Chief Operating Officer

Full Time
Groundswell Fund
 About Groundswell Fund
Since its inception in 2003, Groundswell Fund has put intersectional grassroots organizing led by women, transgender, and gender-expansive people of color at the center of our giving. It is a channel into which individual donors and foundations pour resources to reach vital work at the grassroots, serving as an irrigation system for growing reproductive, racial, and social justice movements. Our staff are from the very movements we fund, and we deeply understand grassroots impact with long-term investment. 

We do this work with our sibling organization, Groundswell Action Fund, founded in response to the first Trump Administration. Groundswell Action Fund was founded on a simple but revolutionary premise: those most excluded from our democracy should be at the center of transforming it.
Both organizations work to revolutionize philanthropy through grantmaking, capacity building, and organizing within philanthropy itself to inspire more giving to the types of organizations we support – whether or not those resources come through our doors. Groundswell Fund (c3) has a $30.7M budget for 2024 and Groundswell Action Fund (c4) has a $6M for 2024.

While we fund nearly every major social justice movement in the United States, we are a long-term funder of the U.S. Reproductive Justice (RJ) Movement. Since the start of our grantmaking, we have moved more than $180 million (across both our c3 and c4) to the field in grants and capacity-building support, increased the giving of dozens of national and local foundations, and helped bring thousands of new individual donors into the RJ Movement. Our grantees have been instrumental in the passage of hundreds of pro-RJ policies at the state and local level and in blocking many regressive policies, and they have built a growing grassroots base of support for RJ across the U.S. 

Groundswell is a fully remote, highly collaborative, pro-worker, pro-union organization working across the four continental U.S. time zones. We believe that the best ideas emerge when diverse perspectives come together, and are committed to creating an inclusive and flexible work environment where employees can thrive. We’ve embraced remote work as a core aspect of our culture since 2017 and will celebrate our first union contract with Groundswell Workers United this year. 

Position Summary 
At Groundswell, we recognize the crucial role that values-aligned operations and infrastructure-building play in supporting healthy organizational ecology. We seek a radical operations leader who loves organizational systems and problem-solving to serve in the newly created role of Chief Operating Officer (COO) to guide our efforts in this area. 

The COO will lead and manage all operations and administration for Groundswell and Groundswell Action Fund – including people and culture, labor relations, IT, compliance, legal, and risk management functions – creatively ensuring alignment of operations, systems, and policies with our values and mission across the organization. The COO will partner across departments to improve systems, processes, and policies to help the organization run smoothly, ensuring all staff have the tools, systems, and resources they need to succeed in their roles and building an Operations team that delivers great results, equitably and sustainably. The COO will hold the organizational strategy related to structure, priority setting, staffing, and capacity, in addition to holding the culture strategy, and provide oversight of that work. 

The COO will serve as a key thought-partner to the CEO; Director of People, IT Director; and senior management listening to the needs of the team and helping to create sustainable operations infrastructure deeply aligned with the principles of social change movements. Reporting directly to the COO will be the Director of People (who has two direct reports), the Director of IT (who has two direct reports), and the Senior Manager of Operations (who has one direct report). The COO will lead a total team of eight people.

The COO must be a collaborative, innovative, systems-thinker with internal operations experience within complex teams or organizations. The ideal COO will have previously served as a COO, Executive Director, Deputy Director, and/or Operations Director, bringing an intimate understanding of the inner workings of nonprofits and what it takes to create, lead, and continually refine nimble, efficient, and scalable policies and systems, in addition to having some prior experience leading teams through big transitions and/or have a background in organizational development and design. 

The COO must be adaptable and comfortable operating in high-stakes, fast-paced, rapidly growing environments as well as being adept at providing trusted guidance and direction for the team. The role requires a skilled strategist who can hold the balance between the long-term vision and goals of the organization and the on-the-ground and daily functional needs, desires, and concerns of staff.

Keys to success are superior communication skills; the ability to foster respect, trust, and collaboration among team members and departments; and the ability to problem-solve creatively while clearly articulating how systems align to culture and values. The COO will lead the effort to foster and support a connected and joyful Operations team within a remote work environment. 

Experience with the unique cultural experience of running operations in a fully remote environment and/or in a unionized environment is a plus.

Responsibilities for Chief Operating Officer Role
Operations & Administration
  • Develop and oversee best-in-class operational policies, norms, and protocol
  • Oversee IT and corresponding strategy, digital infrastructure, and cybersecurity through the management of the IT Director
  • Oversee the planning and implementation of key organizational events (staff meetings, etc.) through the management of the Senior Operations Manager 
  • Ensure all staff have the equipment, supplies, and materials they need to do their work
  • Create and maintain strong, consistent knowledge management systems and practices across the organization, in partnership with the Chief of Staff 
  • Oversee vendor and contract management through the supervision of the Senior Operations Manager

People and Culture

  • Oversee the full scope of HR functions, through management of the Director of People, including policy development, employee recruiting and hiring, PEO and benefits management, and performance management 
  • Ensure fair and equitable application of personnel policies and procedures consistently across staff
  • Oversee HR-related compliance, including partnering with legal counsel to maintain compliance with federal, state, and local employment laws and regulations
  • Develop and implement strategies to strengthen organizational culture and lead initiatives that enhance staff experience/engagement, belonging, and equity
  • Oversee the planning of all staff meetings and retreats to strengthen communication, collaboration, and cohesion
  • In collaboration with the Director of People, create and manage strategies for career development, leave management, and succession planning 
  • Ensure strong labor relations and oversee implementation of HR policies and practices in alignment with the collective bargaining agreement 

Compliance, Legal, & Risk Management

  • Develop and own the compliance and risk strategy for the organization
  • Oversee review, approval, and oversight of all contracts and insurance policies, through management of the Senior Operations Manager
  • Oversee the tracking of federal law and programs, raising opportunities or implications that need to be addressed and ensuring the organization maintains compliance with state and federal regulations, through management of the Senior Operations Manager
  • Serve as the primary point of contact for outside legal counsel related to operations
  • Proactively spot and manage issues pertaining to compliance and risk management, raising those issues, and making recommendations to the CEO and leadership team

Management & Leadership

  • Serve on the C-suite leadership team and help inform organizational direction and decision-making
  • Recruit, develop, and retain a high-performing operations team; Drive goal-setting and monitor progress on an ongoing basis, helping the team prioritize and make course corrections
  • Provide leadership and guidance to organizational management on issues related to people and culture, change management, performance management, and organizational policies and practices

Qualifications for Chief Operating Officer Role
Essential Qualifications

  • Executive-level experience in operations inclusive of key functions such as IT, compliance, legal, risk management, contracting, team-wide/large-scale events, and policy development, including management experience as the leader and builder of department or systems 
  • Experience leading in the midst of transition with demonstrated change management and organizational culture change experience 
  • Experience as an operations and systems driver
    • Proven track record of designing, implementing, and maintaining strong team or organization-wide systems to maximize efficiency, transparency, equity, and usability
    • Ability to manage complexity and create order, bringing a diverse range of people along in the process - across lines of identity and skill
    • Deep experience in at least three or more of the following functional areas: recruiting and hiring; training and coaching; DEI; organizational and individual performance management; organizational risk management; IT, compliance, legal, contracting, team-wide/large-scale events, or policy development
    • Confidence with new technology and systems
  • Demonstrated highly organized, detail-oriented problem-solver
    • Experience effectively managing a high volume of work with efficiency
    • Strong judgment and discernment to identify practical solutions to complex problems
    • Strong interpersonal skills through excellent communication, collaboration, and relationship-building
      • Able to work with and influence people across entire organizations and beyond
      • Effectively develops and builds trusting, authentic, and reciprocal relationships across lines of identity and power
      • Can engage and navigate multiple stakeholders (often with differing points of view and opinions)
      • Communicates directly with clarity and kindness, particularly on tough or sensitive topics
      • Able to engage in constructive conflict, advocate for own perspective, and still seek convergence and alignment with other decision-makers, as needed
      • Coaching and training orientation
  • Effective manager of full-time staff and teams
    • Demonstrated commitment to effective management that is equitable, sustainable, and results-driven
    • Experience in effectively managing a high-performing and diverse (race, gender identity, ability status) team 
  • Demonstrated track record of advancing racial and gender justice
    • Commitment to supporting reproductive justice and intersectional WOC/TPOC-led movements
    • Experience leading with a lens on the impact of systemic and implicit biases and inequities related to race, gender, and other identities that can play out in workplaces 
    • Proactively spots issues of equity and inclusion in the work and can bring practical solutions by drawing on personal experience combating white supremacy, racism, and other interconnecting systems of oppression
    • Leads with passion for integrating and infusing social justice values into the fabric of operations​​​​​​
Strongly Preferred Qualifications
  • Experience with and/or knowledge of the unique cultural experience of running operations in a fully remote environment including experience working remotely across time zones 
Preferred Qualifications
  • Experience with or in close proximity to labor movements, unions, worker campaigns, etc., preferably including operations experience in a nonprofit unionized environment 

Work Schedule: Groundswell currently operates in a 4 day, 32 hour work week. We are a completely virtual organization, allowing for flexibility in work schedules for our staff across differing U.S. time zones. While work can usually be completed during standard business hours of the applicant's time zone, there may be times where early morning, evening, and weekend work may be needed to ensure organization-wide collaboration, to staff or attend events, and/or to meet organization workload needs during busy times of the year. Staff whose jobs require travel can expect longer hours, as travel may happen outside of business hours and on weekends.   

Computer Skills: To perform this job successfully, an individual should have an openness to learning and working with technology, including Microsoft Office 365 and suite of programs, G Suite, web browsers, Slack, Asana, Excel, CRM database software, web browsers, social media, the basics of conferencing software and Zoom.     

Travel: Candidates must be available to travel at least 3-4 times a year for overnight events/ meetings across the U.S. Travel needs will be evaluated and determined on an ongoing basis with an eye toward staff safety as we continue navigating COVID-19.

Compensation/Benefits: Annual salary is within the range of $189,000 - $205,800. Very generous benefits include fully paid for employee and family health, dental, vision, matching 401K plan, as well as additional employer-provided reimbursements for fertility expenses, gender affirming health care costs, and midwifery/doula expenses that are not covered by insurance. Three weeks of vacation upon hire and a generous holiday schedule including a week during the summer and the last two weeks of December, as well as a flexible 4-day, 32-hour work schedule.

To Apply: Groundswell Fund has engaged Equitable Hiring Group and Do Good Connections to support this hiring process. To apply, please complete the short form to the right. 

Individuals who apply by Friday, June 21st, will be given priority; therefore, we encourage you to submit yours soon.

If you have questions about your candidacy or the process, please send an email to [email protected]

Virtual Organization: Groundswell is a completely virtual organization and has been for many years before the COVID-19 pandemic. We are committed to building a strong identity and thriving culture that is exemplary in the nonprofit world and in the greater landscape of fully remote organizations.  Our work is virtual but we will also have the opportunity to travel and see each other in person for retreats, conferences, and events. To succeed as remote workers, applicants should have a dedicated workspace, a commitment to clear and frequent communication, and comfort utilizing technology to increase collaboration and connection. Those with previous remote work experience are preferred, but we also welcome those who are new to remote work and understand the requirements of working in a thriving virtual organizational culture. 

Equal Employment Opportunity: The Groundswell Fund is a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. We are committed to attracting, developing and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding and that enables each of us to realize our potential. Our work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of races, ethnicities, national origins, ages, sexual orientations, gender identities, beliefs, religions, faiths and ideologies, cultures, socio-economic backgrounds and levels of physical ability.

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