Careers at Public Agenda

Public Agenda’s nonpartisan mission, to help build a democracy that works for everyone, has never been more important to America and its future. We pursue our mission through projects that employ research, public engagement, and communications to:

  • Help the public better understand the challenges facing their communities, such as education, health care, police-community relations and climate change.
  • Help leaders better understand and respond to the public’s views, values and concerns.
  • Give those affected by a problem a voice and role in forging solutions.

Founded in 1975, Public Agenda is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization based in New York City. Our offices are a fun and comfortable (flexible seating like couches and private phone booths) open-layout WeWork office located in the heart of Brooklyn Heights near the Jay St Metrotech A, C, F and Borough Hall 2, 3, 4, 5, R trains.

Development Director

The Development Director works collaboratively with senior staff to drive revenues for the organization through:

  1. Foundation project grants. Recent funders include Gates, Democracy Fund, Kettering, Joyce, Rita Allen and Lumina—among many others.
  2. Fee-for-service contracts with state and local government agencies, operating foundations, higher education institutions, etc.
  3. Unrestricted donations from individuals and family foundations.

We also occasionally pursue:

  1. Capacity grants from foundations.
  2. Federal government grants and contracts—typically as a subcontractor with a larger entity serving as the prime contractor.

This fulltime position reports to the President, COO or CFO, and currently oversees one fulltime staff member.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Collaborate with senior staff on project development strategies and priorities.
  • Prospect research, development, and stewardship.
  • Work with program and finance staff to prepare and submit grant proposals and budgets.
  • Manage the logistics of funder reports, including tracking deadlines and all requirements, making sure program and budget reports are prepared and submitted appropriately.
  • Work with President to develop donor and stewardship strategies and support appeals, including individual asks, small-scale donor events, end-of-year outreach, board engagement, etc.
  • Identify and research donor prospects.
  • Manage fundraising database, including foundations, non-foundation clients, and donors.
  • Manage staff and support their professional development, productivity and work-life balance.
  • Participate effectively and constructively as a member of Public Agenda’s Sr. Staff Team, contributing to the organization’s overall effectiveness and a positive, supportive, inclusive, productive culture where everyone learns and grows.


  • Strong affinity for Public Agenda’s mission.
  • At least six years of significant experience in foundation-based project development with a strong preference for experience gaining social-issue-based grants, with a track record of success. At least three years should be at a level that involves significant responsibility for strategy, prospect development, and attaining results.
  • At least two years of significant experience in donor development, including major-donor work, with a track record of success.
  • Experience with government grants a plus.
  • At least two years of experience in team management
  • Strong writing skills, with significant grant writing experience and strong overall communication skills a must.
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail a must.
  • Familiarity with Raiser's Edge
  • Minimum degree: Bachelor’s.
  • Sense of humor a plus!

Public Agenda is an equal opportunity employer that values diversity in the workplace. We offer competitive salary and excellent benefits. Our offices are in Brooklyn Heights, next to the Borough Hall subway stop.

Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume, with references, to


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