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Senior Associate, Public Square Program

Democracy Fund’s Public Square Program believes that a healthy democracy demands access to trustworthy news and information that reflects the diversity of the public and enables all people to participate fully. We support people and organizations working to strengthen local news, expand engaged journalism, defend press freedom, and combat misinformation and the impact of social media platforms on our society. Grant making 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.We are seeking a Senior Program Associate to guide our trusted and engaged journalism strategy, investing in projects that rebuild the social contract between newsrooms and communities, and foster diversity, equity and inclusion in media.

The Senior Program Associate, who will report to the Program Director in the Democracy Fund’s Public Square team, will manage a portfolio of grants and activities designed to encourage audience-driven journalism, inclusion, trust and transparency across the American media landscape. Beyond grantmaking, they will help develop programs and convene with the field in creative community building efforts designed to support the needs of practitioners and leaders across the public square. This position supports a growing network of ambitious partners working to inspire, refine and evolve systems in need of urgent change. Our grantees include the Maynard Institute, Solutions Journalism Network, City Bureau, Coral Project, Ida B. Well Society, Listening Post, National Association of Black Journalists, the Community Listening and Engagement Fund and others. We are looking for a leader who brings astute analysis, creative problem solving, great communication skills and a love of building inclusive relationships and networks.

Democracy Fund is committed to working on systems level changes to address complex problems facing our democracy. We are looking for candidates who can bring a range of experiences and expertise to bear on the challenges our media and democracy face. Candidates must be comfortable working in a small, highly collaborative team within a fast-paced environment. The Senior Program Associate will work with others on the Public Square team to execute a long-term strategy, develop and manage internal processes and administration across the organization, and support learning and team growth.

Job description:


  • Work with the field to respond to changes and trends facing journalism in America today as they relate to community engagement, diversity, equity and inclusion, and newsroom transparency
  • Identify, shape, and prepare for consideration potential grants related to: audience driven journalism, media diversity, and newsroom transparency
  • Build meaningful relatinships with grantees, and support existing and new grantees to help them to be as effective as possible
  • Maintain and support communities of practice that foster collaboration and expand impact through events, communications and network building.
  • Develop partnerships with organizations and foundations that can bring new support into the field
  • Support the Engaged Journalism Lab publication as a resource to promote our grantees work and share what we are learning


  • Partner with the Democracy Fund’s Strategy, Impact, and Learning team to facilitate a sound approach to help us iterate, experiment, learn, and refine our approach
  • Monitor, engage, and capture learnings from grantees as they execute their grants, help share those learnings across the field
  • Facilitate increased dialogue and collaboration in the field by convening grantees, experts, academics, change-makers, and leaders. Manage relationships and develop convenings and events as appropriate
  • Monitor trends, research, and new publications to inform our strategy


  • Supervise staff, and support the professional development of direct reports
  • Maintain relationships with and oversee consultants and fellows working in support of the Trusted and Engaged Journalism strategy
  • Collaborate with the larger Public Square team to support activities aimed at combatting misinformation, defending press freedom, and strengthening local journalism (contribute to team wide events, initiatives, and processes)
  • Contribute to team administration and processes that make the Public Square Program effective and help us work together
  • Serve as a liaison between the Public Square Program and other Democracy Fund departments on targeted areas of work
  • Actively work to support the success of other members of the Democracy Fund team and cultivate an organizational culture that is highly collaborative, positive, and productive


  • Passion for strengthening American democracy and supporting journalism that serves communities and enables long term systems change
  • BA required, and at least 5 - 7 years of experience working in roles that engaged questions related to community engagement, journalism, media diversity
  • Nuanced understanding of issues related to trust between newsrooms and communities, media diversity, and the landscape of audience driven storytelling
  • Previous grant making experience is valued but not necessary. Candidate should be able to analyze and assess organizations and their contributions to the fields we work in
  • Exceptional communication skills (verbal and written), including the willingness and ability to communicate and collaborate with diverse leaders and stakeholders from across the journalism spectrum and different walks of life
  • Flexibility and initiative to work both independently and as part of a team. Ability to work in a bipartisan environment and with stakeholders from across the political spectrum
  • Professional maturity, demonstrated ability to exercise good judgment and proven track record managing complex projects
  • Must be comfortable with ambiguity and working in a changing and fast paced environment
  • Collaborative, strategic and empathetic especially when approaching work and planning
  • Position is based in the Washington, D.C. area


Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume. No calls please.

Washington, D.C. area

Current Openings

Reidsville Area Foundation|Non-Profit|Reidsville, NC|Mar 22, 2019
Democracy Fund |Non-Profit|Washington, D.C. area|Dec 20, 2018