MDF is Hiring a Director of Programs

Date posted: August 19, 2020

Position: Director of Programs, reports to an MDF Co-Executive Director

Location: United States

Status: Exempt, full time

Salary: Commensurate with experience


Position Summary

The Media Democracy Fund (MDF) project seeks a skilled manager and strategic thought partner to fulfill its Director of Programs position. The Director of Programs will lead all MDF programs, sharpening existing strategies, developing new initiatives, and deepening institutional knowledge to ensure maximum impact of MDF’s mission as a catalyst for an open, secure and equitable internet. MDF’s Director of Programs is also expected to be a leader within the fields and sectors in which MDF operates, enhancing MDF grantmaking efforts through partnership with the field, network and movement organizations as a facilitator, collaborator, convener, innovator and bridge-builder. The Director of Programs is responsible for the delivery of MDF’s overall program and its activities in accordance with the mission and the goals of the organization, as well as oversight and management of program staff. This is a full time position that will include extensive travel when public health conditions permit. 


Key Responsibilities


Program Development and Investment Strategy

  • Develop and implement a strategic and well balanced program in service of MDF’s mission of an open, secure and equitable internet

  • Articulate strategy and focus of the work in clear and compelling ways to a range of funder and field stakeholders, both verbally and in writing

  • Ensure that programming stays agile and responsive to changing conditions, new trends, and unexpected challenges

  • In partnership with the Co-Executive Directors, develop new initiatives and themes that are creative and have the potential for success

  • Design field or network-wide capacity building and coordination supports, including convenings, research and strategic engagements

  • Facilitate field or network-wide strategy meetings and design sprints on specific issues and topics, as part of MDF’s own strategy development process

  • Identify and develop program areas within the focus of MDF’s strategic plan, tailoring the work to fill gaps as needed across the focus areas of open, secure and equitable internet, platform accountability and racialized disinformation 

  • Maintain a breadth of knowledge about current trends, emerging issues, policy interventions, and innovations in MDF’s areas of focus

  • Manage the grants and contracts budget, setting general budget allocations among program goals and monitoring the program budget in consultation with the Co-Executive Directors

  • Oversee the development and organization of MDF’s investment portfolio through grants and contracts. This includes proposing annual grantmaking priorities and timing, strategic or rapid response grantmaking, and special initiatives

  • Oversee the grantmaking and contract process in partnership with the Program Officer(s)--including funding invitations to grantees. review of grant and contract proposals, site visits and due diligence, and the assessment of grant and contract performance and program outcomes

  • Present and defend grant and contract recommendations and programmatic strategy to the MDF steering committee

  • Lead and oversee any changes to MDF’s annual Program Plan

Staff Management

  • Maintain a strong grasp of grants and contracts under management

  • Supervise the work of the Program Managers/Officer(s)

  • Set and communicate clear and consistent goals for program and team development with the Program Managers/Officer(s), while encouraging creativity and high quality work

  • Assure that the capacity and talent of the Program Team team is fully maximized

  • Provide leadership, coaching and feedback to program staff, supporting their work in the areas of contracts and grants

Donor and Field Relationships

  • Represent MDF effectively in a range of settings, including external meetings and conferences

  • Build broad networks with field experts, governmental decision-makers, affinity groups, and other funders and be an effective philanthropic advocate in the various fields where grants and contracts are made

  • Foster strong working relationships, a high level of mutual trust, and effective channels of communication with grantees and contractors, not only to assess their readiness and capacity for program implementation but also to learn from them about changes in the field

  • Build bridges between and among a range of stakeholders

  • Manage donor relationships and cultivation, including direct work with donors on new initiatives.

  • Promote MDF as a catalyst working on an open, secure and accessible internet

  • Seek new, mission-aligned organizations according to priorities set by the Co-Executive Directors and steering committee

  • Lead, when necessary, donor specific initiatives within MDF’s portfolio

Required  Education, Experience, Knowledge, Skills and Ability 

  • Demonstrated experience in, and substantive knowledge of, digital rights, digital equity, platform accountability and/ or disinformation 

  • Outstanding communication skills, both written and oral, and ability to articulate a clear vision 

  • Ability to balance day-to-day operations with strategic plan benchmarks

  • Ability to lead program staff and prioritize work activities to leverage current and future investments

  • Strong management and team-building skills, including the ability to set clear priorities, make clear decisions, and delegate effectively

  • Flexibility to respond to changing situations, shifting priorities and new opportunities

  • Strong judgment in navigating relationships and complex decisions

  • Collaborative style that fosters cooperation and collegiality

  • Ability to learn quickly, be flexible, and take an optimistic approach to work

  • High level of personal and professional integrity and a reputation for a thoughtful approach

  • An appetite for writing and public speaking

  • Respect for the grantee community and for the importance of its strong partnership with the foundation

  • A flexible team player who contributes to a strong sense of community among staff and board

  • Proven self starter, organizer and evaluator

  • An understanding of public policy and political processes, and of the role of the not-for-profit community in driving change

Recommended Education, Experience, Knowledge, Skills and Ability 

  • Grantmaking experience is a plus

  • A network of contacts both within and beyond the philanthropic community

  • A graduate degree in a relevant field is strongly preferred

  • A roll-up-your-sleeves attitude

  • Credibility to leverage own networks to serve MDF’s goals

  • A lifelong learner who values curiosity 


This job description will evolve over time and is subject to periodic updating.  At management’s discretion, the employee may be assigned different or additional duties of similar complexity.

How to Apply

Please send a resume and cover letter to amalia deloney, Co-Executive Director, at Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.



New Venture Fund Careers


Media Democracy Fund is a project of New Venture Fund (NVF), a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. NVF is committed to attracting, developing and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding and enables each of us to realize our potential. NVF’s work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, and all other classifications protected by law in the locality and/or state in which you are working.