Program Specialist

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Early Career / Mid Career
  • Posted
    Aug 09

Position description

The Open Society Foundations seeks a Program Specialist to provide support to U.S. Programs, and specifically to its Democracy Team.

OSF is comprised of regional and thematic programs. U.S. Programs is one of its regional foundations. It works 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. The Program aims for the full political, economic, and civic participation of immigrants and communities of color; a fair criminal justice system; and an economy that promotes equitable growth and development, and the just redistribution of resources.

U.S. Programs works in thematic teams, which include a Democracy team. This team seeks to promote an informed and engaged public, assure responsive, effective and accountable government, and advance political equality. More specifically, the team supports: journalism and digital rights work to increase access to high-quality information that would further public discourse and debate; work to ensure equal access to the vote; efforts to address corruption and to ensure government is accountable to the people, and to affirm the rule of law and keep courts impartial and independent. Current issues on our radar include the debate over the practices and regulation of platforms like Facebook, campaigns to push back against specious claims of "voter fraud" that disenfranchise voters of color, and efforts to ensure that the Supreme Court isn't stacked with extremist judges for the next generation.

The Democracy team includes a Director, Senior Program Officer, two Program Officers, and one Program Specialist, employs multiple tools to accomplish its work, including grantmaking, support for programmatic advocacy, litigation, communications and organizing. The team works very closely with other U.S. Programs colleagues, and often also with colleagues in OSF's D.C. Advocacy Office, at OSI-Baltimore, and in thematic and regional programs across OSF.

Job Profile

This Program Specialist functions as part of a close-knit team, usually of Program Officers, and administrative/operational staff, and assumes work by assignment from others.

The Program Specialist will support the programmatic and to a lesser extent, administrative work, of U.S. Program's Democracy Team, and will directly report to the team Director.

The Program Specialist role may include any or all of the following and/or similar activities:
  • Supporting programmatic efforts by conducting a wide range of activities related to the grant making process and/or analytical work in support of field development, advocacy, regional consultations, and integrative activities.
  • Related administrative responsibilities or projects, including processing grants, developing tools and templates, coordinating event logistics, and processing vendor contracts and consultancy agreements.
  • Conducting research and synthesizing large amounts of data/information to be used in decision-making, strategy development, and evaluation of the grants portfolio or other program processes.
  • Designing and carrying-out field scans and ongoing field monitoring.
  • Analyzing grant proposals (including budget analysis), designing grants (type of support, degree of flexibility, duration, payment structure, reporting/learning expectations, etc.) and drafting grant recommendations.
  • Developing the attendee list, concept, agenda, key players, etc. for convenings, research initiatives, and advocacy efforts.
  • Contributing to assessment of organizations. This includes primary responsibility for the assessment of organizational finances and budgets (including grant budgets).
  • Partnering closely with other U.S. Programs staff to ensure efficient flow of grants processing and other similar information.
  • May provide support in the area of learning design for benefit of the whole team.
  • Participate in preparing and presenting portfolio reviews.

Candidate Profile

  • 3-5 years of progressively responsible experience in a situation relevant to the duties of this role is typically required to develop the skills required for this role.
  • Knowledgeable on issues of interest to OSF generally, and in particular as they relate to the designated area of specialization.
  • Highly skilled in researching, processing large amounts of information, and analyzing its importance in informing OSF programs and strategies.
  • Ability to recognize and work effectively in compliance with internal policies and external constraints.
  • Willingness and ability to exercise sound professional judgment on issues of sensitivity.
  • Excellent technological skills, including social media.
  • Demonstrate consistent respect for others' opinions, listen well, and respond to colleagues with awareness and sensitivity to cultural communication differences.
  • Diplomatic, discreet, able to handle confidential matters with a high level of integrity.
  • Well-developed emotional intelligence, including self-awareness, self-management, and empathy.
  • Organized; strong project management ability; self-directed on work initiatives; strong attention to detail.
  • Ability to manage competing priorities and deadlines.
  • Ability to work constructively with colleagues at all levels in the hierarchy of the organization as well as with external partners.
  • Strong commitment to open society values of rights, justice, accountable governance, human dignity, and democratic practice.
  • Strong commitment to inclusion and respect for all colleagues regardless of identity or seniority.
  • Collaborative, collegial working style.
  • Excellent written and spoken communication in English.

Application instructions: Please include a cover letter and resume, and upload as one document when submitting an application.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations. We welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and are committed to providing reasonable adjustments so that colleagues with disabilities are able to fulfill the essential functions of the job.
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