Position Title: Director- Narrative Strategy, Weissberg Foundation
Position Posting: https://recruitcrm.io/apply/16728547148990017972zOi
Work Type: Full-time exempt employee based on a 40-hour work week (on average); Flexible schedule over a 4-day work week (The Foundation is closed on Fridays)
Location: Virginia preferred; DMV possible; Remote With Travel: Work from home plus periodic in-person meetings with grantees and partners, in-person team-building opportunities every other month at varied locations across the Commonwealth, one in-person annual Board meeting
About the Foundation
The Weissberg Foundation envisions a world that recognizes inequities and actively seeks to dismantle structural racism by continuously building access, opportunity, and power so that all can thrive. We advance organizations and efforts building power of those most negatively impacted by racism.
Established in 1988, the Weissberg Foundation is a Virginia-based private family foundation rooted in the values and experience of our founder, Marvin Weissberg. Marvin’s hope was for the Foundation to bond the family across generations and help family members find their moral compass through shared learning, dialogue, and engagement around building a more equitable world. You can learn more about Marvin’s life and legacy here.
How do we advance a vision for racial equity and justice in Virginia? At the Weissberg Foundation, this is the query animating our work as we move forward into our
next era of investing and grantmaking. We are starting from a belief that building the power of those most negatively impacted by racism is the central path to transforming systems and achieving a world that recognizes inequities and actively seeks to dismantle structural racism. With the leadership of our new Executive Director, the Foundation is guided by a set of strategic commitments and pillars affirmed by the Board in 2022:
- Assets: The Foundation is committed to activating 100% of our assets – endowment, impact investments, and grants – for racial equity and justice.
- Priority: The Foundation affirms power building as its primary focus.
- Place: Given the genesis of the Foundation in Virginia and the role Virginia played in Indigenous forced land removal and genocide, and as the birthplace of chattel slavery, the Foundation is committed to prioritizing Virginia while continuing to support regional efforts.
- People: As an extension of our mission focused on those most negatively impacted by racism, the Foundation centers Black and Indigenous people while supporting all communities of color.
- Black-Led and Accountable Power Building Building power of those most negatively impacted by racism is the central path to transforming systems and achieving a world that recognizes inequities and actively seeks to dismantle structural racism.
- Narrative Change Combatting disinformation, misinformation, and extremism while proactively messaging the benefits of racial equity and justice.
- Wealth Building Building the wealth of Black and Indigenous people and working for acknowledgment, apology, atonement, and repair of the generational harm of structural racism.
- Democracy & Electoral Reform Identifying and combating structural racism in our electoral processes.
- Base Building Expanding the base of regional, statewide, and national foundations invested in dismantling structural racism and achieving racial justice in Virginia.
The Foundation’s values and the emergent nature of our work calls us to be curious and make space for learning, while also holding the urgent need for justice. This urgency demands that we minimize process and continuously move forward toward a shared vision that is deeply informed by the values, wisdom, and lived experiences of those most negatively impacted by racism. We are looking to generate and iterate, experimenting with what’s possible through nontraditional approaches to leveraging philanthropy as a transformative power for realizing racial justice in Virginia.
We will work together across teams to allocate approximately $10M annually to strengthen current programs and pilot new areas of potential ongoing investment. We are committed to partnering with our grantees and investees to build the kind of trust-based relationships that allow us to authentically explore, experiment, and learn, together.
Join us! We’re looking for mission and values-aligned colleagues who are energized by the opportunity to partner with community in service of racial equity and justice in Virginia.
The Director, Narrative Strategy, will report directly to the Executive Director and be an integral leader on our team, bringing their expertise and creativity to our ongoing exploration of new ways of philanthropy that center community wisdom and elevate Black, Indigenous, and People of Color leadership.
Narrative shift is a new area of focus for the Foundation and will be developed over time as we deepen our understanding of the landscape in Virginia. An animating question for this work is how the Foundation can best support institutions and organizations that are disrupting the narratives that perpetuate structural racism in Virginia, fostering public support, and winning campaigns by shaping a proactive narrative anchored in accuracy and truth.
We’re looking for a narrative strategist to lead our work on seeding and supporting an ecosystem in Virginia that can power a proactive narrative that centers racial equity and justice and its benefits for all. This is a unique position—part grantmaking, part narrative strategy, and part communications—that will appeal to a creative storyteller who is a practitioner of narrative change and is committed to winning the battle of narratives, ideas, and expressions in the public sphere to build support for racial justice.
The Director will be a leader in shaping our programming, grantmaking, and investments across the following areas:
Strategic Leadership & Learning: Serve as a key thought partner to the Executive Director and a source of organizational expertise for our team, bringing forward a theory of change for our narrative change work that best leverages the Foundation’s assets (financial and otherwise) to proactively shift the narrative around racial justice in Virginia. Stay informed of developments locally and across the Commonwealth (including the General Assembly) and how they relate to the national movement for racial justice. Share relevant learnings with the Foundation team. Collaborate to ensure that narrative change is integrated across all program areas. Through the lens of an organizer, proactively position our work to have more impact on behalf of our partners and advise grantees on opportunities to elevate their work. Represent the Foundation at conferences, meetings, and with other funders as needed.
Grant Portfolio Development & Management: Conduct a landscape analysis of current and potential efforts for narrative change around racial equity and justice in Virginia. Use findings to build and execute a grantmaking program for this new portfolio, beginning with dispersing funds to a few key partners doing work in the areas we’ve initially identified as critical: narrative infrastructure and amplification; combating misinformation, disinformation, and extremism; supporting storytelling and local media; supporting art as narrative change. Develop the annual narrative strategy program and operations budget. Continue our practice of providing multi-year general operating support primarily to Black and Brown-led organizations. Manage the full-cycle of grantmaking from inquiry to disbursement to ongoing communication and reinvestment, providing our grantee partners with a supportive process that is as unburdened as possible; conduct due diligence to ensure compliance with Foundation policy; work with the Director of Operations Associate to ensure that funds are dispersed in a timely manner; project manage grantmaking calendar and budget; prepare documentation for Staff and Board of Director review, taking a storytelling approach to elevating the work of our grantees internally and externally.
Communications: Lead all communications (traditional and digital) for the Foundation across all channels. Write copy for all of our materials and web presence to fully reflect our commitment to racial justice, clearly describe our work and opportunities for grantees, and share our learning journeys related to Virginia, the Foundation’s wealth origin story, mission-aligned investing, governance, and operations to inform the philanthropic sector. Manage supportive external vendors (e.g. marketing, graphic design, web design, etc. ) through the full process from conception to bidding to deliverables. Lead the creation of a Foundation style guide to create a set of common concepts and language sets to use that reflect our values through asset-based language. Create and manage an annual communications plan, including a budget and recommendations for any external support as needed. Work closely with the Executive Director to position her as a thought leader in the space of racial justice philanthropy, supporting her in opportunities for speaking engagements, publications, and other means to elevate the work of the Foundation and the leadership of its grantee partners.
- You have 10+ years of relevant experience some significant portion of which rooted in and connected to Black and Brown communities of Virginia
- You have a deep understanding of how to leverage narrative strategy to advance racial justice and can articulate a theory of change for Virginia that resonates with the stated purpose of this role
- You have knowledge of systemic social change and the interplay of laws, narratives, public policy reform, and community organizing
- You are creative and expansive in your understanding of narrative change with a willingness to include, arts, popular culture, and other means of shifting mindsets
- You have communications skills across a broad array of media, platforms, formats, and various technologies used to disseminate information and measure its impact
- You have strong people and project management experience and at least 3+ years of experience managing multiple aspects of a program, including its budget, external vendors, and support staff
- You have experience working successfully across complex collaborations, e.g. coalitions, cross-sector partnerships, multi-organization projects etc, that include Black, Indigenous, and People of Color leaders
- Experience as a grantmaker is not required or desired, however, you must have a grounding in the role of philanthropy in funding movements and contemporary conversations about the limitations and challenges of philanthropy gained either through your experience as a grantee or through other interactions with foundations, corporate social responsibility, individual donors etc.
Who You Are
- You are a storyteller who thrives on using asset-based language to elevate the power and possibilities of multiracial communities
- You have a well-developed racial analysis including understanding of how race and racism are embedded in practices, policies, institutions, and systems
- You are energized at the prospect of resourcing proactive narrative change around racial equity and justice in Virginia; You have a desire to serve the movement from this particular position, as someone who is in service to our grantee partners and is deeply motivated to provide them partners with a supportive experience
- You have a personal and professional commitment to ongoing learning about the Foundation’s work and antiracist leadership approaches
- You are a strategic and thoughtful leader who can balance the details of annual work plans with the big picture of steadily moving forward a decades-long strategy
- You are energized by opportunities to shape new initiatives and programs; you love brainstorming with a team of other committed and talented people and coming up with ways to improve our practice
- You are creative and willing to experiment–you welcome the messiness that comes with experimentation
- You have a high ambiguity tolerance, proactively seek clarity when needed, and are excited to bring shape to new initiatives
- You have a growth mindset and consider yourself a work in progress–you seek feedback and incorporate what you’re learning on an ongoing basis
- You desire to be part of a group of leaders who are actively seeking sustainability; you are looking for an opportunity to be a member of a committed team that is moving critical resources to power building *and* you believe that liberation calls us to hold boundaries around our personal and collective wellbeing
All Weissberg Foundation employees are required to show evidence that they are fully up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations. The Foundation will consider requests for reasonable accommodations, as required by law. Due to our requirements for travel and commitment to gathering in community, the Foundation has a duty to provide and maintain a workplace free of known hazards. Our COVID-19 vaccination policy is in place to safeguard the health of its employees, their families, our partners and visitors, and the community at large from risk of exposure.
Compensation and Benefits
The salary for this position is $125,000 based on the requirements of the position and on a 4-day work week. The salary is non-negotiable. We are co-creating a culture of collective care (we-care in addition to self-care) where the Foundation is as committed to the values of living and learning, racial equity and justice, and building power and community internally as it is externally.
For full-time employees, benefits include:
- 4-day work week
- 100% coverage of employee medical, vision and dental insurance, and 85% of medical, vision, and dental insurance for families and/or dependents. Flexible Spending Accounts for health care and dependent care. Employee Assistance Program.
- 6% 401K match
- $150/month reimbursement for services that support wellness including: fitness activities, mental and/or physical health services, and body work (e.g., massages, reiki, etc.).
- Employees have the following regular leave benefits: 10 days of paid sick leave; 15 days of paid vacation for employees who have been at the Foundation 0-5 years, and 20 days for those who have been with the Foundation for 5+ years; 10 organization-wide paid holidays; 2 paid floating holidays per year to be used for religious or cultural holidays, employee birthdays, or other state or federal holidays during which the Foundation remains open; the Foundation closes annually for the last week of the calendar year.
- The Foundation also supports additional special leave including: 16-week family leave for birth, adoption, care of sick family member; 2-week reentry leave for support of immediate family member returning home from incarceration; 5-days of bereavement leave for loss of family member; 8-hour civic participation leave for volunteering at the polls on election day. Full-time employees are eligible for a 3-month paid sabbatical after 5 years of employment, and every 5 years of employment thereafter, subject to approval.
This position is open until filled, and applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. To apply, please send a resume along with a cover letter responding to the question “What is your vision for racial justice in Virginia and what experiences have informed that vision?” and detailing your interest in this position APPLY AT THIS LINK Submission of additional relevant samples of previous work—written reports, links to web-based publications, curriculum, meeting agendas, grant proposals, event invitations, podcasts, pitch letters, press releases, videos—and any other materials demonstrating communication skills or subject matter expertise are welcome, but not required at this stage.
- Salary $125K/year
- Experience Level 10+ years