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Grassroots Organizing Director

Grassroots Organizing Director
Organization: Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)
Location: Remote
Date Posted: 11/13/2023

The Grassroots Organizing Director plays a key role in executing SURJ’s ambitious plans to grow a mass number/base of poor and working people as part of a multiracial working-class movement needed to defeat authoritarianism and win transformative change. This role is responsible for the cohesion and day-to-day functioning of SURJ’s grassroots organizing projects, supporting them in building their work in various regions to organize in majority white communities using a shared interest framework.

The Grassroots Organizing Director is responsible for ensuring strong coordination and communication across SURJ’s grassroots organizing programs, and supervises the grassroots organizing staff in developing, planning, and executing SURJ’s strategic organizing work effectively. They also bottom-line our organizing movement relationships and partnerships for the projects they supervise.

The Grassroots Organizing Director will work closely with the Assistant Director, with a focus on maintaining a dynamic relationship between the big picture of SURJ’s grassroots organizing work and the larger strategic vision and health of the organization. The Grassroots Organizing Director partners with the Assistant Director to support the Grassroots Organizing Department’s structure, culture and systems.

An ideal candidate for this role is an experienced organizer who is serious about building institutions and who is highly skilled in supporting others to lead. A strong candidate will be equal parts strategist, supervisor and department-builder.

Principal Responsibilities:

Essential duties and responsibilities may include, but are not limited to the following:

Strategy and Leadership (20%)

  • Pursue SURJ’s current Strategic Goals by increasing the strength and depth of the work of the Grassroots Organizing Department, currently comprised of the Southern Crossroads Organizing Program (SCOPE) and Appalachian Organizing Program (AOP).
  • Serve on the SURJ Southern Strategy Roundtable to help set long-term goals for SURJ work in the South.
  • Help to foster organizational unity and cohesion by modeling an understanding of the interconnectedness and fundamental alignment of SURJ’s “two-prong approach,” which includes both electoral and grassroots approaches, and support SCOPE Director and Appalachian Organizing Director in doing the same.

Supervise Grassroots Organizing Directors (50%)

  • Directly supervise the SCOPE Director and Appalachian Organizing Director.
  • Conduct supervision duties in accordance with the SURJ Supervisors Responsibilities Guide.
  • Support the SCOPE and AOP Directors in effectively managing their programs in order to ensure quality and effectiveness across the department.


Principal Responsibilities (Continued):

Supervise Grassroots Organizing Directors (50%)

  • Coordinate with the Managing Director, CFO, and Program Directors to manage program budgets and develop long-term growth budgets.
  • Work with SCOPE and AOP Directors to shape new positions and hire staff for new organizing leadership roles.
  • Support the grassroots directors and organizers in driving planning and expanding SURJ’s organizing work into strategic areas that fit our theory of change and organizing principles, including new states in which we focus resources and new partnerships.
  • Project manage long-term growth planning for SCOPE and AOP as programs in both strategy and approach and in program capacity and infrastructure.

Improve Organizing Effectiveness (30%)

  • Work with the Assistant Director, SCOPE and AOP Directors to improve strategy for campaigns.
  • Set up and utilize methods to monitor the progress of programs, campaigns, and individual grassroots organizers’ progress toward set goals and outcomes.
  • Convene regular planning and debrief meetings to support strategic organizing and reflection across all grassroots programs.

Candidate Requirements:


  • 10+ years of organizing experience including as a lead organizer or commensurate supervision experience, especially with poor and working-class people.
  • 10+ years experience supervising staff, with a strong track record of building teams and developing staff leadership.


Candidate Requirements (Continued):

Candidate Requirements:


  • 5+ years experience directing an organization, department, or program
  • Demonstrated experience shaping successful campaigns.
  • Clear track record of building relationships and working effectively with people of all backgrounds.
  • Experience working in a growing organization, shaping organizational strategy, and managing change.
  • Self-management and self-awareness, including an ability to skillfully engage with racial, generational, class, gender, and other dimensions of identity and experience.
  • Experience or familiarity with organizing in the South
  • Communications experience a plus.
  • Distributed and/or digital organizing experience a plus.


  • High level of professional skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Proven leadership skills, including the ability to mentor
  • Strong analytical, planning, and organizational skills
  • Well-developed time management skills, attention to detail, and ability to manage multiple projects
  • Demonstrated ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Skill in leading from a trauma-informed perspective
  • Budgeting for annual programs and growth
  • Ability to delegate and remotely monitor large projects
  • Fundraising and grant writing skills to aid in proposals and reports a plus

Knowledge & Commitment:

  • Commitment to racial, gender, and economic justice and their intersections, both inside and outside organizations
  • Ability and willingness to travel
  • Deep understanding of SURJ’s work and alignment with all parts of SURJ’s strategy
  • An understanding of the strategic importance of the South and power dynamics between the South and the rest of the U.S. that can influence organizing efforts there


Candidate Requirements (Continued):

Knowledge & Commitment:

  • Demonstrated track record of organizing and leading in multiracial coalitions. Embodied ability to show up right-sized in multiracial space
  • Ability to work in a cross-class environment while also holding a strong class politics that centers poor and working people
  • Comfort with working with people with widely varying levels of political analysis and orientations to organizing. Ability to meet people where they’re at

Salary/Benefits/Other Information:

  • Annual salary: $95,000
  • This is a remote position and can be based anywhere in the U.S. All staff work remote from home.
  • Health, dental and vision insurance including available employer contribution toward spouse, children and family coverage
  • 401K retirement plan with up to 6% employer match after 1 year of service
  • Twenty (20) days paid time off per year (prorated)
  • Twelve (12) days of sick leave per year (prorated)
  • Thirteen (13) paid holidays per year
  • Three additional paid weeks off for organization-wide shutdown summer & winter breaks
  • Employer paid short-term and long-term disability insurance
  • Employer paid life insurance
  • Monthly $150 technology support stipend (internet, phone)
  • Professional development resources each year
  • Paid parental leave
  • Willingness to travel throughout the year, a plus
  • Covid vaccination is encouraged

How To Apply:

To apply, fill out this form and upload your resume and cover letter at the end of the form. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

SURJ is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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