Reporting relationship: Director of Government Affairs
Overview of AJWS
Inspired by Judaism’s commitment to justice, American Jewish World Service (AJWS) works to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world. AJWS supports more than 400 grassroots organizations in Africa, Asia and the Americas that promote the rights of women, girls and LGBT people; rebuild societies torn apart by war and natural disasters; and seek to secure access to food, land and water. We are inspired by Judaism’s commitment to pursue justice and repair the world, and we believe that Jewish history teaches us to respect and fight for the rights of others.
Overview of Department
The AJWS government affairs department oversees the organization’s U.S. policy and government affairs strategy. This four-person Washington, DC-based office consists of one government affairs associate and two senior policy advisors who report directly to the director of government affairs.
The government affairs department identifies and pursues policy opportunities to further AJWS’s mission and priorities, which are developed jointly with grantmaking colleagues in the programs division. We are dedicated to engaging in policy debates in which AJWS can leverage its unique organizational identity and resources—including the perspectives and expertise of our grantees in the developing world, the political power of the American Jewish community and our issue expertise—to move the needle on global justice. The department works in close partnership with AJWS programs, communications, and international education and Jewish engagement teams as well as our partners abroad to hold U.S. decision-makers accountable for the impact of U.S. policies on marginalized communities in the Global South.
The Senior Policy Advisor is an integral member of the AJWS government affairs department and is responsible for oversight of day-to-day advocacy activities related to AJWS’s natural resource rights (NRR) portfolio in Washington. This position is also deeply integrated with the NRR thematic department based in our New York office and would be expected to attend key NRR team and strategy meetings and coordinate closely with the NRR Director and staff. This portfolio includes strengthening communities’ land and water rights, ensuring equitable development outcomes and advancing climate justice. The Senior Policy Advisor will work closely with the director of government affairs and the director of natural resources rights to identify opportunities for impact, develop policy positions and implement government affairs strategy. The Senior Policy Advisor also participates in frequent formal and informal cross-organizational collaboration, particularly with other program division staff working on the organization’s international grantmaking (including international partners and country consultants) as well as colleagues in the communications and development departments.
Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Develop policy positions and strategy in coordination with NRR staff on issues that fall within the portfolio;
- Monitor and disseminate state-of-play information and analysis relating to priority NRR advocacy issues and/or policy vehicles;
- Cultivate relationships with key congressional, administration and multilateral institution staff through individual lobbying and educational meetings, the organization of DC-based events such as policy briefings and ongoing information exchange;
- Represent AJWS in coalitions and at conferences or other relevant NRR sector functions/spaces;
- Write policy briefs, factsheets, talking points and other materials targeted to policy-makers;
- Respond to requests, manage information from and provide project support on NRR advocacy to a variety of internal and external stakeholders including other AJWS departments, AJWS international partners, and colleague advocacy organizations (including faith-based groups);
- Provide NRR policy content for a variety of communications, development and campaigns support materials (such as e-action alerts, direct mail, issue one-pagers, AJWS publications and funding proposals); and
- Support yearly budget and departmental planning and strategy development as well as ongoing evaluation and government affairs relationship database tracking.
- Bachelor’s degree plus 7+ years relevant professional experience in issue advocacy and organizing at the U.S. federal level (e.g. Congressional, Administration) or around multilateral venues and targets (e.g., World Bank).
- Strong interpersonal and coalition building skills;
- Excellent written and verbal communications skills;
- Ability to work in a fast-paced environment while maintaining a high level of organization, attention to detail and flexibility.
- Demonstrated success in working effectively both independently and as part of a team;
- General knowledge of international issues required and a background in one or more of the issue areas within the broader NRR portfolio preferred (e.g., climate justice, development finance, corporate accountability, and natural-resource related conflict);
- Passion for and commitment to AJWS’s mission and values;
- Willingness to travel to New York headquarters at least quarterly as well as other occasional domestic travel required;
- Willingness to travel internationally at least 1-2 times annually;
- Experience working with diversity of coalition partners, including development, faith, human rights and environmental groups;
- Standard knowledge of basic office computer programs required (Microsoft Office, etc.);
- Experience living or working in the Global South a plus; and
- Fluency in Spanish or French a plus.
People of color; lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex, trans and gender non-conforming people; women; and differently abled people are encouraged to apply. We also encourage applications from people of diverse religious, spiritual and cultural backgrounds.
Authorization to work in the US is required.