Program Officer
Open Society Foundations - New York, NY

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The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people.

We seek to strengthen the rule of law; respect for human rights, minorities, and a diversity of opinions; democratically elected governments; and a civil society that helps keep government power in check.

We help to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights.

We implement initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media.

We build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as corruption and freedom of information.

Working in every part of the world, the Open Society Foundations place a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities.

The Central Eurasia Project (CEP), a regional initiative of the Open Society Foundations, aims to promote social progress and human rights in the South Caucasus, Central Asia, and Mongolia by developing programs and international campaigns that use policy research and advocacy to shape debates on significant challenges facing the region. As a regional initiative, the Central Eurasia Project supports programming that engages partners in multiple countries across the region. In addition, the Central Eurasia Project manages Open Society Foundations activities related to countries where we lack local foundations: Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

CEP’s Human Rights portfolio is dedicated to supporting efforts to document and seek remedies for rights abuses in the region, particularly at a transnational level. The newly conceived Economic and Social Justice portfolio will seek to identify and advance demands by the region’s citizens for more equitable policy outcomes.

Purpose of Position
Strategy development and grantmaking for CEP’s Human Rights and Economic/Social Justice portfolios and for developing the connections between these portfolios and the broader priorities of the Foundations. Work is carried out autonomously, but under general supervision of CEP Director.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities
OSF may add, change, or remove essential and other duties at any time.

  • Develop, plan and organize portfolio-related events;
  • Take the lead in developing portfolio grantmaking strategies, priorities, and guidelines, under the supervision of the director;
  • Work closely with director and other program staff to ensure that CEP’s portfolios (closed states, human rights, economic/social justice, policy/research) reinforce and build on each other;
  • Work with the director to ensure close collaboration with other programs and staff, convene cross-program working groups as needed, to advance research and respond to grantmaking opportunities;
  • Write and edit portfolio materials and guidelines; contribute to the same for CEP as a whole;
  • Stay abreast of developments in the field through research and attendance of conferences and/or meetings;
  • Write strategy/position papers that provide direction on policy issues impacting the field and/or offer suggestions about strategic program development for funders and grantees;
  • Perform special assignments, including participation with other Foundations programs and foundation task forces and working groups;
  • Identify joint programming opportunities and efforts with external funders and partners;
  • Build and establish strategic relationships with other philanthropic partners and NGOs;
  • Participate in developing project’s learning, monitoring and evaluation approaches along with director and other staff.
  • In conjunction with director and other staff/consultants, develop grantmaking strategies, priorities, and guidelines;
  • Review and assess letters of inquiry and make funding recommendations to the director;
  • Invite grant proposals from selected funding applicants;
  • Work with applicants to develop and finalize grant proposals; review grant proposals and participate in the preparation of written grant recommendations as part of grant dockets preparation process;
  • Perform site visits of prospective and current grantee organizations;
  • Monitor grants through site visits and review of narrative and financial reports;
  • Ensure that grantees submit narrative and financial reports as required under the terms of the contract;
  • Interact with grantees and other field professionals and participate in program- and field-related meetings and convenings.
  • Manage financial and budget reports to track portfolio grant and operational spending;
  • Assist in the planning and developing of annual budget.
  • Travel will be required;
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Education / Experience
Bachelor’s degree (BA) from a four-year college or university and five to eight years relevant experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience in grant making, project management, including managing consultants and developing and managing project budgets;
  • NGO experience essential;
  • Strong background with programs advancing social justice through community organizing, legal advocacy, research, or policy reform work.

Skills Required
  • Ability to work efficiently and effectively in a fast-paced environment, troubleshoot and follow projects through to completion, with strict deadlines and without loss of attention to detail, budget and reporting;
  • Excellent written, verbal, organizational, analytical and interpersonal skills;
  • Excellent computer skills, proficiency in Microsoft Office and experience with Internet research;
  • Good listening and communication skills with sensitivity to cultural communication differences;
  • Ability to work as a team member and independently, with a high-level of self-motivation and ability to set and meet goals;
  • Discretion and the ability to handle confidential issues;
  • Knowledge of key organizations and networks active in the field;
  • Awareness of emergent social movements and new areas of grassroots citizen activity in the region;
  • Pleasant, diplomatic manner and disposition in interacting with colleagues and the general public.

Program Specific Requirements
  • Advanced degree preferred;
  • Fluency in Russian; other regional languages a plus;
  • Experience working in Central Eurasia.

Work Environment and Physical Demands
Essential functions are typically performed in an office setting with a low level of noise. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits package.

Application Instructions
Please email resume and cover letter with salary requirements to: . Include job code in subject line: PO-CEP .

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