Program Associate – Communications & Engagement

The Surdna Foundation is seeking a Program Associate for its Communications & Engagement team.

About the Surdna Foundation

The Surdna Foundation was founded by John E. Andrus in 1917, and its mission is to advance social and racial justice in U.S. communities. The Foundation has assets of more than $1 billion, an annual grantmaking budget of over $60 million, and a staff of 27. It is governed by a Board of Directors that includes fifth-generation members of the Andrus family, as well as community members. The Foundation pursues its mission by providing grants in the areas of arts and culture, environmental justice, economic inclusion, and youth justice, as well as through its internal operations and investment practices. In addition, Surdna seeks to achieve three foundation-wide racial equity outcomes: wealth creation, democratic participation, and accountability of institutions.

The Foundation strives to exemplify its core values—justice, equity, inclusion, respect, and humility—in every aspect of its work. Surdna’s staff contribute to an organizational culture of collaboration, curiosity, and bold thinking.

The Opportunity

The Program Associate is responsible for collecting and creating various communications materials and supporting media outreach opportunities. Through writing, editing, and media engagement, this person will support achieving the Communication team’s goals and the broader organizational mission. We are looking for someone with strengths in three key areas: writing thought and leadership pieces, developing stories of impact for grantees, the Foundation, and the Andrus Family Philanthropy Program, and editing board materials.

Qualifications & Experiences

The Program Associate will be responsible for the following:

Writing & Editing:

  • Engage audiences by integrating written and graphic materials into thoughtful, targeted storytelling opportunities.
  • Write and edit thought leadership pieces with and for staff and grantees, including the President, Program staff, and Learning and Grants operations staff.
  • Provide writing and editing support and coaching across Surdna’s teams and for grantees, as appropriate.
  • Serve as a thought partner to staff at all levels of the organization.
  • Collect and share stories and lessons from grantees, Surdna staff, Andrus family members, and other stakeholders.
  • Develop stories in partnership with the program and learning and grants operations teams that illuminate the impact of our grantees and grantmaking.
  • Contribute to and edit Concinnity, the annual Andrus Family Philanthropy Program newsletter.
  • Special projects as requested.

Media Outreach:

  • Develop media lists, manage outreach to targeted journalists and other media personas, and share results to inform strategy.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with local and national reporters, focusing on issues related to Surdna’s mission.

Tech Support:

  • Co-manage the organization’s editorial calendar.
  • Co-develop and maintain a “story bank,” ensuring all documents are kept up to date.
  • Attend designated events (program, grantee convenings, etc.) to take photos and collect stories.
  • Collaborate with the Communications Program Associate to create, edit, and distribute content on our website, social media, and other channels.
  • Manage scheduling and logistics for special meetings and events.

In addition, strong candidates will offer: 

  • A commitment to enthusiasm for the Surdna Foundation’s mission to advance social justice and racial equity, and its organizational values of justice, equity, inclusion, respect, humility, and family.
  • Excellent writing, editing, and verbal communications skills.
  • Ability to see the big picture and tent to the details.
  • Prior experience in writing-intensive positions, such as journalism, public relations, and storytelling.
  • 2-5 years of previous experience in a relevant field, preferably with some prior work in the philanthropic sector
  • Strong knowledge of or willingness and ability to learn how to use software and tools content and digital media management (web, social, email), online survey tools, desktop publishing, customer relationship management, and video production.
  • A high-level of emotional intelligence and an innate capacity to be creative, proactive, entrepreneurial, and solutions-oriented.
  • Desire to work across Surdna’s programs in a collaborative spirit with the staff, board, and our grantee partners.
  • A commitment to ethical standards, transparency, and accountability.

Compensation & Benefits

The salary range for the Program Associate, Communications & Engagement is $75,000 – $83,750, commensurate with experience.

This position is a full-time position, and Surdna offers a leading and holistic total compensation package that includes salary and benefits. All full-time staff are eligible for our generous benefits package including:

  • 100% employer-funded medical, dental and vision coverage, life insurance and long and short-term disability from first day of employment for individuals and dependents
  • Retirement plan with an overall employer contribution of 12% per anum of gross salary, regardless of employee contribution
  • Paid time off
  • Tenure based vacation time starting at 15 days for years one and two, then increasing to 20 days through 6th year anniversary, then 25 days thereafter
  • 3 personal days per year
  • 8 wellness days per year
  • 12 paid holidays, including four extended holiday breaks with foundation-wide closure to encourage restorative time off
  • Cell phone and internet stipend
  • Home office equipment allowance
  • Employer funded transit contribution of $130/month
  • Access to professional development opportunities (capacity and financial support) and tuition reimbursement
  • Fully paid parent leave (maternal and paternal) during the new child’s first year (born into the family or adopted)
  • Financial relocation support
  • Staff Matching grants

How to Apply

Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Molly Brennan and Sarah Avendaño of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express interest in this role please submit your materials here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

The Surdna Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and considers all applications without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, disability, socio-economic status, marital or veteran status, pregnancy status, or sexual orientation.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit