Program Specialist, US Democracy Team

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Apr 30

Position description

Program Specialist, US Democracy Team. New York. Posting Date: 04/29/2019. Deadline: 05/12/2019

Open Society US

Within the Open Society Foundations, Open Society US (OS-US) is committed to building a vibrant, inclusive, and just society in the United States. Through grant making, fellowships, convening, and a special reserve fund used as crises and unexpected opportunities arise, OS-US seeks to promote full participation in the nation's civic, political, and economic life-particularly for communities that are historically marginalized and vulnerable-and to ensure that the core institutions of civil society are effective and accountable to the public. OS-US and its lobbying affiliate, the Open Society Policy Center, conduct and support advocacy on a wide range of domestic and foreign policy issues, including strong human rights policies, cooperative global engagement, better access to public health services, and greater corporate and governmental transparency and accountability.

The Democracy Team

Within OS-US, the Democracy team seeks to promote an informed and engaged public, assure effective and accountable government, and advance political equality. This includes support for: journalism and digital rights work to increase access to high-quality information for furthering public discourse and debate; work to ensure equal access to the vote; efforts to address corruption and ensure government is accountable to the people; work to affirm the rule of law and keep courts impartial and independent; and civic engagement and participation activities in places around the country. Current priorities 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 a full count in the 2020 census.

The Democracy team includes an acting director, a senior program officer, three program officers, and two program specialists; and employs multiple tools to accomplish its work, including grantmaking, support for programmatic advocacy, litigation, communications, community organizing, and a fellowship program. The team works very closely with other OS-US colleagues, in addition to colleagues in other thematic and regional programs across OSF.

Job Profile

The Program Specialist will support the programmatic and to a lesser extent, administrative work, of the OS-US Democracy Team. The position reports directly report to the team director, and 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 position relevant to the duties of this role.
  • Knowledgeable in and passion for the issues of interest to OS-US generally, and preferably, priority issues of the Democracy team.
  • Highly skilled in researching and processing large amounts of information, and analyzing its value for use in developing strategy and program recommendations.
  • 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.
  • The Program Specialist may also take the lead on projects or issues as determined by the team.


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

Competitive rates of pay apply.

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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