Executive Director

Executive Director

Progress Alliance of Washington

Seattle, WA   |   June 15, 2020

About Progress Alliance of Washington

Our vision is a Washington State that is a healthy, just place to live, where government serves the public interest, our communities have self-determination, and we all benefit from a fair and sustainable economy that supports people and a healthy environment.

To achieve our vision, Progress Alliance:

  • Moves money: We pool donor and philanthropic resources to make long-term investments in the organizations and people leading change.
  • Influences power: We use our position and voice in political spaces to disrupt status quo power arrangements and advance the vision, voice, and solutions of our network.
  • Fosters collaboration: We convene our network to build shared strategies and invest in tools that support their working together effectively.

At Progress Alliance, we’re building a network that advances the progressive vision of our state and country—one that invites us all to be part of the solution. We’re a wealthy nation and region, but those with the most money and power created a democratic and economic system that keeps us from sharing prosperity. We’re changing that. Our grantees, members, and partners are building a permanent, progressive political infrastructure together with communities traditionally pushed out of the democratic process. We’re solving problems that improve people’s material lives today, while changing the system to address root causes by way of a strong democracy and inclusive economy.

Political Systems Change

We believe the most direct path to achieve our vision is a healthy progressive ecosystem that is working together to advance an economy and democracy that works for everyone. A high functioning political movement is coordinated, actively anti-racist, anchored in a unified credible narrative, developing, supporting, and retaining talented leaders, and utilizing highly effective, modern campaign practices.

  • This means that our democracy is reflective of the diversity of our state – with voters, movement leaders, and elected officials reflecting the demographics of the communities they live in and serve by race, class, gender, age, and LGBTQ status.
  • It means that activists and community leaders and member donors are organized so their voices are loud and clear where elected leaders are making key decisions.
  • It means that we can tell a simple, unified, emotionally compelling story about our vision for the future, how we get there, and who is standing in our way.
  • It means that we are recruiting and supporting candidates up and down the ticket who share our values, and then support and hold them accountable once they are elected.
  • And it means that we advocate powerful and transformative policy proposals, backed by a movement of the communities most impacted.

Our History

In order to build a robust progressive movement, we researched and identified critical missing capacities that were holding us back, including sophisticated voter databases, online communications and action, engaging youth and immigrant constituencies, and more. Guided by an experienced staff and dedicated members, we are funding those gaps and creating the infrastructure necessary for long term success.

Since 2006, we have helped launch more than ten new programs and organizations, granted over $15 million, and quadrupled our membership. Donors come to Progress Alliance to pool their funds around a shared strategy of building a strong progressive movement that lasts beyond a single election cycle, winning lasting systemic political change, and developing an engaged and effective member learning community.

While we invest in Washington State, we are just as interested in national progress. As one of the first and largest political donor alliances in the country, Progress Alliance is now a leader in a network of other state and national alliances.

Racial Equity Work

An essential part of our work is to disrupt the political power structures that perpetuate inequality. We recognize that lasting progress requires the dismantling of systemic racism that is reinforced when political efforts cater to wealthy, predominantly white donors and voters, and steer resources away from communities of color. We strive to dismantle the current dominance of whiteness and replace it with a movement that can collaborate and work across identity. We are committed to conversations about identity as a bridge to working together, while mindful of how others will try to exploit these divisions. To achieve this vision, we are working to transform our own organization into an anti-racist institution that does not shy away from conversations about racism and wealth power.

Realizing our mission will require our political movement to tackle all forms of oppression including those based on race, gender, class, sexual orientation, immigration status, age and ability. We focus on race as a starting point for our equity work, recognizing the insidious role racism has played in dividing our movement and acknowledging that as a white-led organization, we have significant work to do.

For more information on Progress Alliance, please visit our website or view our brochure.

The Opportunity

Progress Alliance seeks a dynamic and experienced Executive Director to lead our mission to build a powerful progressive movement in Washington.

The Executive Director is responsible for overseeing the administration, programs, and strategic plan of the organization. Other key duties include fundraising and community engagement. The position reports directly to the Board of Directors, managing a staff of six and overseeing an annual budget of approximately $2M.

The Executive Director will have primary responsibility for managing the organization’s day-to-day operations, leading fundraising efforts, directing the work and development of staff, and serving as the primary spokesperson for the organization. The Executive Director will ensure that the organization is fiscally sound and that its internal and external communications, fund development, and programs are meeting the current and emergent needs and interests of its members and grantees.

The Executive Director must maintain a working and current knowledge of progressive issues and policies and be a leader and manager adept at balancing internal management with external impact and visibility. The individual must be an outstanding communicator who is able to convey effectively the mission and activities of Progress Alliance to a variety of constituencies, as well as to the broader public.

This is a full-time position and requires a unique and diverse set of skills, attributes, and experience. The Executive Director is responsible for ensuring a healthy and dynamic organization so that:

  • We have a winning and focused strategy
  • We are raising enough money to fund our programs
  • We have a strong board and staff team. Each member understands their role, and is set up to succeed
  • Our work plan is ambitious, but matches our resources and capacity
  • Our relationships with partners and allies are strong
  • Our work is rooted in racial justice and accountability to those most impacted by policies and politics

Organizational Mission and Strategy:

  • Engage the board and sounding board in meaningful participation to further the organization’s goals.
  • Work with the Board and staff to ensure that the mission is fulfilled through grantmaking and programs, strategic planning, and community engagement.
  • Manage organizational strategy and implementation through a clear strategic plan, and aligned work-plan and budget.
  • Establish a clear vision and plan for the continued growth and expansion of Progress Alliance.
  • Ensure we are doing the most important things to build a healthy progressive infrastructure in Washington.
  • Provide anti-racist leadership, leading organizational change for racial justice.
  • Represent the organization in the media, increase public awareness, and broaden the organization’s reputation to strategic constituents.
  • Operationalize racial equity as a core lens through which we measure success.

Fundraising and Member Engagement:

  • Work with our team to write and implement a multi-year fundraising and member development plan.
  • Retain and increase the ongoing support and engagement of our members through events, communications, and individual cultivation.
  • Recruit and on-board new members, working with staff, board, and member leaders.
  • Work with staff and Board to define and implement best practices for an anti-racist, class-conscious donor community.
  • Develop inspiring materials and verbal presentations for communicating our work to donor audiences.
  • Maintain strong relationships with foundation partners and attract national funding for our network.

Organizational Management and Program Leadership:

  • Recruit and retain excellent staff. Provide professional development opportunities, motivating career paths, and reward success.
  • Supervise director-level staff. Provide support and guidance through weekly and ad hoc check-in meetings, and yearly reviews.
  • Ensure legal and financial compliance and strong, transparent fiscal position.
  • Lead with empathy and vulnerability, and guide a supportive, fun, challenging, rewarding, and warm team culture that allows staff to bring their full, authentic selves to their work.
  • Responsible for organizational culture and relationships.
  • Work with our program and political staff to ensure strong results from our grantmaking portfolio, political engagement, and programs.
  • Participate in a leadership role in high priority programs where the ED can offer specific expertise.
  • Provide targeted assistance to grantees as needed, particularly at launch or transition.

External Relations and National Leadership:

  • Provide visible, respected political leadership in the community.
  • Meet with allies, elected leaders, grantees, and other funders and partners to ensure political wins.
  • Responsible for managing interactions and relationships with key local and national partners.
  • Represent Progress Alliance at the national Committee on States, including mentoring and assistance to other emerging state donor networks.
  • Promote and replicate successful models from Washington and follow innovations from other states in order to incorporate best practices into Washington’s strategy.
  • Minimum 8-10 years of relevant work experience
  • 5+ years in senior management roles including staff supervision, fundraising, finance, board oversight and/or operations in a nonprofit organization
  • High-level understanding of social and political change and progressive movements backed by direct experience with grassroots and/or electoral efforts
  • Commitment to the mission, vision, and values of the organization
  • Anti-racist leader, with track record of leading organizational change for racial justice
  • Experience with and passion for individual donor fundraising
  • Excellent communicator and writer, with experience as a spokesperson who can tailor messages to different audiences
  • Experience and cultural proficiency working with politically underrepresented communities, including but not limited to, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities, immigrant and refugee communities, LGBTQ communities, justice-involved communities, and youth
  • Proven ability to work in a dynamic environment and build strong partnerships. Takes initiative and can make tough decisions
  • Success supervising and mentoring staff and teams, including professional and leadership development
  • Strategic, systems thinker, and creative problem solver
  • Collaborative leadership style, engaging and confident interpersonal style
Compensation & Benefits

This full-time position (40 hours/week) is based in Seattle, WA. Salary will be commensurate with experience and the range will start at $100,000. Benefits include paid leave, medical insurance, dental insurance, annual transit pass, and Simple IRA retirement plan option.


Koya Leadership Partners, an executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven searches, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Liz Lombard and Angie Sessoms are leading this search. To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role please visit this link or email [email protected]. All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Equal employment opportunity and having a diverse staff are fundamental principles at Progress Alliance of Washington, where employment and promotional opportunities are based upon individual capabilities and qualifications without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, sexual orientation, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status or any other protected characteristic as established under law. | Women and Persons of Color are strongly encouraged to apply.

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.

For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.