Director - Disability Justice Initiative, American Progress, Washington, DC

Posted: Monday, January 25, 2021

Director, Disability Justice Initiative

  • Reports to: Managing Director, Poverty
  • Staff reporting to this position: Disability Justice Initiative staff
  • Department: Poverty
  • Position classification: Exempt, full time


American Progress has an immediate opening for a Director of the Disability Justice Initiative. The team's work combines substantive policy research on issues of importance to the disability community with rapid-response communications and messaging efforts.

The Director will be responsible for managing a comprehensive research program, developing new policy and communications ideas, coordinating efforts with other policy departments at American Progress, and working with allied disability organizations to advance disability rights across the range of policy areas affecting the disability community. The Director will oversee and direct all aspects of the research process; identify opportunities for legislative and administrative policy change; and coordinate with government affairs staff to implement an agenda that advances key strategic goals, including the full integration of people with disabilities into community life. The Director will oversee strategic communication for the team and will conduct public education efforts through both traditional and social media, leveraging all of American Progress' digital assets in the service of team goals. The Director will be responsible for the team budget and all fundraising activities, including grant prospecting, relationship management, and reporting.


  • Develop a long-term policy and research strategy for the program while managing day-to-day activities.
  • Manage two full-time staff and monitor the work of consultants.
  • Determine appropriate papers, analytic work, political strategies, and communications research to be conducted by the team or through commissions and partnerships.
  • Research, write, and edit key policy reports and other materials as needed.
  • Initiate, plan, and coordinate public events, publications, and related resources to promote the team's work.
  • Represent American Progress in diverse settings, including meetings with members of Congress and their staff; the White House and executive agencies; media outreach and appearances; conferences; and panel discussions.
  • Track federal and state policy and political developments and direct American Progress' strategic response to those developments as appropriate, including rapid-response communications; organizing congressional and press briefings; leading or partnering on coordinated public education campaigns; authoring or commissioning original research or analyses; and authoring or commissioning original policy proposals.
  • Contribute to and coordinate with other American Progress programs and initiatives as appropriate, including identifying crosscutting issues and projects.
  • Produce fundraising and marketing documents and manage the fundraising process with the assistance of the organization's Development team.
  • Work with the Finance team to develop an annual budget and monitor reports.

Requirements and qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree is required; advanced degree is preferred.
  • Eight years of experience in policy development, advocacy, or communications.
  • Three years of experience managing full-time, professional staff.
  • Effective supervisory skills and ability to manage, mentor, and lead staff.
  • Experience analyzing federal and state government data and ability to oversee staff conducting research using these datasets.
  • Familiarity with both quantitative and qualitative research methods.
  • Experience working with foundations, developing relationships with funders, and securing grants.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work as part of a team.
  • Ability to initiate and engage in creative approaches to advancing policy.
  • Ability to work under pressure and with tight deadlines in a fast-paced environment.
  • Strong ability to communicate effectively with lay audiences and the media.
  • Knowledge of legislative and administrative policymaking processes.
  • Campaign and political experience is preferred.
  • Commitment to American Progress' mission and goals.
  • Excellent writing, editing, and analytical skills.
  • Understanding of and familiarity with politics.
  • Experience in the disability advocacy movement is desired.

American Progress offers full and competitive benefits packages. Candidates from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

To Apply

Please follow the link below to the online application. When completing the application, be sure to combine your cover letter and resume/CV into one Word or PDF file and upload this combined document. The system does not allow for multiple files.

This announcement will remain posted until the position is filled. No phone calls, please.
Please note that only those individuals whose qualifications match the current needs of this position will be considered applicants and will receive responses from American Progress.
Thank you for your interest in American Progress.

Additional information

American Progress operates two separate nonprofit organizations to maximize the progressive agenda: the Center for American Progress and the Center for American Progress Action Fund. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name "American Progress." The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) tax-exempt research and educational institute. It undertakes research, public education and a limited amount of lobbying. The Center for American Progress Action Fund is a nonpartisan 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization dedicated to achieving progress through action. It works to transform progressive ideas into policy through rapid-response communications, legislative action, grassroots organizing, political advocacy, and partnerships with other progressive leaders. The organizations share office space and employees.

American Progress is dedicated to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Diversity is more than a commitment at American Progress-it is the foundation of what we do. American Progress recruits, employs, trains, compensates, and promotes regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, age, disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, color, marital status, veteran status, medical condition, and all the other characteristics that make us unique.

For more information on the Center for American Progress, please go to For more information on the Center for American Progress Action Fund, please go to