Code for America believes government can work for the people, by the people, in the digital age, and that government and community services at all levels can and should work well for all people. For more than a decade, we’ve worked to show that with the mindful use of technology, we can break down barriers, meet community needs, and find real solutions.

Our employees and active community of volunteers build and transform government and community tools and services, making them so good they inspire change. We merge the best parts of technology, nonprofit, and government to help support the people who need it most. With a focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and deep empathy for partners in government and community organizations and the people that our partners serve, we’re building a movement of motivated change agents driven by meaningful results and lasting impact. At Code for America, you contribute to exciting work while learning and developing in a supportive and flexible environment. Our compensation and benefits are holistic and thoughtfully curated to represent our employees and our mission. Help us drive real generational change that lasts.

Code for America is looking for a Policy Director to build and lead a new policy practice that coordinates policy efforts across portfolios, develops organizational policy frameworks and knowledge base, and works to advance our long-term system changes goals through policy engagement, policymaker education, and analysis.

About the Role: 

As the Policy Director, you will lead a cross-functional team that supports, aligns, elevates, and connects the dots on policy work happening within each portfolio, as well as external policy efforts that relate to our mission to use human centered technology to improve public services that reduce poverty and advance equity.

You will have overall responsibility for building from the ground up and leading a policy practice within the Programs Department that creates the internal and external conditions for collaboration across the issue portfolios of Safety Net, Justice, Tax Benefits, and Network, as well as our Civic Technology Partnerships practice. In leading the Policy practice, you will ensure that each portfolio has the infrastructure and support needed to engage in policy, broadly defined, that advances the goals of the portfolio and you will ensure that the organization is well positioned to engage in policy topics adjacent to our issue portfolios and related to our mission.

This role is our first hire for the new policy practice. You will directly manage a Senior Program Manager, Policy (your first hire) and are expected to work in close collaboration and coordination with the Senior Program Director and Associate Policy Director for our Safety Net portfolio; Senior Program Director and Associate Program Director for our Tax Benefits portfolio; Senior Program Director and Program Director for our Criminal Justice portfolio; as well as the Senior Program Director, Network and Program Director, Civic Tech Partnerships and Fellowships. Over time, we envision building out a cross-functional team within the Policy practice comprised of a roles such as Data Scientist, Qualitative Researcher, Service Designer, Solutions Engineer, and/or policy managers/analysts, all who hold an organizational perspective on the range of policy topics that relate to our organizational north star to use human centered technology to improve public services that reduce poverty and advance equity.

This role reports to Code for America’s Vice President, Programs and given the centrality of federal and national relationships, this role is based in the D.C. Metro or surrounding areas.

In the position, you will: 

  • Lead the first-ever policy practice at Code for America. In close coordination with the VP, Programs and Programs leadership, the Policy Director will facilitate the development of a public policy agenda that supports the organization’s strategic goals,  coordinate the organization’s policy efforts within and across portfolios, when strategic to do so, provide foundational infrastructure to policy work happening within each portfolio, and explore strategies and opportunities to leverage data and research methodologies to support and amplify our policy work within and across portfolios.
  • Establish legislative tracking software and processes to keep portfolio staff abreast of related or adjacent policy issues occuring in key states and at the federal level, and relationship management tooling that enables coordination and collaboration.
  • Serve as the convener and facilitator for two internal groups: Policy Leads, which meets monthly, and Policy Advisory Group, which meets quarterly. The Policy Director will also lead and/or participate in external meetings, convenings, and events, as needed, including strategic coalition-building activities.
  • Serve as an additional voice in D.C., as requested by the VP of Programs and Programs leadership, to execute strategic advocacy plans that advance Code for America’s policy agenda, including through (a) outreach to Congress, (b) engagement with White House and executive agencies, and (c) coalition building with other national stakeholders and organizations. Relatedly, this role is expected to establish and advance strong relationships with key stakeholders on the federal legislative and executive levels that advance the work of the portfolios.
  • Represent CfA in external meetings and events with policymakers and other key stakeholders, as requested by Program Directors and related to the policy priorities and adjacent policy priorities of a portfolio, including policies related to procurement of technology systems that support benefit delivery.
  • Write internal memos and briefs that analyze and interpret federal and state guidance, legislation, and ensure that design and copy choices accurately reflect policy developments; learning about pressing issues from each portfolio that could inform policy recommendations that the portfolio or the organization as a whole may want to consider in setting its policy priorities; supporting the development of external facing policy materials, such as public comment, support letters, etc., in partnership and coordination with relevant portfolios; and ensuring that portfolio-level policy recommendations and priorities align with and are informed by organizational policy priorities, and vice versa.
  • Manage a Senior Program Manager, dedicated to building and supporting the Policy Practice.

You have: 

    • Content Area Expertise.  Deep familiarity with any of our issue areas, including public benefits policy, administration, and implementation issues, particularly SNAP, WIC, Medicaid, and integrated eligibility system procurement and modernization; tax benefits policy, administration, and implementation issues, particularly EITC, and other tax credits; criminal justice reform policy, administration, or implementation issues; technology modernization and innovation efforts at the national and/or state level, and/or policy topics related to Code for America’s mission to improve public services that reduce poverty and advance equity with policymakers, advocates, and broader ecosystem. Experience working on administrative, delivery, and technology issues directly at a government agency is preferred.
    • Lived Experience and/or People-Centered Approach. Understands the specific experiences of historically marginalized racial groups in the U.S., particularly Black, Indigenous, and Latinx groups. A commitment to leading and working with integrity, inclusion, compassion, and equity in the workplace.
    • Policy and/or Political Strategy Expertise: At least 10 years of experience in public policy, advocacy, lobbying, or other related fields. Advanced degree in a relevant field is a plus. Experience and ease leading through influence, without direct decisionmaking over policy agenda.
    • Communication and Collaboration: Excellent writing skills and successful experience writing in several different formats and for different audiences, preferably in a policy or advocacy context. Persuasive communicator with strong interpersonal and collaboration skills. Effective and astute presentation skills with experience representing organizations in senior-level meetings and public forums. Demonstrated success in coordinating and collaborating policy-related tactics and strategies within a matrixed environment.
    • Project Management: Highly organized with strong project management skills; high attention to detail, successful follow-through, and superb execution. Able to manage a project plan and deliverables with minimal supervision. Ability to prioritize in a fast-paced work environment, staying calm and upbeat while working under pressure and with tight deadlines.
    • Partnership Development: Experience building partnerships and coalitions in advancing a common cause, preferably policy or advocacy related. Politically astute and able to find common ground and build relationships across differences.
    • People Management Skills. Manage, coach and grow Senior Program Manager, and provide dotted-line management to cross-functional staff dedicated to work in the Policy practice.
    • Logistics: Open and reliable access to both internet and phone. Ability to travel within 1 – 2 hours notice to Washington, D.C.
  • Bonus:
    • Data and Policy Analysis Expertise.  Data and statistical analysis experience in public benefits, poverty, public health, taxes, criminal justice, or other fields relevant to the work of Code for America.

What you’ll get: 

  • Full benefits package with 100% coverage towards select medical, dental and vision plans and contributes 80% of the cost towards dependent and family coverage
  • 401k plan with matching funds
  • A collaborative, hardworking and fun environment
  • Leadership and teammates who value Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity
  • Professional development includes biannual 360 review process and $1,000 annual budget
  • A manager and org-wide structure that supports and enables professional development
  • Compensation: Code for America’s salary bands are transparent internally as a part of our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, we extend this to our hiring process. This role at this level is ranged from ($111,988 to 178,250) in yearly salary. As a part of our equitable hiring practices, we aim to target the midpoint of the 2nd quartile of the range for all new hires. That target for this role is $141,728. These ranges and the target are for the Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA market and subject to adjustment for cost of living differentials.  

Equal Employment Opportunity: 

Code for America values a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace and strongly encourages women, people of color, LGBTQ+ folks, people with disabilities, members of ethnic minorities, foreign-born residents, and veterans to apply. Code for America is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants will not be discriminated against because of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, religion, national origin, citizenship status, disability, ancestry, marital status, veteran status, medical condition or any protected category prohibited by local, state or federal laws.