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The Communications Specialist reports to the Director of Strategic Communications and collaborates with a dynamic and fast-paced Strategy team within the Office of Communications (OC) that drives communications efforts for the U.S. and ten regional offices around the world. Specifically, the Strategy team shapes and executes communications strategies and campaigns which elevate and promote the mission of the Ford Foundation, its programs and grantees through media relations, social media, narrative messaging, crisis communications, engagement with key audiences including newsmakers, influencers, partners and internal communications efforts. The successful Communications Specialist will help the Director, Head of Strategy and Head of Press and Social Media to coordinate and integrate these various elements across the team, department and broader organization.
The fast paced and multi-dimensional nature of this role requires an exceptionally well-organized, proactive professional who can interact effectively and collaborate with department staff, members of the foundation’s executive leadership team, other staff at all levels throughout the foundation and external partners, organizations and institutions that interact with the Office of Communications such as the media, other foundations, government and corporations.
The Communications Specialist’s duties will fall under three main categories: project management, research and writing, and strategy. The Specialist will be expected to (among other things):
Maintain a high level of coordination with other departments across the foundation, specifically the Office of the President, Programs, Legal, Finance, and the Office of Strategy and Learning.
Develop and implement communications strategies and plans for select special initiatives that fall outside of current program areas.
Draft and update essential institutional messaging pieces, including the Board of Trustees message slate, Ford Foundation Key Facts for all staff, and program one-pagers.
Create and/or identify communication best practices and resource guides and lead plans on socializing these across the foundation, including publishing on the Ford Foundation intranet.
Alongside Strategic Communications Officers and the Press Officer, conduct background research and fact-checking for incoming press inquiries, planned news announcements and new project launches.
Develop and implement media relations pitches, and track press coverage.
Prepare talking points and briefing materials for the President’s speaking engagements and partner with the Office of the President in coordinating a high volume of incoming requests.
Work closely with the Vice President of Global Communications and her Special Assistant to help manage cross-cutting OC projects, deadlines, budgets and contracts.
Liaise with colleagues in Legal Services and the Office of Strategy and Learning to update and track reputational risk matters and resources.
B.A./B.S. with 4+ years of professional public relations, media or relevant experience or equivalent combination of education and experience
Strong judgment and instincts for media and communications-related work
Excellent research, writing, editing, verbal and interpersonal communication skills
Flexibility and skill in working as a team member as well as independently in a high demand, multi-task environment
Familiarity with the practice of communications, marketing, media relations and/or promotions and nonprofit programs
Exceptionally organized with an attention to details to facilitate team processes and operational systems (e.g. Monday.com, Slack, G Suite, etc.)
Ability to understand the big picture and align priorities accordingly
The ability to demonstrate grace under pressure while handling multiple projects and meeting tight deadlines
Familiarity with Cision media relations software a plus
Ford Foundation is committed to practicing salary transparency. The minimum salary for this position is $72,000
This position is primarily a sedentary role. However, the person in this position may need to occasionally move about inside the office to liaise with internal staff, access files, office machinery and a copy machine/printer.
The Office of Communications’ primary role is in service to the Ford Foundation's goal to reduce inequality in the U.S. and places around the globe. Building brand affinity and connection with audiences through communications strategies, dynamic creative visual and editorial content, media relations, and audience insights delivered and promoted on robust digital platforms, we can demonstrate and amplify Ford's impact - elevating our grantees (i.e., institutions, individuals, and ideas), promoting thought leadership, and leveraging our brand to engage and influence audiences. The department’s strategies and processes work to support and reinforce our vision to be among the most effective, respected, and impactful philanthropies in the world.
Alignment to Culture and Values
Commitment to the Foundation’s mission and core values of equity, openness, collaboration, trust, accountability and urgency
Personal qualities of humility, capacity for self-reflection, and a sense of humor
Discretion and ability to handle confidential issues
Action-orientated and entrepreneurial self-starter who can work well independently and in teams
Hybrid Workplace and Flexible Work Arrangement policies
Medical and dental benefits for employee and immediate family on first day of work
Retirement savings account with matching company contributions of up to 13%
Three weeks’ paid vacation in first year of work; four weeks in subsequent years
Office closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day
Professional development initiatives for growth
Generous parental leave (maternal and paternal) during new child’s first year (born into family or adopted)
Equal employment opportunity and having a diverse staff are fundamental principles at The Ford Foundation, where employment and promotional opportunities are based upon individual capabilities and qualifications without regard to race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation/affectional preference, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status or any other protected characteristic as established under law. The Ford Foundation does not discriminate against formerly incarcerated individuals.