Equality and Opportunity Fund

Racial Justice and Immigrant Rights

December 2009



The Open Society Institute works to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. To achieve its mission, OSI seeks to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights. On a local level, OSI implements a range of initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media. At the same time, OSI builds alliances across borders and continents on issues such as corruption and freedom of information. OSI places a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of marginalized people and communities.


Investor and philanthropist George Soros in 1993 created OSI as a private operating and grantmaking foundation to support his foundations in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union . Those foundations were established, starting in 1984, to help countries make the transition from communism. OSI has expanded the activities of the Soros foundations network to encompass the United States and more than 60 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America . Each Soros foundation relies on the expertise of boards composed of eminent citizens who determine individual agendas based on local priorities.


OSI’s U.S. Programs supports people and organizations that advance a more open society within the United States and around the world.  U.S. Programs envisions a society that allows all people to participate actively and equitably in political, economic, and cultural life; encourages diverse opinions and critical debate on public issues; protects fundamental human rights, dignity, and the rule of law; and promotes broadly shared prosperity and human security.  U.S. Programs supports grantmaking, programming, and policy initiatives to reduce the over-reliance on incarceration and punishment; to secure equal justice; to develop new leaders and encourage civic engagement, especially among people and communities who have been historically underrepresented; and to increase the transparency, integrity and accountability of institutions vital to open society.  U.S. Programs is also currently spearheading special initiatives to restore human rights and secure progressive national security policies, and to advance opportunities for African American boys and men.


The Equality and Opportunity Fund engages in grantmaking and supports programmatic initiatives to ensure justice and equality, prohibit arbitrary and discriminatory government action, and to lift barriers that prevent people from participating fully in economic, social, and political life.  The Fund supports advocacy, legal, communications and organizing efforts to stimulate debate and achieve systemic change in the following areas: 


Racial justice:  Works to eradicate structural and systemic forms of racism in law and public policies that perpetuate racial disparities, and supports public policy reforms to advance and defend civic participation among marginalized groups.



Immigrant rights:  Supports advocacy to restore due process protections to non-citizens; to fight restrictive and punitive immigration laws and policies; to link immigration to broader national issues; and to build a multi-ethnic, multi-constituent movement.


Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights:  Supports efforts to strengthen and expand policies that advance LGBT rights and/or increase the participation of diverse voices within the LGBT rights movement, with an emphasis on people of color and transgender people.


Gender JusticeSupports efforts to re-conceptualize definitions of gender to form a more inclusive and empowering set of beliefs that will allow individuals to more fully express their humanity.  We prioritize support for advocacy focused issues that impact poor women, women of color, LGBTQ and immigrant women.


The Fund also supports two special initiatives:


Campaign for Black Male Achievement:  The Campaign is an exciting new initiative within OSI’s U.S. Programs that seeks to address, and help reverse, the ways in which black men and boys are stigmatized, criminalized, and excluded from the U.S. economic and political mainstream.


Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative:  The Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative supports effective and timely policy responses to the subprime lending crisis and innovative strategies to mitigate the impact of foreclosures on low- and moderate-income neighborhoods and communities of color.


The Fund places high priority on advocacy that cuts across multiple issue areas, identities and constituencies. 


Position Description:


As indicated above, the Fund’s four core issue areas are racial justice, immigrant rights, LGBT rights, and gender justice.  The Fund is in the process of developing an intersectional grantmaking approach that will combine its interest in supporting policy advocacy that cuts across issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, and citizenship with its interest in supporting targeted advocacy within each of these areas when appropriate. 


The Program Officer will work closely with a dynamic team of professionals to support the Fund’s work.  The Program Officer will have primary responsibility for strategy development and grantmaking for the racial justice and immigrant rights portfolios, and for developing the connections between this work and the broader priorities of the Fund and U.S. Programs.   


Reporting:  This position reports to the Director of the Equality and Opportunity Fund.




·         Works with the Director of the Equality and Opportunity Fund and other staff to develop grantmaking strategies, priorities, and guidelines;

·         Reviews and assesses letters of inquiry and makes funding recommendations and declinations to the Director;

·         Invites grant proposals from selected funding applicants;

·         Works with applicants to develop and finalize grant proposals;

·         Reviews grant proposals and participates in the preparation of written grant recommendations as part of grant dockets preparation process;

·         Performs site visits of prospective and current grantee organizations;

·         Monitors grants through site visits and review of narrative and financial reports;

·         Ensures that grantees submit narrative and financial reports as required under the terms of the contract;

·         Writes and edits program materials and guidelines;

·         Participates in the development, planning and organization of program-related events;

·         Manages financial and budget reports to track grant and program spending;   

·         Stays abreast of developments in the field through reading and attending conferences;

·         Writes strategy/position papers that provide direction on policy issues impacting the field and/or offer suggestions about strategic program development for funders and grantees;

·         Interacts with grantees and other field professionals and participates in program- and field-related meetings and convenings;

·         Builds and establishes strategic relationships with other philanthropic partners;

·         Performs occasional special assignments, including participation in U.S. Programs and foundation task forces and working groups.




·         Advanced degree and at least five years of professional experience in advancing social justice through: community organizing, legal advocacy, research, or policy reform work

·         Experience in grantmaking or program development is strongly preferred. 

·         Demonstrated commitment to working on racial justice and immigrant rights.

·         Strong awareness of the intersection of race, gender and class.

·         Strong awareness of relationships that currently exist or could be cultivated among social justice sectors, organizations, and constituencies.

·         Excellent writing, verbal, analytical and organizational skills and attention to detail.

·         Excellent public speaking and presentation skills.

·         Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to listen effectively. 

·         Self-starter with ability to set and meet goals.

·         Creative thinker and strong analytical skills.

·         Ability to travel within the U.S. on a regular basis.

·         Pleasant, diplomatic manner and disposition with colleagues at all levels and the general public.

·         Ability to work effectively as part of a close knit, collaborative team.

·         Strong computer skills (Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint preferred).


Salary:  Commensurate with experience, excellent benefits.


Start Date:  Early 2010


To Apply:


Please email resume and cover letter with salary requirements before January 19, 2010, to: [email protected] Include job code in subject line: PO-USP/EOF




Open Society Institute
Human Resources – Code PO-USP/EOF
400 West 59th Street
New York , New York 10019


FAX: 212.548.4675


No phone calls, please. The Open Society Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer.