Public Policy & External Affairs Director

31 Jul, 2019


Public Policy & External Affairs Director

True Colors United
Washington, DC


Co-founded by Cyndi Lauper, True Colors United implements innovative solutions to youth homelessness by focusing on the unique experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Through an array of training & education, advocacy, and youth collaboration programs, True Colors United is ensuring that every LGBTQ young person, wherever they live, is celebrated for being their authentic selves.

Job Description

After experiencing rapid growth during its first ten years, True Colors United is embarking on a new period of expansion at the start of its second decade. The organization is looking for a seasoned and strategic leader with a strong background in policy, advocacy, movement building, and external affairs who possesses an interest in growing and leading an impactful public policy shop.

The Public Policy & External Affairs Director must be a leader who can build and maintain strong relationships that furthers True Colors United’s mission, create support and consensus around a federal and state policy agenda, authentically collaborate with the National Youth Forum on Homelessness to put forth policy solutions for youth experiencing homelessness by youth experiencing homelessness, and enact measurable policy reforms and outcomes for LGBTQ youth and youth of color.


Reporting to the Executive Director & CEO, the Public Policy & External Affairs Director will:

Policy & Advocacy:

  • Develop, direct, and implement True Colors United’s federal, state, and local administrative and legislative public policy agenda, including determining advocacy priorities, positions, and strategies.
  • Oversee project management of the State Index on Youth Homelessness, a first-of-its-kind resource that evaluates all 50 states and the District of Columbia on their efforts to prevent and end youth homelessness, including its annual update.
  • Engage/lobby Congress and relevant committees (Appropriations, THUD, LHHS, etc.), the White House, and relevant government agencies (HHS, HUD, ED, DOJ) on True Colors United’s federal public policy priorities pertaining to youth homelessness, health, and well-being.
  • Strengthen existing and develop new relationships with key Congressional Members and staff to increase support for True Colors United’s policy positions and initiatives.
  • Lead the development and execution of legislative and regulatory strategies designed to advance True Colors United’s strategic and policy priorities.
  • Conduct legal research, writing, and policy analysis to determine legislative and/or regulatory impact on True Colors United’s policy priorities.
  • Create facts sheets, Congressional sign-on letters, virtual hill advocacy days, and other resources to effectively message and disseminate True Colors United’s policy priorities to the broader public.
  • Craft and negotiate language for legislation, draft comments on administrative regulations, and author substantive issue briefs and position papers.

External Affairs:

  • Work with the True Colors United’s communications team to educate and engage the public in the effort to prevent and end youth homelessness through proactive and impactful campaigns and other efforts, including fundraising.
  • Partner with state and local advocacy groups and officials (legislators, city council members, governors, and mayors) to communicate and advance True Colors United’s policy priorities.
  • Serve as a primary spokesperson for the organization in coalition meetings, as well as a trusted thought leader within the housing, homelessness, and LGBTQ movements.
  • Maintain and develop relationships with an extensive network of contacts in legislative, executive, and administrative offices in federal, state, and local governments, as well as with allied and opposition groups.
  • Maintain a growing portfolio of alliances and work closely with cross-functional partners and internal colleagues to manage responsibilities, mitigate risks, and ensure organization objectives are achieved.

Organizational Management:

  • In conjunction with the organization’s Management team, implement and monitor short-term and long-term organization strategic planning goals.
  • Spearhead and manage the annual Policy and Advocacy strategic planning process.
  • Support the True Colors United’s Creative team by ensuring that True Colors documents and materials align with overall organization branding as it pertains to policy and advocacy issues.

Key Qualifications

True Colors United is an organization driven by its core values (Equity, Empathy, Collaboration, Creativity, and Community), so experience working at a “values-driven” organization will be highly prized. Additional requirements are:

  • Extensive knowledge of legislative and administrative processes.
  • Understanding of and commitment to social change through building the capacity and power of LGBTQ youth and youth of color to change their communities by participating directly in public policy.
  • Solid educational background (undergraduate degree; JD, MPP or similar advanced degree desired) or equivalent work experience (7+ years).
  • Demonstrated commitment to community organizing and ability to work constructively with grassroots partners.
  • Excellent advocacy, consensus-building, coalition-building, and leadership skills; demonstrated ability to work collegially and collaboratively with other staff and other organizations; demonstrated ability to work with groups and individuals across the political spectrum.
  • Exceptional communication skills, both written and oral; experience as a public spokesperson and advocate; ability to analyze and articulate legal concepts and other complex issues and to communicate them to a variety of audiences; a “quick study” on a dynamic array of issues.
  • A broad understanding of federal policies that pertain to low-income families and communities of color is required; expertise in immigration issues is especially helpful.
  • The ability to produce consistent, quality work in a fast-paced environment is essential.
  • Experience effectively supervising and developing staff preferred.
  • Ability to manage several projects simultaneously and to adjust to frequently changing demands.
  • Ability to build relationships with relevant policy partners (government, policy shops, academic institutions, etc).
  • Experience analyzing and interpreting legislative and regulatory language.

This is an exciting opportunity for a highly motivated professional to assume a pivotal role in the evolution of a fast-growing, highly-respected organization. We are seeking an individual of outstanding quality with a respected track record.

Learn more here

Job posted: 2019-07-31