Policy Director

Position: 
Policy Director
Organization Name: 
America Forward
Job Category: 
Job Description: 

America Forward is a nonpartisan policy initiative of New Profit, a pioneering national venture philanthropy organization that backs breakthrough social entrepreneurs who are advancing equity and opportunity in America.  New Profit invests in visionary leaders-- both social entrepreneurs and system entrepreneurs -- to help them scale high-impact solutions and achieve systemic change. To date, New Profit has invested over $150 million in scaling innovative organizations' impact.

America Forward's mission is to unite social innovators with policymakers to translate local impact into national change.  America Forward advances an education, workforce development, poverty alleviation, and social innovation public policy agenda that advances equity, fosters innovation, rewards results, and catalyzes cross-sector partnership. Staff of America Forward lead a Coalition of more than 100 leading nonprofit and social innovation organizations that champion innovative, effective, and equitable solutions to our country's most pressing social problems. Our America Forward Coalition members are achieving measurable outcomes in more than 15,000 communities nationwide, touching the lives of 9 million Americans each year, and driving progress in early learning, K-12 and post secondary education, workforce development, poverty alleviation, national service, social innovation, public health, pay for success and evidence-based policy, and criminal justice reform. 

Since 2007, America Forward's community of innovators has played a leading role in driving the national dialogue on social innovation and advocating for lasting policy change.  America Forward played a critical role in the creation of a federal tiered-evidence fund aimed at scaling high-impact organizations and significantly leveraging federal dollars, and the creation of a new breakthrough federal outcomes-fund. Our community influenced the creation of the White House Office of Social Innovation, and we have successfully advocated for the inclusion of provisions focused on outcomes in landmark federal education and workforce legislation. Together, we have leveraged $1.7 billion for evidence-based social innovation and have driven millions of federal resources toward programs that are achieving measurable results for those who need them most. America Forward believes that our nation's social innovators can lead the way to unlocking America's potential -- and help move all of America forward.

About the Position

The Policy Director will oversee the strategic alignment of all of America Forward’s policy work -- from education, to workforce development, to evidence-based policy. The Policy Director will play a leadership role guiding the America Forward Coalition’s workforce development, evidence-based policy, social innovation, and Pay for Success collective advocacy work, and will actively partner in other collective advocacy areas, including education, national service, and poverty-alleviation. The Policy Director will oversee the development of new policy proposals from idea generation to advocacy execution; develop policy papers and other external-facing advocacy materials for members of Congress, senior officials in the Biden-Harris Administration, and other policymakers; participate in external engagement efforts, including leading meetings with Hill staff and other policymakers; and develop policy proposals for America Forward’s nonpartisan engagement in national elections. The Policy Director will actively engage with the America Forward Advocacy Institute and help build the policy capacity of New Profit portfolio organizations and America Forward Coalition organizations. Policy capacity-building work will include leading policy workshops and Hill Days and providing ad hoc policy advice to America Forward Coalition organizations.  The Policy Director will also work closely with senior leaders at New Profit to help advance policies of interest to New Profit portfolio organizations.

An exceptional communicator, strong writer, skilled researcher, and a creative and analytical thinker, the Policy Director will synthesize complex ideas, build consensus, and actively engage multiple audiences and stakeholders, including policymakers, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, academics and other experts, in shaping new policy proposals and initiatives on behalf of America Forward. The Policy Director will participate actively in external engagement opportunities and speak and write on the Coalition’s policy priorities on behalf of America Forward. 

The Policy Director will report directly to the Executive Director of America Forward, work closely with both internal staff and external policy consultants, and play a vital role in ensuring America Forward achieves its ambitious advocacy goals, championing policies that make the social sector more equitable and outcomes-driven. While the preferred location for this position is in  Washington D.C. (where America Forward is headquartered) or Boston, MA (where New Profit is headquartered), this position is open to applicants working remotely from other locations who are willing to travel to DC periodically once the public health crisis abates.

The projected salary for this role is approximately $120,000, to be adjusted based on experience.

Position Responsibilities

America Forward’s Policy Director will:

  • Develop policy platforms, proposals, and strategies that reflect the interests of New Profit and America Forward Coalition members in: workforce development, social innovation, and evidence-based policy outcomes-based funding/Pay for Success, and partner with colleagues on the development of platforms and proposals in early learning, K-12 and post secondary education, and national service.
  • In close collaboration with America Forward’s Directors and team of consultants, actively advocate for specific policy agendas in the areas of:  workforce development, social innovation, evidence-based policy/Pay for Success, education, human services, national service, and other related issues.
  • Advise America Forward’s Workforce Development Task Force, lead America Forward’s Evidence-Based Task Force, and develop strong relationships with CEOs and Policy Directors of member organizations.
  • Lead America Forward’s efforts to influence the regulation and implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and advocate for other legislation of particular interest to the Coalition (including: major Pay for Success legislation, the Revitalize and Expand SNAP Education and Training (RESET) For America’s Future Act, the Social Impact Partnership to Pay for Results Act, and the Fund for Innovation, and Success in Higher Education (FINISH) Act, etc.).
  • Work with our team to run advocacy trainings, Hill Days, and other efforts to build the advocacy capacity of New Profit portfolio organizations and America Forward Coalition members.
  • Work with individual portfolio and Coalition organizations to build their policy capacity and provide strategic advice.
  • Work closely with the America Forward team to develop policy proposals for upcoming election cycles, and build strong relationships within the Congress and Administration to advance priority policy ideas. 
  • Contribute to development and fundraising efforts and play a meaningful role in engaging individual, foundation, and public funders.
  • Contribute to America Forward’s ongoing message development and communications strategy; generate content for America Forward across all communications platforms; develop policy papers and other written external content on key issues; and create public engagement materials (e.g. op-eds, slide decks, summaries, press materials, external speeches, social media content, etc.).
  • Serve as a representative of America Forward to policymakers (both in Congress and in the Administration), thought leaders, social entrepreneurs, and other key stakeholders.
  • Expand America Forward’s external presence by speaking publicly at national, state, and local conferences and other events, and authoring op-eds, blogs, and other public content.
  • Manage networks and information channels necessary to be consistently and fully informed on all activities and advancements in related policy and political areas.
  • Actively cultivate relationships and expand the network of champions for equity, evidence and social innovation, and participate in associated advocacy efforts as needed.
  • Manage expert external consultants and more junior staff working on a similar portfolio of issues. 

Candidate Qualifications

  • Significant professional experience (ideally at least 10 years) in federal policy and/or politics; experience working on Capitol Hill, in a federal department/agency, for other policy-makers, or in the policy department of a national nonprofit organization, think tank, or philanthropic organization.
  • Relationship and consensus-building skills, including experience working with or managing coalitions; comfort working with both policy experts and novices.
  • Ability to work independently and cooperatively as a part of a DC team connected to a larger Boston-based organization; ability to work independently and collaboratively with a team of DC-based senior policy consultants.
  • Superior written communication skills; exceptional ability to synthesize complex information and ideas into clear, concise, and compelling written materials.
  • Superior verbal communication skills; exceptional ability to craft messages that resonate with multiple audiences; substantial experience and comfort with public speaking and engaging large audiences.
  • Superior research skills; ability to quickly and accurately pull key facts or statistics to support a broader advocacy proposal, tied to strong and accurate sourcing; ability to efficiently fact-check.
  • Ability to thrive and learn in a fast-paced environment, ability to be nimble as part of an entrepreneurial organization, comfort in an environment that emphasizes collaboration and a “can-do” orientation.
  • Interest in learning and leading new policy area initiatives as opportunities emerge.
  • Passion for New Profit and America Forward’s missions, social entrepreneurship, and systems change; deep commitment to pursuing equity; experience or familiarity  with social innovation, social entrepreneurship, and the nonprofit sector preferred.
  • Flexibility and willingness to travel occasionally (particularly to New Profit’s Boston office).

How to Apply:

For more information about America Forward, please visit: www.americaforward.org

This search is being led by Allison Kupfer Poteet and Sarah Hecklau of NPAG. Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s website. Please apply no later than October 12, 2021.

As an equal opportunity employer, New Profit recognizes the power of a diverse community and strongly encourages applications from individuals with varied experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds.

AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and other national service alumni are encouraged to apply. Please indicate in your application if you are a national service alumni.

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, October 12, 2021