California Policy and Advocacy Director
About Economic Security Project
ESP is an ideas advocacy organization working to build economic security for all. We believe in an America where everyone has the freedom and stability required to thrive. ESP is seeking a California Director of Policy and Advocacy who will play a central role in building the Economic Security Project in California. We are looking for someone with an enterprising spirit who is committed to building economic power for all Californians.
We are strongest when people are the authors of their own lives. But the inequalities in wealth and power created by bad actors, structural racism, and outdated ideas on how the economy should work have left us all more insecure and less resilient. We can make a different set of choices.
The Economic Security Project advocates for ideas that build economic power for all Americans. We legitimize bold ideas by supporting cutting edge research and elevating champions, win concrete policy victories for the communities that need to see change now, and provoke the conventional wisdom to shift what’s considered possible. Our team of academics, organizers, practitioners and culture makers disburse grants, run issue campaigns, develop creative interventions and research products, and convene to encourage investment and action from others.
We pick our fights based on our analysis of where strategic mobilization of people and resources could turn emerging trends into concrete policies. Our current efforts include putting cash into people’s pockets with a guaranteed income and policies like the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit; and keeping corporations out of them by checking the unprecedented concentration of economic power with antimonopoly action. We believe these fights will get us closer to a world where families can pay the heating bills and make the rent, where consumers have choices and small businesses, a fighting chance. A future where we all have a chance not to just survive, but thrive with dignity.
Our Track Record
We’ve convened thousands in briefings, workshops, and marquee events to strategize and set the agenda for a more just political economy. We passed policies in over seven states to modernize the tax code, won over $1 trillion in checks for families in response to the pandemic, and spearheaded the federal fight for a guaranteed income for kids in the form of the expanded Child Tax Credit. These cash-based policies reduced poverty in the middle of a recession, in the words of one observer, “defying gravity”.
And we’ve built the field by investing over $25 million directly into groundbreaking research; pilots and task forces; coalitions and campaigns; new initiatives and organizations; and trend-setting narrative and cultural interventions to advance racial and economic justice and reset the conversation. As a result, ideas that were once considered impossible are now at the center of a vision for an economy where people are the authors of their own lives.
We’ve worked alongside thousands across the country exercising political muscle, moral imagination, and on-the-ground experimentation. It’ll take this and so much more in the years ahead; we are in a broader fight for a multiracial democracy and an economy that works for all. Our task is to deliver and we’re looking for talent to join us in the fight. Learn more about ESP.
The California Director of Policy and Advocacy is a new role that will take on significant responsibility for strategy and execution of our two core fights: strengthening anti monopoly policies to blunt the impact of corporate concentration, and expanding cash policies, including both guaranteed income and refundable tax credits like the CalEITC and Young Child Tax Credit. The focus is California, but we also will work to advance federal campaigns on our issues.
The ideal candidate is both an effective campaigner with a knack for policy and a proven whiz at building strong organizations; able to think big, plan strategically, and nail the details to effectively implement a plan. They will lead on identifying opportunities and developing creative plans to advance our issues, expand our reach, strengthen our brand as a leader in the field, and build relationships to promote our priorities with target audiences.
The California Director of Policy and Advocacy will be an integral member of a small team based in California and will be primarily responsible for leading one or more realms of the organization’s strategy. The role will report to the California Campaign Director. During the first six months on the job, you might:
Create a policy and advocacy agenda to curb corporate concentration and monopoly power in California across multiple economic sectors, including identifying opportunities for advancing policy, assessing research needs, and building a diverse coalition.
Advance our efforts on legislative campaigns modernizing tax credits, such as paying them automatically and monthly, including engaging with partners, legislative champions and administrative staff to hone the policy, implementing an advocacy strategy and media plan, and building and mobilizing coalition support.
Collaborate and develop a communications plan to elevate our campaign to provide guaranteed income for students experiencing homelessness, including working with ESP staff, consultants and partner organizations.
Partner with ESP colleagues to craft a narrative campaign to build support for public options, with a focus on CalRx, the California-owned, generic insulin label, including assisting with research and media strategies, and building alliances.
Research and help design a three-year plan for building political power in California, including evaluating strategic campaign opportunities, identifying and engaging new political and grassroots partners in different regions of the state, and developing a process for assessing progress over time.
Contribute to ESP’s fundraising efforts that support our work in expanding benefits access and equity, including holding meetings with foundations and major donors and helping to draft proposals.
Cultivate and maintain relationships with media about our campaigns, including working with the communications team and consultants on an outreach strategy and preparation, and seeking input from other staff.
Work with our federal team to organize and lead meetings with members of the California congressional delegation in support of our federal campaign for an expanded, monthly Child Tax Credit.
Help develop the organization’s overarching strategy and plans to advance our issues, win our campaigns, and expand our organizational capacity in California.
Serve as the primary lead responsible for one or more of the organization’s policy areas of focus, depending on the expertise of the candidate.
Represent Economic Security Project Action (ESP/A, our advocacy arm) in developing and deepening relationships with members of the California legislature and administration, and staff, securing support for our policies, and providing information in response to policymaker requests.
Develop and deepen relationships with funders, building support for ESP and our agenda and raising funds to support our work in the state.
Identify and develop partners in our work, engaging them in coordinated organizing, communications, and public education efforts. Represent ESP in progressive movement spaces, participating in formal and ad hoc coalitions.
Be a spokesperson for ESP in California, spreading our message in earned media and at public events, and driving our narratives around unconditional cash support and fighting corporate concentration.
Write and edit materials for public campaigning and inside advocacy, ranging from a press statement to legislative testimony, talking points to sign-on letters, and fact sheets to tweet threads.
Develop issue expertise on guaranteed income, tax credits, anti monopoly, public option and benefits access and equity policy details, the scope of economic problems facing low- and middle-income Californians, and the impacts of our policies.
Participate in broader ESP and ESP/A activities and campaigns, including contributing to multi-state and federal legislative efforts as well as organizational and team development.
Experience and Qualifications
10 plus years of experience as an advocate, legislative aide, policy expert, or organizer in progressive political spaces
A deep understanding of economic policy through legislative advocacy, organizing, and/or politics is preferred.
Familiarity with issue areas like direct cash and tax policies such as guaranteed income, EITC, Child Tax Credit, and/or anti monopoly, public option and industrial policy.
Extensive experience organizing allies, persuading targets, and creating momentum for multiple issue campaigns.
Familiarity and experience in California state or city politics, or a high degree of experience with state politics in another state.
Proven experience integrating racial equity into strategy, outreach and communications, as well as ability to build relationships with diverse stakeholders while using diversity, equity, and inclusion best practices.
Demonstrated commitment to building and growing strong organizations.
Knowledge of earned media and/or other types of public communications including writing and editing policy and advocacy documents such as factsheets, press releases, coalition letters, op-eds, or reports.
Demonstrated success in foundation and/or major donor fundraising in non-profit or political settings.
Who You Are
You possess exceptional strategic thinking, written and verbal communication, interpersonal, and follow-through skills.
You are well-versed in engaging with key stakeholders and colleagues, insiders and public audiences.
You have the ability to quickly develop expertise but not only to be an expert: your primary job is to make things happen, not to know things; you understand how to wield outside power to win.
You are both a tactical and strategic thinker who can make decisions in a changing environment and can anticipate ESP’s future needs.
You are self-reliant and results oriented, with excellent judgment and creative problem-solving skills.
You have a deep understanding of how to work in partnership with California’s low-income and BIPOC communities with the goal of making societal and political change.
You are a savvy project manager, able to handle multiple workflows, projects and pivots in the work and goals, especially in a workplace that operates remotely.
You are committed to ESP’s work and mission, and can apply a diversity, equity, inclusion and antiracism lens to your work.
You can navigate existing and new networks, especially with progressive policy advocates and legislative staff.
You are an expert recruiter, a master follow-upper, a great listener, and pleasantly persistent.
Salary and Benefits
The salary range for this position is $115,000 -$158,000. The final salary will depend on years of experience and location.
ESP provides a robust benefits package which includes the following:
Medical, vision, dental insurance with premiums fully covered for employees and their dependents
Long and short term disability insurance
Basic Life Insurance with a 50K maximum
401K with up to a 3% match
Full office closures for Summer & Winter breaks
PTO – 136 vacation hours, 80 sick leave hours, 9 standard holidays, 2 floating holidays, and 20 hours of volunteer leave
16-weeks of Parental Leave
6-week paid sabbatical after 5 years of full-time service
Connectivity and home office stipends, and wellness bonuses (taxable)
Annual professional development budget
Access to commuter and flexible spending accounts
The Economic Security Project is a virtual office with staff across the country. You must be based in California and travel periodically around the state for in-person meetings, as well as occasional travel outside California.
Our Team and Culture
Our successes are due in large part to the diverse team we’ve assembled from a wide range of fields – from campaigners to policymakers to activists to academics. We have built an organization that encourages and resources our staff to drive forward work that they are passionate about, and bring together the cross-functional teams needed to make it a reality.
We are committed to creating a best-in-class staff experience that promotes growth and well-being. As a fully remote organization, ESP staff are able to work from anywhere in the country and are trusted to structure their schedules in a way that supports their best work. We actively support people taking time away from work, including two weeks of full office closures and a six-week sabbatical at 5 years of service, in addition to our standard PTO offerings. You can find more information on our full benefits offerings below.
Our internal work is deeply rooted in our values around diversity, equity and inclusion, ensuring that our policies and processes are equitable and informed by a wide range of lived experiences. We invest in our people’s professional development, and promote regular conversations about career goals and growth opportunities. We provide regular opportunities to come together in-person for both strategic planning and relationship-building, and we’re always up to take a game of trivia a little too seriously.
Because the Economic Security Project values a diverse and representative workplace, people who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, and people of all gender identities are strongly encouraged to apply. ESP is committed to attracting, developing and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding, and 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 race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, and all other classifications protected by law in the locality and/or state in which you are working.