Director of Learning & Impact, Democracy Fund – Washington D.C.

Director of Learning & Impact, Democracy Fund – Washington D.C.

 

Director of Learning & Impact – Democracy Fund

The Democracy Fund is a new initiative that aspires to the highest ideals of American democracy –
government of, by, and for the people. We invest in organizations working to ensure that our
political system is responsive to the priorities of the American public and has the capacity to meet
the greatest challenges facing our country. At the heart of our vision for the future are three core
commitments to a strong, healthy political system.

  • First, the American people must have the ability to make informed choices as they engage in the civic life of their nation.
  • Second, the American people must have confidence that their voices are the primary influence shaping the outcomes of policy and political debates.
  • Third, the American people need to know that their government has the ability to solve important problems and govern effectively.

    The Democracy Fund was created by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and is based in Washington, DC. More information about the Democracy Fund may be found at: www.democracyfund.org

POSITION SUMMARY:

The Democracy Fund is seeking an experienced and entrepreneurial professional to serve as its
first Director of Learning & Impact. The Director will shape the position, cultivating a culture of
learning and adaptive programming within the organization and working collaboratively with
grantees and stakeholders to ground work in the field with the best possible research and data. The
Director will lead an evaluative cycle that involves (a) seeking to understand our democracy as a
complex social system, (b) helping to develop strategies for engaging that system, and (c) learning
from our activities so that we can engage more effectively over time. Internally, the Director will
lead our efforts to create and implement a strategic framework for assessing our progress and
learning from our programs and investments. Externally, the Director will engage with researchers
and other thought leaders in the field in order to stay abreast of new research, guide future
research to address critical questions, and share what the Democracy Fund has learned from its
own experimentation. The Director will work closely with the Democracy Fund’s program team
and work in partnership with our grantees to effectively evaluate and learn from their work.
Specific responsibilities include:

  • Work with our network of grantees, peer funders, and other partners to cultivate a learning environment in which experimentation and evidence-based reform are highly valued.
  • Work with the Democracy Fund’s program team to develop a research agenda and conduct diligence on potential research and evaluation grants that respond to our agenda.
  • Oversee the selection and management of vendors to conduct monitoring, evaluation and impact measurement studies / projects.
  • Monitor trends and new publications from external sources producing rigorous research in our fields of interest to inform Democracy Fund strategy.
  • Lead the development and use of an evaluation and results frameworks for the Democracy Fund, including the development and maintenance of a ‘learning and impact dashboard’.
  • Drive periodic assessments and evaluations of the Democracy Fund’s portfolio, in line with our results frameworks, including the design of appropriate impact metrics for current and future grants and other investments.
  • Analyze trends in the portfolio for lessons to share internally and externally.
  • Manage public opinion research to ensure that the Democracy Fund has an adequate understanding of public opinion related to the state of our political system.
  • Develop processes where learning on impact is fed back into investment committee deliberations on new commitments.
  • Participate on the Democracy Fund’s investment committee to evaluate grant opportunities.
  • Assist portfolio organizations with evaluation, learning, and impact frameworks.
  • Connect portfolio organizations to specialized research professionals or academics in order to aid their work.
  • Codify, store, and manage results, learning, and improvement systems. Build out and institutionalize learning processes, pathways, and culture. Ensure that impact data and findings are stored in easily searchable and accessible fashion.
  • Lead dissemination of evaluation findings and key lessons for external stakeholders through writing, speaking, and convening opportunities.
  • Represent the Democracy Fund in a manner that is consistent with our mission.
  • Perform other responsibilities, as necessary.

EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE, AND SKILLS REQUIREMENTS:

  • Deep passion for strengthening American democracy.
  • Advanced degree in a relevant field (e.g. public administration, public policy, political science, communications/media studies, etc.)
  • Minimum seven years of work experience in relevant professional capacity.
  • Deep knowledge of and familiarity with cutting-edge evaluation and results frameworks, as well as systems thinking and complexity science.
  • Familiarity with the latest research related to the Democracy Fund’s fields of interest, including election and campaign finance reform, media reform, and political polarization.
  • Excellent project management skills with demonstrated excellence in overseeing research, evaluation, and communication of impact.
  • Strong entrepreneurial mindset, with a passion for creating opportunities (this is a new role) and defining new functions.
  • Ability to switch between strategic and practical thinking, with exceptional qualitative and quantitative analytic skills.
  • Passion for learning, puzzle solving, distilling lessons, and turning them into action.
  • High tolerance for ambiguity and ability to adapt to changing strategic frameworks.
  • Strong team player.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills required, including the ability to make complex research understandable and relevant to external audiences
  • Ability to travel periodically for project work.

Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume to:
Tami Galvan at tgalvan@omidyar.com