Director, Communications, Lever For Change (MF)

About Us

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including over-incarceration, global climate change, nuclear risk, and significantly increasing financial capital for the social sector. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows Program, the Foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsible and responsive democracy, as well as the strength and vitality of our headquarters city, Chicago.

MacArthur is one of the nation's largest independent foundations. Organizations supported by the Foundation work in about 50 countries. In addition to Chicago, MacArthur has offices in India, Mexico, and Nigeria.

About the Department

Building off the success of 100&Change, the MacArthur Foundation’s breakthrough  $100 million competition, Lever for Change (LFC) helps philanthropists source vetted, high-impact philanthropic opportunities and connects those opportunities to significant amounts of philanthropic capital. LFC does this through either managing customized competitions or by matching philanthropists with the top vetted proposals from such competitions in a searchable online database of solutions.

The Director, Communications collaborates with LFC staff to create and implement strategic communications plans that enhance the impact and visibility of LFC’s work and the work of its donor partners and supporters.

Job Description

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Design and implement a full communications strategy for LFC to ensure the work of LFC is communicated clearly and strategically to its target audiences, including donors, prospects and the general public
  • Create, communicate and negotiate communications plans with ultra-high-net-worth individuals and their advisors around competitions they sponsor
  • Develop consistent, updated and accessible messaging; support the adoption and use of that messaging; and create and implement tactics to connect the messaging to key audiences
  • Write press releases, web and social media content, op-eds, talking points, briefings and LFC updates for LFC’s board members, CEO, staff, media, the public and others
  • Build relationships, pitch stories and respond to inquiries from relevant media. Establish and maintain relationships with domestic and international press contacts.
  • Manage and partner with external firms engaged in marketing and communications work for LFC
  • Work closely with colleagues in MacArthur Communications for 100&Change competition to determine shared priorities, consistent messaging and overall communications strategy
  • Produce the quarterly Lever for Change newsletter
  • Develop and implement social media strategy related to LFC competition launches; new hires; executive speaking engagements; published articles, videos and blogs
  • Issue at least three press releases per competition (at launch, when finalists are selected, when grant is made) and at other newsworthy times
  • Develop collateral materials for Bold Solutions Network (including web copy/talking points about advantages of being listed in Bold Solutions Network), competitions and any products we create
  • Assist in LFC website development - build out areas that focus on what we should be communicating about LFC services and value
  • Identify storytelling opportunities that help LFC to communicate its value, mission and vision for the philanthropy field 
  • Refine LFC brand and develop brand guidelines
  • Advise competition applicants on how to tell clear and compelling stories of impact
  • Recommend key conferences and speaking opportunities for LFC leadership
  • Ability to use Google analytics and other information to refine messaging that is useful and important for field
  • Other duties as assigned


  • 10-15 years of full-time experience working in strategic communications, preferably for social impact
  • Minimum of a BA/BS in Communications, Public Relations, Public Affairs, Media, Marketing or equivalent
  • Exceptional communications skills, both written and verbal
  • Experience working in or with the nonprofit sector and an understanding of the sector’s role in social change
  • Strategic and creative thinker who can get things done under time pressure and despite multiple competing demands
  • Sophisticated understanding of social media tactics
  • Significant experience writing and talking about social challenges and public issues in a style that respects their depth and complexity but is accessible to a well-educated, general audience
  • Effective communicator and listener with superb organizational and interpersonal skills
  • Positive “can-do” attitude and a willingness to do what is necessary to get the job done
  • Well-developed organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Able to take initiative and work proactively
  • Trustworthy and respectful, committed to excellence, with a collaborative workstyle

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated interest and experience in nonprofit communications, public relations, journalism and/or new media preferred

To Apply

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