We're Hiring: Executive Assistant

Movement Strategy Center is seeking a dynamic professional to provide administrative support to MSC’s Executive Director (ED), Chief Operating Officer (COO) and executive leadership team along with support for special projects that the ED focuses on to advance the organizational mission and work.

Full Job Description

Position Overview

Reporting to the Executive Director, the primary role of the Executive Assistant is to provide administrative support to MSC’s Executive Director (ED), Chief Operating Officer (COO) and executive leadership team along with support for special projects that the ED focuses on to advance organizational mission and work.

Core Responsibilities

Executive Assistance (50%)

  • Support for ED, COO and Board of Directors Committees
  • Manage calendars, scheduling & executing meetings from start to finish; selecting a date, inviting appropriate attendees, supporting agenda clarification and follow-ups and next steps
  • Serve as principal administrative contact for ED and COO; answer and route: phone calls/phone messages, mail and email messages, and handle wide-range information dissemination
  • Special projects & project management as needed (e.g. Organizational Development projects)
  • Partner with Chief Advancement Officer and Advancement team to support executive voice, communications, development and relationships with internal and external stakeholders
  • Support MSC Executive Teams’ partnerships cultivation including initiating meetings and responding to requests from key partners
  • Scheduling and implementing the logistics for Board of Director meetings including Committee meetings
  • Support preparation of ED presentations and content for executive team and staff meetings
  • Manage and reconcile expense accounts for ED and COO
  • Schedule and book travel accommodations for the ED and COO
  • Provide file management for the ED and COO
  • Other administrative duties as assigned

Agency-wide Administrative Support (35%)

  • Under the direction of the COO, work in collaboration with MSC’s administrative team members to support agency-wide logistics, operational needs and other administrative duties as may be assigned

Organizational Change Initiatives, Community Stewardship & Emergent Projects (15%)

  • Support organizational change management initiatives and special projects at the direction of the ED and COO
  • Support Organizational Culture and Community Stewardship activities such as coordinating staff meetings, leadership team meetings, board meetings, retreats, and community building activities that may interface between staff, board members, the larger community and stakeholders in MSC’s network
  • Provide project management support to emergent projects that may arise from the Board Executive Committee and Executive Leadership Team

Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.

Expected hours of work

Standard days and hours of work are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Daily schedule is flexible within the proximity of this time frame, and will be decided in consultation with the supervisor.

Travel

No significant travel expected.

Essential Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Experience in working with and supporting non-profit social justice organizations and leaders focused on transformative change to make the world more equitable and just;
  • Minimum of five years demonstrated experience with executive assistant or special assistant to C-Suite roles, and/or equivalent positions;
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, both verbal and written;
  • Ability to switch between detail-intensive data processing and relationship-based interaction with ease;
  • Ability to manage and make progress on multiple projects simultaneously;
  • Experience in supporting change management and organizational development;
  • Ability to handle diverse challenges with a calm demeanor and positive outlook with service excellence;
  • Ability to hold confidentiality and discretion re: sensitive information to support Executive Team’s work;
  • Highly skilled in managing competing priorities;
  • Highly motivated and proficient problem solver who anticipates needs and proactively creates solutions in a timely manner in a fast-paced, emergent environment;
  • An orientation towards learning and development; willing to learn from mistakes, receive feedback, and know how to properly give feedback to others;
  • Ability to communicate and take initiative in asking for help and clarity, and to propose solutions/options. Adaptability and comfort with emergence (i.e. ideas and systems not yet fully developed that responds to dynamic situations) — to partner and pinch hit on emergent projects that arise for the Executive and Leadership Teams;
  • Proficiency and excellent computer skills in utilizing Apple and Mac operating systems and products, as well as virtual communication and meeting platforms, database management systems, expense reconciliation systems and other software applications including Google Suite, Microsoft Office Suite, Zoom, Adobe Acrobat Pro, Canva and other design platforms; and
  • Experience with online services such as Egnyte, Docusign, Paycom, Airtable and Asana is preferred but not required

Position Type and Compensation

  • Full-time, 100% FTE, exempt position. Annual compensation is offered between $70-90K
  • MSC’s 100% FTE benefits package includes:
  • 20 vacation days leave accrual per year (15 days in the first year of employment due to a mandatory 3 month waiting period before accrual begins)
  • 12 standard holidays, and 2 personal days per year (Personal days are designated as your birthday and hire date anniversary, and need to be used on these dates as required by CA time off laws)
  • 12 sick days leave accrual per year
  • 1-week paid MSC family and medical leave after one year of service (to be integrated with available state benefits); an additional week of paid leave for each additional year of service, up to 4 weeks
  • Medical, vision, dental, life and disability insurance coverage for employees and their dependents (the enrollment eligible date is first of the month following 30 days of employment)

Employee contribution is required and further details will be provided upon hire

  • Access to FSA and Commuter Benefits
  • Opportunity to participate in an employer sponsored 403b retirement plan

Please include a cover letter with your application.

Movement Strategy Center is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion or belief, disability, gender, nationality, ethnicity, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), gender identity or expression, sexual orientation or any other status protected by law. People of color and LGBTQ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

Job Type: Full-time, Hybrid

Based in Oakland, CA

Pay: $70,000.00 – $90,000.00 per year

Apply here.


We're Hiring: Director of Development

Movement Strategy Center is seeking an organized, innovative, ambitious leader and communicator who is amiable and self-motivated, with experience in fundraising to join our team.

Full Job Description

DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
Job Description

POSITION OVERVIEW
MSC is seeking an organized, innovative, ambitious leader and communicator who is amiable and self-motivated, with experience in fundraising, to join our team. The Director will grow and sustain robust relationships with institutional donors and work to significantly increase MSC’s operations revenue and overall impact.

This is a full time and remote-based (US-only) role that has room for professional growth in an evolving organization. The position reports to the Chief Advancement Officer.

ABOUT MOVEMENT STRATEGY CENTER
Founded in 2001, Movement Strategy Center over the last two decades has been a social and environmental justice incubator, serving as a movement hub for both housing visionaries and emergent networks, and providing core intermediary functions to advance ecosystem-wide impact: resourcing a robust and maturing ecosystem of leaders, networks, and projects, and offering core infrastructure support through fiscal sponsorship and philanthropic services.

In recent years, MSC’s in-house incubation efforts have focused on cross-sector movement building to cultivate the power necessary to accelerate a just transition from a world of domination, extraction, and violence, where the few live at the expense of the many – to a world of interdependence, liberation and resilience, where the many govern for the benefit of all. MSC centers Black, Indigenous, and people of color intergenerational systems leaders and networks that are committed to transformation and boldly leaning into the future and whose communities are most impacted by extraction, domination, and violence.

MSC understands that transformative movements change the way we think, our structures and systems, the way we live, and even who we are. We recognize that we are whole people, and whole communities, and because the issues and problems we face are interconnected, our systemic solutions and movements must be interconnected as well. The way we achieve our goals and with whom are just as important as our outcomes.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Responsible for identifying, engaging, soliciting, and closing grants and gifts from foundations and individuals to support $7+ million organizational budget
  • Identify prospective donors and funders and develop strategies to cultivate those relationships
  • Provide leadership to and collaborate on additional partnership efforts that have fundraising aspects. Work closely with the grants management and contracts team.
  • Execute grant writing including: LOIs, budgets, concepts, proposals, distribution schedules and grant research
  • Facilitate and optimize the CAO’s fundraising efforts: arrange meetings and provide information about funders and prospective funders
  • Participate in meetings, including presenting updates when necessary
  • Provide occasional thought partnership and fundraising strategy support to the organizations in the Movement Strategy Network
  • Manage all aspects prospecting, grants and tasks management, and grant reporting for

Development

Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, AND ABILITIES:

  • 4 – 7 years of experience with individual giving and grant writing, ideally experience with high-value grants
  • A record of success in identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding nonprofit donors
  • Extremely well-organized; a creative self-starter, capable of handling multiple tasks, establishing priorities, and meeting deadlines.
  • Passion for the organization’s mission with a desire to be an ambassador
  • Commitment to continuous learning about and sensitivity to DEIA values
  • Proven leadership and team management skills
  • Expert written and verbal communication skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and able to collaborate effectively
  • Comfort with remote work software and a tech-centric approach to work. We use Google Drive, Airtable, and Slack
  • Experience with Database Management
  • Experience with Grant Management
  • Experience with community-based organizations, such as CDCs, and/or donor advised fund programs is a plus.

COMPENSATION
This is a full-time, 100% FTE, exempt position. Annual compensation is $90,000-$100,000.

MSC’s 100% FTE benefits package includes: o 20 days vacation leave per year; o 12 standard holidays and 2 personal days per year; o 12 sick days per year; o 1 week paid MSC family and medical leave after one year of service; an additional week of paid leave for each additional year of service, up to 4 weeks; o Medical, vision, dental for employees and dependents (requires 30 day waiting period and a per paycheck employee contribution); o 100% employer sponsored basic life, short-term and long-term disability insurance coverage; o Access to a 403b retirement plan. o Access to FSA and Commuter Benefits.

Movement Strategy Center is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion or belief, disability, gender, nationality, ethnicity, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), gender identity or expression, sexual orientation or any other status protected by law. People of color and LGBTQ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

Supervisory Responsibility
Will manage any grant writing consultants as necessary.

Expected hours of work
Standard days and hours of work are Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm PST. Daily schedule is flexible within the proximity of this time frame, and will be decided in consultation with the supervisor.

Travel
No significant travel expected.

Job Type: Full-time

Pay: $100,000.00 – $110,000.00 per year

Benefits:

  • Dental insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Paid time off
  • Professional development assistance

Schedule:

  • 8 hour shift

Application Question(s):

  • A cover letter is required with your resume. Applications won’t be considered without one.

Experience:

  • Fundraising & Grant Writing, 3 years (Preferred)

Work Location: Remote

Apply here.


Navigating Tensions Within Capitalist Systems

Movement Strategy Center on Forging Authentic Relationships Between Funders and Movement Leaders

Movement Strategy Center (MSC) is values-aligned with the activist organizations we offer infrastructure to and thought partnership with; and dismantling white supremacy in philanthropy and intermediary services is fundamental to our goal and mission. But at the end of the day, we are a cog in the machine of capitalism; and capitalism is core to economic, racial, and environmental inequity we are fighting each and every day. 

It’s with this in mind that we cannot deny the obvious tensions between the philanthropic organizations that fund our works and the on-the-ground movement leaders we partner with.

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by @nogodsnoprofits

This thinking is by no means new or innovative — it’s ingrained enough within the greater philanthropic and activist ecosystems to warrant parody. There are dozens of social media accounts dedicated to poking holes in the nonprofit industrial complex. Two of our favorites, @nogodsnoprofts on Instagram and @philanthro_tea on Twitter, have amassed more than 4,000 followers thanks to a collection of memes and hot takes that are often humorous, honest, and entirely relatable.  

Dontay Wimberly, rapper and People’s Climate Innovation Center (formerly Climate Innovation) Young Black Climate Leader (YBCL), shared similar frustration in his Instagram stories. He noted that in 2020, $471 billion went to nonprofit organizations — nearly half a trillion dollars. “That’s how much money was given away — so imagine how much the ruling class has in the first place.” He continued, “capitalism is a zero-sum game … for the few to win, everyone else has to lose. That’s why nonprofits are so frustrating. They don’t really talk about capitalism … Then they would have to reconcile with the contradiction that nonprofits are a byproduct of capitalist exploitation.” 

And he’s right — without unfathomable wealth there would be no philanthropy. And without philanthropy, many of the activists behind crucial movement work would be hobbled. Wealth and philanthropy are essential — but that doesn’t mean there isn’t work to do.   

Carla Dartis, MSC’s executive director, wonders: “how many philanthropic organizations and family foundations have direct access to small grassroots organizers? How many have activist organizers on their boards? Their advisory councils?” Without those folks involved in decision making how are funders supposed to fully understand needs? Without a seat on the table, where is the community and partnership? And when the organizers on the ground are honest about their needs, “they are seen as weak — they can never be seen as a true partner.”

Candace Clark, the resource organizing director at HEAL Food Alliance, one of MSC’s fiscally sponsored projects, agrees: “No one can tell you how to fix a problem in the community they aren’t a part of.” 

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by @nogodsnoprofits

Problems between philanthropic organizations and activists are compounded by what Dartis describes as a “model of scarcity.” These foundations have good intentions but the funding is rarely enough; the timelines too defined; the relationships too “episodic.” It’s nearly impossible for activists to secure enough funding and — crucially — unrestricted funding to support ongoing efforts, growth, or infrastructure. And, she adds: those deadlines and restrictions, that manufactured urgency, is “the white supremacy piece.” All organizations, large and small, need to be able to adapt or shift as circumstances change and hot button issues arise and established funding can rarely be diverted to tackle these issues.

Jose Pienda, executive director for After Incarceration, an MSC fiscally sponsored project, understands this scarcity sentiment. Since his release from prison in 2020, Pienda has worked with the Restorative Center to pursue a personal restorative justice journey and provide restorative outlets for others. Pienda believes “if we replace competition with collaboration, we all have access to everything … At the end of the day, we are all working for each other.” But he doesn’t believe Big Philanthropy always works that way, referring to the status quo as “a competitive rat race mentality of how and where we get our resources.” 

Intermediaries can seem to complicate the situation by standing between one or more foundations and grantees. But MSC avoids this; and part of avoiding roadblocks is acknowledging that we exist in a sort of paradox between capitalism and liberation. We do not try to ignore the inherent capitalist hypocrisy that is the backbone of philanthropy.   

And we make mistakes — all of us do, big philanthropy and otherwise. But the key is accountability. Clark says, “accountability can feel like being reprimanded but that’s not the intention, it’s dialog, it’s sharing, it’s willingness.” Crucially, she adds that “accountability is transparency” and that means being “open to correcting mistakes.”

Terry Marshall, the cofounder of Intelligent Mischief — a member of MSC Movement Strategy Network (MSN), tells us, “anything that is real, started as imagination first.” MSC imagined a leader-full ecosystem of dynamic and strategic leaders, projects, teams, strategic initiatives, collaborations, and organizations working to advance BIPOC, LGBTQIA, and women and GNC-led power building. We started as a group of organizers addressing the overlapping issues of our time collaboratively; who know the climate crisis is connected to the immigration crisis; and that racial justice can not be separated from gender justice. Our purpose is to strengthen projects on the ground and reshape collective futures while working towards equity and community — even with funders, large and small. 

 “Accountability can feel like being reprimanded but that’s not the intention, it’s dialog, it’s sharing, it’s willingness. Accountability is transparency and that means being open to correcting mistakes.”

It all comes down to being in a relationship with one another. Our fiscal sponsorship programs are based on a cohort system that builds on a nested network approach. The idea — which brings in classes of activist organizations — speaks to the concept of Beloved Community and to the need for power-building. Onboarding starts with goal and intention setting; and many goals include relationship building. It’s a crucial, foundational part of the work, and determines our resilience and ability to move forward together. In her book, Emergent Strategy, social movement facilitator adrienne maree brown reminisced about an offering of advice that MSC cofounder Taj James once shared: “don’t thingify, humanify! Shifting our way of being is our tangible outcome. Systems change comes from big groups making big shifts of being.”  

Anya de Marie, who helped develop this approach during her time as MSC’s chief fiscal sponsorship officer, said, “we created as much community as we could inside complicated and contradictory philanthropic and nonprofit cultures and constraints. Rather than an individualized focus on organizational development, we use a network-centered approach that is relational and trauma-responsive.” That rationale reflects MSC’s employee culture — it has been and continues to be a community and political home. And that sense of belonging can take the edge off the very difficult work and very difficult conversations that come with transformative movement building.

Movement building is relational work, and our relationships with our programs and partners allows us to be innovative and agile in our approaches. Mariame Kaba, author of We Do This ‘Til We Free Us: Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice, tells us, “being intentionally in relation to one another, a part of a collective, helps to not only imagine new worlds but also to imagine ourselves differently.” While most intermediaries offer a black and white, client-based approach, our services are designed to address a community’s complete need for resources; and our infrastructure is focused on access and transparency. 

This process extends to many of MSC’s partners. Clark, who is new to the HEAL Food Alliance team, notes that when they are working and planning with their member organizations — a diverse group comprised of rural and urban farmers, fisherfolk, farm and food chain workers, rural and urban communities, scientists, public health advocates, environmentalists, and indigenous groups — they strive for safe spaces, open communication, and the encouragement of all voices from all backgrounds and all geographies to speak their minds and “craft their stories.”

“Don’t thingify, Humanify! Shifting our way of being is our tangible outcome. Systems change comes from big groups making big shifts of being.”

Moving forward, MSC envisions sharing our movement building expertise and ultimately expanding our intermediary model to other activist communities and intermediaries. This equitable service toolkit will be offered to other intermediaries as a guide to setting up their projects and their ecosystems up for success while collectively shifting the paradigm of philanthropy. Crucially, this system will actively engage activists and communities around the model — which will strengthen communities all over. 

MSC proudly focuses on projects that are most impacted by inequities; we don’t have minimum budgets; and we work hard to facilitate powerbuilding and education for our fiscally sponsored partners — with financial literacy, business acumen, and operational knowledge. This not only expands their mission’s impact and their role in systemic change but it helps them walk the walk and talk the talk when in conversation with potential funders, partners, and employers.

This strategic investment in professional development is crucial, as staff and leadership within grassroots organizations sometimes lack the operational literacy required to operate in philanthropic circles. Our focus on building skills and expertise is unique in the world of intermediaries — we believe strategic investment in staff and partner education builds capacity for the movement and the movement leaders, at MSC and beyond. MSC’s Movement Infrastructure Innovation Center (MIIC) project advisor Jamillah Renard‘s financial literacy coaching and resources has increased our organizational breadth while granting our activist partners transferable skills that will increase their income capabilities.

All of this requires funding. And sometimes to get the funding communities need, activists need to be open to partnering with foundations and funders that may not be completely aligned in terms of mission and vision. Per Clark, “it’s important to be strategic, and to look at alignment even if it’s indirect. Compromise is nuanced and sometimes there are still benefits.” It’s hard to know who or what else every philanthropist and foundation is involved with; but it’s safe to say that they don’t set out to be extractive. And here is where communication is again key: “you can walk them through and they may be willing to see things differently.” That said, there are differing opinions on this throughout the transformative movement ecosystem and activists will need to do what’s right for themselves and their communities on a case by case basis.


MSC's 73 Questions with Aisha Shillingford

Movement Strategy Center Chats with Aisha Shillingford of Intelligent Mischief in a 73 Questions-Style Interview

Movement Strategy Center and Intelligent Mischief present MSC’s 73 Questions with Aisha Shillingford, creative director of Intelligent Mischief. This is our take on Vogue’s iconic 73 questions and in it we discuss Afrofuturism, art and design, movement building, social justice, the Golden Girls — all for MSC’s first-ever #GivingTuesday and End of Year Giving campaigns.

Credits
T
alent: Aisha Shillingford 
Videographer: Auden Barbour
Produced by: Movement Strategy Center 


Essential Shifts in Funding Practices

Movement Strategy Center on How Philanthropy Must Evolve

To decolonize philanthropy, and support this crucial movement work, we must be open to the concept of Emergent Strategy policies and culture building. Emergent Strategy, a book and framework written by facilitator adrienne maree brown, suggests that western culture tends to work against the emergent strategies and processes that are realized over time as intended goals collide with the shifting realities at hand. The writer explains that “emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions.” By being cognizant of how needs and environments change — including a holistic focus on authentic relationships and the evolving needs of movement leaders — philanthropy can reshape their values and what they’re advocating for.

“When we are fueled with a scarcity mindset, as so many of our communities have been conditioned to be, organizations scramble to do as much as they can before the funds run out.”

Philanthropy for social movements must begin to level the playing field and move away from the current hierarchies that temporarily fund outcomes rather than sustainably funding relationships.


Reconsidering Regranting

Movement Strategy Center Re-imagines Equitable Regranting through Philanthropic Innovation

“We need to create spaces and resource opportunities for leaders to experiment and collaborate and also make mistakes, learn, and try again, which is difficult with limited resources and strict project specifications and requirements.”

Our flexibility and willingness to think outside the box allows those receiving funds to “work around challenges and limitations rather than expecting them to work within systems that don’t support their circumstances.”