People For the American Way

Washington, DC   |   January 6, 2020

About People For the American Way

People For the American Way and its affiliate, People For the American Way Foundation, are progressive advocacy organizations founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity, and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. We are committed to advancing racial justice and gender equity within our institution, networks, and society.

People For the American Way Foundation was founded in 1981 by legendary television and film producer Norman Lear, the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, and a group of business, civic, religious, and civil rights leaders who were disturbed by the divisive rhetoric of newly politicized televangelists. Advocacy affiliate People For the American Way was founded soon after. (People For the American Way and the People For the American Way Foundation are referred to collectively as People For.)

The People For Foundation builds a pipeline to a future that reflects our values by identifying, training, and supporting new generations of progressive leadership. Separately, People For the American Way holds right-wing public officials accountable for promoting extremism and supports progressive candidates and public officials.

People For programs include the following:

  • Our policy operation carries out legal research and policy advocacy in support of core constitutional values, including voting rights, fair courts, democratic reforms, and protections for communities that have historically been marginalized by structural barriers, as well as active political suppression.
  • Young Elected Officials Network (YEO) includes over 1,300 members who represent leaders from all 50 states and in roles from local school boards to U.S. Congress. An organization of, by, and for young, passionate progressives holding elected office across the country, the YEO Network is committed to policy aligned with our vision for a fair, just society.
  • Young People For (YP4) is a social justice incubator, providing life-long social justice leadership training to unlock the potential of young people historically left out of opportunity. YP4 serves 2000 members located in all states, territories and DC comprised of generations X, Y and Z.
  • The African American Religious Affairs program represents 2,200 people nationwide and builds civic engagement by training faith leaders to effectively provide a progressive voice and presence that counters right-wing religious rhetoric and advances a vision of “a beloved community.”
  • People For the American Way’s political operations, including Latinos Vote! and Next Up Victory Fund provide direct electoral support and engagement for candidates committed to our shared values.
  • Right Wing Watch (RWW) is dedicated to monitoring and exposing the activities and rhetoric of right-wing activists and organizations. RWW and its deep expertise in the religious right and other political movements are a valuable resource to journalists and activists.
  • Outreach to members, activists, and the broader public through social media and paid and earned media expands the reach of all our programs and campaigns. People For also carries out nonpartisan voter education, registration, civic participation, and engages everyday Americans to get involved through grassroots and digital advocacy.

People For has a national office in Washington, D.C. and a small number of program staff who work in other states. The staff is comprised of 45 passionate, dedicated individuals who are committed to the mission and organization’s values, particularly in this divisive political moment for the country. They bring a collegial and supportive nature to their work and leverage their deep networks and experiences to push People For’s activities forward.

For more information on People For the American Way, please visit

The President Opportunity

People For the American Way (People For) seeks a President to lead the organization to achieve even greater levels of strategic influence, impact, and innovation – knowing that these external indicators derive from a healthy organization with talented staff, strong partnerships, and a solid reputation in the field. This is a unique opportunity to assume leadership of a fiscally sound organization with a strong history of delivering incredible impact in the field of democracy. The timing of the current political and social moment is ripe for People For to continue its trajectory of extraordinary impact. This is the right moment for a new leader to build on People For’s rich history and chart a course for the future that is powered by vision, energy, and hope.

Reporting to the People For the American Way and People For the American Way Foundation’s Boards of Directors, the President will provide internal and external leadership and management, offering a clear vision for the future, setting ambitious goals, and executing against them in collaboration with the Boards, staff, and other partners.

A thoughtful and creative leader, the President will serve as the main public spokesperson, relationship-builder and internal manager. The President’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

Strategic Vision

  • Provide vision and direction for People For’s future growth and work with the Boards and staff to establish strategic priorities
  • Ensure strategic priorities are reflected in an actionable strategic plan with measurable milestones and outcomes
  • “Think big” about People For and how its extraordinary programs, materials, and campaigns will continue to build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity, and justice for all

Ambassador and Spokesperson

  • Leverage the President role to continue to build People For’s brand and serve as a leading representative of People For’s mission in public settings with high-level donors, political leaders, movement partners, press, and other stakeholders
  • Identify, develop, and engage key staff and allies who can speak on People For’s behalf and further the organization’s goals publicly
  • Serve as People For’s spokesperson with external stakeholders and audiences. Provide thought leadership in the field, engaging with other experts and contributing to the broader movement

Organizational Leadership

  • Provide inspirational and compassionate leadership and maintain a participatory and collaborative culture that attracts, retains, and motivates a diverse and talented staff
  • Lead and support the team, which consists of 45-plus full- and part-time staff and a leadership team that includes an Executive VP for Policy and Program, COO, CFO, CDO, General Counsel, and Director of Human Resources and Inclusion
  • Work to create an inclusive organizational structure that engages departmental and program leaders in decision-making about the organizations’ core priorities and direction
  • Lead by example and ensure all levels of management work with the President to deepen and strengthen a culture of inclusion and equity across the entire organization
  • Provide strong partnership, collaboration, and leadership to the Board of Directors, ensuring open lines of communication and high levels of engagement

Fundraising and External Affairs

  • Develop and implement strategies to raise awareness of the organization, its mission, and its ability to be a major agent of change
  • Partner with the Development Team and Boards of Directors to cultivate and steward key donor relationships with individuals and foundations, soliciting funds to support People For’s mission and work
  • Cultivate relationships with current and prospective donors and Board Members. Actively engage and energize external stakeholders to garner new opportunities for partnerships
  • Collaborate with and leverage relationships of People For’s leadership, including those with Board Members and the Executive Leadership Team, assuring they are effectively supported to achieve fundraising goals

Board Partnership Expertise

  • Partner closely with the Boards of Directors to implement the vision, mission, and policies set by the People For Boards and deliver on organizational goals and priorities created in accordance with People For’s strategic plan
  • Serve as an active participant in the Boards of Directors’ standing committees and in the Board selection, recruitment, and training process
  • Provide relevant and timely updates and information to the Boards of Directors
Candidate Profile

The President will be a passionate, accomplished leader with a demonstrated ability to manage a dynamic and evolving organization. They will be committed to People For’s mission and will have the skills required to expand the organization’s vision and impact through collaborative strategic planning and entrepreneurial leadership.

The People For Boards of Directors understand that no single candidate will offer all of the following skills, experiences, and characteristics. Strong candidates will bring (a) expertise in many of these areas, (b) the ability to work in partnership with a highly talented, engaged staff to leverage all of the organization’s strengths and assets, and (c) a willingness to engage in training to strengthen skills in one or more areas.

Strategic and Visionary Leadership for the Progressive Movement: The President will inspire the staff and Boards to see where People For could, and should, be going and lead the organization forward in a collaborative manner. A trailblazer, the President will have the drive and passion to remain at the forefront of the sector by continuing to refine and develop opportunities to serve the mission through campaigns, the Action Center, and programs and projects such as Right Wing Watch and the leadership development programs. The President’s passion will be motivational, inspiring others to support People For’s mission and work.

Ambassador and Spokesperson: The President will have the character and confidence to work comfortably in a highly visible role and to interact effectively with a broad range of constituents. An inspirational and charismatic leader, the President will serve as the Chief Ambassador for People For, strengthening brand recognition and awareness. The President will inspire a diverse group of stakeholders to increase existing commitments or become new supporters of People For, bringing an appetite for establishing connections and demonstrated skill at cultivating key relationships. Public speaking experience and presence will be key, as the President will be tasked with frequent and high-level speaking engagements, media appearances, and other opportunities to raise the profile of People For and the progressive movement.

Inclusive and Engaged Leadership and Management Approach: The President will be able to build effective relationships and foster collaboration across a complex organizational structure, ensuring programs and teams are communicating, partnering, and working in concert toward a broader vision and set of goals. The President will be a strong leader, communicator, and collaborator who is skilled at listening to, and learning from, constituents. Applying a proactive and transparent approach, the President will apply a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens to their leadership approach, and will be able to foster an environment that is welcoming and inclusive of people of different perspectives, backgrounds, generations, and cultures. An engaging and supportive executive, this leader will have a track record of motivating and inspiring others to achieve impact through creativity, teamwork, and by leveraging individual strengths to meet organizational goals.

High-Level Fundraising or Donor Relations Experience: As the leading fundraiser for People For, the President will thrive on engaging people and building relationships that can support revenue growth. The President will bring a track record in high-level fundraising, ideally with knowledge of and existing relationships with relevant and aligned funders. They will have equal experience or ability in developing relationships with movement partners, political leaders, supporters, celebrities, and other important stakeholders. Candidates who have not had the opportunity to build a significant fundraising track record should be able to demonstrate transferrable skills and the understanding that this is a significant responsibility of the President.

Board Partnership Orientation: The successful candidate will understand how to partner with a Board of Directors and will possess the confidence and expertise needed to make recommendations to the People For Boards of Directors regarding the organization’s strategic direction. The President will proactively inform the Boards of the financial position and health of the organization.

Compensation & Benefits

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.


People For the American Way and the People for the American Way Foundation have engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Molly Brennan, Melissa Madzel, and Turner Delano here.

People For is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners, a member of the 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.

Koya is an equal opportunity employer fully committed to creating an environment and team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, styles, and experiences. We encourage all to apply because we believe a diversity of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.

For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit