Heartland Fund is seeking an Advocacy and Organizing Director to support the new Resource Rural program. The position requires a skilled manager and strategic leader experienced with designing and implementing organizing and advocacy campaigns that result in public policy decisions that advance economic opportunity, racial equity, and/or environmental justice. The Advocacy and Organizing Director is responsible for supporting place-based efforts to ensure state and local decisions that shape how federal funding is deployed allow rural communities, particularly rural communities of color, to access funding to advance local jobs, infrastructure, economic development, and environmental and energy goals.
The Advocacy and Organizing Director will serve as a liaison to local partners (grantees) as well as other national and regional partners that can help accelerate the work of the local place-based groups. We are looking for a collaborative team player with a track record of designing new initiatives and marshaling resources to advance priorities in underserved communities, a commitment to equitable prosperity, and a passion for working with rural community leaders. The successful candidate will be a service-oriented project manager and a resourceful leader.
This is an exciting and dynamic position with opportunities for leadership and rewarding collaborations with local rural and tribal leaders. You will have an opportunity to help develop and implement a brand new initiative with a diverse range of partners. We are actively building a small but mighty team to enable historic, equitable investment in rural America.
APPLY ONLINE – Applications will be reviewed and considered on a rolling basis, with interviews anticipated to start in October 2023. The desired start date is December 2023.
This is a remote position with a salary range of $90,000 to $110,000 and includes a generous benefits package.
Primary Duties and Responsibilities
The Advocacy & Organizing Director will report to the Resource Rural Director and work in close collaboration with the Rural Democracy Initiative team.
The Advocacy & Organizing Director will hold the following responsibilities:
Advocacy & Organizing Strategy
Works collaboratively with Resource Rural place-based partners, Rural Climate Partnership and the Rural Democracy Initiative network, and others to identify top opportunities to impact state and local decisions to unlock access to funding for rural communities, particularly under-resourced communities and communities of color;
Designs and directs campaigns to meet these opportunities, in collaboration with local partners;
Tracks and partners with place-based federal implementation organizing and advocacy efforts;
Works collaboratively with these and other partners to determine what additional capacity is required for winning policy engagement and advocacy efforts. Marshals the needed resources and support, including grantmaking to those efforts, and creating tools;
Ensures policy and engagement strategies are informed by local political and capacity realities (e.g., assess which advocacy partners are well-positioned in particular states/counties/regions and ensure strong connections with nonprofit and local government organizations that have the capacity and political will to implement the funding and projects that are being advocated for);
Serves as the primary liaison in the Resource Rural National Hub for partners seeking information or support related to organizing and advocacy, aligning efforts and sharing resources, insights, learning;
Develops tools, templates, communications materials to support policy engagement and advocacy.
Grantmaking & Learning
Coordinates identification of potential grantees, and conducts due diligence and oversight on grants and contracts;
Participates in application and proposal reviews. Presents grant and contract recommendations as needed to the leadership teams;
Monitors grantees and contractors regularly and provides updates on grantee/contractor performance, activities, needs, and opportunities.
Helps develop and implement systems to capture learning, including data collection systems that minimize burden on partners;
Facilitates community of practice and learning opportunities for Resource Rural partners related to advocacy and policy engagement;
Distills and shares learning with public and private funders and stakeholders in a compelling manner.
Communications & Policy
Helps elevate stories for the Resource Rural Communications Action Center and supports content creation;
Identifies communications opportunities and needs and assists with content development and distribution;
Provides advocacy related updates and new content for communications platforms and development materials;
Captures insights to drive policy discussions with federal and state agencies
Fundraising Management & Organizational Development
Provides fundraising support to the Resource Rural Director, including but not limited to:
prospect and funder tracking;
management of follow up; and,
proposal writing and preparation of promotional materials.
As needed, represent the organizing and advocacy related work to funding partners and prospects.
Works collaboratively with team members to establish effective and efficient work processes, plan meetings, and contribute to organizational learning;
Maintains shared communications systems to facilitate project management and partnership
We realize that some great candidates may not have every single thing on this list – that’s OK! If this job posting piques your interest, we encourage you to apply.
- Minimum of 5-7 years of experience in organizing, advocacy, and policy engagement, ideally at the state and/or local level.
- Demonstrated ability to independently own, manage, and drive complex projects, involving a high degree of cross-org collaboration, and management of staff and/or high-level consultants.
- Basic understanding of Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure law and how decision-making related to these funding programs flows from federal to state to local officials
- Strong lived or professional experience with rural issues and communities.
- Excellent oral presentation, writing, and interpersonal skills.
- Excellent customer service skills.
- Strong financial and people stewardship skills.
- Values learning and continuous growth.
- Strong commitment to racial justice and fluency with equity and anti-racist practices.Demonstrated ability to listen deeply, hold space for different perspectives, and work with people from a variety of political, cultural, and social backgrounds.
- Working knowledge of a range of communications and technology platforms such as Monday, Slack, and Google Apps.
- Willingness to travel across regions in the US.
- Proven ability to develop cross-sector, cross-partisan, multi-racial coalitions to advance equitable public decision making.
- Experience as a strategist that sets and drives towards ambitious goals and tracks patterns, trends, challenges in order to envision and grow our advocacy programs.
- Subject matter knowledge and/or experience related to at least one of the following areas: climate, energy, infrastructure, workforce and jobs, economic development, rural policy.
Compensation & Job Design
This is a permanent, full time exempt staff position with occasional travel. The organization is virtual, and the position may work remotely from their home within the United States. Expected compensation will be based on skills and experience, with a salary range of $90,000 to $110,000. Comprehensive benefits package includes 100% employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance for employees (and their families). Employees are able to enroll in 401k retirement plan and are eligible for a 3% automatic contribution and up to a 3% employer match on 401k contributions. Employees are also eligible for pre-tax transportation benefits. Employees will receive 120 hours of vacation time, 80 hours of health leave, up to 2 days of casual leave, and 20 hours of volunteer leave annually. Employees will also receive 13 paid holidays throughout the calendar year. Employees are eligible for 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave after 90 days of employment. All employees of Windward are required to complete timesheets.
Resource Rural is a program of the Heartland Fund. Heartland Fund is fiscally sponsored by the Windward Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. Windward 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. Windward’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.
Windward participates in E-Verify and will provide the federal government with employees’ Form I-9 information to confirm authorization to work in the United States. Job candidates and employees with the right to work may not be discriminated against on the basis of national origin or citizenship status.
To center the safety and well-being of its employees, Windward Fund requires that any employee who is required to conduct in-person activities for their job must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 within four weeks of their start date. This position may require candidates to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Accommodations may be sought and approved in accordance with the law by contacting human resources at HR@windwardfund.org.
About Heartland Fund
Heartland Fund is a funding collaborative built to support and connect local leaders and organizations working for progress across diverse communities in rural areas, towns and small cities. Heartland's grantmaking supports rural people working to transform their lives and communities to advance shared prosperity and democracy. We invest in issue advocacy, community organizing infrastructure, civic engagement, and sustainable urban-rural coalitions, and we prioritize racial equity in all aspects of our work. In addition to grantmaking, Heartland also supports rural leaders and organizations through convening, research, and communications.
Heartland Fund is launching Resource Rural (RR), a new program which focuses on effective federal funding implementation to ensure historic climate and infrastructure investments land for maximum impact in rural communities. Heartland is also home to the Rural Climate Partnership (RCP), which supports hometowns across America to accelerate climate solutions and build healthy local economies. Our RR and RCP programs help remove barriers to federal funding for rural communities – through place-based technical assistance, local organizing, and a large-scale communications and narrative effort – to make a tangible difference in rural people’s lives and advance climate mitigation and resilience.
Why Resource Rural?
As unprecedented levels of federal infrastructure, economic development, and climate-focused resources begin to flow, we have a generational opportunity to make sure this funding lands where it is most needed and can have the biggest impact. Without targeted action, this influx of resources is likely to reinforce, rather than interrupt, entrenched patterns of geographic, racial, and economic inequity because communities with resources are fully prepared to take advantage of the opportunities, while rural communities—especially communities of color and low-wealth communities—are not. Helping underserved rural communities land these resources can dramatically improve quality of life for rural residents, advance climate solutions, and send a powerful message about the importance of federal investment to creating strong local communities and a healthy multi-racial democracy.
The Resource Rural Program
Resource Rural is an ambitious five-year program designed to build engagement, capacity and expertise, and a rural voice at the table in the national conversation about climate progress, workforce development, and equitable community and economic development. The program is built on four key strategies:
- Resource Rural National Hub and Resource Partners: To address the capacity gaps that prevent rural communities and organizations from accessing federal dollars, Resource Rural will collaborate with local and regional partners to launch a national Resource Rural hub that supports place-based implementation. Place-based resource partners will provide support directly to rural communities, including grant funding, coordination, and technical assistance, while national hub staff will integrate resources and facilitate learning and rapid sharing of models across the network.
- High-Leverage Climate Opportunities: To stimulate a virtuous cycle within which rural residents appreciate the benefits of interrelated economic and climate outcomes, Resource Rural will support high leverage efforts to unlock powerful climate resources (e.g., grants, incentives, rebates, tax credits) in key federal programs to benefit diverse constituencies and tackle barriers to clean energy implementation.
- Resource Rural Communications Action Center: To shift rural narratives around federal investment and climate action, Resource Rural will invest in strategic communications and a coordinated narrative that finds and amplifies local success stories and centers how rural people have benefitted their communities and made progress on clean energy opportunities, infrastructure gaps, and economic development using federal investments.
- Organizing and Advocacy Support: To make sure these resources truly benefit rural people, especially those most in need, Resource Rural will support organizing and advocacy in key places at the state and local levels focused on federal implementation participation, rule-making, and spending.