In Oregon, we have an opportunity to reimagine what justice looks like. Are you ready to help defend and advance civil liberties and civil rights? The ACLU of Oregon invites applications for its open Policy Director position. 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon is an advocacy organization dedicated to defending and advancing civil liberties and civil rights through work in the courts, in the legislature, and in communities. We fight for free speech, racial justice, criminal justice reform, religious liberty, reproductive rights, LGBT rights, immigrants' rights, and more. We are organized as a nonpartisan, nonprofit, membership organization with nearly 50,000 members and supporters in Oregon. The ACLU of Oregon is an affiliate of the ACLU, our nation’s guardian of liberty for 100 years.

In addition to fulfilling our strong mission and high-profile work, we aspire to create and nurture an internal culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging and to dismantle white supremacy and replace it with equitable organizational structures. To this end, we are intentionally seeking to attract team members and leaders who are interested in shaping our future as an anti-racist and equity-focused organization. 

We are also in a period of leadership transition. This has created an awesome opportunity for new perspectives, new ideas, and new ways of working on our team. We welcome the change and we welcome those who are able to lead through and manage change.   

We will work together to help you find work life balance, offer generous benefits, and are conveniently located in vibrant downtown Portland.

The ACLU of Oregon is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture, and we encourage applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, disability, veteran status, or record of arrest or conviction.

Position Overview

The Policy Director is a sophisticated advocate who will work both to advance an affirmative, non-partisan civil rights and civil liberties agenda and to defend against policies that impact vulnerable Oregonians. This leader is responsible for shaping, directing, and managing the ACLU of Oregon’s policy advocacy through collaboration.   The Policy Director works in partnership with the affiliate’s senior management team, ACLU national staff, coalition partners, and others to develop a strategic, innovative policy portfolio at the state and local levels. Though part of this broader team, the Policy Director is also a thought leader who will develop and advance the ACLU of Oregon’s vision for a just Oregon through work in multiple political arenas: the state legislature, legislative and executive branches, administrative agencies, and local governments. The Policy Director is a proven manager who will supervise, mentor, and lead a team that includes policy associates, contractors, and volunteers. This individual must, therefore, demonstrate a strong commitment to fostering equity in all of its forms in the policy department’s internal operations, including, most fundamentally, racial equity.  The Policy Director must also actively participate in work to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and extend a DEI lens from internal operations to the ACLU’s external work.

Budgetary Control

The Policy Director is responsible for building and managing the department’s annual budget under the supervision of the Executive and Deputy Directors and provides frontline approval on department-related expenditures.

 

Major Duties 

As a manager, the Policy Director: 

  • Partners with the Policy Team to build and implement a clearly defined policy program plan that incorporates effective advocacy strategies, establishes realistic objectives, measures overall progress against short term and long term goals, and generates reports that analyze program impact. 
  • Coordinates with senior leadership to build and support a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and qualified Policy Team.
  • Partners with the Legal and Communications teams and other staff to develop clear roles, expectations, divisions of labor, and measurements of success for the Policy Team staff and program work. 
  • Effectively manages relationships with pro bono attorneys and volunteers to expand capacity, as appropriate.
  • Employs a coaching mentality in growing and leading the Policy Team, with a focus on ongoing professional development. 
  • Supervises the day-to-day operations of the Policy Program, including establishing the systems and the goals to manage the policy portfolio and assure quality control.
  • Ensures that the program is fully compliant with the Oregon ethics and lobby reporting requirements. 
  • Establishes effective systems and protocols for managing policy requests, active policy advocacy, and policy research, and for preparing all pertinent memos, testimony, and correspondence. 
  • Works with Board’s Policy Committee, as needed.

As our lead lobbyist, the Policy Director:

  • Develops and implements the ACLU of Oregon’s non-partisan legislative agenda utilizing appropriate strategies and tactics; lobbies members of the legislature, their staff and the Governor’s office; analyzes and tracks legislation, drafts amendments and prepares and delivers both written and oral testimony. 
  • Identifies and helps defeat legislation that threatens civil rights and civil liberties. 
  • Builds trusted relationships with lawmakers, agency decision-makers, staff, the Governor’s office, lobbyists and other stakeholders by providing clear, fact-based analysis and resources; identifies opportunities for bipartisan support on ACLU issues. 
  • Develops strategies to advance the affiliate’s goals and works in partnership with allied organizations, individuals, and diverse coalitions. 
  • Coordinates and collaborates with staff to plan and implement effective multi-disciplinary and integrated advocacy policy initiatives, involving a combination of policy, legal, communication, public education and organizing strategies. 
  • Participates in interim legislative activity; attends legislative hearings and participates in policy-related workgroups, coalitions and meetings. 
  • Responds to media requests on policy issues and represents the ACLU of Oregon at events, forums and meetings. 
  • Drafts new legislation and policy language and amendments to existing laws and policies.
  • Prepares written materials, in collaboration with the Communication Director, if appropriate, including action alerts, talking points, issue briefs, reports, op-eds and website updates. 
  • Works collaboratively with ACLU national and other ACLU affiliates to advance nationwide policy campaigns. 
  • Coordinates affiliate’s work on ballot initiatives and ballot measures, in consultation with senior staff, Policy Team, and other ACLU teams.
  • Identifies and implements tactics for members and supporters to engage in strategic policy advocacy.

As an inclusive collaborator, the Policy Director: 

  • Creates, sustains and engages inclusive spaces for all people by demonstrating a commitment to advancing racial equity, dismantling white supremacy, and operating with understanding of how power is manifested in matters of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, ability, language, immigration status, national origin, and socioeconomic circumstances.
  • Works to build and sustain diverse, equitable and inclusive coalitions for the advocacy and public education work of the Policy Program, in coordination with the affiliate’s integrated advocacy goals. 
  • Represents the ACLU of Oregon in key coalitions and coordinated advocacy campaigns.
  • Ensures that internal/external stakeholder meetings are designed and facilitated effectively and inclusively.

As a resource developer, the Policy Director:

  • Works with the Development Team to drive fundraising efforts by participating in meetings with major donors and speaking at donor forums and events, as needed. 
  • Develops an annual departmental budget and monitors departmental expenditures. 

Experience, Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Required 

  • Proven commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Substantial experience in policy-related advocacy, including direct lobbying.
  • Excellent problem-solving skills, ability to juggle multiple on-going projects, and exercise good judgment under stressful situations.
  • Post-secondary education.
  • Substantive knowledge of constitutional law and civil rights law, criminal procedure, and ethical obligations. 
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively and professionally with staff colleagues, impacted communities, coalition partners, elected officials and other policy makers with a commitment to the highest ethical standards.
  • Excellent organization and time management skills to manage and oversee work, as well as work, assuring timely completion of assignments and projects. 
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively manage both personnel and a heavy work-load during legislative sessions.
  • Experience conducting and supervising complex policy research and analysis.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including public speaking skills.
  • Availability to work from the state capitol in Salem during legislative sessions, to travel elsewhere, and to work extended hours, including evenings and weekends, as necessary. 
  • Demonstrated commitment to the ACLU of Oregon’s mission, and the ability to stay abreast of current affiliate priorities, including a wide range of civil liberties and civil rights issues.
  • Fluency in Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat. 

Preferred Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities

  • Knowledge of Oregon Constitution. 
  • Previous ACLU staff or volunteer experience. 
  • Experience working with marginalized or impacted communities, grassroots organizations, and non-governmental organizations.
  • Warm, team-building, and collegial management style focused on recruiting and training staff to work collaboratively while ensuring accountability.
  • Ability to mobilize diverse internal and external partners.

Personal Contacts

The Policy Director works closely with the Executive Director and the Deputy Director, as well as the affiliate’s Board of Directors, senior management team members, and the Policy, Communications, and Legal Teams. The Policy Director will also work with clients, impacted community members, coalition partners, ACLU members, and elected officials to advance the affiliate’s policy goals

Position Type & Expected Hours of Work

Full-time, exempt position with Monday - Friday work schedule based in Portland. During Oregon legislative sessions, the Policy Director is expected to work in the state capitol in Salem most days. Flexibility to work non-traditional office hours, including nights, weekends, and a willingness to travel within Oregon are required.

Work Environment

Primary environment has ambient room temperatures, lighting, and traditional office equipment as found in a typical office environment. Work in state capitol building requires movement throughout the capitol and a shared workspace.

Supervisory Responsibilities

Supervises one or two policy associates or contractors; pro bono attorneys and policy interns, as needed.

Education

Post-secondary school is highly desired. Juris Doctorate degree is preferred. 

Compensation and Benefits

This is a salaried, exempt, full-time position. The salary range for this Policy Director position is $75,000 - $100,000 depending on experience. Excellent benefits include paid time off, paid holidays, medical, dental and vision insurance, 401k retirement plan, life insurance, and long-term disability insurance.


Posting will remain open until filled.

 

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