OSI-Baltimore, the sole field office of Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs, supports a grantmaking, educational, advocacy and capacity-building program to expand justice and opportunity for Baltimore residents. With support from a range of individual, corporate and foundation investors, its current work focuses on helping Baltimore’s youth succeed, reducing mass incarceration and its social and economic costs, tackling drug addiction, and building a corps of Community Fellows to bring innovative ideas to Baltimore’s underserved communities (see www.osibaltimore.org). A significant amount of the office’s work focuses on policy reform at the state level and increasing opportunity and justice throughout Maryland.
The Program Specialist is a key member of the OSI-Baltimore staff and will devote a substantial amount of his/her time to the Education and Youth Development Program. In addition, as assigned by the OSI-Baltimore Director or Deputy Director, the Program Specialist will work on initiatives undertaken by the office’s other programs.
The Program Specialist functions as part of the Education team, which consists of a Program Director, Program Specialist and Program Administrative Specialist and reports to the Education and Youth Development Program Director.
The program teams, including the Education and Youth Development Program, work closely with OSI-Baltimore’s Director, the donor development team, the communications team, and OSI-Baltimore Advisory Board members.
The Program Specialist is a professional program role at Open Society, performing a wide range of responsibilities that materially advance program strategies. The role requires specialized knowledge, not only of the relevant field(s), but also of how to use the various tools available to the organization for accomplishing its objectives, including bringing about social change. Responsibilities are carried out with a high degree of independence, although collegial problem-solving is a hallmark of Open Society work. The contributions of the Program Specialist include the identification of high potential new partners, the assessment of organizations in the field, the design of grants, and the assessment of grants and portfolios. The Program Specialist may also take the lead on projects or issues—such as research initiatives, convenings, or advocacy efforts—as assigned.
While the Program Specialist will work in a variety of Open Society Institute-Baltimore program areas, much of her/his time will focus on advancing the goals the Education and Youth Development Program: to end inequitable policies and practices that keep children in Baltimore and Maryland out of school; and to enhance school, summer and after-school learning opportunities to prepare Baltimore’s students for success in adulthood. To accomplish these goals, the Program currently has three main strategies:
- Reform attendance and discipline policies and practices that keep students out of school and cause disparate education outcomes;
- Refocus or eliminate school policing to decrease student arrests and disparate treatment among subgroups; and
- Create new high school and after-school programs that give City students the flexibility, support and experience they need to transition successfully to employment and further education.
Typical Responsibilities include:
- Supporting programmatic efforts by conducting a wide range of activities related to the grant making process and/or analytical work in support of field development, advocacy, regional consultations, and integrative activities.
- Conducting research and collecting large amounts of data/information to be used in decision-making, strategy development, and evaluation of the grants portfolio and other program processes.
- Designing and carrying out field scans and on-going field monitoring.
- Analyzing grant proposals (including budgets), designing grants (types of support, degree of flexibility, duration, payment structure, reporting/learning expectations, etc.) and drafting grant recommendations.
- Partnering closely with Program Administrative Specialists to ensure the efficient flow of grants processing and similar information.
- Developing the concept, agenda, key players, etc. for convenings, research initiatives, and advocacy efforts and partnering closely with Program Administrative Specialists to ensure effective implementation.
- Contributing to assessment of organizations, including primary responsibility for assessment of organizational finances and budgets.
- Performing administrative tasks or projects as needed and assigned, including processing grants, developing tools and templates, coordinating event logistics, and processing vendor contracts and consultancy agreements.
- Participating in preparing and presenting portfolio reviews.
- Developing and maintaining a network of relationships with key actors, including advocates, practitioners, academicians, policymakers, funders, civic and business leaders, and the media.
The successful candidate will have knowledge and experience in the educational policy and child and adolescent development fields and, ideally, in public/private partnerships. S/he also must have a strong commitment to social justice and public education and a nuanced understanding of the impact of race, ethnicity, gender, and social class on policies and programs for children and youth. The Program Specialist is expected to stay abreast of pertinent developments, policies, reform initiatives and opportunities related to the education and youth development fields. The Program Specialist must have demonstrated capacity to translate the Program’s strategic plans into action and to assess impact. The successful candidate will also have the folllowing qualifications:
- Bachelor’s degree (B.A.) from a four-year college or university in a relevant field of study or equivalent experience; graduate degree desirable
- 3-5 years of progressively responsible experience in a situation relevant to the duties of this role
- Knowledge and experience in the educational policy and child and adolescent development fields and, ideally, in public/private partnerships.
- Strong commitment to social justice and public education and a nuanced understanding of the impact of race, ethnicity, gender, and social class on policies and programs for children and youth.
- Highly skilled in researching and processing large amounts of information and analyzing its importance in informing Open Society Institute-Baltimore programs and strategies.
- Excellent written and spoken communication.
- Ability to recognize and work effectively in compliance with internal policies and external constraints.
- Willingness and ability to exercise sound professional judgment on issues of sensitivity.
- Excellent technological skills, including social media.
- Demonstrated ability to respect others’ opinions, listen well, and respond to colleagues with awareness and sensitivity to cultural communication differences.
- Diplomatic, discreet, able to handle confidential matters with a high level of integrity.
- Well-developed emotional intelligence, including self-awareness, self-management, and empathy.
- Organized, strong project management ability, self-directed on work initiatives, strong attention to detail, and ability to manage competing priorities and deadlines.
- Ability to work constructively and collegially with colleagues at all levels in the hierarchy of the organization as well as with external partners.
- Strong commitment to inclusion and respect for all colleagues regardless of identity or seniority.
- Strong commitment to open society values of rights, justice, accountable governance, human dignity, and democratic practice.
- Collaborative, collegial working style.
Application Instructions: Please upload a cover letter and resume as one document when submitting an application.
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.
We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations, and we welcome and actively seek applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences.