Program Associate, Public Square

Democracy Fund (Washington, D.C.)

Posted 3 months ago


Democracy Fund is an independent foundation that invests in organizations working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. We work on things that make democracy work better.

At the heart of our vision for the future are three core commitments: fostering more effective governance in the United States, modernizing our election system, and strengthening our media and the public square to help people understand and participate in the democratic process. To date, we have committed more than $100 million in support of a healthy democracy.

Democracy Fund was created by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar out of a deep respect for the U.S. Constitution and our nation’s core democratic values. 

Learn more about Democracy Fund and our sister 501(c)(4) organization Democracy Fund Voice by visiting and


Democracy Fund’s Public Square team supports people and organizations working to strengthen local news, expand engaged journalism, defend press freedom, combat misinformation, and address the impact of social media platforms on our democracy. 

We believe that a healthy democracy demands access to trustworthy news and information that reflects the diversity of our communities. Media should empower all people to fully participate in, and engage with, our democracy. To achieve this systems level change we provide grants, support grantees and the field through capacity building, partner with other funders, and share field expertise through two publications: the Local News Lab and the Local Fix. 

We are seeking a Program Associate to expand the capacity of our Ecosystem News strategy, which fosters vibrant and resilient local news in different regions throughout America. The Program Associate will also contribute to our Press Freedom strategy, which advances bold new ideas to defend local journalists and support grantees on the front lines of today’s First Amendment battles. The Program Associate’s work includes grantmaking, project management, and developing in-house programs focused on leadership development and business-model innovations. 

This role requires a highly versatile set of skills and abilities. You must be organized, entrepreneurial, and goal-oriented, with an aptitude for analysis, creative problem solving, and project management. You are fascinated by details, yet can see how they connect to form a larger picture. You are ready to organize events, and equally prepared to brainstorm on strategy. The successful candidate will be eager to improve systems and structures, and possess a passion for community-powered change.

This role will report to the Senior Program Associate for Local News.


  • Identify, develop, and evaluate grantmaking opportunities that are aligned with our strategy and budget, and support the Senior Associate in analysis, negotiation, and grant structuring.
  • Support all administrative tasks associated with managing a grant portfolio.
  • Provide support to, and oversight of, grantees to help ensure their success, with a particular focus on building meaningful relationships and trust.
  • Support program initiatives focused on business models for local news, sustainability, and funder collaboration to support local news.


  • Facilitate increased dialogue and collaboration in the field by working with the team to convene grantees, peer funders, and others. 
  • Conceive of, plan, and execute meetings and resources for local news leaders who we identify as “ecosystem builders.”
  • Manage event planning, communications, and logistics as needed.
  • Contribute to the Local News Lab and Local Fix publications. 
  • Maintain relationships with consultants and grantees who support the Ecosystem News and Press Freedom Strategies.


  • Provide input and feedback to the team to help us experiment, learn, and refine our approach to grantmaking.
  • Monitor, engage, and capture learnings from grantees and funding initiatives.
  • Monitor trends, research, and new publications to inform our strategy.


  • Collaborate with the larger Public Square team to support activities aimed at combating misinformation, defending press freedom, and promoting engaged journalism and diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Contribute to team administration and processes. 
  • Serve as a liaison between the Public Square Program and other Democracy Fund departments on targeted areas of work.


  • Passion for strengthening American democracy and supporting journalism that serves communities and enables long term systems change.
  • Comfortable working in a small, highly collaborative team.
  • Bachelor degree or equivalent experience in the fields of media, local news, and/or philanthropy preferred, with at least 3-5 years of experience managing multiple projects, combining attention to detail with strategic thinking, and organizing events.
  • A nuanced understanding of issues related to local news, especially business models and sustainability. 
  • Previous experience with grantmaking is valued but not required.
  • A history of building strong relationships and experience with navigating complex relationships across organizations.
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills. 
  • Flexibility and initiative to work both independently and as part of a team. 
  • Professional maturity, demonstrated ability to exercise good judgment, and proven track record contributing to complex projects.
  • Must be comfortable with ambiguity and working in a changing environment.
  • Collaborative and strategic, especially when approaching work and planning.
  • Position is based in the Washington, D.C. area and involves travel to local news regions and industry conferences.


Interested candidates should submit cover letter and resume here.  No calls please.

Democracy Fund is committed to a diverse workplace, seeking voices and expertise from people from across the political spectrum. Our board, staff, advisors, and grantees include Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.  Democracy Fund is an Equal Opportunity Employer, where we encourage candidates of all ages, color, ethnic background, country of origin, religion, disability status, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity to apply.

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