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Project Director for Emerging Work to Increase the Extent to which Children are On Track for Kindergarten by Age Three at Center for the Study of Social Policy in Washington, DC

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Position Announcement

Project Director for Emerging Work to Increase the

Extent to which Children are On Track for Kindergarten by Age Three


Organization Overview


The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) is a national, nonprofit public policy, research and technical assistance organization headquartered in Washington, DC, with offices in New York City and Los Angeles. CSSP is committed to securing equitable opportunities and optimal outcomes for children and families. CSSP strives to achieve this by focusing on the families facing the most significant barriers – including families living in poverty and those whose lives are affected by discrimination based on race, immigration status, sexual orientation and gender identity.


CSSP strives to accomplish its mission by developing and advancing effective public policy; helping to transform public systems to be more preventive, results-oriented, accountable and caring; and supporting local leaders to create the community opportunities, supports, services and environments in which all children and families can thrive. CSSP works in partnership with other national organizations, foundations and governmental and community leaders to test new ideas and approaches, provide technical assistance, generate new evidence and support networks of innovators. All of our work reflects a long-standing organizational commitment to equity and social justice.


Job Description


The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) is seeking a senior professional in the Washington, DC office to lead a new effort, in partnership with the Pritzker Children’s Initiative, a project of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation, aimed at increasing the number of young children who are on track for kindergarten by age three. The larger, nationwide initiative will engage partners at the national, state and community levels and will entail addressing policy, systems change and practice in three areas: healthy beginnings, family support and child care.  CSSP’s Project Director will coordinate, manage and advance CSSP’s participation in this new national initiative. The leader serving in this position will be a member of CSSP’s Young Children and their Families (YCF) Team and will play an important role in expanding Early Childhood-LINC (Learning and Innovation Network for Communities), an early childhood systems-building network of 10 jurisdictions around the country, which CSSP supports and convenes.  We are looking for a motivated, mission-driven, creative thinker and problem-solver eager to help shape and implement a new effort that promises to advance the life prospects of young children, their families and their communities.


Specific Duties and Responsibilities


The Project Director’s specific responsibilities will include: 

  • Developing and coordinating specific project plans, and executing those plans
  • Building and sustaining working partnerships with leaders in the early childhood arena, including federal, state and local public and private agencies, community-based organizations and networks, policymakers, foundations and other stakeholders to advance discourse and action on project priorities 


  • Contributing to the expansion and development of CSSP’s network of local early childhood systems-builders, Early Childhood-LINC (Learning and Innovation Network for Communities), specifically developing opportunities and strategies for addressing issues of importance for children, birth to 3, as well as for pregnant women
  • Leading the preparation and delivery of the highest quality Community Action Briefs and other written products, webinars and presentations designed to advance the work of the initiative
  • Ensuring that CSSP’s participation in the national initiative reflects a strong commitment to identifying and reducing inequities based on race, ethnicity and gender
  • Serving as a lead spokesperson for CSSP with respect to the organization’s participation in the national initiative and coordinating with the communications plans and priorities developed by the broader, national initiative
  • Ensuring the preparation and timely completion of the highest quality deliverables and reports to funders
  • Supervising a policy analyst who will support the work of the initiative
  • Contributing as a senior member of CSSP’s Young Children and their Families Team and participating in the advancement of team activities and the work of CSSP more broadly


Required Qualifications, Skills and Experience


The successful candidate will have:

  • A graduate degree (preferred) and a minimum of ten years of experience working on issues of importance to young children and their families in either the nonprofit sector or a combination of government and the nonprofit sector
  • Significant leadership experience and a track record for achieving results
  • Knowledge and experience with some or all of the many substantive issues essential for achieving the goals of the initiative, particularly related to child health, family support and child care
  • Knowledge and experience with public benefit programs and/or private initiatives that are aimed at achieving better health and financial stability for children and families
  • Thorough understanding of the policy opportunities and priorities related to making positive change in systems that affect young children and their families, and a firm grasp of financing strategies that can be used to facilitate such change
  • An understanding of the critical role parents play in the lives of young children and a strong commitment to elevating the role of parents as decision-makers and active participants in efforts to achieve positive change for young children and their families
  • Excellent communications skills and evidence of high performance as a writer and public speaker, including skills and interests in using social and other media to effect change
  • Ability to work effectively with a team and with external partners, including working with community partners or direct leadership experience at the local/community level
  • A strong commitment to promoting racial equity and reducing disparities to achieve equitable results and social justice 
  • Experience managing multiple projects and supervising staff
  • Experience leading issue campaigns or related activities
  • An appreciation of the strategic use of data, and experience using a data-driven approach to accomplishing goals
  • Ability to document the effects and outcomes of innovation, as well as position interventions for scale 
  • Ability and willingness to travel



Compensation and Benefits


Starting salary is commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits provided including short-term and long-term disability, life insurance, health insurance, retirement benefits, generous vacation, sick and holiday leave. CSSP is an equal opportunity employer and strongly believes that our organization and our work benefit from the experiences and perspectives of a diverse staff.


How to Apply


Qualified applicants should send cover letter with salary requirements, resume and writing sample to jobs@cssp.org (subject: Director/YCF Team). In your cover letter, please be sure to indicate where you found this position announcement.


Applicants accepted until November 30, 2017 or until position is filled.

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