Senior Manager of Partnerships and Advocacy (NMEF)

About Nellie Mae Education Foundation

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation (NMEF) champions efforts that prioritize community goals that challenge racial inequities and advance excellent, student-centered public education for all New England youth.

As the largest philanthropy in New England dedicated exclusively to education, we work to ensure that all youth have access to excellent and equitable public education that prepares them to succeed and thrive in community. Our new grantmaking strategy, announced in early 2020, centers on racial equity in public education and includes grant funds for:

  • Supporting Organizations Led By People of Color;
  • Advancing Community-School Partnerships;
  • Amplifying Youth Voice;
  • Building Movements and Networks;
  • Strengthening State and National Coalitions; and
  • Championing Student-Centered Learning.

In addition to our grantmaking, we are committed to using our voice, privilege, and power to advance and advocate for racial equity in our education system and to identify, call out, and dismantle the systems and policies that have led to a disproportionate number of negative outcomes for people of color. In all of our work, we have committed to a race-equity-focused and community-centered approach. We commit to actively engaging with the communities we serve, and those most impacted, regarding solutions, investments, and resources for their community.

Headquartered in Quincy, MA, our team is comprised of mission-driven professionals who share a commitment to putting youth and communities at the forefront, operating with a racial equity lens, building collaborative relationships, supporting community-driven change, and continuing to learn, adapt, and improve.

For more information on NMEF, please visit


The Opportunity

The Senior Manager of Partnerships and Advocacy (Senior Manager) is a new role, designed to help us create and implement our vision for engagement and partnerships at the local, state, regional, and national levels. As we move forward with our new organizational mission, vision, values, and grantmaking strategy, our growing engagement, partnerships, and advocacy portfolio reflects our increased focus on taking a community-centered stance and using our position to amplify work that is being done to advance racial equity in education. The incoming Senior Manager will report to and partner with the Director of Engagement and Partnerships and work closely with the Communications team—to identify and prioritize opportunities for NMEF's external engagement, and they will support staff, leadership, and board members in their involvement with these activities, ensuring that our involvement is well-executed, evaluated, and fully-realized. The Senior Manager will also directly build, nurture, and monitor working relationships with key partners to ensure innovative, impactful partnership and advocacy initiatives and platforms.


Key Responsibilities

Specifically, the Senior Manager will:

  • Work closely with the Director of Engagement and Partnerships to recommend, shape, and carry out a shared vision for engagement, partnerships, and advocacy that will amplify NMEF's mission, vision, and values
  • Support NMEF in building and nurturing strategic partnerships at the local, regional, and national level
  • Develop ideas for programmatic efforts and provide leadership to implement them, including campaign support, policy advocacy, capacity building, grantmaking, and movement building
  • Monitor state and local education policy activity, including legislation, ballot initiatives, and referenda related to campaigns supported by the Foundation
  • Maintain a high level of knowledge of the most effective strategies and current thinking around advocacy, partnerships, and engagement work in the education and social change fields and lead staff and board in incorporating this information into their work
  • Partner with Communications colleagues to align activities across communications, advocacy, and partnerships
  • Support staff, grantees, and other partners in identifying and executing partnerships and advocacy efforts that are aligned with NMEF and grantee goals and outcomes
  • Work with the learning, research, and evaluation team to monitor progress toward outcomes


Candidate Profile

As the incoming Senior Manager, you will possess many, though perhaps not all, of the following characteristics and qualifications:

  • You come to this role with at least 10 years' experience in roles in public policy and advocacy, public interest issues in education, stakeholder relations, campaigning, or public affairs, with prior success in the nonprofit, education, or philanthropic sector.
  • You demonstrate a deep commitment to our mission of advancing racial equity in public education in New England and a desire to be part of a team that is committed to growth and learning related to racial equity.
  • You bring substantive knowledge of policy issues, positions, and trends related to education reform, issues of equity and diversity, and/or social and political dynamics of local, regional, and national governments and campaigns.
  • You are aligned with our core organizational competencies: race-equity-focused and community-centered; building and nurturing collaborative relationships; adaptable and adaptive leadership; and growth and impact-focused accountability.
  • You have a track record of success in coalition-building, working with both grass tops and grassroots organizations and representatives, and activating relationships through successful planning and engagement.
  • You are skilled in working across cultures and geographies, with the ability to communicate effectively with audiences of various backgrounds and perspectives.
  • You have demonstrated success in developing and executing advocacy strategies across multiple geographies.
  • You possess excellent written and oral communication skills and are an engaging storyteller who can influence and inspire action among a wide range of audiences. You have experience leveraging these skills to support or lead the creation of speeches, presentations, digital content, media relations, and events.
  • You demonstrate experience and success in working with senior executives to provide strategic counsel, clearly articulate ideas, and successfully navigate differing points of view.
  • You demonstrate the flexibility, accountability, and team-orientation needed to succeed in a small organization, where you will need both to partner with others and work independently without close oversight.
  • You are highly organized and detail-oriented, and you are able to effectively manage multiple projects and competing demands.
  • You are proficient in Microsoft Office and other software packages, communications protocols, and technologies.

Compensation & Benefits

The salary range for this position is $70,000 - $90,000, commensurate with experience, and NMEF provides a comprehensive benefits package.


Koya Leadership Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Cassie Scarano and Kirstin Griffiths are leading this search. To express your interest in this role please visit  All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Nellie Mae Education Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+, and other underrepresented applicants.


About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners, a member of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit


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