Senior Public Policy and External Affairs Director

05 Sep, 2022


Senior Public Policy and External Affairs Director

True Colors United
Washington, D.C.

Senior Public Policy & External Affairs Director


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

The organization is looking for a seasoned and strategic leader with a strong background in policy, organizing, movement building, and external affairs. The Senior Public Policy & External Affairs Director will possess an interest in building power toward housing justice alongside young people with lived experience of homelessness and growing our influence in public policy.

The Senior Public Policy & External Affairs Director must be a leader who can build and maintain strong relationships that further True Colors United’s mission, develop strategy around a federal and state policy agenda, co-create and execute meaningful opportunities for young people to advance policy solutions to homelessness, and enact measurable policy reforms and outcomes for LGBTQ+ youth and BIPOC youth of color.


Reporting to the CEO, the Senior 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.
  • Supervise and work alongside the State Policy Officer to build and implement True Colors United’s state administrative and legislative public policy agenda and strategies.
  • 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 and housing justice.
  • 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.
  • Craft and negotiate language for legislation, draft comments on administrative regulations, and author substantive issue briefs and position papers.
  • Partner with communications staff on rapid response and grassroots campaigns to drive audiences toward engaging in public policy.

External Affairs:

  • 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 organizational objectives are achieved.
  • Work with 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.

Organizational Management:

  • In conjunction with the organization’s Management team, implement and monitor short-term and long-term organizational strategic planning goals.
  • Spearhead and manage the annual Policy and Advocacy strategic planning process.
  • Support the True Colors United’s communications team by ensuring that True Colors United 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:

  • 7+ years professional experience in organizing, policy advocacy, political campaigns, or other relevant areas in the field of housing justice, LGBTQ+ youth issues, foster care or the juvenile legal system, economic justice, or the legal rights of minors.
  • Extensive knowledge of legislative and administrative processes.
  • Understanding of and commitment to social change through building the capacity and power of LGBTQ+ yo
  • uth and BIPOC youth of color to change their communities by participating directly in public policy.
  • 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 collaboratively with other staff and other organizations; demonstrated ability to work with groups and individuals with a range of backgrounds and approaches.
  • Exceptional communication skills, both written and oral; experience as a public spokesperson and advocate; ability to break down and make accessible legal concepts and other complex issues for 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.
  • Experience effectively supervising and developing staff is required.
  • Ability to manage several projects simultaneously and to adjust to a dynamic political environment.
  • Ability to build relationships with relevant policy partners (people with lived experience, youth and young adults, LGBTQ+ advocates, state and local grassroots organizations and activists, government, policy shops, academic institutions, etc).
  • Experience analyzing and interpreting legislative and regulatory language.

True Colors United is seeking someone with an authentic passion for ending LGBTQ+ youth homelessness. The Senior Public Policy & External Affairs Director will be excited about the opportunity to build and execute a 5-year vision for a national LGBTQ+ and BIPOC youth-led political movement for housing justice alongside youth partners and a diverse staff team.

True Colors United is prepared to offer an attractive compensation package, including a competitive base salary as well as health, retirement, life insurance, commuter benefits and vacation benefits. This position will be based out of True Colors United’s Washington, D.C. office, and candidates within the D.C. region are preferred. However, applications are welcome from candidates residing anywhere within the United States. For candidates outside of Washington, D.C., travel up to 30% of the time may be required.

True Colors United is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ people, women and femme-identifying people, and people with lived experiences of homelessness to apply. There is no degree requirement for this position.

Please submit a one page cover letter and resume to In your cover letter, please highlight in particular why you would like to work at True Colors United.

Job posted: 2022-09-05