Overview of AJWS
American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is the leading Jewish organization working to fight poverty and pursue justice in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. By supporting hundreds of social change organizations in 17 countries, we respond to the most pressing issues of our time—from disasters, genocide and hunger, to the persecution of women and minorities worldwide. With Jewish values and a global reach, AJWS is making a difference in millions of lives and bringing a more just and equitable world closer for all.
Overview of Team
Through grassrooted grantmaking and advocacy, the AJWS Programs Division provides financial support and builds strong partnerships with activists, organizations and social movements facing complex global challenges – from authoritarianism, to attacks on women, sex worker and LGBTQI+ rights, to the climate and humanitarian crises. The Programs Division works at the intersection of Jewish values and global issues. In a deep collaboration between our Advocacy and Jewish Engagement teams, we advocate for U.S. laws and policies that help overcome injustice and elevate support for grassrooted change in the Global South; and we also use strategic communications to amplify our grantees’ voices and those of our supporters to influence policymakers in the U.S. and around the globe. The Programs Division also houses our International Operations (IOPS) and Grants Management team, which oversees the execution of AJWS’s grantmaking policies, procedures and systems in alignment with the organization’s values of and commitment to flexible, responsive and trust-based practices. The work of the Programs Division is rooted in detailed strategies that each team designs and implements, and can be summarized as follows:
- Civil and Political Rights: Supporting Democracy and Justice and Defending Against Authoritarianism: AJWS supports pro-democracy social movements seeking to push back against authoritarianism, promote democratic ideals and advance justice. We work to center the voices of those often marginalized in governance, including youth, women and ethnic, religious or other minority groups.
- Humanitarian Response: Supporting Humanitarian Response led by Local Communities: AJWS prioritizes support for local, grassroots groups that work to meet the unique needs of historically marginalized communities in the wake of disasters so that they can recover fully and become more resilient to future crises.
- Land, Water and Climate Justice: Defending the Rights to Land, Water, Forests, and Livelihoods and Advancing Climate Justice: AJWS supports social movements of rural, indigenous, and marginalized communities, especially women and youth, who are on the frontlines of the climate crisis and advocate for their land, water, forest, and livelihood rights to address climate change. Through funding and accompaniment, we bolster their struggles for natural resource rights and amplify their solutions for climate justice.
- Sexual Health and Rights: Advancing the Rights of Women, Girls, Sex Workers, and LGBTQI+: AJWS funding and accompaniment enables movements led by adolescent girls and young women (AGYW), sex workers, and LGBTQI+ to strengthen coalitions with allied communities to jointly advocate for rights-affirming laws, services and other empowering resources so that these focus communities have improved access to rights free from discrimination, violence and abuse and can enjoy the full spectrum of opportunities in society and live in health, safety, and dignity.
- Advocacy and Jewish Engagement Department: Advocating for U.S. laws and policies that help overcome injustice and elevate support for grassrooted change in the Global South: AJWS advocates domestically seeking to secure a rights-based U.S. foreign policy aligned with the goals and priorities of our partners in all our grantmaking portfolios. Working with the U.S. Congress, Executive branch agencies, peer advocacy NGOs and the American Jewish community and clergy, the Advocacy and Jewish Engagement team works to create an enabling U.S. foreign policy environment globally and in the communities of our grantees and partners around the world.
- International Operations Department (IOPS) and Grants Management: Operationalizing AJWS’s values of and commitment to flexible, responsive and trust-based grantmaking practices: AJWS oversees all grants management functions for AJWS’s $19 million core grantmaking portfolio, as well as $3 million donor-advised funds (DAFs). Executes strategic and values-based grantmaking policies, procedures and systems that operationalize AJWS’s commitment to flexible, responsive, and trust-based practices. Ensures the integrity and efficiency of AJWS’s grantmaking systems, including its foundationConnect/Salesforce grants management database.
The DC-based Senior Policy Advisor (SPA) is an integral member of the AJWS Advocacy team, responsible for the strategy development and implementation of day-to-day advocacy activities related to AJWS’s Civil and Political Rights (CPR) portfolio. This portfolio supports civil society organizations and activists who are part of broader social movements seeking to advance democracy and justice efforts in the Global South. In collaboration with these activists, the SPA will seek to influence U.S. foreign policy to align with these movements’ vision for a more democratic, rights-based future in their own countries.
This position reports to the Director of U.S. Advocacy and Jewish Engagement.
Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Develop policy positions and strategy in coordination with the Advocacy team and CPR grantmaking staff and grantee partners, on issues that fall within the CPR portfolio, particularly at the US government level;
- Strategically inform and guide AJWS’s CPR advocacy approach, pro-actively make recommendations about how the best strategies to respond or adjust to emerging developments in order to advance AJWS’s strategic vision and that of our grantee partners, and carry out and implement with a sense of urgency for potential opportunities to bring change;
- Monitor and assess state-of-play information and analysis relating to priority CPR advocacy issues and/or policy vehicles that affect our grantees and partners primarily within the US government, build advocacy opportunities to best target those issues and provide valuable strategic and political analysis to influence U.S. government policy making;
- Cultivate relationships with key U.S. Congressional and Executive branch staff, as well as NGO coalition partners in D.C.;
- Support the Director of U.S. Advocacy and Jewish Engagement to respond to US policy developments that impact AJWS grantees and positions;
- Support the Senior Director of Advocacy and Jewish Engagement on issues in the funder networks and international spaces that impact our broader advocacy work and grantees;
- Represent AJWS in coalitions (including interfaith) and at conferences or other relevant sector functions/spaces;
- Create ongoing and updated materials targeted to the U.S. government and policy community, including policy briefs, factsheets, talking points and advocacy asks, while taking initiative in developing documentation in fast-changing situations;
- Respond to time sensitive requests, manage information from and provide project support on CPR advocacy to a variety of internal and external stakeholders including other AJWS departments, AJWS international partners, Jewish communal organizations and colleague advocacy organizations;
- Provide CPR policy content for a variety of organizational communications and development support materials (such as e-action alerts, direct mail, issue one-pagers, AJWS publications and funding proposals);
- Support yearly budget and departmental planning and strategy development, as well as ongoing evaluation, on issues for both the CPR portfolio and as a member of the broader Advocacy team.
- Bachelor of Arts/Science or equivalent degree
- Minimum of 7 years of relevant professional experience; at least 5 years of relevant work experience, in issue advocacy or organizing at the US federal level (e.g. Congress or similar DC-based advocacy work);
- Experience in international human rights issues and a background in one or more of the issue areas within the broader CPR portfolio preferred (e.g. democracy, justice, support for social movements);
- In-depth knowledge of Congressional procedure around international affairs, including the relationship between Authorizing and Appropriating committees;
- Be a self-starter, with ability to consistently be strategic and incorporate new information and be responsive to the context without extensive direction;
- Excellent analytical, verbal and writing skills;
- Flexible and collaborative spirit and proven track record working within a team;
- Highly organized, with the proven ability to work independently, prioritize and complete multiple projects, meet deadlines and maintain consistent attention to detail;
- Experience working with diversity of coalition partners, including development, faith, human rights and environmental groups;
- Committed to AJWS’s mission and values of advancing diversity, equity and inclusion across the organization;
- Willingness to work occasional evenings and weekends and to travel domestically and internationally at least 2 times per year.
- Graduate degree in relevant field;
- Experience living or working in the Global South;
- Excellent public speaking and presentation skills;
- Proficiency in reading, writing and speaking Spanish and/or French, or another portfolio-focused language;
- Background in AJWS countries would be welcome.
- Salary Range: $77,000-$100,250
- This role is full time (40 HRS), Exempt
- This is a union position
Remote – US-based, location-specific (Washington, D.C. area)
*This role is flexible in nature, having some responsibilities that can be performed virtually from a home office and some responsibilities that must be performed at our advocacy hub in Washington, D.C.
Compensation and Benefits Information
- AJWS is committed to a salary framework that aligns with our culture and values. The compensation range reflected is in alignment with our framework and individual pay decisions will vary based on skills and experience while still allowing for growth.
- Paid Time Off: 15-22 Federal and religious holidays off each year in addition to generous vacation and sick days;
- Full health benefits coverage with minimal contribution by employees;
- 403(b): 4.25% company match (safe harbor);
- Flexible Spending Account and Commuter Benefits;
- Workplace flexibility and generous leave policy.
Black, Indigenous and 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.
As an organization committed to promoting social justice around the world, it is essential that we incorporate a diverse, equitable and inclusive lens into all aspects of our work at AJWS. We encourage applicants with a global perspective and a commitment to values around diversity, equity, and inclusion to apply.
Authorization to work in the US is required.
How to Apply
For immediate consideration, apply below. Applications submitted without a resume and personalized cover letter will not be considered. We thank you for your interest in career opportunities with AJWS. Due to high volume, only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.