Program Specialist, Global Drug Policy Program

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Oct 08

Position description

Program Specialist, Global Drug Policy Program, Global Drug Policy Program, New York, Deadline: 10/24/2018

Global Drug Policy Program (GDPP)

GDPP envisions a world in which communities impacted by or directly engaged in drug use, small-scale drug crop cultivation or micro-traders lead lives of dignity. In such a world, drug policies tackle the interdependent challenges of marginalization and the drug economy. Reforms aim to reduce the role of criminalization in drug control policy while advancing the legal, economic, social, health, and political rights of affected communities. Crucially, affected communities have voice, agency, and capacity to effect change yielding systemic policy reforms that protect and safeguard their wellbeing and human rights.

Job Profile

GDPP is seeking a Program Specialist to perform a wide range of responsibilities that materially advance both portfolio- and program-level strategies. The Program Specialist is at the forefront of our grant making activities, developing relationships with our partners in the field and providing crucial programmatic support to our senior staff.

Contributions include tracking organizations and developments in relevant fields, the design and processing of program grants, and the assessment of grants and portfolios. Program Specialists may also take the lead on projects or issues - such as research initiatives, convenings, or advocacy efforts - as assigned. The Program Specialist will be based in New York and will report to the Deputy Director.

Typical duties and responsibilities include the following:

  • Supporting programmatic efforts by conducting a wide range of activities related to the grant making process and/or analytical work in support of field development, advocacy, regional consultations, and integrative activities
  • Conducting research and synthesizing large amounts of data/information to be used in decision-making, strategy development, and evaluation of the grants portfolio or other program processes
  • Designing and carrying-out field scans and ongoing field monitoring in the areas drug policy reform as well as working together with the other program staff to advance learning approaches in the various areas of the program.
  • Analyzing grant proposals (including budget analysis), designing grants (type of support, degree of flexibility, duration, payment structure, reporting/learning expectations, etc.) and drafting grant recommendations in consultation with responsible program officers
  • Partnering closely with Administrative Officers to ensure efficient flow of grants processing, payments, reporting and other similar information. This includes managing and maintaining a schedule of the program's organizational assessment process and actively working with program officers to ensure compliance with OSF internal policy/guidance
  • Developing the concept, agenda, key players, etc. for convenings, research initiatives, and advocacy efforts
  • Drafting internal documentation and explanation for specific grants in coordination with program officers
  • Contributing to assessment of organizations. This includes primary responsibility for the assessment of organizational finances and budgets (including grant budgets) as well as drafting of the first version of the assessment based on input, judgments and guidance of program officers
  • Monitoring grantee work and activities throughout the grant period and synthesizing this information into a customized tracking system per the grant conditions
  • Providing support to and active participation in GDPP's team-wide learning activities and efforts
  • May participate in preparing and presenting portfolio reviews or evaluations
  • May provide support to the director for reserve spending and other activities as needed


Candidate Profile

  • Three to five years of experience working with issues such as drug policy reform, harm reduction, human rights development; or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Experience implementing systems and grantmaking in philanthropic organizations and/or not-for-profits preferred
  • Proven ability to work efficiently in a fast-paced environment; to troubleshoot and follow projects through to completion, consistently on schedule, without loss of attention to detail and budget
  • Excellent written, verbal, organizational, analytical and interpersonal skills
  • Excellent listening and communication skills with sensitivity to cultural communication differences
  • Highly skilled in researching, processing large amounts of information, and analyzing its importance in informing OSF programs and strategies
  • Flexibility and willingness to work simultaneously on a wide range of tasks and projects and ability to prioritize tasks
  • Basic understanding of Spanish or French is useful, but not required.


Application Instructions: Please include a cover letter and resume, and upload as one document when submitting an application.

Competitive rates of pay apply.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations. We welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and are committed to providing reasonable adjustments so that colleagues with disabilities are able to fulfill the essential functions of the job.
follow us on Twitter