Program Associate, Digital Democracy Initiative
Democracy Fund is a foundation working to defend American democracy and challenge it to be more open and just. Created by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar, Democracy Fund has made more than $200 million in grants to support free and fair elections, a vibrant and diverse public square, effective and accountable government, and a just and inclusive society. In addition to grantmaking, Democracy Fund advocates for better solutions and works with partners to grow philanthropic support for our democracy. To learn more, visitand .
Democracy Fund is seeking a highly motivated and skilled Program Associate to support the work of the Digital Democracy Initiative (DDI).
The Digital Democracy Initiative supports the work to create an equitable and just democracy for all. We believe that no matter where they live or who they are, Americans should be able to get the news and information they need to engage in civic life and to participate fully in online conversations without facing discrimination, misinformation, or harassment. To that end, we invest in organizations and coalitions who hold digital platforms accountable, combat misinformation, and support the vital news our democracy needs to function effectively.
DDI sits within our broader Public Square program, which supports trustworthy local news and investigative reporting, equitable newsrooms, press freedom, community engagement, and digital spaces that advance democracy. Grantmaking is just one tool we use to support change. We believe as grantmakers we must be humble and oriented towards listening and service, recognizing that our grantees are visionaries and collaborators who we want to help succeed in the world.
You will be joining an early-stage team, on the fast-track to expansion, that is looking to infuse a stronger understanding and commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) into our internal systems and external community building.
The Program Associate will report to the Associate Director of Democracy Fund’s Digital Democracy Initiative and help expand the Initiative’s capacity to engage with a portfolio of grants and consultants who develop and advocate for public policy solutions and new investments in civic information and public interest media. The Program Associate will also support the work of Democracy Fund Voice, a separate social welfare organization.
Democracy Fund is committed to working on systems level changes to address complex problems facing our democracy. We are looking for an organized, entrepreneurial, and goal- oriented individual who brings astute analysis, creative problem solving, and great communication and project management skills. Candidates must be comfortable working in a small, highly collaborative team within a fast-paced environment. The Program Associate will work with others on the Public Square team and across Democracy Fund to execute on a long-term strategy, improve internal processes and administration across the organization, and contribute to learning and team growth. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
GRANT MAKING, COORDINATION, AND CAPACITY BUILDING
- Review grant application materials. Conduct and document legal due diligence for grants, sponsorships and amendments. Monitor legal issues in partnership with the Senior Counsel, Senior Associate, and Associate Director.
- Prepare grant, sponsorship, and amendment agreements.
- Compile and analyze grant and portfolio data that can be used for internal portfolio reviews, board meetings, and Democracy Fund’s annual tax return and audit.
- Serve as a point of contact for grantees who need support using our grants management database.
- Engage with grantees via site visits and other evaluation efforts (site visits and most work travel currently suspended due to the ongoing pandemic).
- Complete other administrative grantmaking projects and duties, as requested by the Senior Associate and Associate Director.
- Provide input and feedback to the team to help us experiment, learn, and refine our approach in grantmaking.
- Monitor, engage with, and capture learnings from grantees and funding initiatives.
- Monitor trends, research, and new publications to inform our strategy.
- Collaborate with the larger Public Square team to defend press freedom, promote equitable journalism, and promote diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Ability to work effectively cross-functionally and creatively solve problems.
- Promote a team culture of high performance and continuous improvement that values learning, quality, collaboration, positivity, and transparency.
- Contribute to team administration and processes.
- Serve as a liaison between the Public Square Program and other Democracy Fund departments on targeted areas of work.
- Deep passion for strengthening American democracy and supporting news and information that serves communities, both online and offline.
- Collaborative and strategic approach to work and planning.
- Team player with the ability to build effective relationships and work collaboratively, and comfortable working in a small, highly collaborative team.
- BA or equivalent experience preferred, with at least 3-5 years of experience in roles that involved managing multiple projects, attention to detail, strategic thinking, and organizing events, in the fields of journalism, digital democracy, and/or philanthropy.
- Proven analytical and research skills.
- A self-starter with an outstanding work ethic, and who is dependable, responsible, and has a creative and entrepreneurial mindset.
- Previous grantmaking experience is valued but not necessary. Candidate should be able to analyze and assess organizations and their contributions to the field.
- A learning mindset, self- and other-awareness, and success in developing and sustaining interpersonal relationships across differences.
- Operationally focused with strong organizational and execution skills.
- Ability to adapt quickly, work calmly, and maintain good judgment in a fast-paced environment; must be comfortable working through ambiguity.
- Confident and diplomatic oral communicator with exceptional writing and editing skills.
- Skilled in proactively handling multiple assignments simultaneously with a sense of urgency, prioritizing tasks, and meeting deadlines to deliver high quality results.
- Professional maturity, with demonstrated ability to exercise good judgment, and proven track record contributing to complex projects.
- Works well both independently and as part of a team.
- High proficiency in Microsoft Office: Word, Excel, PowerPoint and comfortable using online tools for project and contact management.
This position will eventually be based in Washington, D.C. but will begin remotely due to the ongoing pandemic.