the historic and current role that race, racism, and xenophobia play in the United States and the global community. Additionally, the candidate must have a sense of humor, insatiable intellectual curiosity, keen problem solving skills, and a constant drive to learn. Our ideal candidate is a highly creative professional, capable of working successfully both independently and as part of a team. In addition, the successful candidate will have:

  • 7 -10 years of progressively responsible and senior-level experience in an advocacy role, and in multiple sectors, including government, at an NGO, or political environment.
  • bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study or equivalent experience/education; law or graduate degree highly preferred
  • comprehensive, specialized knowledge in the role of race and ethnicity in advocating for civic, political, and economic change, including familiarity with current issues and leading figures, as well as substantial knowledge of organizational and project management and cross-cultural leadership
  • a sophisticated understanding of the interplay between media, politics, and policy as tools for social change
  • deep understanding of and vision for social change that is incorporated into a strategy for achieving it
  • demonstrated success in advancing social change strategies, including planning and implementing modifications in response to an evolving situation
  • Ability to recognize the power differential inherent in OSF relationships, e.g., the funder- grantee relationship, and has demonstrated an ability to handle this relationship properly and respectfully
  • ability to exercise measured and appropriate judgments in the interest of OSF strategies, often under circumstances in which insufficient information is available and/or the circumstances are highly volatile
  • mastery of analytical approaches and options, and ability to formulate sound conclusions on the basis of analytical work.
  • the ability to direct others to effectively gather evidence and research to support a key decision or judgment is useful
  • ability to leverage key relationships within own networks to further programmatic goals
  • strong understanding of cultural differences
  • excellent written and spoken communication skills in English are essential
  • a sense of humor, humility, and ability to learn from mistakes is a must

Application Instructions: Please upload a cover letter and resume as one document when submitting an application here

Work Environment and Physical Demands:

Essential functions are typically performed in an office setting with a low level of noise. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations, and we welcome and actively seek applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences.