Director, Federal Policy

21 May, 2023


Director, Federal Policy

Southern Poverty Law Center
Washington, D.C.


The search for the Director, Federal Policy role is being led by Bridge Partners.  

To learn more about this opportunity and submit your application, please contact:

Tory Clarke                                                                   Ryan Whitacre

Partner, Bridge Partners                                                Partner, Bridge Partners                


The Director, Federal Policy (DFP) is a results-driven and experienced advocate who is passionate about winning policy reforms to advance racial justice and protect the human rights of all people. Reporting to the Chief Policy Officer (CPO), the DFP works to advance SPLC’s federal policy agenda in Washington, DC. The DFP oversees the legislative, executive, and national coalition advocacy strategies to achieve the SPLC’s impact goals; manages the federal policy team; and collaborates with the state policy, legal, communications, and program staff. The state policy, legal, communications, and program staff also work for the SPLC Action Fund and will contribute to SPLC’s lobbying efforts led by the DFP and CPO. The DFP liaises directly with elected and appointed officials, agencies, non-profit organizations and allies, and other community stakeholders. As one of the leaders of the new SPLC Policy Department, the DFP will play a vital role in helping to shape the vision and structure of the department’s work.

The Organization:

The SPLC focuses on communities of color and other marginalized groups in the South with the goal of defending their rights and mobilizing efforts to win progressive policies that transform the social and political context of the region.
Our work is grounded in the communities of our five Deep South states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Our strategies include litigation, policy advocacy, research and documentation, community organizing, and public education.
We strive to work with community partners to transform the political agenda, mobilize constituencies to demand change and build political power, and achieve racial justice in the places where slavery, genocide, and Jim Crow were drivers of society. Today, the legacy of these injustices perpetuates inequities and discrimination for Black, indigenous, and communities of color, particularly in the South.

Primary Job Functions:

  • Direct the SPLC Policy Department’s legislative and advocacy work with Congress, before federal agencies, and in coalitions;
  • Develop and maintain a strategic overview of the federal policy landscape for the SPLC’s four impact areas (eradicating poverty, decarcerating and decriminalizing black and brown communities, protecting voting rights and civic engagement, and combating white nationalism and other forms of racism);
  • In consultation with the Chief Policy Officer, coordinate the national policy work with other SPLC teams, including the State Policy Team, Legal, Communications, Learning for Justice, the Intelligence Project, and Development;
  • Provide expertise in developing effective legislative strategies, campaign development, and direct action; utilize impactful tactics including polling data, media engagement and policy-related research;
  • Collaborate with SPLC Communications staff to develop communication strategies for campaigns and serve as spokesperson for the organization;
  • Manage a team of approximately a half dozen staff, providing mentoring and coaching to support the work;
  • Hire, train, establish and monitor staff performance and development goals, assign duties, and conduct performance reviews;
  • Participate in national coalitions, build alliances, and represent the SPLC in the larger civil rights community;
  • Serve on the Leadership Team and help to direct organization-wide activities and planning;
  • Ensure that policy team activities comply with all lobbying and ethical rules and requirements; and
  • Other duties assigned. 

Qualifications –

Education and Related Work Experience: 

  • At least ten (10) years of policy advocacy or equivalent experience, including track record of developing and implementing campaigns to pass or defeat legislation and/ or to influence agency rules and regulations; professional relationships with Members of Congress and/or their staff;
  • Substantial experience in social justice/civil rights work; experience with field campaigns either as a grassroots activist or campaign field staff is desirable;
  • At least five (5) years of proven managerial experience of a team of professionals, managing performance, encouraging professional development, and setting high standards;
  • Demonstrated leadership in building and maintain an innovative and positive working culture; and
  • Juris Doctorate degree or advanced degree; a combination of work experience, education and training to provide the level of knowledge, skills, and abilities required will also be considered.

Knowledge, skills and abilities:

  • Skills in analyzing legislative bills and policies and effective advocacy to influence outcomes;
  • Excellent writing, research, and public speaking skills;
  • Experience drafting legislation, writing polling questions, and interpreting polling data;
  • Experience leveraging campaign data platforms and tools; familiarity with paid communications channels including traditional advertising (TV, radio, print, etc.), digital advertising (Facebook, Twitter, Hulu, YouTube, Spotify, Google, etc.), and direct mail;
  • Strong understanding of laws governing 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) permissible lobbying and electioneering activity;
  • Initiative and ability to work collaboratively in a fast-paced work environment;
  • Strong organizational skills, follow-through, and flexibility around changing priorities and deadlines; ability to work on several campaigns at once;
  • Capacity to work effectively with individuals from diverse backgrounds and conflict-resolution styles;
  • Commitment to and a passion for social justice and of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion; and
  • Commitment to fostering an anti-racist work culture and to anti-racist principles and learning.

Other Special Considerations:

This job is performed under general office conditions and is not subject to any strenuous physical demands or dangerous conditions.


The statements herein are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by the employee in this position.  These statements are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of a person in this position.

An Equal-Opportunity Employer with a Commitment to Diversity

Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is proud to be an equal opportunity employer, and as an organization committed to diversity and the perspective of all voices, we consider applicants equally of race, gender, gender identity, color, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, disability, political affiliation, national origin, or prior record of arrest or conviction.

Job posted: 2023-05-21