Strategic Initiative Project Director – CARSONWATCH


Public Advocates Inc., a bold and highly regarded civil rights law firm and policy advocacy group, seeks an experienced and collaborative colleague to lead our newly formed national CarsonWatch partnership as Project Director.  CarsonWatch is a collaboration of Public Advocates with four other partners – the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, PolicyLink, Poverty and Race Research Action Council and the Right To The City Alliance.  The initiative, successfully launched in March 2017, is aimed at promoting a progressive vision of housing justice locally and nationally, while resisting efforts to weaken critical housing and community development programs that benefit millions of families.

The Project Director will join Public Advocates’ Metropolitan Equity Team to provide leadership of the overall vision and direction of this initiative.  S/he will promote the goals of CarsonWatch which include: building public awareness of federal decisions impacting housing and community development; nurturing new alliances connecting federal advocates to local base-building groups; and sustaining trans-local collaboration to promote a national housing justice agenda and bring pressure to bear in support of fully-funded housing programs and robust protections.

This position is currently funded for one year, and the successful candidate will build on the momentum we have created with our partners in joint fundraising efforts to secure the funding needed to continue the project and this position.


  • Project Leadership & Management: Oversee and ensure effective management of the project and project team; ensure clarity of roles and expectations for all project partners; keep Public Advocates leadership and project partners apprised of significant developments and decision points; lead the weekly “all hands” meeting and facilitate collective decision-making on strategies, positions, activities
  • Relationship-Building: Deepen relationships with project partners and priority organizations at the national, state and local levels; identify and cultivate base-building and grassroots groups to strengthen and align the national advocacy community; nurture the project’s base-building table led by Right To The City Alliance
  • Communications & Messaging: Coordinate all project communications activities, overseeing the development, revision and implementation of the project’s communications plan with the goals of garnering media attention for CarsonWatch, raising public awareness of housing and community development issues and growing the base of CarsonWatch followers and subscribers
  • Federal “Watchdogging” & Policy Advocacy: Work with partners to monitor the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and expose problematic policies, practices and actions; conduct high quality analyses of proposed agency actions; work with legal team to identify litigation and policy advocacy opportunities
  • Resource Development: Identify and pursue project funder prospects; facilitate joint fundraising efforts with project partners; lead drafting of funding proposals and reports


  • Minimum of 6-10 years of demonstrated success working in relevant law and/or public policy areas
  • Experience managing and leading complex projects involving multiple partners
  • Strong relationship- and coalition-building skills; experience successfully identifying and cultivating strategic allies
  • Demonstrated ability to support building capacity in and empowering communities of color and low-income communities
  • Ability to communicate clearly and persuasively about legal or policy issues to the public
  • Experience working with media and integrating communications strategies into advocacy campaigns
  • Independence, sound judgment, initiative, creativity, diplomacy and capacity to work collaboratively both internally and with allies and project partners
  • Willingness to travel to D.C. and other U.S. cities on average 2-3x per quarter
  • Preference for one or more of the following:
    • Existing relationships with grassroots organizations
    • Experience working for or closely with federal, state or local agency or legislative bodies responsible for housing, community development or planning
    • Experience in securing program grants and other fund development work
    • Familiarity with federal laws and regulations relating to civil rights and fair/affordable housing, as well as the housing and community development field
    • Familiarity with how the federal government works and solid understanding of policy and politics at the federal, state and local levels
    • Experience writing effectively and impactfully for web audiences (e.g., writing for blogs, Tweeting)

Qualities expected of all Public Advocates staff include integrity, high professional standards, commitment to progressive social change and working successfully with diverse colleagues, clients and community partners.  This includes active participation in promoting healthy workplace culture through our organizational diversity initiative.  We value cooperation, candor, flexibility, resilience, optimism, curiosity and sense of humor.

Compensation & Work Setting

Competitive salary range starts at $71,000 and is commensurate with experience.  Benefits include full health and dental insurance for employee and dependents; life and disability insurance; generous vacation; and 403(b) retirement plan.  Office located on the Embarcadero near the Ferry Building in San Francisco, convenient to public transportation (we offer access to tax-advantaged commuter benefits).  Some travel within the Bay Area, as well as periodic travel to D.C. and other U.S. cities.

Application Instructions

Applications welcome immediately.  To be considered, applications must include: 1) a cover letter that a) explains your specific interest in this role and your vision for what you would like to achieve through CarsonWatch over the next year, b) addresses how your identity and background have prepared you to be an effective advocate for social justice and c) describes a project you have managed that will help us understand your qualifications; and 2) a resume.  You are also invited to include any work samples that illustrate your experience with project management.  Submit your application (and/or questions) by email to

Public Advocates seeks to fill this position with someone who shares our values, including our organizational commitment to diversity.  We encourage all interested individuals to apply — especially people of color; women; people from low-income backgrounds; people with disabilities; people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender or anyone belonging to any other federal or state protected category.  Read our Diversity Vision Statement here.