The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people.
We seek to strengthen the rule of law; respect for human rights, minorities, and a diversity of opinions; democratically elected governments; and a civil society that helps keep government power in check.
We help to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights.
We implement initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media.
We build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as corruption and freedom of information.
Working in every part of the world, the Open Society Foundations place a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities.
The Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs supports efforts 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 United States today. It works to further a vibrant democratic society in which all people can meaningfully participate in its civic, economic, and political life and to ensure that the core institutions of civil society are effective and accountable to the public.
Areas of particular emphasis in U.S. Programs’ grantmaking and other activities include:
- The advancement of effective and fair criminal justice and drug policies;
- Support of the rights of racial minorities and other vulnerable groups;
- Support of institutions and practices that advance a more informed and engaged public and responsive and effective government.
It is through the Democracy Fund that U.S. Programs works to promote an informed and engaged public, assure responsive and effective government, and advance political equality. More specifically, the Fund supports efforts that increase access to high-quality information to further public discourse and debate—this includes efforts to support high-quality journalism, as well as to promote universal Internet access and clear protections for the public in the Internet environment. The Fund promotes open and innovative government at the federal, state. and municipal levels; supports efforts to ensure equal access to the vote; addresses the undue influence of money in politics; and strives to keep courts fair and impartial. The Fund engages in grantmaking and supports programmatic initiatives that include advocacy, legal, communications, and organizing efforts to stimulate debate and achieve systemic change.
The Fund also includes the National Security and Human Rights Campaign, a program within U.S. Programs that supports United States–based organizations working to promote national security policies that respect human rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law.
The program officer will work as part of a team to advance the Fund’s overall work. The program officer’s primary responsibility will be to oversee strategy development and grantmaking relating to the Fund’s support for journalism, and advocacy related to media and Internet policy. The program officer is also responsible for building connections between this work and the other priorities of the Democracy Fund, U.S. Programs, and Open Society’s work internationally.
To date, the Democracy Fund’s journalism grantmaking has recognized that the U.S. media and communications landscape is undergoing a profound economic, technological, and cultural transition with both positive and negative effects on democratic practice and informed public engagement. Open Society has supported a range of models for producing and distributing reporting on state and city government, and beat reporting on critical issues such as prison conditions, or conflicts of interest in state government contracting and budgets. These emerging noncommercial models creatively fill some of the gaps created by the decline in newspapers and other commercial media outlets.
Democracy Fund grantmaking in the area of media and communications technology policy has aimed to achieve a policy environment in which the public interest is vigorously protected and advanced when critical decisions are made regarding governance of the Internet. We recognize that the public must have universal, affordable high-speed access to the Internet, and a means of protecting public-interest values in the online space itself. Open Society and our grantees in every field depend on an open, democratic communications infrastructure, and we support efforts to ensure that public policies and corporate practices that, in effect, govern the Internet are not dominated by special interests, and do protect and advance free expression, privacy, shared economic opportunity, and civic participation.
The program officer may also work on other issues of emerging interest to the Democracy Fund specifically, or U.S. Programs more generally.
- Develop grantmaking and programmatic strategies, priorities, budgets, and guidelines;
- Write strategy/position papers that provide direction on policy issues impacting the field and/or offer suggestions about strategic program development for funders and grantees;
- Establish strategic relationships with other philanthropic partners and NGO’s and identify joint programming opportunities;
- Collaborate with grantees, philanthropic partners, and other field professionals and participate in program- and field-related meetings and convenings;
- Work with the director to ensure close collaboration with other program directors and staff across the Open Society Foundations network;
- Participate in the development, planning, and organization of program-related events;
- Invite grant proposals from selected funding applicants and work with applicants to develop and finalize grant proposals;
- Review grant proposals and write grant recommendations;
- Review and assess letters of inquiry and make funding recommendations and declinations;
- Monitor grants through site visits and review of narrative and financial reports;
- Manage financial and budget reports to track grant and program spending;
- Perform occasional special assignments, including participation in U.S. Programs and foundation task forces and working groups.
- Bachelor’s degree (BA) from a four-year college or university with several years’ relevant experience;
- Graduate degree preferred;
- Strong background with programs advancing social justice.
- Demonstrated commitment to working on social justice issues, especially journalism or media and technology policy issues;
- Strong awareness of relationships that currently exist or could be cultivated among social justice sectors, organizations, and constituencies;
- Excellent writing, verbal, analytical, and organizational skills and attention to detail;
- Excellent public speaking and presentation skills;
- Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to listen effectively;
- Self-starter with ability to set and meet goals;
- Creative thinker and strong analytical skills;
- Ability to travel;
- Ability to work effectively as part of a close knit, collaborative team.
Essential functions are typically performed in an office setting with a low level of noise. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
Please email resume and cover letter with salary requirements by April 15, 2014, to: email@example.com. Include job code in subject line: PGO-DF.