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Arnold Ventures is a philanthropy whose core objective is to maximize opportunity and minimize injustice. We are dedicated to tackling some of the most pressing problems in the United States. We invest in sustainable change, building it from the ground up based on research, deep thinking, and a strong foundation of evidence. We drive public conversation, craft policy, and inspire action through education and advocacy.

The Director of Public Affairs & Communications is responsible for developing and executing public affairs and communications strategies that support and advance AV’s policy and advocacy goals. Based in our Washington, D. C. or Houston office and reporting to the Vice President, Communications, the Director is the strategic public affairs leader for many of AV’s programmatic and advocacy priorities, including Higher Education, Infrastructure, Public Finance, Evidence & Evaluation, and others. 

The Director of Public Affairs & Communications is responsible for successful strategies for engaging key audiences and shaping policy conversations at both the federal and state level. Working in a fast-paced public affairs environment, this individual will have a strong understanding of how government works and be capable of developing and executing successful public affairs strategies to support policy and advocacy goals. 

The Director must also have strong execution capabilities — implementing campaigns beginning to end, analyzing results, and building on lessons learned. The Director must be a strong team player, and collaborate effectively across functions to support both Programmatic and Advocacy strategies and Arnold Ventures’ reputation and brand goals. 

Core Responsibilities

  • Have a strong understanding of key policy issues federally and at a state level.
  • Develop and implement effective public affairs and communications strategies to support short- and long-term policy and advocacy goals.
  • Drive strategies and content to inform news, as well as effectively rapidly respond to incoming inquiries.
  • Draft public affairs and communications materials, including message framing, media positioning, press releases, social media content, speeches and presentations, and other compelling content.
  • Build and execute a thought leadership strategy for AV’s Programmatic leaders.
  • Review grantee communications strategies, protocols, and materials.
  • Draft or provide feedback on issue briefs, solution papers, written public testimony, and requests for proposals.
  • Monitor and track media coverage and trends, providing timely insights and strategies.
  • Coordinate public affairs and communications strategies with communications team members, ensuring alignment with both Programmatic and broader foundation goals.

Required Qualifications

  • Minimum of 10 years of experience in communications, public affairs, or public policy communications. 
  • Bachelor’s degree in media relations, communications, public relations, marketing, journalism, English or related field.
  • Experience in Higher Education, Infrastructure, or Public Finance public affairs and communications strongly preferred.
  • Deep understanding of policy issues, as well as legislative and regulatory processes.
  • Ability to develop and execute public affairs and communication strategies that deliver policy results.
  • Ability to serve as strategic counselor to executives and senior leaders.
  • Ability to effectively serve as spokesperson on a variety of issues.
  • Strong writing, editing, presentation, and coaching skills. 
  • Strong ability to distill complex issues and information into public affairs and communications materials.
  • Strong strategy development, project management, and organizational skills 
  • Strong ability to collaborate across multiple teams.

Our Culture and Core Values

Our culture seeks to inspire and empower our people to innovate and develop bold ideas that will help Arnold Ventures achieve lasting impact. Our culture, and the core values that support it, should create an environment that spurs our team to think outside the box, feel comfortable pushing the boundaries of what is possible, and signal confidence in our team’s ability to make change happen through our philanthropic efforts. Although not an exhaustive list, below you’ll find examples of Arnold Ventures’ work culture. 

  • We are adaptable and comfortable with ambiguity
  • We are intellectually curious, open-minded, objective, humble, collegial, and receptive to feedback
  • We are action-oriented with strong self-direction and self-motivation skills with the ability to work simultaneously on multiple projects
  • We are able to interact confidently and collaboratively with team members and navigate relationships with external experts, government leaders, advocates, and individuals 

Arnold Ventures’ values reflect who we are as an organization, help us accelerate our strategic goals, strengthen our resolve, anchor us to our mission, and guide our decision-making. The successful candidate will also demonstrate the following core values that inspire the Arnold Ventures team to make a difference.

  • Respect for Ourselves & Others
  • Audacious Action
  • Collaborative Engagement
  • Depth of Thought
  • Clear Communication

Arnold Ventures is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, military/​veteran status, or any basis prohibited by applicable law. 

Acknowledging the importance of diverse perspectives, Arnold Ventures is committed to employing individuals from a variety of backgrounds and with a variety of experiences. Members of historically marginalized communities and candidates who have been impacted by the systems we are seeking to change are strongly encouraged to apply.

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