Program Officer (MDF)

Position Summary

Media Democracy Fund (MDF) seeks a skilled manager and strategic thought partner experienced with internet rights, technology policy, social justice and development to fulfill its Program Officer position. This position will help design and administer MDF’s robust work within the field, which has a strategic focus on an open, secure, and equitable internet through the effective use of research, communications, organizing, litigation, and policy advocacy. The Program Officer will work collaboratively with the MDF team, managing the organization’s portfolio, distilling and reporting on key issues and strategies, and actively engaging with field leaders, funding partners, and issue-aligned supporters. The Program Officer is responsible for oversight and management of MDF’s grantmaking and contracts program, including grantee and contractor relationships, grant and contract review, and annual docket development. The Program Officer must maintain an objective approach to the work and the varying strategies supported. This is a full time (1.0 FTE) position with travel required. MDF staff work remotely from several East Coast cities. Residency or willingness to reside in an East Coast city is preferred.

While specific project assignments are subject to change at any time, MDF anticipates that, in 2020, the Program Officer position will work across MDF’s three priority areas (open, secure, and equitable internet), while also supporting specialized initiatives, such as Platform Accountability and/or the Unicorn Fund, which supports under-resourced grassroots leaders who have faced attacks for their work. MDF is a rapidly growing and evolving organization; the portfolio management responsibilities for this position are subject to change.

Essential Responsibilities and Tasks

Grantmaking & Grantee Stewardship and Cultivation

  • With the Program Director, manage the development of strategies and initiatives within the framework of MDF’s strategic plan, including preparation of written strategy documents as needed or requested
  • Develop and organize MDF’s grantee and contractor portfolio
  • Monitor grantees and contractors regularly and provide updates on performance, activities, needs, and opportunities
  • Identify potential new investments
  • Develop and manage MDF’s request for proposals
  • Review and respond to proposals
  • Prepare and present written grant and contract recommendations to the Executive Director, Program Director, and NVF Board approved steering committee that reflect the varying strategies supported by MDF
  • Communicate grantmaking and contract decisions to recipients and via the project’s designated communications platform(s) as needed
  • Read interim and final reports and synthesize outcomes, challenges, and the potential of additional support
  • Evaluate and report on portfolio performance and strategic recommendations to enhance the project’s impact
  • Maintain close working relationships with grantees and contractors to support impact goals
  • Conduct status briefings with all grantees in the portfolio in collaboration with the MDF team and prepare the annual docket book with grantee and contract summaries, materials, and recommendations to the NVF Board approved steering committee 

Field Tracking

  • Maintain a comprehensive understanding of the internet rights & technology landscape and the need to support diverse strategies  
  • Supervise and evaluate program consultants engaged to support the project’s work
  • Meet with field leaders regularly  

Program-Related Reporting

  • Write and disseminate program/grantee related information in a clear and compelling manner
  • Provide program related updates and new content for communications platforms 

Grants and Contracts Administration

  • Work with New Venture Fund and MDF grantees/contractors to prepare and review grant and contract agreements
  • Update and maintain grants and contracts tracking systems as needed — whether Foundant or Filemaker — and generate reports for internal and external use
  • Other administrative duties of similar complexity may be required or expected

Staff meetings, retreats, and team-wide projects

  • Participate in staff meetings and team-wide or project-specific meetings or retreats as needed or requested
  • Participate in team-wide projects as needed or requested

This job description will evolve over time and is subject to periodic updates. At management’s discretion, the employee may be assigned different or additional duties of similar complexity.  

Required Education, Experience, Knowledge, Skills, and Ability

  • Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 5-­7 years experience in program management and development; grantmaking experience is a plus, but not required
  • Experience working with a range of individuals in nonprofit organizations, government, foundations, and private sectors
  • Proven ability to think analytically and strategically to translate ideas and insights into action through program work  
  • Demonstrated organizational skills, and the ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously, while meeting deadlines  
  • Sophisticated knowledge and use of technology and varying digital platforms, including the ability and willingness to adopt secure digital practices and procedures
  • Demonstrated experience working effectively as part of a team and with colleagues of diverse backgrounds and perspectives  
  • Excellent oral presentation, writing, and interpersonal skills
  • Comfort in working as part of a small, remote team with no central office  
  • Proven self-starter, organizer, and evaluator  
  • Demonstrated ability to listen and learn from diverse perspectives  
  • Capacity to assess impact  
  • Strong time management proficiency  
  • Personable, with clear integrity and capacity for self-reflection and constructive evaluation  
  • Commitment to MDF’s mission, vision, core values, and unique position in the field  
  • Demonstrated experience in, and substantive knowledge of, digital rights and internet freedom issues
  • A network of contacts within the field
  • Credibility to leverage own networks to serve MDF’s goals
  • Fluency in English 

How to Apply

Please send a resume and cover letter to amalia deloney, Director of Programs, at [email protected]. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

About Media Democracy Fund

Media Democracy Fund is a catalyst for an open, secure and equitable internet. We bring together diverse voices to design inclusive and responsible solutions, and empower public interest advocates to create an environment where digital technologies and the internet have a long-term, positive impact on society. 

New Venture Fund Careers

Media Democracy Fund is a project of New Venture Fund (NVF), a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. NVF is committed to attracting, developing, and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding, and enables each of us to realize our potential. NVF’s work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, and all other classifications protected by law in the locality and/or state in which you are working.


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