Organization: Proteus Fund

Location: New York, NY

Express Interest

About Proteus Fund and the RFDC:

Proteus Fund is a public foundation that partners with other foundations, advocates, and individual donors to advance democracy, human rights, and peace. Our model is built on flexible, responsive high-quality grantmaking capacity, an efficient and customized framework of financial, compliance, human resources and other services, as well as our deep experience in facilitating collaborative social justice philanthropy.

Founded in 1994, Proteus and its aligned organizations have been responsible for over $175 million in grants to date towards the realization of a just, equitable, and democratic world. To fulfill our mission, Proteus Fund:

  • Convenes and facilitates donor collaboratives that strategically focus and maximize philanthropic resources and impact;
  • Partners with other social justice initiatives through fiscal sponsorship;
  • Offers Donor Advised Funds and manages family foundations aligned with Proteus Fund’s vision and mission; and
  • Provides further philanthropic support for social justice organizations and movements through Proteus Action League lobbying grants.

The Rights, Faith & Democracy Funder Collaborative (RFDC) is a recently created grantmaking collaborative that supports a diverse field of state-based organizations seeking to address the distorting and damaging use of religious exemptions to discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community, curtail reproductive rights and justice, and otherwise undermine basic rights and liberties of democracy. The RFDC is one of several collaboratives housed within Proteus.

The RFDC’s grantmaking includes an emphasis on engaging faith leaders and communities as a means to ground its efforts in religious values that embrace the rights and dignity of women and members of the LGBTQ community. The RFDC also has a strong focus on racial justice in light of the disproportionate impact of bias, discrimination, and bias-driven violence against communities of color. In addition to helping build and support this particular field of work via grantmaking, this initiative is also intended to serve as a broader vehicle for donor education and mobilization in the hope of achieving deeper funder alignment and collaboration on this and closely related issues.

To learn more, please visit

The Opportunity:

The RFDC is seeking a multifaceted leader to oversee the day-to-day functions of this exciting and timely new philanthropic Collaborative. The Program Director of the RFDC (“Program Director”) will serve in a full-time capacity, reporting to the Proteus Fund President, Paul Di Donato. Ideally, the Program Director will be based in New York, NY, although remote locations may be explored.

The Program Director will work closely with RFDC’s foundation and individual funding partners to design and execute strategic philanthropic support for organizations serving those most threatened by harmful religious exemptions policies and practices. The Program Director will bring critical insight and leadership to this important initiative.

The Program Director will work closely with RFDC grantees and potential grantees, as well as other key actors in relevant fields in order to create a grantmaking program to foster innovative and effective public education and related efforts to achieve the goals and objectives of the RFDC. With the support of the President of Proteus Fund as well as other Proteus colleagues, the Program Director will be responsible for providing strategic vision, direction, and management for the RFDC.

Key responsibilities of the Program Director include:

Program Strategy, Implementation, and Learning

  • Develop and implementing a philanthropic strategy that supports steady progress toward achievement of the program’s goals and objectives, working in collaboration with RFDC funder partners, the Proteus President, and other senior members of the Proteus staff.
  • Facilitating annual strategy development and program planning processes.
  • Working with grantees and other advocates and experts in the field, develop mechanisms to learn from activities and funding in this area and share these learnings with the field, RFDC funder partners, and the larger philanthropic community.

Grants Management

  • Along with the Proteus Grants Management unit, coordinating the grants process from inquiry and application through grant awards and post-award communications and relationship.
  • Assisting current and prospective grantees to develop sound proposals.
  • Evaluating proposals, including all supporting materials. Making formal funding recommendations to Proteus President and RFDC donor partners for regular docket meetings.
  • Overseeing and coordinating all aspects of RFDC meetings, including business, educational and grant docket components.
  • Building and maintaining expertise on philanthropic/grantmaking regulations, norms and best practices, especially in the areas of risk management and due diligence/compliance and trends in progressive philanthropy.

Partnership & Communications

  • With Proteus’ Partnership & Communications team, the Proteus President, and all RFDC funder partners, developing and executing the RFDC’s annual fundraising plan to maintain financial viability and grow the RFDC and its impact.
  • Building and stewarding strong relationships with current RFDC funding partners.
  • Working closely with Partnerships & Communications, developing and executing strategies and materials for donor education and cultivation, including gatherings of prospective individual donors, periodic funder briefings, etc.
  • Meeting with and soliciting support for the RFDC from individual and foundation donors.
  • Follow-up on the donor cultivation process with proposals and other written materials.
  • Attending relevant meetings, conferences and other convenings of the philanthropic community in order to educate, as well as develop relationships with other grantmakers around the exemptions issue.
  • Working with Partnership & Communications and the support of the RFDC funder partners, developing and maintaining the RFDC’s visibility and “voice” in the philanthropy world using various communications channels.
  • Coordinating with the President and Partnership & Communications to integrate RFDC communications and messaging into Proteus-wide communications and vice versa.


  • In collaboration with the President, Finance, and Partnership and Communications departments, creating and monitoring the budget for the RFDC.
  • As a staff member of Proteus, participating in the general administration of Proteus Fund, including attending regular staff meetings, trainings, and staff retreats.
  • Providing support to Proteus Fund Board of Directors and Board Committees to educate Board on RFDC’s issue area as well as inform Board on RFDC strategies, goals, objectives, and tactics.
  • Working to further the values, vision, mission and goals of Proteus Fund.

Candidate Profile:

Ideal candidates will be:

  • Mission-driven: The Program Director will be passionately committed to the goals and objectives of the RFDC, including LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights and justice, a progressive faith voice, and racial justice.
  • Strategic decision-makers who thrive in a rapid-growth environment where big ideas can be pressed forward, while understanding this often requires recognizing when it is required to take a step back and create proactive strategic plans. This role isn’t for the meek; excitement, not reluctance, is needed when a big decision or a tough call needs to be made.
  • Mobilizers who have the rare mix of vision and tactics that is admirable to other leaders. The Program Director will have managed multiple teams on a range of different projects, but is also not afraid to roll up the sleeves and get in the trenches.
  • Masters of logistics who anticipate challenges and work comfortably with the input and feedback of multiple stakeholders. The Program Director will create and implement complex agendas and strategies, working independently to make sure that all the details are nailed.
  • Resourceful and adaptable workers who are at ease with ambiguity and rapid change. The Program Director will possess a positive, can-do attitude, and are adept at identifying creative solutions to obstacles. It will be necessary to juggle many important responsibilities at once and the Program Director will be rigorous about prioritizing.
  • Committed to inclusion: The Program Director will be the person who is always asking: “whose voice should be, but is not at the table?” The Program Director will have experience working with diverse teams and successfully navigating cross-cultural communication in both local and national contexts, and will be someone who deeply values creating an environment that is supportive of difference.

To be successful in this role, the Program Director will bring:

  • Significant knowledge of substantial issues relevant to the RFDC’s work, including experience with state-based, cross-movement advocacy.
  • At least eight to ten years of experience in a relevant nonprofit/philanthropic setting with over five years of senior management experience.
  • Significant development skill set, including high level of comfort working with foundations and individual donors, both in a stewardship and fundraising role.
  • Knowledge and understanding of program budget development and management.
  • A bachelor’s degree in public policy, public administration, social science, or related field; advanced degree in public policy, public administration, social science, or related field is preferred.
  • Ability to travel as needed (up to 30%).


The Proteus Fund offers a competitive salary commensurate with experience and a comprehensive, progressive benefit program to attract, retain, and motivate a high-performing and dedicated workforce.


Melissa Madzel and Abe Taleb of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role, please submit your resume and a compelling cover letter through this link on the Koya Leadership Partners website.

All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Proteus Fund is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Proteus Fund believes that one of the great strengths of the community is the rich diversity of its residents and is committed to providing equal employment opportunity for all employees and applicants regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, national origin, ancestry, genetic information, physical or mental disability, whistleblower status, or any other category protected by state or federal law. Proteus Fund’s policies and practices are to reflect Proteus Fund’s commitment to nondiscrimination in all areas of employment.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations, institutions of higher education, and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information, visit